Segregation exists on the buses of Juab High School: not a racial segregation, but a gender segregation.
Any Juab team or club who steps on an away bus is likely to be seated according to gender. Boys and girls are not allowed to sit together. They can not share seats. Sometimes, they can’t share bus sections, like the front or back, or even share the same bus.
This “segregation”, as I’ve called it, isn’t a bad seating situation... it’s just not the most preferable either.
Many students have friends of the opposite gender, and they don’t see why they must be kept apart. As Bailee Jones said, “A lot of girls and guys are friends anyway, so they shouldn’t have to be separated on buses.”
Bus rides can easily become boring and monotonous, except for the conversations and games with friends. Why should friends be separated because of gender? There may be some flirting, but the vast majority of us students aren’t even thinking of anything beyond that. We just want to laugh, joke, and chatter through our fear or excitement as we ride toward our upcoming event.
“[The rule should be changed so boys and girls can sit together] because there’s more friends to talk to,” said Brannun Allred. Most students would agree; we would like the rule changed so we could talk to all of our friends, rather than just those of the same gender.
So why, if most of us just want to talk, would this gender division be imposed?
“We have amazing kids,” said Principal Darrington when I interviewed him about the bus-seating situation. He assured me that the school does trust the great majority of students to behave appropriately if they were allowed to sit together, but even so the school has a huge responsibility over us students. Since we are all minors, when we are in the school’s care on a bus the school is charged with our safety. That means the school administration needs to take the precautions they can to prevent any harmful behavior.
Principal Darrington also said, “I must ask what most parents would want in that situation.” The school must consider the parents’ point of view, and the majority of parents, while they might trust their kid, would probably agree with gender seat separation. At least, they’d agree with at night.
This brings up a main point: the rule was made for the night (mostly).
The boy-girl division on the bus is an unofficial rule that Principal Darrington requested the coaches and supervisors enforce as they please with particular attention to dark hours. He told me that he was fine with the rule being relaxed during the day, but after dark it needs to be enforced. At night, there are blankets and pillows to help hide misbehavior in the dark. During the day though, coaches can make their own decisions with the rule. Coaches are free to let students mingle during the day or to just enforce the rule at all hours because the seating situation makes it easier to monitor the students.
“... I understand their reasoning,” said Alyssa Willmore. She, along with plenty of others, understands the school’s reasoning and agrees with the night policy.
When asked about whether he thought boys and girls should be able to sit together, Joel Smith said, “It depends on the event, but for daylight conditions it’s ok. I can see it on night trips in the dark.” This fits exactly with the view Principal Darrington expressed.
The students of Juab don’t want to always be segregated from friends of the opposite gender on bus rides to or from school activities. In daylight hours and with coach permission, they don’t need to be, but in the night or by coaches’ direction the segregation will stand.