An alarming rebellion

Gina Matteo and Maddie Dailey

Thursday, December 11, might just go down in Monte Vista history.

With a storm that meteorologists warned to be filled with heavy rainfall, possible flooding, and powerful winds, many Bay Area schools closed due to the hazards. Monte Vista remained in session, and students weren’t having it.

The first fire alarm rang out after brunch, during passing period, and more went off throughout the day. Students crowded into the large and small gyms chanting “MVR”. Students were in retaliation, upset not only because Monte Vista decided not to close, but upset with administration as a whole.

The reason for the unplanned fire alarms and wannabe rebels? Many say the infamous app Yik Yak. Yik Yak is an anonymous social media app that has surfaced at Monte Vista. Yik Yak takes social media to the next level, allowing people to post anonymously. While some Yaks are harmless, others can be painful, calling out girls and boys and releasing harmful, possibly false information about peers.

Yik Yak allowed some students to plan and execute MVR, or the Monte Vista Rebellion.

While many, perhaps most, of students found the numerous alarms funny and a welcome distraction from class, there were some people of campus who didn’t see the humour in it.

“I’m a TA for the special day class,” sophomore Hanna Theobald said. “After [the alarm] went off three times, it started to get old. I saw the special day class, and seeing the kids so distraught was really painful to see.”

With administration already on alert with the storm and the Danville Fire Department busy with legitimate emergencies, having the numerous false alarms added tension to an already stressful day.

Danville Fire Department representative Kim French, said that the repeated false alarms are an undue burden on the first responders.

“The alarms negatively affected us, she said. “It was a high volume emergency day. The Fire Department has to respond quickly, even to non-emergencies.”

As reported by the Stampede in October, each false alarm can cost the the school up to $1200 in service fees charged by the fire department.

Some students were trying to find a way to put a positive spin on the events that occurred.  Anonymous posters on Yik Yak mentioned that the events unified the student body at Monte Vista and even brought us closer to long time rival, San Ramon Valley.

School administration feels differently.

“I think that it is a few individuals ruining things for everybody else, so no I don’t think it can be spun as positive,” Officer Roderick said. “I would question really, if that pulls you together as a student body, perhaps the student body better analyze themselves a little more.”

San Ramon Valley was rumored to follow in the footsteps of Monte Vista the next day, creating the MVSR Rebellion, but because San Ramon administration was well aware of what had happened at MV on Thursday, the rebellion was not as successful.

Some students did not see the events as a big deal, but pulling the fire alarm without a true emergency is a crime.

The individuals responsible, if caught, could be facing misdemeanor charges. The student handbook also states students could face up to $1000 in fines or imprisonment in county jail, or both for pulling the alarm.

After the events that occurred, Principal Janet Terranova sent out an email to all parents, encouraging parents to sit down with their student to talk about the seriousness of the fire alarms.

“…we hope that you will take the time to discuss the importance of treating emergency signals and alarms seriously with your student. Doing so will reinforce positive behavior and establish the best ways for your student to respond when they observe a classmate behaving irresponsibly,” Terranova wrote.

Terranova also told parents to be aware of Yik Yak and its negative aspects.

“…We encourage you to speak with your student and ensure that s/he is not emboldening or being influenced by others to engage in unsafe behavior,” the email read.

Repercussions followed the next day, which included administration on high alert, not letting students walk around campus or go to the bathroom without a staff monitor. This only caused more outrage. Students took to Yik Yak again to voice their frustration at the heightened security on campus.

Administration and teachers have made it clear that they are monitoring Yik Yak, and will start monitoring other social media sites.

“I think now that the administration is on the social media sites, the staff is now aware of how we need to talk to the students about online citizenship,” Mrs. Krier said.

Although students were vying for “change” in Monte Vista’s administration, in the midst of the aftermath, MVR seems to have backfired, and admin is only learning more about how students use social media. Officer Roderick said that he and other admin are active on Yik Yak, and will be while the fire alarm events are under investigation.

“My personal opinion, there’s plenty of other things that you guys could do to entertain each other, or to protest ‘against the man’, so to speak,” Officer Roderick said.  “Find a more constructive way of voicing yourself if that’s truly why you’re doing it.”