Students disappointed in Movie Night postponement

By staff writer Rowan Esquer
Additional reporting by Evelyn Le

The first-ever Middle School Movie Night at Bay Farm School was postponed by the school a day before it happened, apparently due to concerns about insufficient supervision, liability issues and unplanned contingencies. A new Movie Night date was announced this week: March 27.

Teachers announced the cancellation to students at Morning Muster on Feb. 19, saying the event was simply postponed. Movie Night was scheduled for the evening of Feb. 20.

Since last week, rumors have been going around that the event was cancelled, in addition to stated reasons, due to bullying and other student behavior. Principal Babs Freitas denied this in an email sent Feb. 20.

“It was in fact postponed due to our concerns about notification to parents, and guidelines for student behavior and supervision. We hope to reschedule this event in the very near future as soon as we iron out the areas of concern,” Ms. Freitas’ email continued.

Teacher Joni Reynolds emphasized that the event was only postponed, not completely canceled, and said that staff was “agonized” over the short notice. The Middle School Fun Committee and the student leadership have worked to reschedule the event in March, she said.

“We want everything to be perfect so everything runs smoothly when we reschedule,” Mrs. Reynolds said.

One of the issues with the event was that the flyer distributed advertising the event read, “BF Middle School Friday Movie.” Tying the event to the school created liability issues for the school and the district, Mrs. Reynolds said. The wording on future event advertising would need to delete any reference to Bay Farm School, other than the location of the event.

Students were disappointed about Friday’s cancellation, which was to show the Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Most difficult for students was the last-minute nature of it, after weeks of planning. Others said they didn’t know what to think — that maybe the cancellation and worries about supervision had more to do with the school’s lack of trust in students.

Members of the Fun Committee, who led the planning of the event, said they were also disappointed and frustrated in the sudden cancellation. “I do understand the reasons,” said parent Tina Hong. She said there have been many hurdles to be overcome in the planning of middle school “fun” events, but that while these hurdles sometimes seem unfair and burdensome, they are in place to protect the safety of all students that attend Bay Farm.

Once school staff fully explained the issues behind the postponement, however, others took it more in stride.

“I was going to go,” said sixth-grader Serena Bhalla. “After Mrs. Reynolds told me why it had been postponed, I was not disappointed anymore and I understand now.”