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The 'Burg responds - or doesn't

Jack Lewis '25

As tensions increase due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian war, students at school campuses across the globe are attempting to understand how to respond. However, many believe one notable absence has been Mercersburg Academy, where the dialogue has not been as prominent as on many other campuses.

Students reported a lack of discussion or activism, highlighting an engagement gap. Many feel that formal coverage has been limited, as it mostly occurs during informal conversations among students in classes.

“After the attack on October 7, our school did a good job of trying to create open discussion, such as brown bag lunches. However, since then, it seemed to fade away,” said Gigi Devlin ’24. “The school hasn’t been doing anything to promote conversation, and also, students don’t really want to have the conversations because they seem too scared to talk with people who have different opinions.”

Taimur Rehman ’25 noted, “I think we are fairly detached from the world as a school, but it is our responsibility to be citizens and engage with the world. We could engage more and bring in different perspectives, but overall I am not completely sure what the best response would be.”

Others suggested that a quieter but more educational approach toward building awareness and discussion on campus is necessary.

“As an academic institution, our school shouldn’t have the obligation to respond to a global conflict. Education on the topic is important, but besides that, it is no longer in the school’s hands,” said Devin Rotz ’25.

“I think administratively, there could have been more of a response. I understand we do definitely have two very different demographics on either side,” said Olivia Glick ’25. “I don’t think [the administration] needed to come out and say what they specifically support; there just needs to be more of an acknowledgment of the situation.”

For some, the response has been adequate.

“I feel the heart of the conflict is within the government and things that we as a school cannot control. My teachers have done a good job of informing us about the protests and overall conflict, without persuading a certain belief,” said Avery Liu ’25.

Looking ahead, seniors bound for college next year are contemplating how the Israeli-Palestinian war may impact their college experience. 

Devlin speculated, “I assume that, unless the universities respond to the students’ claims, which I do not think will happen anytime soon, there still will be protests.”

“I totally think it will affect my freshman year of college. It is a little bit scary, seeing what is in the news,” Corbin Kelly ’24 noted. “I see students being… arrested for protesting, but at the same time we see these protesters affecting life on campus.”

“I think college should be a place for activism and a place to find a safe space; however, I do think the current integration of students and non-student protests that are most active have polarized the issue more than it would be if it were just students alone,” Gabe McGuire ’24 said. 

Kelly remarked, “I think Mercersburg’s response could be analyzing how our school prepares students who are going to the college campus’ where these conflicts are playing a large role in student life.”

Mercersburg’s campus is experiencing a response to the Gaza War, represented by varying levels of engagement, awareness, and discussion. As seniors prepare to attend college this fall, it is important to encourage attention to the current dynamics on campuses nationwide and abroad. 

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