Maria Akaras ’24
For years, teachers have been cutting down on travel time between class, conserving energy, and maintaining style by cruising around campus on mopeds. At this point, mopeds are an integral part of the culture at Mercersburg, and no one wants to change that. At least, that is what everyone assumed.
On Monday, March 28, 2022 Chris Howes, assistant head of school for student life and culture, announced in an email to the school community, “We can all walk and campus is honestly not that big. Mopeds are a pandemic too and one that must come to an end.”
In the subsequent two days, the Mercersburg community rallied together to fight back against what is becoming known as the Moped Act of ‘22. Howes provides incredibly weak justifications for his decision, stating, “Adults need to exercise… the outdoors are good for you… crashing into students is happening too often… defining yourself here is easier while walking… our campus is the middle of everywhere, so who wouldn’t want to walk?” To conclude this bold message, Howes adds, “I hope everyone in the community can understand and respect the school’s decision,” and “I expect nothing less than respect and kindness from all teachers during this period of transition.”
Of course, this warning was useless, and the email resulted in immediate outrage. How could Sarah Bozzi, director of Mercersburg Outdoor Education, be expected to have to walk to class? “It’s a MOEped!” she screamed in outrage after reading the email. Some are speculating that her ire over the Moped Act was the final straw leading to her family’s departure after this academic year. If this is the truth, she would not be alone. One can only look at these protesting teachers with the utmost respect, as they model to their students fighting for what is right.
While all forms of protest have been powerful, a few teachers have done an exceptional job at evoking emotion among the community in effort to gain their moped rights back. Daniel Walker, who has been a Mercersburg faculty member for almost two decades and a moped rider for almost as long, has chosen to express his displeasure in absence from the school by taking a sabbatical for the 2022 spring term. His son, Holden ‘23, states, “Just because we are Walkers, does not mean my dad should actually have to walk to class.” Holden also shared an emotional message from his dad telling his students to “stay strong, gang.”
Skyler Clark, science teacher, shares a similar sentiment to Walker’s, stating that he “simply cannot be expected to be in as good of walking shape as [he] was when [he] played Division III lacrosse.” Unfortunately, this was not enough for Howes to back down from his decision.
Allison Stephens, English and history teacher called out the sexism rooted in this decision. Stephens has even gone as far as to modify the curriculum of her APUSH class to include conversations about gender discrimination and injustice within the Moped Act.
Although not all teachers have been as public as these with their reactions, everyone is struggling.