Response to: Community Service hours should be mandatory

Emma Regal, Contributing Writer

When it comes to the topic of high school students doing community service, most of us will readily agree that all students should contribute somehow to their community in order to graduate. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of whether or not service should be mandatory. Whereas some are convinced that community service should be required, others maintain that it should be optional. In my opinion, community service should be optional for high school students. With busy schedules and mountains of schoolwork, students should not have to obligate any more of their time to school-related activities.

Students nowadays have far too many obligations already to add community service to their list. A national survey conducted by Public Agenda shows that most American students are involved in an extracurricular activity. The survey states, “79% of America’s middle and high school students regularly participate in activities both after school and on weekends and 57% have some kind of non-school activity nearly every day.” With these sky-high numbers, it is obvious that most American students are more than just students; they are athletes, active members of clubs, and involved citizens in their community. With every day consisting of 7-8 hours of schooling and added hours for extra activities, students have no time to complete additional service.

Some may say that the completion of community service boosts students’ success rates, but it also means less time to thoroughly complete schoolwork. Most high school students who participate in a club or sport spend 2-4 hours a day in that activity. Assuming that school lets out around 3:00, 2-4 hours of an extra activity means that a student may not get home until between 5:00 and 7:00 each day. This leaves very little time to complete homework as it is, and if community service was something they had to commit to as well, they would have virtually no time to get their homework done. Not completing homework has a direct correlation to a student’s success. According to an article written by the Center for Public Education, “leading educational spokespersons have celebrated homework as essential to raise educational standards, foster high academic achievement, upgrade the quality of the labor force, and link family and school in a common teaching mission.” This shows that students need their spare time to complete their homework, not to complete community service.

Forced community service can also lead to students feeling pressured, and overall unhappy about the situation. Homework has always been a mandatory part of school, and very few students enjoy completing it. If community service is mandatory, students will feel the same as they do for homework. If a student goes into service with a bad attitude, that attitude will rub off on the people around them, and leave everyone feeling pretty bad. Students will feel good about the service if they make the decision to complete it on their own.

Overall, community service should be optional for students. Students should have the freedom to choose what they want to do with their spare time, and not feel like their busy schedules are being pushed to the limits.