Students protest for more eco-friendly examinations

Abby Peters, Comment Managing Editor

College Board has changed its policies regarding the May 2020 Advanced Placement (AP) exams, requiring students to sign up for exams in mid-November instead of the previous late January deadline. In the midst of this registration, Grady’s Green Team has taken to the halls, encouraging students to strike and not register for exams.

“AP exams use so many sheets of paper and all the different sections come wrapped in plastic,” Green Team president Victoria Neft said. “That’s so not good for the Earth, and we want to change it.”

The Green Team hopes to reduce the amount of paper and single-use plastics by encouraging students not to take the tests altogether.

At Green Team’s most recent meeting, enthusiastic members decorated posters with drawings of trees and crossed out test papers alongside slogans such as “Save the trees, don’t take APs,” and “Wrapped in plastic is not fantastic.” They have taped these posters up in hallways as part of their campaign.

So far, all 26 members of Green Team have unenrolled from their AP exams. The club hopes to triple these numbers.

“We’ve been going around with a clipboard collecting signatures of students,” project manager Justin Rutherford said. “By signing it, they’re saying that they support our cause of the removal of paper tests and are willing to opt out of their exams. So far, we have about 60 signatures, the majority from seniors that didn’t want to take their tests anyway.”

Green Team won’t know for certain how many people joined its cause until the final registration deadline passes and an official list comes out. But, in the meantime, its goal is mainly to draw attention to the cause.

“Our ultimate goal is to try to get College Board to change its test administration policies,” Neft said. “By protesting and having people not take the test, we’re drawing attention to the problem we have with the excessive use of paper and plastic.”

The effort has begun to spread awareness across Atlanta Public Schools and has caught the attention of some local news stations.

On Oct. 30, Green Team took its posters off the walls at Grady and carried them across the street for a protest in Piedmont Park. Channel Five News sent cameras to film as passionate students spoke on behalf of the Earth. Despite threats of in-school suspension, more than 50 students attended the rally.

“I’m really proud of everyone who came out to support the reduction of paper and plastic used,” Neft said. “Even though a lot of them just wanted to skip class, having as many people with us as possible still supports our cause.”