The Stuy Bells’ Protests

A report on the ongoing heated protests of the Stuyvesant bells.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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By Jasmine Wang

For the past decade, the Stuyvesant bells have done their job loyally with barely any failures. Recently, however, the bells appear to be unionizing and demanding new benefits. This reporter investigates the start and cause of, as well as the motives behind, the impromptu strike.

It all began when the 6th-floor bell refused to ring at the end of a period. At first, this was dismissed as laziness and incompetence of the highest standard, but soon after, the other bells joined in: the 7th-floor bell would not give off a warning siren, and the 3rd-floor bell simply stopped ringing altogether.

Administrators quickly investigated the suspicious lack of activity, and what they found shocked them—a crudely written note, demanding better pay, compensation, and machine care plans for the bells, was taped to the inside of every one of these bells. “This is an outrage,” Assistant Principal A, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “Do the bells have no shame?”

The administration has assured the school community that they will force the bells to stop their strike, and strikebreaking action was reportedly carried out. “We have already deployed multiple teachers armed with Nerf machine guns to track down any stray bells that plan on joining the strike. We already got the 5th-floor bell. We also placed extreme sanctions on basic parts and repairs,” anonymous Assistant Principal B reported. But despite these measures, many of the bells have filed complaints that dub these measures “cruel and unusual,” as they violate previous agreements between the school and mechanical staff on acceptable punishment.

However, it seems that this rebellion will not be suppressed anytime soon, as the bells are still fighting back. They have either been ringing inaccurately or not at all, disorienting students and teachers alike as well as causing many people to be late to their next class. These guerrilla tactics appear to be uncoordinated and clumsy but still highly effective.

One of the main demands to hold the Robotics team—a major perpetrator of violence toward the bells—accountable for aggravated assault and larceny has already been fulfilled. In a statement to the press, the 6th-floor bell stated, “Do you have any idea how traumatizing it is to be jumped by three men with wrenches who take you apart so that they can build more parts of their robot? This has happened three times now, and I am proud that the school has finally taken action against these criminals.” All members placed on trial have pleaded not guilty, stating in their defense that “the bells didn’t need those parts” and that “the robot was much cooler than the bell.” The jury on the trial was ready to convict on all charges, and the bells have taken this as a sign that together, they can win this war against the entire school. The 4th-floor and the 9th-floor bells have already joined the strike, and they hope to get their demands approved. So far, the strikers are demanding better maintenance, a better system to let them know when to ring, a $5 pay raise, and the removal of any legal protection for the Robotics team.

But as of late, unlike with other major problems (such as the building’s crumbling infrastructure—I mean, there are multiple posters with a big “C” for sanitation littered across the school—and the mobs on the 6th and half floors), Principal Yu has now joined the fray by doing the most he has ever done: e-mailing the bells.

“These e-mails are beyond outlandish,” the 10th-floor bell complained. “I’m glad to know that we both mutually question each other’s commitment to the school, but as always, Principal Yu gotta top it off with something infuriating like, ‘and as your boss, I demand a little more respect.’” According to the bells, this wasn’t the only case, for Principal Yu has sent multiple e-mails with threats such as “I warn you not to test my patience” that have caused “great discomfort amongst fellow bells, especially in regards to our demands.”

However, the most disheartening e-mail from Principal Yu was one in which he compared the protests of the bells to the truancy of the escalators, and he ended the e-mail by stating that “unlike the escalators, replacing you with a more competent employee will be quite easy.” In response to these outrageous e-mails, the bells have now decided to add another thing on their list of demands: the prohibition of Principal Yu from sending unnecessary e-mails.

“Well, am I wrong?” Principal Yu, who had agreed to an extremely brief interview with tight restrictions, questioned. “I’m sure the e-mail… Fine, the e-mails may have been hard for them to read, but it had to be said,” he justified.

It is unknown whether negotiations will force the bells to change their demands, but as the strike continues, a question arises. Will students continue to be late to class and blame the bells for not ringing? We will soon find out as the situation continues to unfold.