As contact talks between the School Committee and Andover's teachers become more contentious, the voice of those caught in the middle is taking shape.
A student group calling itself Students for Action had gathered 223 signatures as of Monday on a petition asking the School Committee and Andover Education Association "for a timely and effective solution, which maintains the high standard of education that Andover is known for."
Andover teachers have been working under their previous contract for 18 months, and have voted to support so-called Work to Rule, which means they are unlikely to do work not specified in their contract.
"We are going to be the ones living with it for the rest of our lives," said Emily Brownholtz, an Andover High junior. "The School Committee and teachers need to figure out what they are doing, because the lack of decision-making that is going on is affecting the students."
Available online through the website Change.org, the petition states "this conflict has become a problem and a distraction within the school system. We simply ask for both parties to redouble their efforts to reach an acceptable compromise, keeping in mind that the lack of decisions being made by both sides greatly impacts the students."
So long as the talks go on and teacher-supported Work-to-Rule continues, too much is on the line for Andover's students who need extra help, college recommendations and more, according to Brownholtz.
"I know I can get the best recommendations ever out of some of my teachers," said Brownholtz. "If [Work-to-Rule] continues into next year, I don't know what I'm going to do. "
Brownholtz believes any impacts on students today could lead to drastic problems years down the road.
"We are the next generation, and we can't have things messed up in our lives because they are fighting over things that can be settled so easily," said Brownholtz. "Students For Action is not taking a side at all. We are neutral, but we want something to get done."