Hear us out

Hear us out

At Staples, it’s easy for us to meet with a teacher if we’re stuck on a math problem. It’s easy for us to get any book we would ever need from the school library. It’s easy for us to be involved in one of the hundreds of clubs.
But voicing our opinions and concerns is not so easy.

Yes, we have Student Assembly, consisting of three student leaders who meet weekly as part of the Collaborative Team, but many students are unaware of what this group even does and who is in it.

So, if we don’t know what the club does or who its members are, how do we know which students we can go to with our concerns or suggestions? Furthermore, are the student leaders even representative of the entire student body if they’re voted on only by other members of Student Assembly?

Students have shared their opinions by starting petitions arguing for changing the dates of midterms or not having the Physics A final exam and final project due on the same day. But teachers and administrators have said they prefer conversations over signatures.

We’ve occasionally voiced our opinions at Board of Education (BOE) meetings, but inconsistently. There’s no one to blame for this, but it just shows that there’s not enough communication between the BOE and the student body.
There are so many ways in which students could help the school community if their ideas could be heard by someone with authority. We could give feedback on new classes. We could express students’ desire to eat in different parts of the school.

And we could tell you about some of the more serious problems at our school – elitism, cliquishness, stereotyping – problems that we feel the administration doesn’t always acknowledge, partly because we don’t know how to tell them.
Simply put, we’re not sure where we’re supposed to go if we have something to say. There’s no simple connection, no easy bridge between students and the administration.

But we can change that.

There are clear ways, such as voting, for citizens to have their voices heard, to have a say in their government. In a way, students are citizens of the school, and so we, too, should have an organized method for having our voices heard.

One simple way for students to get in touch with the administration would be to implement a student government.
We could have a couple elected representatives from each grade who could be accessible links to the administration and the community. These students should be elected by their peers, and every student should know that if he or she has a concern, an idea or a suggestion, their representatives should be approached.

Each student representative could express the opinions of his or her respective grade, and they could sit in and have a voice at every BOE meeting. Doing so would be mutually beneficial as we, the students, gain a voice and the BOE gains a student perspective.

All we want is a clear way to express our voice. We know we may not make drastic changes, but as students, it is comforting to know that if we have an issue, there’s a way to take action and provide each and every voice with an opportunity to be heard.

Having a student government and student representation on the BOE are two ways for students to say what’s on their minds and are as easy to set up as a meeting with a math teacher.