Students should speak at BOE meetings

Growing up, one of the hardest lessons to learn is that adults aren’t always right. In the lens of a child, grown-ups are always caring, helpful, and smart. If this was the truth and all adults acted like adults, our world would be close to perfect. Instead, we all have that one coach or teacher that breaks our inherent trust for adults and changes our pure perception of humanity. Although their opinions and perspectives are often outdated, the boomers love to decide what’s best for us students. They will argue, yell and even sit on divided left and right sides of board meetings because of it. 

Unfortunately, teenagers and even kids are becoming just as aggressively divided, with Instagram comment sections filled with unsolicited opinions. That passion is great, and as students forming our own opinions, we need to learn to express them. However, it must happen in a mature and educated way where we listen, accept, and disagree. In doing this, we can become better as a society and realize our common denominator: the desire for success.

It starts with courage. Step one is to transfer the energy on social media into real life and tell it to someone who has power. As intimidating as it is, students with these controversial and strong opinions should gather their thoughts onto paper and speak to the board of education. Although we can not ultimately make decisions for the district, our opinions matter and are valued. With adults approaching the podium to yell at the board and audience, our courage to share our well-articulated ideas in an appropriate way is most respected. 

Strangers to D99 use their title as “taxpayer” to bash our board of education. Again, shared opinions are necessary, but go home. The board of education and other listeners are tired of hearing “my son graduated from North in 2017” or “I was a teacher at Lyons Township High School fifteen years ago.” As much as we respect everyone’s opinion, not all opinions are relevant at our 2021 board of education meetings. Let’s hear from D99 current parents, teachers, and students who are being directly affected by our policies. 

Our parents and teachers are our ultimate supporters and some of the most inspiring people. They give us a voice and listen to what we have to say. Although these adults are trustworthy, so are students. We are more than qualified to have a say in what we learn and how we learn it. Listening is just as important as speaking, but most students only seem to be doing one of those things. What will make a significant impact and elicit a round of applause at these BOE meetings is not the random angry man from Darien, but the students who speak their minds.