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Student voices fall on deaf ears

Natalie White, Editor-In-Chief

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Last year, principal Janice Schwarze and superintendent Dr. Hank Thiele did a phenomenal job of creating outlets for student voices. Their efforts included video updates, more social media use, Student Advisory Board and, new this year, two student members on the Board of Education.

There’s no question that the effort is there, but the sincerity of the effort remains unknown. Before final decisions were made in spring of last year about graduation gowns and senior handprints, there were chances to ask student groups such as Student Advisory Board for feedback.

It is disheartening to see these useful outlets become pointless due to the lack of communication between administration and students. As a member of the Student Advisory Board, I can attest that these meetings are not as productive as they could be if the administration discussed impactful decisions with us.

Now students are left with a great number of voices signing a petition that will change nothing for this school year. In an Omega interview, Schwarze stated that the decision of robes in particular will not be changed by these student voices.

The petition won’t change our minds because we didn’t make this change to one color robes lightly. We believe we are doing what is right for all students and families.  While I am sure the people who signed the petition are well-intentioned, they don’t have the same information we have and thus cannot know what is best for the greater good,” Schwarze said.

Still, senior Isabella Cotterell and DGS senior Nora Woods are continuing to meet with administrators. If these student voices are falling on deaf ears, then why put these students through all the extra work and stress of preparing for discussions with administration?

It is understandable that not every student voice can be taken into account or no decision would ever be made. However, the exact mission of the Student Advisory Board is to try and achieve this. These student leaders cannot advise on issues they do not know about.

The only way these new outlets for student communication will be useful is if administration consults students of notable changes in the school. Students want to be involved in the decision-making process, not the repair.

1 Comment

One Response to “Student voices fall on deaf ears”

  1. David Cotterell on September 19th, 2017 5:12 pm

    Very well written article. Here is another show of how administration is using a smoke and mirror approach to deceive the students into thinking they have a voice in the things that matter to the students. Should the students be asked to have a voice in budget and operation of the schools? No. But to ask them to give a voice, and then withhold the chance to give a voice, is WRONG. To ask these students to pour their time, heart, and soul into something that the administration said they would listen to, is WRONG. If these students voices were never to be really heard, why tell them to present the findings to the board? Their time could’ve been spent filling out college applications, school work, with family, with friends. These students time is of great value at this pivotal time in their lives. They asked a question to others to see if this was worth fighting for and they stood to fight for those who asked for it. Why didn’t the administration tell them they didn’t have a chance after the first meeting? Stringing these kids along, again is WRONG.

    All this has taught these students is that this is how corporate management works. How you, as the small worker gets no say in how to make your work environment better. All I ever see are little committees that do absolutely nothing but make changes for little or no reason, but to say they changed something for an imaginary good. What good has this done?

    Please, let me know how this whole situation is better. We want to know the real reasons why the change was made. Every argument the administration made was shot full of holes by these students. Checkerboard, it’s not that hard to put students into boy girl order. Siblings want to walk together, last year I know twins who were on opposite sides of the isles. Savings, I don’t think the same color lot is used year after year. There will be some color change between years, and now a few students will be out of place with an off color of purple in the future. How will that look in photos?

    Listen to the student body when they have a large voice. Teach these kids they do have a voice.

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