Everyday, the school board and individual school’s administrators make decisions that affect the lives of all of the students in Hillsborough County. Students have the right to be involved in these decision, but sadly, many do not know of these rights or take the time to exercise them. For instance many don’t realize that school board meetings are open to the public, and have a designated 45 minutes for people to speak at each meeting. Still, many students do not go and voice their opinions or concerns. The overarching problem is that students are not more involved in those decisions.
Many students sometimes forget or don’t realize that they can have a really big effect on how their school works, or even the rules that are in place. This becomes a problem because students are not being heard and their opinions are not being taken into account especially when they are one of the primary stakeholders.
In order to be heard students should take advantage and participate in the meetings where they are able to make suggestions about new policies and regulations during the school board meetings.
Not only that but many do not know that the public can also vote on some of the policies. For example, many students and parents where disappointed with the out come of the new bell schedule for the 2018-2019 bell schedule, but many of them didn’t vote even though they were given a chance to. Part of the reasons they didn’t vote was because some might not have know they were allowed to vote or the few students who knew did not take the advantage of their right to vote.
It is important for students to get more involved because new policies, like the change in the bell schedule, affects them as well as teachers and parents.
Another problem is the fact that the school board makes it hard for students and teachers to attend the meetings due to the fact that most of the meetings start at 3 p.m. right after school. If a student or teacher where really dedicated to voicing their opinions on an issue they would have to take time out of school to attend. In addition the school board fails to make students aware of the meetings.
If students knew more about these opportunities, and took advantage of them, they could have more control over how their education works, and influence the school district in a positive manner.
“Students just kind of go day to day without really speaking up about things that bother them in the right manner. But we do the school surveys, and I think that if people take those seriously, it could possibly cause change,” said Jenna Garwol.
However, many have argued that student involvement isn’t such a good thing. Some feel that students might have unrealistic wants and needs, and that they wouldn’t make suggestions that can make serious improvements within the school. Many believe that they don’t fully understand all the variables that go into account when managing a school. Unfortunately these are often the same people that don’t understand the importance of students taking control of their own education instead of letting politicians, who are far removed from the day to day education, dictating how lessons should be run. When students are able to take control of their lesson, not only are able to understand more of what works for them in regards to how the lessons are taught, but they are also able to contribute to what kind of lessons they are taught
If taken seriously, student involvement in their school can be a positive impact that helps to represent what the students want, as well as make a difference.
Nick Sowell // Co-Sports Editor
Sadie Testa-Secca // Co-News Editor