Student Voice Forum brings out opportunity for students to share their concerns with school policy

The seventh rendition of the annual event was aimed at allowing students to express their opinions and concerns to school administrators about a wide variety of topics.


Tarek Anthony, Staff Writer

The seventh annual Student Voice Forum took place on Monday, Dec. 12 in the Student Success Center at ETHS, commonly known among students as The Hub. The event was formerly known as the Witherbell Forum, named after the former superintendent and former assistant principal.

The event was aimed at allowing students to express their opinions and concerns to school administrators about a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to school cafeteria policies, school safety, tardiness policies, equity for LGBTQA+ students, race and equity, as well as talks on how to cultivate better student-teacher relationships. 

“I am hoping a lot of students [were] able to give honest, raw feedback. A lot of these problems are hard to find solutions [to],” said ETHS Student Representative to the School Board Nicole Yao. “[The administration and I] keep running into dead ends with finding solutions and as [a student representative] I want to understand every student’s [high school] experience [because] I am only one student living one student experience. We want to find a happy medium between finding solutions and complaining and this is a great [opportunity] to do so.”

Teachers were invited to bring their classes during any of the eight Monday class periods. After a brief welcome and an introduction explaining the structure and purpose of the forum, Yao, and Student Union advisor and civics teacher Michael Pond, navigated students to many different eight-minute breakout sessions at different tables addressing the issues mentioned above. Throughout the day administrators and teachers alike, including Dr. Campbell and Assistant Superintendent/Principal Dr. Taya Kinzie spent time in The Hub to hear students’ concerns. Many of them jotted down notes on the issues students expressed feelings on and helped to brainstorm possible solutions to the concerns. 

“This event feels very inclusive and I feel that my voice [has] been heard. I feel that when [I see] the teachers and administrators writing down notes they are [considering] our opinions seriously, and I can’t wait to see what change this event brings,” said Junior Sophia Evans

At each table there were prompts regarding certain topics where students were encouraged to write their concerns about the particular topic onto large sheets of construction paper. On the paper common themes included students’ pleas for no metal detectors, the logistical challenges that metal detectors would present, complaints of practices used by the ETHS Safety Department, a lack of centrally located gender inclusive bathrooms and demands for eased lunch policies. 

The sheets were taken by Student Union representatives and will be turned into an official report of what change students want to see in the future. This report will be used to aid administrators and Student Union representatives in making policy changes. 

“I feel that every time I [spoke], I was heard [by the administration],” said Junior Walter Tapia. “I feel like change is happening and things are improving.”