Hello my name is ______ and I’m a senior. After I graduate this year, I hope to go to college and study criminal justice and psychology. I love the challenge of piecing together the puzzle of a complex problem, and I plan to one day realize my dream of becoming a police detective. I know that I have had a good support system to get to this point in my life, but not everyone has had those same supports. I want to talk to you today about why a group of supportive and trusting adults is important.
For me, it was hard at first to feel like I could trust adults at school. When I was just coming into high school, without actually feeling any community or support at school, it was harder to go to people for the help I needed. A lot of the time when you meet with adults at school, they only focus on what you’ve done badly and why you’re wrong. I was used to feeling like no one was on my side. The first time that changed for me was when I met my social worker. I walked into her office, and said “I don’t know why I came, I just don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else. But I want to give it a shot with you.” So she crumpled up the official form, and for the first I was able to have a real conversation with someone where I felt like they cared about me and how I was feeling. I know she filled out the form later, but doing what she did showed me that she wanted to talk to me because she cared, not just because it was her job. Having that one person made me more willing to trust other people at the school as well.
The school has lots of programs and initiatives that it’s trying to use to make things better. I’ve seen many of them during my four years there. But the human relationships are what really matter and will truly build the community between students and staff in school. Without them, all the programs in the world won’t be able to help. I know there are adults who try, but the school doesn’t always support them. I had an exceptional teacher last year, one of the ones who if you had her, you would never forget her. She really cared about us and how we were doing, even outside of her class. But one day in the spring I went to go see her and she was crying in her classroom. She told us she was let go because they felt like she was getting too close to her students. It makes me feel like if you work at Chelsea High and really bond with the students, you’re basically putting one foot out the door. And if we’re losing all the good teachers now, what’s it going to be like for the kids coming up?
I know it can be different. I’m one of the fortunate ones to have a good support system around me. Everyone deserves what I have. But there are students at CHS who walk into school every day and are miserable as soon as they get there. They don’t have anyone they feel like they can go to. For them, it can be really hard to get through a school day, let alone a whole year. Those kids shouldn’t have to get lucky like me to feel like they have someone who cares about them at school. I hope that you will consider supporting safe and supportive schools so that every student can go to a school where they feel supported like I have.
Why can’t schools be more flexible?
“The human relationships are what really matter and will truly build the community between students and staff in school. Without them, all the programs in the world won’t be able to help.” —Anonymous
“I know it can be different. I’m one of the fortunate ones to have a good support system around me. Everyone deserves what I have.” —Anonymous
This website is dedicated to the valuable lessons we can learn from students’ own experiences about how to create better schools. Decisions about schooling are often made without listening deeply to students themselves. But students are in the best position to understand what they need in order to do well in school.
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