‘Tis The Season For Student Voice

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‘Tis The Season For Student Voice

Iris L., Writer

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Everybody at Bancroft School, from the Administration and faculty to the student body, is working diligently towards the same goal: the betterment of our community. A few examples include Mr. Gillette’s willingness to work with student leaders, Student Government faculty sponsors’ thoughtful guidance that makes us better advocates, and elected class representatives’ active participation and expression of honest opinions in the Student Government joint meeting last month.

In her October Unleashed editorial What’s All The Hubbub? Carleigh O’Connell expressed her hope that “those in charge of decisions…[would] see the importance of consulting the students affected by their decisions and strive to improve how they go about making changes to the student lifestyle.” However, concern about student voice continues.

Hub Renovations

Students appreciate Bancroft’s efforts to create a comfortable and practical space for students; the improvements in the sophomore area and in the Hub are all exciting new additions to our Bancroft life. However, students’ perspectives are sometimes ignored and concerns are not always answered in a timely manner.

In response to students’ questions and concerns, on September 15th Student Council emailed the Administration to request an update on the renovations of the Hub and projected re-opening date. We were very thankful that Mr. Gillette responded promptly and emailed the entire Upper School with information about the Hub, noting that “next week once the area is cleaned we will put in the new furniture that we have purchased” and that “[a]fter students are able to move in, we will then remount the TV monitors.” We hold genuine gratitude for the response from the administration. Since the students had already moved into the Hub but the TVs were not available, Student Council emailed the Administration again on October 27th, requesting an update on the installation of TVs and additional chairs. Despite several reminders by Student Council, the Administration did not get a response from the renovation team and, therefore, could not respond to the Student Council until November 23rd when they notified us that TVs would be installed before the Winter Break. We are very privileged to complain about not having TVs, this is a bigger issue than the shortage of TVs. Here at Bancroft, students are taught and empowered to stand up for what we believe and we are upset that our voice is not heard and responded to in a timely fashion.

Hub Decorations

When the Administration came to the Student Council meeting on November 17th, the decision regarding non-religious Hub decorations was announced. Most of us felt skeptical about this decision and predicted student body dissatisfaction once it was announced to the Upper School. The announcement of the prohibition of religious decorations indeed sparked many passionate discussions with diverse views about the choice between political sensitivity and freedom of religious expression. One example of student reaction was the petition organized by Alyssa Shear and Allison Ebb, in which they questioned how the decision supported Bancroft School’s mission and diversity statement, and more importantly, how the decision was made. We believe that at Bancroft, an educational institute that encourages students to seize every learning opportunity, there should be discussion about these important issues that include students before the decision is made–maybe by organizing a religious forum or conducting a survey that could serve as a comprehensive representation of student body opinion without marginalizing anyone. Although we have not figured out the ultimate solution to this difficult issue yet and we understand that our input may or may not change the decision, it is extremely important for us, the students, to be part of the decision making process in order to understand how to reach a decision when confronted with a complicated issue. That all said, Student Council does greatly appreciate the ratification of our suggestion of an alternative decoration plan of winter-themed decorations.

As the group of elected leaders, Student Council hopes to establish a closer and more direct connection with the Administration and looks forward to opportunities to be a part of future decision making processes. In order to better strengthen the impact students’ voices in making decisions, we eagerly to invite anybody who would like to be an active part of the community to use Student Council as the entity to unify our voices.

 

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