The Wessex Wire

The Student News Site of West Essex Regional High School

The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

Students voice school concerns at open forum meetings

A student council open forum has been implemented for all students of any grade level at West Essex. The purpose of these meetings is for students to voice their concerns about problems and pose solutions to the members of the student council. Then, the student council will voice these ideas from the student body to the administration so that changes can be made. 

For three years, the student advisory panel has been in place where elected students can voice their concerns and solutions to the student council and administration. But this year, the administration has opened up to all students in school who expressed interest in being on the panel. 

 This is part of the school’s Climate team, which also includes a counterpart of parents and staff members that come together to meet three times a year. But, this group of students at school meets with staff once a month to discuss issues that are most important and relative to students.

The idea of the open forum came from the idea of the climate team last year because students felt like they didn’t have a place to voice concerns to the student council or administration. 

“So the student council decided, if we hold an open forum where kids can come and share things with us, then we can relay it back to the administration,” Dr. Kimberly Westervelt said. “We thought that was one step in the right direction.”

There has been a Google form released to students at all times throughout the school year. This will allow them to air their concerns about anything happening to school. The student council will then look through the responses and share them with the administration, as well as address these concerns in the open forum meeting. 

The administration hopes that this new forum and Google form will allow the communication between students and staff to be much improved, and give the students a place to share their thoughts about their school. 

“We’re hopeful that we can continue to provide an opportunity for the students to have a place to speak and voice their concerns,” Dr. Westervelt said.

The first forums were held at school, both at the end of September. The senior/junior meeting had some attendance, fewer than 20 students. They discussed opening more bathrooms, procedures of phones during lockdowns, cleanliness of bathrooms and locker rooms, possibly student wifi, and strike policy for not having ID as detention.  No freshmen/sophomores attended their meeting and the meeting was canceled.

The administration was purposely not present during the first forums to allow students to share their real, unfiltered concerns about the school atmosphere. The purpose of the open forum is for it to be led by students to speak to their peers about problems at school and decide which is most important to relay back to the administration. This is the start of communication between students and administration that is hoped to be kept in school for years to come. 

Although the first forums were not as attended as hoped, the student council and administration are brainstorming ways to create a more effective result of the forums in the future. 

Behind the Byline
Francesca Loffredo
Francesca Loffredo, Senior Chief News and Features Editor
Francesca Loffredo is a Senior Chief News & Features Editor for the 2022-2023 Wessex Wire. She plays tennis and softball for the West Essex team. Francesca loves hanging out with her friends and family, and spending time at the beach.
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