By: A. W. Taylor
At the beginning of April, the student government of the Baltimore School for the Arts held its first town hall. The event, which consisted of two assemblies, one for underclassmen and one for upperclassmen, revealed the obstacles of this year’s student government.
At the town hall, students were able to voice issues that they thought the student government should address. Concerns ranging from ant problems to microaggressions were brought up.
One upperclassman spoke about the lack of communication from a teacher via email regarding grades and questions on assignments. While the student government officers gave advice to the student and spoke about finding solutions, there is very little the student government can do to directly fix the issue. The student government can bring up these concerns with the school administration, but they cannot force the teacher to email the student.
“One person brought to my attention that they wanted a curriculum change in the Theater department and I just had to say to them ‘I can bring that to the theater rep, but that is probably much out of our theater rep and the SGA’s jurisdiction’”, said Student Government Vice President Quinn Bryant after the town hall.
Student Government President Sydney Lane-Ryer clarified that the student government’s main job is to advocate for the students, which is something they have done.
In March, the student government sent an email to Principal Roz Cauthen reporting issues they heard from students. Some of the issues that were brought up were the cleanliness of classrooms and the deadnaming of students. In a follow-up email to the whole school, Cauthen addressed these issues and outlined what the school would do to fix them.
Additionally, students expressed interest in selling their art and trying a class in another art form, which the student government delivered on by organizing Springfest and initiating Switcheroo Day, respectively.
Not every goal the student government set out to accomplish was achieved, however. In an earlier statement, Lane-Ryer emphasized her interest in conducting school-wide trainings on consent and microaggressions. While these trainings happened, they were not well received by both the students and the student government.
Lane-Ryer was “disappointed” with the quality of the trainings, and the student government’s access to them. Due to time constraints and other logistical issues, the student government was not able to provide the amount and level of trainings that it had hoped to do at the beginning of the year.
While the student government did not achieve everything they set out to do, they built a solid foundation for future administrations to build on. By being open about their challenges, they are giving the next generation of student leaders an opportunity to improve where they failed.
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