A School with Student Voice Creates Countless Opportunities

When schools give students the opportunity to speak out, the effects can echo across a student’s life, building confidence and increasing self-esteem. The opportunity to be heard by authorities and school officials makes a student feel accomplished. Additionally, students feel as if they can make a positive impact in the future school system and their communities.

Even more importantly, when a student is a participant in their schooling and not just a spectator on the sidelines, the school can and will function better. The lines between students, teachers, staff and administration should never be blurred, but students should have a voice when the outcome directly affects them.

Students should feel confident that the school environment will be supportive, respectful and engaging. In order to make school an engaging place students need a multitude of things like school supplies, backpacks and books to be productive throughout the year. However, many schools do not realize that student voice is equally essential and is the missing ingredient on the back-to-school list.

Students’ primary concerns should be making the best out of their time in school, utilizing their special skills and creating memories on their paths to success. However, without student voice, school just becomes a place where students are bored and anxious to go home.

A school with student voice creates countless opportunities for students, teachers and administration to have an open dialogue about the issues pertaining to the school and community. If students and teachers communicate effectively, the classroom will become safer and no student or teacher would feel unsafe or threatened. Therefore, classrooms would go back to being the knowledge centers that they were designed to be instead of a place for kids to gossip, sleep and play on their phones.

Students’ ideas are the keys to influence change. Their voices have opened the floodgates on many serious issues plaguing youth including gun control, bullying and mental illness. A powerful example of student voice was witnessed in March 2018 when Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students organized the March for Our Lives after a school shooter attacked their school in February.

Students have shown people that their voices are influential, valuable and deserve to be heard. A student should have a say in the development of curriculum, the safety of their school and have a say when decisions are being made about their school because school is for students. In addition, educators should listen to the voices that reflect the special needs within schools.

Student voice could and should impact schools in every way. When students have a voice they are more likely to be motivated to learn and grow to contribute to society as a whole.

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Savannah Snyder

Savannah Snyder is a student at Young Women's Leadership Charter School. At age 9, Savannah and her mother moved to Chicago from Pittsburgh. Her dream is to become a model and a photographer.

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