Student government hopes for productive school year

Student government, which consists of 34 students and a handful of teachers, meets weekly to discuss timely issues at the high school and plans for the high schools future. The team hopes to have a successful year with the guidance of Interim Headmaster Anthony Meyer.

Haley Bayne / Sagamore staff

Student government, which consists of 34 students and a handful of teachers, meets weekly to discuss timely issues at the high school and plans for the high school’s future. The team hopes to have a successful year with the guidance of Interim Headmaster Anthony Meyer.

Ella Kitterman, Feature news writing editor

Why are you allowed to use your phone so openly throughout the school? Where did our school mascot came from? Who is in charge of making all of these decisions? Students on Legislature work to make changes at benefits students.

Every week 34 students and teachers meet to discuss important issues affecting the school daily. Despite the fact that it is a transition year, students on Legislature have many goals, ideas and hopes for the upcoming year. At the same time they are fighting the reputation that they have not done anything of importance in the past.

Junior Melissa Bu, who has been on student council for three years, says that currently she is focused on changing homework policies and continuing the work they started last year on the issue.  

“We were talking about a policy like teachers have to label their homework “this is review”, or  “this is preview” or “this is practice” because a lot of students say that they find that their work is busy work and that’s really frustrating and I can personally relate to that,” said Bu. “Also we had this one bill which was about homework free weekends that Ms. Holman vetoed, so we’re maybe trying to get that back started.”

Interim Headmaster Anthony Meyer also believes that homework is an important issue for not only Legislature to prioritize, but for the entire high school staff to discuss.

“We need to have a faculty-wide conversation on homework: Why do we have it? What is the value in it? What’s the appropriate amount?” said Meyer. “The question for me is how do we want our kids to live and work, our students, how much should they work, how much should we push on balance schedule.”  

In their election speeches, many students including Bu attribute the lack of legislation passed last year to former headmaster Deborah Holman’s past leadership.

“Ms. Holman really liked to veto things and she never really came to our meetings, so I am not really sure how much she really knew about the issues we were talking about,” said Bu. “I understand that she was very busy, but hopefully we will work better with the next headmaster.”

Despite being an interim year and the sudden change in leadership, Meyer is very focused on making this a productive year.  

“I don’t know what the issues were and I would interested in hearing from the students’ council or Legislature what they think they need from me. It may have been that things just kind of paused and weren’t then moved forward” said Meyer. “I am trying to have this year, this interim year, being about let’s try some things. This cannot be a big one year pause for the school,”  

“There are 2000 students who should benefit from the school in every way they deserve and need and want to benefit so saying we’re not gonna do things because tis an interim year, yes there will be cases where that’s true, it’s hard for me to envision where it would be true in working with student leaders so we will see” said Meyer.

Bu also points out that despite what people may think, Legislature did make progress.

“Last year we kind of did pass a law, it was about N’s and if it should count in the ‘grade point average’, because you get an N when you miss too many classes, so will it count as a zero in your gpa or will it just not count,” said Bu. “So we did pass that N’s and we have done  little things like that, they haven’t been that publicized.”

Senior Nicholas Gerszten, who will have been on Legislature for four years, points out that it is a lot more complicated to pass a bill then students may think, because their are many factors that students are not aware about, despite their best intentions.

“Students know very little about how BHS works and what’s best for BHS even if they think they do. Nothing’s as simple as you can imagine,” said Gerszten. “For example when we are writing to streamline the sports credit process, we have to take into account teachers who need to be teaching classes of a certain size. If kids are no longer going to be in those lifetime activity classes and course like that than teachers no longer have courses to teach and maybe some teachers don’t have job anymore.”

Despite the challenges, Bu argues that just because they may not have passed that many bills, it does not necessarily mean they have been unproductive.

You don’t really have to pass a law to make a change because Legislature is made out of faculty and administrators and they have a lot of power over the school in general so influencing their opinion can create actual change,” said Bu.

Meyer agrees that student government is a very important program, even though it can be frustrating at times.

I think it is incredibly valuable for the very experience of everyone involved to have students on a fairly equal footing with faculty and sharing perspectives, developing empathy, moving towards collaboration and cooperation and compromise, that’s hugely important when you look at what I think is frustrating,is how slowly things move” said Meyer.