BHS Legislature presses on amidst remote learning



Student government and staff assemble virtually this year, creating a new dynamic for the group as business presses on.

It’s another day of remote learning, and the Brookline High School Legislature is ready for business. Just like everything else at the high school, Legislature has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but has quickly adapted.

Student Government consists of Student Council, Faculty Council, and Student/Faculty Legislature. Out of these bodies, BHS Legislature has the power to pass bills and make changes to the student handbook. Given those duties, they have already started to address many communication issues that have sparked due to remote learning, and started an initiative to get the general student body more involved with Student Council.

Junior Claire Gallion, who is the Co-Chair of Student Council and student representative to the Brookline School Committee, said that she is currently working on ways to help students stay more engaged on Zoom as well as other issues that can be attributed to remote learning.

“My bill will mandate brain breaks of at least five minutes in periods that exceed 60 minutes. It’s mostly for Zoom school, but going forward, it can still be applicable,” Gallion said. “I feel like that would be pretty beneficial to both students and teachers.”

Junior Aniket Majumder, who joined Legislature this year, also has big ideas for ways to improve learning on Zoom and help simplify teacher to student communication, especially when it comes to Advisory.

“Getting an email agenda because if the student can’t make it, having that option to understand what happened during advisory, that’s an amazing thing to have,” Majumder said. “I think that that idea could be possibly pushed through to other classes. If you miss something, here is the agenda, here is what we are working on. Hopefully it’s the start of something great.”

Junior Jacob Smagula, who also joined Legislature this year, hopes that he can use his position in government to get more of the student body to actively participate in bringing forward new issues and bills that could potentially make their way into the Handbook.

“I’m pretty sure no one outside of student government actively tries to have a role in it,” Smagula said. “So I think it would be really great if we could get people who maybe didn’t want to run because they had other things going on, or couldn’t do the time commitment, to still be engaged in what kind of rules we have in our handbook.”

Despite the struggles of remote learning and Zoom communication, Peter Sedlak, who is the Co-Chair of Legislature and an English teacher at Brookline High School, has found that voting online has given government members more time to think about a bill or issue.

“One thing that’s different now is the way voting has been in the past,” Sedlak said. “In the past, we would all raise our hands to vote on things, and now we’re sending out a poll, and giving faculty and students in some ways more time to submit their vote on an issue.”

Freshman Itamar Leibowitz plans to use his position on the Technology Committee to address issues around students having the necessary technology to be able to effectively learn from home.

“With everyone staying home so far we’ve discussed the access to printers, as not everyone has a printer at their house,” Leibowitz said. “I think that that’s one of the issues currently that we’re trying to create a solution for.”

Although we are in uncertain, difficult times right now, Legislature wants to hear from the student body if a new issue comes up, and they are trying to go about solving them efficiently and effectively.

“When students have issues, they should know who their grade representatives are in Student Council. And it’s really helpful to reach out to those individuals if you think there’s an issue that can be solved by a bill or policy change through Legislature,” Sedlak said. “Anytime you feel that there’s an issue, bring some of those big issues to Legislature.”