Making the Student Body’s Voice Heard

Giselle Villegas, Staff Writer

Students across campus have had strong opinions on ASB and the administration on spirit days held on campus, vocalizing complaints about houses receiving odd themes such as “stuck in the snow” for the Forthcoming dance or limited activities and events on spirit days. While some students peacefully state their opinions, others blame in a rather harsh demeanor. There are many ways for students to express their voices in a more professional manner rather than charging at ASB or the administration.

Some students have taken to social media to rant about these issues. One example is the Instagram account, @phs_spirit. In response to the Oct. 5 pep assembly, the account claimed that “Portola ASB suggested a ‘glow in the dark pep rally’ to the administration. However, the administration shut down the idea right away claiming that it’s a safety hazard and that ‘children’ could drink the glow stick juice.”

Although the owner of the account, who requested to stay anonymous, speaks with good intentions, there are many other ways to voice opinions rather than resorting to emotion-driven responses on social media.

“[Students] can ask for more Google Forms to get feedback for ASB, maybe email admin or the counselors to say what they believe could be different,” assistant principal Amy Paulsen said. “There was a forthcoming forum that ASB held to get feedback from students to improve future events, just to figure out what you want from ASB.”

By attending these events, students can confirm for themselves that recommended changes will be heard.

In “Giving Students a Voice” from Harvard Graduate School of Education, author Leah Shafer of the best ways to facilitate student recommendations on campus: “Schools can train students in collecting and analyzing data. They can then create their own research questions and use observations and feedback from peers to draw conclusions about what’s going right, what could be improved, and how to help.”

Understanding the frustration behind the students, there are various reasons as to why some suggestions that ASB had given, could not happen.

“They are the people working for the people, getting things from students about what they want involving spirit days, but some things are not doable,” Paulsen said. “There’s constraints on what is safe, appropriate, and of course affordable.”

There are better ways to voice opinions. Our administration has allowed opportunities for students to give input on what should be different during spirit days such as the Forthcoming Forum, a survey for the Winter Formal theme and student senate, meetings which take place once a month. By attending these, you can move Portola High forward and make a better environment.