Student voices are key to a successful school environment. But are they being heard?
BY RYAN CHO ’25
The student body of Upper Arlington High School makes up around 2,000 students, with everyone having different opinions and backgrounds. Despite the large number of students, many question whether their voices are being heard by the staff and the school board.
“Sometimes, I do believe that some decisions are made for us,” sophomore student council member Ben Stamm, said.
In the high school, there are many decisions that students arguably should not be in charge of, such as funding decisions, faculty, building changes and many others. Getting student opinions in these decisions can make them much harder than is necessary, which is why some students may believe that they are not being heard.
However, this does not mean that there are not any polls for students to vote on.
“I think that there are a variety of polls where students get to share their views on,” Kim Brown, a social studies teacher at UAHS, said. “We have a few that come out from external agencies. Then we have different polls that are done within the building.”
Even though students have opportunities to express themselves and their opinions to the administration, many students may not see these opportunities. However, polls are not the only means of communication between students and teachers.
“I feel that, at least at Upper Arlington, students, through clubs, are given the opportunity to voice their opinions to administration if needed,” Stamm said.
Students are given many opportunities to talk to teachers, counselors and even administrators. Some of these opportunities may be talking to them one-on-one or booking a meeting with a counselor.
“If you come to your [teacher] one-on-one and ask them, you know, for something or “can we do this,” they’ll probably listen to you, and maybe appreciate your input,” Stamm said.
Teachers are often willing to talk to students about any issues that they might be having. This does not mean that they will always be able to help a student through any and all issues they might be having; however, they will try their best to do so.
“As long as [students] are bringing forth their concerns I think we are pretty attentive to those,” said Allen Banks, a counselor at UAHS. “I can speak for the principals and the counselors, we do a pretty good job of getting back to kids on concerns and criticisms and suggestions.”
So while some students may believe that their voices aren’t getting heard, by setting up meetings with teachers and staff, there are many opportunities to voice opinions.
“Some decisions are gonna be made by staff and we don’t have a say, but it’s not that we don’t deserve one, but it’s kind of like they’re going to make the decision,” Stamm said.