We are writing on behalf of our youth activist students at U-32. Last month, kids involved in co-curricular activities wanted to attend the student strike in Montpelier. However, the school doesn't allow students to participate in competitive events the day following an excused absence (beyond medical absences). Exceptions can be made to that policy, but school admin wasn’t willing to make one for these kids, who spent time building their case and presenting it to staff. Admin forced the kids to choose.
We view this unyielding administration’s stance as short-sighted and also gravely missing the point. We know teens thrive when encouraged to act as leaders in their own education. We also don’t need to look any farther than to science and other young leaders like Jamie Margolin and Greta Thunberg, to know their world and their future is changing — fast.
Dear School Board, Administrators and Teachers:
Please meet your students where they are. Many are rising up — they are angry and worried about their future. And they need your support. There are so many educational opportunities inherent to their activist efforts. If they would like to engage in organizing beyond the walls of the school, why not embrace, rather than segregate, these efforts? When teachers and administrators tap into the innovative ways teens learn and grow in the world, we are all better off.
Jane Knight, Paige Canfield, Jen Myka-Smith, Sandra and Buzz Ferver, Barbara McAndrew
The writers are parents of U-32 students.