🏫 School Board Enthusiasts 🏫 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team's School Board Blog
Bullying (Liliana): It will be interesting seeing the new School Board in September, and I'm excited to see what they plan to do for schools in the upcoming school year. Following the Future Ready 2023 Presentation...
the School Board added many more things like case managers and flyers with QR codes that all center around one big thing; bullying. I am super proud of what the School Board will finally be doing in school around bullying, and I hope HCS will actually put this in motion in the coming years. However, the only thing that bugs me is that they could have done this sooner; the students should be the top priority, and bully affects the students significantly. I have always said that bullying is a huge problem in schools, and just like Karen Glenn said, "there was a significant decrease in bullying. We’re pleased to see that, but if one child is bullied, it’s one child too many."
I don't know whether it's on the rise or not solely because there's not a lot of data on bullying in schools, specifically in Hamilton County. There are many parts of bullying, though; like physical bullying may have gone down but cyber or even verbal is on the rise. When Joe Smith said, “This bullying thing and behavior in schools so concerns me.” I agree with this; as a student, I see bullying happening throughout the school. It's very discreet, so you wouldn't think it's bullying, but as I said, as an actual student, I notice these little things going on, and I can pick up whether bullying is happening to me or others.
Renamings (Vickie): This School Board Meeting involved renaming two structures, one of which was the Chattanooga School for Arts and Sciences (CSAS) Baseball field. Changing it to the James D. Boles Baseball field, it will be named after the current executive principal, better known as Jim Boles. This occasion reminds me of the significance of naming spaces; in a way, it immortalizes the person’s legacy by acknowledging their accomplished work as a large structure.
As a current student of the school, I have to say that CSAS has done much to credit the hard work of its teachers and administrators. Throughout my three years at this school, I can remember the basketball gym being renamed for a former basketball coach and English teacher, as well as the orchestra rehearsal room being renamed for a retiring strings teacher. Additionally, Jim Boles personally sends email letters to parents every week, recognizing the accomplishments of CSAS students and faculty. Now it is his turn to be recognized. No one I know at CSAS is more deserving of having this field named after them than Mr. Boles.
I met him for the first time during my freshman year at CSAS when he was not only the principal but also an African American History teacher. I was not in that class, and I remember being intimidated by him when I initially saw him. However, after acclimating to the school’s environment, I quickly noticed his friendly personality. He has an ability to be serious when he needs to be but can also easily crack a joke other times. I have been given the opportunity to talk to him much more often this year because he goes outside for lunch (when the weather is right). This way, students have supervision out in the stadium and can get fresh air. This makes his leaving all the more a bittersweet ending. When Joe Wingate at the board meeting asserted that “the day he leaves will be a sad day for Arts and Sciences,” he was right. When Jim Boles transfers to a different position outside of the school next year, the building will definitely feel emptier without him.
Delegations (Vickie): After the renamings, the first delegate Rebecca Day approached the stand to speak about voting access for students. I have been involved in civic engagement-related extracurriculars, so I strongly believe that people who can vote should vote. Rebecca Day’s speech was a part of a large issue: voting is inaccessible for many students. Many people decide not to vote out of disinterest, but those interested should definitely be able to. This was much of what Rebecca Day referenced: those who weren’t given the opportunity to go to the polls on voting days. She questioned many logistics like transportation and cost. These are important questions to ask, but from my experience, the issue expands further than that. Classmates have told me that they are uninterested in voting, not because they do not care what happens, but because they do not know how to get involved. Often, they do not know where to start. It is difficult for them to find information about where and when voting is happening and what issues are being addressed without having to weave through complicated details and searching for long periods of time from several different sources. Hopefully, these issues can be addressed before elections roll back around in a few months.
The second delegate of the meeting was Williams Bill II, who alleged that he was being bullied as a parent on a “hearsay” claim. He accused his child’s school, Red Bank Middle School, of targeting and bullying him. Overall, I was confused about his claims; the timeline he offered was vague and non-chronological. I could not fully understand the exact situation, even when he mentioned his concern with teachers that he called “Black Lives Matter”, which he considers part of a domestic terrorist organization. I understand that it must be terribly inconvenient for him to be banned from Hamilton County school grounds, but it felt that there was something left out of the story. He never fully explained why he was banned. Tiffanie Robinson recommended that he speak with the Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Robert Sharpe, about the matter, so I hope he can resolve his situation calmly.