Story by Lilian Zhu
The ASB Wellness Team, in conjunction with the counselors and social worker Natasha Prime, released a Google form for current students to share their experiences with racism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of oppression at SPHS. Students are also encouraged to give constructive feedback on how SPHS can become a more inclusive learning environment.
Students can choose to share their contact information or remain anonymous, and their response will be reviewed initially by the counselors and Prime, then by the appropriate campus personnel — whether administrators, teachers, or Peer Mediators. The form is a way for high schoolers to express personal experiences that they might feel too vulnerable to say aloud.
The idea for the student experiences Google form emerged after the Peer Mediators hosted a BIPOC student panel in October.
“The BIPOC student panel… made it very clear that students, specifically students of color, are still subject to uncomfortable interactions and conversations surrounding race with their peers and even staff,” ASB Health & Wellness Officer and co-creator of the form Tonalli Garcia-Rodriguez said. “While panels are great for allowing students to vent, they don’t necessarily solve the issues that brought on those specific instances of discomfort. So through this survey we wanted to be able to compile the major areas of concern at our school, whether they involved racism, homophobia, [or] transphobia, so that we could see which ones appeared the most frequently, and… where to focus our efforts to face them head on.”
The Wellness Team, counselors, and Prime will work together to develop appropriate solutions to the issues raised in the responses, which could include hosting assemblies, bringing in guest speakers, and advocating for more anti-bias teacher training. Students have strongly emphasized the need for an accepting learning environment.
“It is important that we strive to make SPHS a more inclusive campus because there is no one SPHS student,” junior Nikita Mankad said. “We are a community of different genders, races, sexualities, and classes, [but] that is not currently being represented in [our] curriculum and in the treatment of the student body. It feels as if the admin here has adopted a mindset of ‘all students are the same,’ and that is incredibly harmful. Making SPHS more inclusive is acknowledging the vast amount of identities here.”
The student experiences Google form will be available for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year and students can fill it out as many times as they wish. It is accessible on Instagram in @sphswellness’ bio, and questions can be directed to email@example.com.