Panthers Partake in Town Halls to Discuss Important Issues

Bethel Gedihun, Staff Writer

On Friday, March 10 at PB, a series of town hall meetings took place with all students to provide an opportunity for them to voice their thoughts on a number of important issues. 

The meetings, which were primarily centered on topics related to student safety, security, and well-being, were held during periods one through four, with each period consisting of one grade level. During each meeting, Assistant Principal Dr. Ellegood gave everyone a brief overview of a shelter-in-place drill versus a lockdown drill before turning things over to the student panelists. 

Following this introduction, student speakers talked to each class about the importance of the school environment being at its best, while encouraging students to speak up about their concerns, ask questions, or provide any relevant comments. During each session, students had the opportunity to come up to the microphone and share anything related to these topics or other related areas that were on their minds. Following each student comment, the student speakers and hosts answered with feedback and advice related to the student’s concerns. 

Some important topics that came up in each of the four sessions were about the safety of students, communication between students, staff and administration, and the lack of excitement in the student body. The concerns on safety were mostly related to school fights, the possibility of weapons and drugs on school grounds, and bullying. Another topic that came up was vaping, something that students expressed as a common issue in the bathrooms and which causes the bathrooms to smell strange. There were also concerns raised by some students who felt that transparency was lacking in relation to the events following the fights in early February. 

Jordane Branch, one of the event panelists and organizers, thought that the town halls were “long overdue for everyone.” Branch explained, “It is time to switch things up and encourage students who are leaders at heart to lead the school. The school lost its culture, and hearing the testimonies of students who spoke up gave the panel perspective on how we should plan to improve our school environment in the future.” 

In addition to the town hall meetings, students were given an opportunity to provide feedback on a number of safety and security topics via an SGA Student Safety and Security Survey.