Youth Voices Session at Austin ISD Symposium

Students tell adults how to make schools safer and more supportive for all

The Youth Voices Session at the second annual AISD Social and Emotional Learning symposium gave school administrators an opportunity to learn from students how to make schools safer, more supportive, and more welcoming.

The session, led by student leaders from six AISD high schools, was initiated by the School Health Advisory Council’s Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Committee. SAFE’s Randy Randolph and Meg Greene met with students twice prior to the session to elicit ideas and increase students’ confidence in speaking to school and community officials.

Adult participants enjoyed the session and found it valuable to hear from “actual students, not censored by adults.” Some expressed their intent to replicate this format on their campus. Students expressed satisfaction in feeling listened to and taken seriously by the adults in the room. One young man shared that because he struggles with dyslexia, he’s learned to stay quiet so that he doesn’t get made fun of by teachers and students in school. This experience helped him “get his voice back,” and believe that it really “can make a difference to speak up.”

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