Personal Politics vs the Student Body

Jordyn Morse, Reporter

The USD 259 board of education meeting, in simple terms, was not a meeting for the betterment of the education system but a way for select people to push their personal political beliefs. Among these people were new board members: Diane Albert, Kathy Bond, and Hazel Stabler who all refused to wear a mask despite the mandate still being in effect. If one hopes to change the mandate, it should still be followed until it is officially approved for removal.

Due to the meeting being adjourned for people’s actions, many others that night would feel disappointed as it was supposed to be a night for celebration, as the Wichita Mayor’s Youth Council were to be recognized for their hard work in the community that night. “I’m disappointed that we weren’t recognized for the work we do for the community, especially as youth who mainly attend WPS schools,” said  Andrew Le, a Junior from Wichita Southeast High School. “I completely understood that they were standing up for what they believed in, and did not agree with the mask mandate in effect. However, it was completely selfish, stubborn, and blatantly ignorant.”

As well as the Wichita Mayor’s Youth Council, elementary students were to be recognized. “I’m heartbroken and disappointed that board members decided to let their pride and selfishness take over. They were being recognized for their excellence in the district. The excellence that the district produces,” Le said. “Our BOE has a due process to these things, and we can address them, but not only was Monday a ceremonial night for the newly elected board member, it was a celebratory night for students and teachers to be recognized. Not a good first impression from the new board members.”

With a new meeting set for Tuesday the 18th everyone will be watching to see what the board members will and will not do. “Moving forward, I hope that the BOE will have productive and focused meetings that are engaged. I hope the three new board members (Albert, Stabler, and Bond) will be able to comply with district policy to allow our BOE to function,” Le said. “I also would like to see more student representation at BOE meetings. It’s important to have the concerns of the students in mind, as we are the ones impacted the most by their decisions. I believe in standing up for what you believe in, but I also believe in trusting the system. Our BOE has a due process and structure in which it functions. I hope we won’t have a situation like Monday, again.”

With tensions between students and the board, Andrew Le would like everyone to keep this in mind. “I think we all need to take a moment to be compassionate and to try and be understanding of one another. It’s a vital step in creating a functioning and productive society. It’s what creates change.”