The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

Using the voices given to us

The world is a pretty depressing place to be in right now. Ebola continues to spread, the situation in Iraq seems no nearer to being resolved and home-grown terrorism is an increasing risk. But in the midst of this world-in-crisis is one shining gem: The student protests in Hong Kong. 

These protests haven’t caught my eye for the reasons you might expect. I’m not particularly surprised that Hong Kong is starting to show its discomfort with the situation it has with China, nor am I surprised with how the protests are being dealt with. What I am surprised by, and actually, quite in awe of, is who are leading these protests: Students. And I think that in these protests lies an important moral for students at this school.

The reason why the Hong Kong protests have been successful, and by success I mean captivate such a large audience, is because students were the ones who took charge of the situation, and students weren’t afraid to speak out. I don’t think the same can always be said for students here. I don’t think we can truly say that we have been the leaders we can and should be. Even though we’re not in the midst of political turmoil like the one that is present in Hong Kong, more initiative on the part of the students each and every day is required.

In the midst of the discontent and unease felt by students towards the community initiative, how many students moved beyond just complaining to their friends or favorite teachers and tried to do something about it? When the cafeteria food was changed, how many individual students tried to do something about it? When was the last time honest feedback was given to an administrator? In the last two years, plenty of discussion and debate amongst students has taken place, but not enough initiative has been taken to actually instigate the change.

All too often, we rely on the administration and teachers being able to read our minds. We can’t only rely on our Student Council to tell the administration what’s working and what isn’t.

Admittedly, this job of using our voice doesn’t solely fall on the students. The administration needs to make it easier to address these issues. Whether it be open forums with the administrators, like Principal Jack Phillips and Director Student Life James Perry standing outside their offices at conference time, or adding a new “daily leadership” unit to the foundations course. The avenues do have to be opened for students to have the ability to use their voice. Students have to feel comfortable to voice their opinions and provoke real change. Students need to take more of an initiative, but the administration still has to make sure all students feel they can do so.

Students need to be leaders everyday. Students need to speak when they aren’t happy with things; students need to sign up for things like the Prom Committee, students need to care about what is happening to their school, otherwise it will turn into something no one will like. We need to go beyond filling out basic surveys after certain things happen. We need to be talking to the administration directly and participate all we can in the school. Students need to use the voice that has been given to them more often.

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