Diversity Council Collects Student Stories

Grace Goverman, Managing Editor

 

The LOHS Diversity Council is collecting stories on a Google form that “illustrate the experience of students and families of diverse identities” to create preventative action and contribute to next year’s diversity day. 

“We’ve realized in the past couple years, especially after talking to teachers, that [in their many years here] they’ve seen so many incidents that really just aren’t right, and… we want to get a feel of what people are going through and giving them an opportunity to… tell us how they feel… without anyone knowing who they are,” said Haley Oldham, a senior and member of the Council. 

In addition to giving students a place to tell their stories, Spanish teacher and member of the Diversity Council Teresa Sanchez hopes to keep a record of microaggressions that are happening and implicit biases that people might have. “We want to have a record and start teaching people how to interrupt those things when we see them happening… We are hopefully going to present some kind of video or storytelling time at one of the assemblies next year that we’re going to do for [next year’s diversity day.]

 “Especially because we do have administration come to our meetings and they do hear about these stories, and then we want to do things in order to try to change those experiences so that when our future generations come [to the school,] we create a school environment where everyone feels safe and comfortable being who they are,” said Oldham. 

The idea for this project began earlier this school year. Oldham describes how, “It started with Mrs. Sanchez and I just talking about issues with things we’ve seen or experienced in this school, and… thought it would be interesting to see what other people have to say. Obviously there’s a bunch of people that have things they want to say but haven’t had the ability to say it, so we thought maybe we should try something that gives people the opportunity, and it turned into the story project…. It’s been super fun to work on, super interesting.” 

“We do have the YouthTruth survey… but that survey is [very] quantitative, but there are no anecdotes in that. We want data with a soul, we want anecdotes to see what people really are going through,” said Sanchez. Oldham corroborates the idea of the power of stories, explaining that, “We feel you can get more meaning out of hearing someone’s story because stories can be so impactful, and they can definitely be way more emotional [than numerical data.] We felt that it was more of a way to collect information that can really impact a person.”

While students aren’t required to have further contact with the Diversity Council after submitting their story, they have the option to, “if they feel comfortable enough, we may interview them… If something is [put on the form] and [the student  doesn’t] want to talk about it, we’re not going to pull them out and say ‘Oh this happened to you, we’re going to do something about it… It’s more like… in the future we want to do [something] so that we can prevent that,” said Oldham. 

The survey has collected a very small number of entries so far, and both Sanchez and Oldham ask the student body to contribute. “This is not only for people of color or members of any kind of class, it could be anything that affected you academically. We would like to help. Because it can be about bullying, or anything like that too,” said Sanchez. 

Students can submit their stories at https://forms.gle/8byjX59rodUQCmms9