Student Leadership Council creates anti-harassment committee


Photo by Sydney Rodd

Cultural liaison Cornelius Rish directs the members of the Student Leadership Council during its weekly meeting in the main forum room. They are currently working to mitigate racial harassment within the school.

Sydney Rodd, Layout Editor

How does the school deal with racist actions? How does it deal with microaggressions? What are the consequences of homophobia and transphobia within the community? These are just some of the questions the Student Leadership Council’s accountability committee is working to address.

The Student Leadership Council is co-advised by cultural liaison Cornelius Rish and school director Paula O’Loughlin. It is a student-led organization that works to improve the culture and climate within the school. Formed last school year, the council partnered with administration to take charge in solving issues within the school community and curriculum. This year, the SLC is creating a committee to assist victims of targeted harassment in the school with healing. The committee will also help the perpetrators learn from their behavior.

The council started when Rish noticed a communication gap within the school. There is not enough communication between students, faculty and the community.  According to Rish, the administration has blind spots when looking at students that the SLC is working to address.

“I have seen both the students and administration really come to the table with a willingness to hear one another,” O’Loughlin said.

Meetings are held in the main forum room every Thursday morning. These meetings are 45 minutes long and are mostly student-led discussions. Members speak about what they have done with different teachers or administration. If any committees wish to plan an event, they speak with administration. The meetings focus on the positive impact of what they are doing.

“Most of their attention is directed toward making the school an effective place to educate students,” junior Tashiaunna Mcghee explained. “They want students to feel comfortable.”

The purpose of the accountability team is to address the harm done within the high school community. There are many behaviors that can take away from this such as harassment, bullying and overall disrespect. These negative actions have an impact on school culture.


“What I see the accountability team able to do is to address that harm that is being done,” Assistant Principal Matt Kraft explained. “Addressing that, and really supporting any victim that’s been the unfortunate target of of racism, bullying, harassment and also address the offender.”

The accountability team of the SLC has met with the administration of the school a multitude of times. Currently, the team is working to make sure that all acts of harassment made by fellow students are addressed with proper consequences.

When asked about working with the accountability committee, Kraft said, “The end result will be creating a formalized process where we have student leaders that are trained in working with victims and offenders.”

The SLC works to change the climate of the school by having students take charge. They look at the school and find issues that need to be addressed. Then, they work closely with administration to see what changes can be made. The advisors assist the students within the council by helping them look at issues from as many different angles and perspectives as possible.

O’Loughlin asks students questions such as: are there unintentional consequences that could result from this proposed change? Is there a way that they can really focus in on any inequities that they see? What are some tangible steps that can be proposed to alleviate and mitigate some of those barriers?

The Student Leadership Council will host a second Voices of Change conference on Feb. 18. The purpose of the conference is to connect with the student body on issues within the school. The council hopes to get an understanding on what within the school needs to have changes or improvements made. This year, the goal is to focus in on targeted harassment within the community and figure out ways to solve the problem.