FSSA’s First Town Hall Smaller than Expected
by Nathan McBride
Locking bathrooms, ID checks and lack of accessibility. What do these topics all have in common? They were all expected to be addressed at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts’ (FSSA) first ever Town Hall Meeting, on Monday, Feb. 13 after school in the gym. It was intended to be a space where students could speak to both administrators and the student government to address problems that students have been facing in the school community.
Despite multiple announcements and emails sent out by administration, only two students showed up out of more than 800 students in the student body.
This incoming school year was the first Post Covid school year at FSSA to implement ID checks and locking bathrooms to ensure the safety of students and make sure students were not cutting class and being late, a phenomenon that was common in the 2021-2022 school year.
Many members of the student body did not like these changes and wanted the student government to act on these issues. The Town Hall was supposed to help create that change. The lack of turnout at a Town Hall designed to address student complaints may seem as though there aren’t any problems Frank Sinatra students are facing.
However, the complaints continue.
“When students are approaching us in the hallways, where people ask when things are gonna get fixed, it’s difficult to keep track and having a designated time where students were given a platform to speak to administration seemed like a great idea. I’m shocked that no one showed up,” senior Drama Rep Dani Brown stated.
Kailee Ortiz, the Senior Vocal Rep stated that people not attending the Town Hall just make it harder to create change even if they have things they want to say.
“You can’t bring change if you don’t provide solutions especially if these are only brought up with friends casually,” she said. “Unless you take the initiative to share your thoughts and concerns, you can’t expect every problem you bring up to be solved fast. Student government is there for the student body to voice their concerns and give them a voice when they speak to administration. If they don’t take advantage of that opportunity, it’s gonna take longer to make change,” Kailee claimed.
Despite the lack of students present the meeting went on as scheduled. Topics ranged from the bathroom rule (bathrooms at FSSA are locked during the first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes of each period), and why it’s in place. Alternatives were proposed, but seemed to lead to a dead end. Lastly, the members present spoke about making the drug counselor at Sinatra more well known and promoted for the students who struggle with those issues.
Senior instrumental major and one out of the only two people who attended the town hall, Natasha Thapar, suggested more frequent meetings for students to voice their opinions.
“I feel like the ones who care are the ones to actually attend these types of events. The ones who don’t, probably won’t intend on ever doing so, or they aren’t informed of the events. I suggest frequent, maybe monthly, school-wide assemblies to get people up to date on the expectations. But like I said, the ones who care about these issues aren’t the people we’re trying to educate here,” Natasha said.
Mr. Frankel, FSSA’s principal, offered a more optimistic response to the lackluster Town Hall.
“A lot of good ideas were shared about the bathrooms and some other things and I appreciate those members of the student government and a few others to share those and I think no matter the amount of people that are there it’s always valuable to have dialogue with students and I think we have that with a town hall or regular school day,” Mr. Frankel expressed.
Ines Aholou, FSSA’s Student Body President and a senior, feels as though there needs to be a more accessible approach that will make students feel safer when expressing how they feel.
“I feel like the kids would feel more comfortable addressing problems in a more laid back environment like a social event or offering some kind of incentive,” Ines said.
All in all, the event provided FSSA’s student government with an awareness of what needs to change to create a more motivated student community.