Mental health, advocacy at the center of the concerns of the elected students of the WRDSB
The new Waterloo Region District School Board trustees plan to raise the voice of their student body and make sure their peers in the area feel supported.
Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute students Nicole Vishkin and Kenzy Soror will represent the student body and liaise with the board in their roles for the upcoming school year.
“Advocating for student rights is a shared commitment and the role of a student advisor is to be the face of it, but you really want to help out and offer these words of encouragement to students so that they can respond directly to their needs ”. said Vishkin.
She said the biggest concern for students, by far, has been mental health, followed by workload, intimidation, harassment and unfair human rights.
“A lot of students are concerned about student voices, racism, discrimination… even things like the dress code, vintage merchandise.”
Vishkin intends to engage a wide range of voices in discussions with students, including LGBTQ +, black and Muslim student communities, to: “Continue the discourse between students who feel they lack representation and the board. “
The first step in tackling the lack of diversity is to be there.– Kenzy Soror, elected student councilor
She said she was eager to connect with Senate student representatives and equip them with tools to support their individual schools. For example, they can post a list of mental health resources on their school website.
Amplify student voices
Kenzy Soror agrees that mental health is a major concern and has big plans to address it.
“The de-stigmatization of mental health issues in students is a must and I don’t think there is a way around that without supplementing the program with a mental health unit, so this is something I’m going to push. . I will also advocate for a working group on health… assemblies… and regular discussions with professionals. “
Soror, whose mother tongue is Arabic, said she came forward as a student counselor in part because she wanted to connect with students who may have language barriers or who are under-represented.
“The first step in tackling the lack of diversity is to be there,” she said. “The voices we hear but don’t understand are just not considered noise. So my ability to understand more students will help me amplify their voices and make sure they are heard. ”
Soror said other challenges include diversity and inclusion among staff, and challenges of the e-learning model.
She plans to create an open form of communication accessible to all students, whether through a Google form, the board’s website, or an app. She uses the hashtag #allearskw online to try to make news from student advisers accessible.
Vishkin and Soror begin their terms on August 1.
In the meantime, they are busy planning the year ahead.