BRISTOL - One student representative to the Board of Education recently expressed his concerns over school safety and the availability of adequate testing information.
Logan Zdun, a senior from Bristol Eastern High School, told the board that out of concern over school shootings, he conducted an anonymous survey of BEHS faculty and students, asking if they felt the school was safe and what they suggested to improve safety there.
“The majority of them said it was safe, but there was still a small percentage of faculty and students who felt unsafe,” he said, without citing numbers.
Some of the suggestions he received included having student photo IDs to monitor who is coming into the school, being able to cover windows during a lockdown, additional temporary classroom door locks that can be used during a drill or an emergency, and having walkie talkies available in each hallway.
Zdun had his own suggestion for better monitoring students with behavior issues who are in in-school suspension (ISS), “to ensure the mental health of all students.”
“We were concerned that Logan’s survey might not be representative of a significant number of students and teachers,” said Superintendent Susan Moreau afterward. “Students are not aware of our safety plans, with exception of the evacuation and lock down drills. Nationally, there is a heightened sense of insecurity given the number of school shootings that have occurred. Every school administrator works to make our schools as safe as they can be.”
Zdun also told the board he was was concerned about the lack of information available at his school for the ACT, a standardized test used for college admissions.
“We do a great job with making sure everyone, especially juniors and seniors, are informed about all SAT testing dates and where to take them,” he said, but he noted that the ACT is more useful to students who want to apply to colleges on the West Coast.
Those seniors who do want to attend college in the West “have said they’ve had to do a lot of research by themselves on testing day information,” he said. “Senior year is already stressful enough so please let’s make it easier on them.”
“As for ACT scores, we have very few students who take the ACT,” Moreau said. “I agree with Logan that we should publicize ACT test dates for students who may be looking to attend a university that requires that exam.”
Marisa Calvi-Rogers, BEHS principal, reiterated that “most students do not take the ACTs, unless they plan to attend a school in the Midwestern or Western part of the country.”
“Our school counselors conduct planning sessions with our juniors and seniors by visiting their English classrooms,” Calvi-Rogers said. “They provide a variety of information, including information about the ACTs, i.e. what they are, which schools use them instead of SATs, the fees and fee waivers, and how to register.”
“This information was also provided to all parents who attended Senior Planning Night in September. The ACT dates are posted in each school counselor office and also emailed to all juniors (spring) and seniors (fall),” she added.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.