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Compton High ‘Youth Dialog’ airs student concerns

School's aging facilities emerged as most important topic; students seek major improvements to enhance the learning environment COMPTON (MNS) — Students at Compton High School had the opportunity to converse with local, City, and state leaders

School’s aging facilities emerged as most important topic; students seek major improvements to enhance the learning environment

COMPTON (MNS) — Students at Compton High School had the opportunity to converse with local, City, and state leaders concerning issues impacting them, Sept. 21, at the school’s First Youth Dialog event. The 100-year-old school’s aging infrastructure emerged as the event’s most important topic in the wake of the recent inclement weather.

ComptonHerald.com | CUSD Principal of Instruction Stephan Glass

“We have substandard facilities [but] we’re working on making those 21st-century types of facilities so you can do 21st-century learning” — CUSD Principal of Instruction Stephan Glass. Photo: CUSD

On hand to give ear to the students’ concerns were Sen. Isadore Hall, III, D-Compton; Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson; Compton Unified School District Board President Micah Ali; and Emmy Award-nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams (“The Wire,” “Boardwalk,” “Empire”).

Ali acknowledged the challenges the school board must overcome at campuses like Compton High School and expressed a determination to find solutions to its aging facilities. “Compton High School is a very old campus with a tremendous amount of need,” he said. “We’re going to continue to push forward addressing facilities needs throughout the district, but that cannot stop what we need our children to do, which is to learn.”

Student panelists included Associated Student Body president George Camargo, seniors Jeffrey Acevedo, Jaysyn Green, Crystal Molina, Kameron Swint; and 11th grader Vanessa Felix.

The students were on point and did not mince words, presenting a complex array of challenges to the policymakers.

Camargo said he has seen little progress during his tenure at Compton High School. “I’ve been here four years we’re barely seeing [some] renovations this year — they [erected] a crossing during [recent] flooding. This has been an issue all four years of my high school experience.”

For senior Jeffrey Acevedo, major improvements to the high school would enhance the learning environment.

“The goal of the Youth Dialog is to motivate students and tell them how to beat the odds, he said, adding, “but how can we be expected to do that when the buildings at this school have collapsed ceilings? How are we expected to progress? These are safety hazards. You can’t put a price on a life. We’re dealing with children’s lives. I like the school, but there are things that need to be changed.”

CUSD Principal of Instruction Stephan Glass acknowledged the problems.

“We’re constantly thinking of a better solution for some of the issues. We have substandard facilities [but] we’re working on making those 21st-century types of facilities so you can do 21st-century learning,” he said.

Twelfth-grader Jaylyn Green said without standard facilities that foster a safe and clean learning environment, students will continue to struggle academically.

“How am I supposed to take things into my own hands when the library is closed after school, when I can’t get a proper education because I’m being moved [from] classroom to classroom because the ceilings are collapsing, or because of classroom repairs?” Green asked.

“I can create a hashtag. I can be aware. I can make other people aware. But is awareness going to open [the] library? Is it going to help fix the classrooms?” she added.

Legislator Hall said the school district must embrace the facilities issue because it’s an issue with the students’ education. “It is also critical to understand that if you are required to come to class every day and sit in a classroom for several hours, the accommodations have to be conducive to learning.”

Assemblyman Mike Gipson said updated facilities are important if Compton students are going to compete for acceptance to colleges and universities and for tomorrow’s careers.

“Compton High School [should be] new and modern for our students because we want to make sure they come to a place where they can learn,” Gipson said. “They want to make sure their students have the best technology, the best classrooms.”

Special guest panelist Green summed up a successful day of dialog.

“I’m inspired by the intelligence in this room today. This is really mind-blowing. It’s awesome,” he said. “What I’ve learned in my job [that] takes me around the country, is that you’ve got ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ you’ve got ‘Straight Outta Southside Chicago,’ you’ve got ‘Straight Outta Brownsville, Brooklyn’ — it’s the same script, different scenery. What I see here is beating the odds.”

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Los Angeles County, California, and the world.

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