Why is Our Attendance so Bad?

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Tanya Trinidad, Opinion Writer

When I walk around in the hallways at East all Ii see is students who look like me, an unmotivated student of color who has bigger problems to worry about than going to class. Attendance at East hasn’t always been this bad, and I wonder why? After talking to many students, the majority of the students I spoke to said that they were not motivated and were having personal problems with school staff, students, and at home. 

It was very worrisome to see how many students want and need help but would rather stay quiet in fear of rejection. Many students stated that mental health plays a big part in students not going to class. One student I spoke to, a freshman at East, stated that for him one of the biggest challenges he faces as a freshman is  “being alone and not having friends. Not having someone to talk to at school can be harmful.” I spoke to many students that come from different perspectives of life. Including students who came from Glendale middle school, Bryant middle school,and Clayton. They all had different things to say and had different opinions on everything, but they all had one thing in common: trying to survive high school. 

One of the students that I spoke to had something very impactful to say, he is a Latino junior student and when asked why he wasn’t motivated he answered that his best friend had just died and that he was having a hard time dealing with that. That answer really did hit home because I had known his best friend since middle school, and his death was never spoken about. He also said that he felt like “some staff at East had a certain bias against students who are Latino.” Many students from all grades felt like they have at a certain point been talked down to or been excluded because of their ethnicity by their peers at East. 

If staff at East wants to make a change they have to stop and listen to the students. Not shame them for not going to class or yelling at them to “GO TO CLASS!” or threaten them with calling their parents. Instead of making me feel like im dumb and lazy help me feel motivated and encouraged to want to come to East and learn. The lack of respect that staff has for students of color is the same lack of respect the students are giving back to our staff but, for a reason. 

Upon talking to teachers the one thing I heard the most is that many teachers do not listen to respect each other’s point of view. Instead of arguing for their own political view they need to not pay attention to it and focus on what is actually going on at East. I know many teachers who are trying to help and make a change, teachers like Ms. Wilson, Ms. V, Bonnie, Ms. Richardson, and Ms. Herbert. These are only a handful of teachers who I spoke to that are trying to help students and understand why they aren’t attending class. They are even trying to make a safe environment to help students talk about how they feel.

However many students don’t feel like they are being heard or even cared about. The fact that a majority of students said the reason they don’t go to class is because they don’t feel welcomed or even heard by teachers is a little concerning.