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Student report puts focus on high school issues

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  In the wake of students walking out of Revere High School last week in support of sexual assault victims, School Committee student representative Elni Lopez de Jesus presented the committee with an overview of issues she has heard from students at the school. While she touched upon the walkout, Lopez also covered a number of topics of concern to her fellow students. In addition, Lopez spoke to and highlighted the responses she received on the concerns from Revere High School Principal Dr. John Perella.

  Lopez said Perella addressed students during the walkout, and in a later email, he promised to invite student class representatives, athletes and club leaders to work on building and designing forums in which students and teachers can share and listen to each other’s perspectives and experiences. “Dr. Perella is working with the Superintendent of Schools to bring in additional outside support and free up class time in the spring to do the work necessary to heal and restore the community,” said Lopez.

  Other issues raised by students include a new grading system that some students said has had a huge impact on their anxiety and depression. Lopez said Perella told her that there would be adjustments to the grading system.

  Students also said they appreciated the flex block period they had during the pandemic while taking part in remote learning. Lopez said it is something the school is looking into. “Dr. Perella mentioned that the challenge is that he has to get agreement from the School Committee and how the school was in the process of putting it in place, but COVID messed it up,” said Lopez.

  In a similar vein, Lopez said students have stated that they would like to see more conversation-based, rather than lecture-based, classes.

  There were also issues that Lopez said students raised about special education students and programs and how the students are integrated into the school as a whole, and about overall attitudes at the high school. “Seniors and juniors have expressed how they feel like there is no sense of authority anymore which has led to the current misbehavior of the younger classes,” said Lopez. She said Perella replied that there are many students who never had a sense of closure from their previous schools, and that the behaviors in the outside world have complicated the situation.

  Lopez said Perella stated that he is working with the superintendent to build resources and help the students with many of the issues that were raised.

  “Thank you for the very thorough report,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “We appreciate it and appreciate you having the opportunity to amplify the voices of the students. It’s important for us to hear.”

  School Committee Member Carol Tye said Lopez’s report was the most thorough student report she has experienced in her time on the committee. “I congratulate you for the amount of time you put into it and how you worked very hard at making it objective, and still giving voice to all the students and respect to Dr. Perella,” said Tye.

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