Students and administration looks to strengthen relationship after a rocky start


Ashtyn Lowenberg

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s chapel was where the senior meeting was held on Wednesday October 7th.

A thick tension permeates the air of Benilde-St. Margaret’s. Because of this tension, administrators and student leaders are faced with determining what the rest of this year looks like and whether it can be turned around. BSM administration gave students the opportunity to practice voicing their opinions on school policy that make up Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

On Thursday, October 7th, the senior class gathered in the chapel to discuss the divide between administration and students. Led by Assistant Principal Matt Weingartz and Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Dennis Draughn, the meeting furnished a safe environment for the senior class of BSM to express their opinions and make sure their voices were heard. Senior Suzanne Haakonson felt inclined to use the opportunity to speak up at the meeting on Wednesday. “I think that it started a conversation between students and faculty that I think we’ve needed for a while,” Haakonson said.

Following this conversation, the administration hopes to see an improvement in the overall connection between staff and students. “We will be starting by talking with the Student Council and listening to what they have to say. Listening is a key component. If we want to have a positive experience for all, we need to listen, because that is an important piece of belonging,” Weingartz said.

In prior years, respect between administrators and students hasn’t been an issue or concern, but for some, the mutual respect feels altered this year. For Senior Richard Norman, respect plays a monumental role in this division. “I think the administration expects respect but doesn’t give it [to students]. They tell us certain situations are going to be handled and show no transparency to students. They are quick to address issues like the student section at a football game, but they don’t speak on racism, misogyny, homophobic comments, etc.,” Norman said.

Some students are still questioning the severity of their punishments after the homecoming football game on Friday, October 1st. The student section was lively and energetic, but at one point the chants crossed a line in the eyes of the administration. However, some of the students in the student section believe they should’ve been warned of the harsh punishments coming their way, something that could have altered their actions for the remainder of the game. “They didn’t do anything about it, so how can you know you’re doing something wrong unless they are telling you you’re doing something wrong,” Haakonson said.

One of the patterns students are noticing in the school is the lack of action taken to change certain situations. Unlike Haakonson, Norman believed the meeting was unproductive. “I don’t think the meeting did really anything except tell us what we’ve heard in the past. We’ve brought up old issues that have been addressed, but no action is ever taken to change it,” Norman said.

With a lot to look forward to and a full school year ahead of us, many students, staff, and faculty hope to leave the tension and negativity behind. This bump in the road will hopefully be a lesson to possible contentions in the future throughout the BSM community. “[The goal for this school year is] to come together as one BSM, and have a positive school year,” Weingartz said.