Jackson student circulates petition to advance his own mission

Sophomore hopes to improve communication with faculty, administration
By Kate Agbayani | Jul 18, 2019

A sophomore at Jackson High School is using methods from the ’60s to address modern-day concerns at his school.

Minuk (Tony) Kim has created a petition to challenge what he calls systematic issues within the Everett Public School District. He has named his cause “Stand for Student Rights in Everett Public School District.”

The 10th grader said he’s felt a lack of communication between students and faculty over the eight years he has attended classes in Everett Public Schools.

“The voices of students are simply not heard to the leaders and administrators of our school,” said Kim, explaining why he resorted signatures to support his cause.

Kim published his petition in June, but made the decision to start the petition five months before he had planned, after he attended a student leadership summit in February as the representative of his class at Jackson.

The summit, Kim explained, provided him the opportunity to meet leaders of the district and discuss issues important to the school’s student body.

“A big thing I keep hearing from the students is that they agree it doesn’t feel like Jackson and its students are connected,” he said.

Kim came up with an idea during the summit he felt could solve communication problems between students and the district. He calls it the “trickle-up theory.” Call it his take on trickle-down economics.

He believes that if the large majority of the student body can cause a ripple effect toward leadership, teachers, and administrators, there will be a stronger push for the district to listen to its students in order to create a better school system.

The first step in his process calls for a change in student leadership, the point he is challenging with his petition.

The current student leadership model used in the district is through Associated Student Body (ASB) leadership. Kim emphasized that student leadership needs to be reassessed so ASB students have a chance to take on more important tasks.

“The administrators give virtually no power to change the community to the ASB leaders,” Kim wrote in his petition.

In his petition, Kim also offers a new type of leadership he believes the school should consider.

The new leadership model would have two leadership groups in the district: The Everett School District Congress and ASB leadership.

The Congress will consist of a small group of students from each high school in the district.

Students interested in joining the congress must go through a two-step process. After a background check from the school administrators and the district, a candidate would be reviewed for academic and behavioral background.

The second step, said Kim, would be an election, with voters made up of a small group of randomly selected students from each school. These voters would choose the candidate they want representing them.

The students selected in the process would meet formally with the district and school administrators regularly, and continue to communicate with administrators to ensure that student voices are heard.

“We want all Jackson High School students to think critically and engage in civil discourse with their peers to foster a school environment that promotes inclusivity, participation in school activities, and opportunities for student leadership,” said Assistant Principal Marshall Tower.

Tower acknowledged Kim’s effort to express his opinions.

“We have since met with this student, discussed our school’s leadership processes, and provided suggestions about future participation in school activities and leadership development.”

Kim hopes the petition will be successful, but understands that the leadership system in Everett Public Schools and at Jackson won’t change right away.

“(The petition) isn’t exactly meant to bring this change, but to spread this idea as a wakeup call that it’s an issue in the district,” he said. “It’s more than a pride thing.

“I legitimately want to bring the biggest positive change to the school with this petition. If there are issues with the student or staff that they feel need to be resolved, I want to discuss it with them, so the school can bring forth the best changes and appease the biggest population.”

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