Student activists speak out at Monday school board meeting

More+than+a+dozen+Frisco+ISD+students+from+three+different+activist+organizations+%28Code+Crimson%2C+DiversifyOurNarrative%2C+and+Students4Equity%29+were+among+the+crowd+at+Monday%E2%80%99s+school+board+meeting%2C+advocating+for+a+variety+of+issues.+Of+the+10+student+speakers%2C+seven+were+Redhawks.

Maddie Owens

More than a dozen Frisco ISD students from three different activist organizations (Code Crimson, DiversifyOurNarrative, and Students4Equity) were among the crowd at Monday’s school board meeting, advocating for a variety of issues. Of the 10 student speakers, seven were Redhawks.

Trisha Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief

Dressed in all-black attire, more than a dozen Frisco ISD students from three different activist organizations (Code Crimson, DiversifyOurNarrative, and Students4Equity) were among the crowd at Monday’s school board meeting, advocating for a variety of issues, including accessibility to menstrual products on campus, diversity in English curriculum, and accountability for racism faced by students of color. 

“Our main objective of going to board meetings is to really get more support from the community and get more outreach and get people to be more aware about these issues we’re facing as students,” DiversifyOurNarrative Co-District Lead Athena Tseng said. “We’ve had multiple meetings with the President of the school board and a couple of meetings with the other board members and we’ve discussed our goal of integrating diverse literature in the schools.”

Of the 10 student speakers, seven were Redhawks, including Tseng’s Co-District lead Maya Silberman. 

“With the pandemic and everything that happened over the summer of 2020 I obviously became a lot more aware racial inequity and racism in America,” Silberman said. “DON felt like a really good way for me to actually try to make a tangible change related to education. Athena and I have a lot of four-hour facetime calls where we talk about getting into contact with other clubs like Students4Equity and really making these causes heard across our community.”

Since these student activists have taken to addressing the school board, so have other community members from across the political aisle, joining a trend of contentious board meetings that have swept across southern states in the midst of recent tensions over the COVID-19 pandemic and increased discussions about critical race theory. 

“I’ve lived in Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Memphis, Atlanta, and all of Texas,” FISD parent Keith Brunson said to the school board. “To say that I’ve worked with a comprehensive cross-section of America is an understatement. Having done all of this and now interacting with people all over this great country, I will tell you every time I go to fly, this is not a racist country. Our kids don’t have that advantage and it’s not their fault. Instead of lifelong experience, they’re bombarded by social media, by politicians, Hollywood, the media and now academia that tells you that America is racist. I’m telling you this is not how this country works. We are not uninformed and unintelligent.”

Some community members, many of whom are FISD parents, have started name-calling and heckling these teenagers. 

“When parents do that it definitely discourages a lot of students who go up, because as it is public speaking is already difficult,” Tseng said. “Even for myself, going up there and either getting laughed at or being name called or getting rude comments is incredibly hurtful especially when we’re giving respect to them that they’re not then giving back to us.” 

Despite the responses from the other side of the aisle, sophomore Rin Ryu is inspired to participate in student activism because of a desire to bring change and newfound friendships with those who have shared beliefs. 

“I think anyone would be discouraged, being laughed at by these adults but I definitely think that joining DON is worth it,” Ryu said. “I’ve found so many friends with people who believe strongly in the causes that I do and we’re helping bring change together.”