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Milwaukee Public Schools looking to students for change in district

Posted: 7:06 PM, Oct 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-08 20:06:01-04

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Public Schools held its second Leadership Summit Tuesday in an effort to get constructive criticism from its students.

The event had over 300 students from 31 schools. Taking a sample of MPS students from all walks of life.

"We got this with mixed communities and mixed cultures," Marquell Jenkins, a senior at Vincent High School said. "We can try to work with administrators and work with some of our other cultures in schools."

Jenkins says understanding everyone's different backgrounds will help everyone relate to various issues.

And, for the first time in many of these young people's lives, they're feeling heard.

"It's kind of stressful because it's a lot," Cindy Cordero-Garcia, a senior at South Division High School said. "It is the first time I do feel heard. I've heard a lot of people from the board say that they work for us. If we're the ones talking, they'll know what we want."

Last year, MPS held a similar event. The things discussed there were taken into serious consideration. Students raised points about restorative justice in relation to punishments and suspensions by the schools. They also talked about changing bullying and cell phone policies.

All of these conversations were started by MPS students.

"The most important thing is having administrators want to hear our voice," Jenkins said. "Not just say, you're trying to fix the situation, [but] fix the situation. Be that change and be that positive energy."

"Too often in our community, adults lead the work," Matthew Boswell, Senior Director of Student Services said. "That's a lot of the reason we get it wrong. We allow students to lead the work, allow their minds to go to work and they'll produce some amazing products."

The students will get together in May to present their ideas and recommendations for district policies and procedures.