Midyear Update from MCSS Student Focus Group
The MCSS Student Focus Group (SFG) has been hard at work taking part in meetings to learn about different subjects that have an impact on school safety. In addition to learning from each other and guest speakers, members have also launched new committees that focus on various aspects of the Student Focus Group’s work. These are for the benefit of MCSS and the Student Focus Group in order to make schools in Maryland even better and safer places to be.
Mike Rudinski and Candance Yoder are the two guest speakers who have attended the meetings. Both had very important knowledge about topics such as SROs (Mike Rudinski) and how mental health has been impacting schools (Candance Yoder).
The first meeting with Mr. Rudinski was a beneficial informative presentation on the job of an SRO and how SROs impact schools and students.
Similarly, Candace Yoder gave a wonderful presentation on how mental health challenges have an impact on schools and individual students. She informed us about her own personal struggles with mental health and of the work of her organization, the Matthew Silverman Memorial Foundation. Students left the meeting more aware of how all students can struggle with mental health challenges and ways in which to identify those who may be struggling.
Even though the members of the Student Focus Group have been busy at work with general meetings, members have set an ambitious goal of standing up three new committees this year. The three committees specialize in Engagement and Outreach, Legislative Affairs, and Content Creation. All of these committees are very beneficial to the Student Focus group and MCSS as a whole because they allow students to dig deeper into either topics that intersect with school safety or allow the members of the SFG to more effectively and efficiently communicate with specific school communities and members of the public.
The Engagement and Outreach Committee will take part in outreach to individual Safe Schools Maryland High School Chapters, the Legislative Affairs Committee will keep track of different bills and laws being proposed or going into effect that will relate to school safety, and the Content Creation Committee will manage published content, including the inaugural group’s popular Focus Group Friday posts on Instagram. The chairs/vice chairs of each committee are working very hard to build their capacity from scratch. Although it is early on in the work, we’re all excited to keep building this important group and ensure that students are able to have a robust voice in all school safety discussions in Maryland.
This post was written by Student Focus Group Member Julianna Lewis