CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Students at Midlothian High School have started a movement called 'Protect Midlo Students,’ calling on the school board to protect young people.
They allege Midlothian’s administration is ignoring students’ concerns about bullying, harassment and inadequate counseling services.
“Ignoring hundreds of your students’ voices is unacceptable. Refusing to hold your staff accountable & endangering student safety is unacceptable,” the students wrote on Instagram. “If [Principal] Abel wants to ignore the stories of nearly 300 of his students, we’ll force him to listen.”
The students conducted an online survey, entitled ‘The Problem With Midlothian High’s Counseling Department,’ which was completed by 300 students.
“If hundreds of students come forward with the same problem, it’s obvious this is a problem,” explained student leader Nour Golmamine.
By surveying their classmates, they say students have reported ineffective responses to bullying and harassment, as well as counselors they feel are not equipped to deal with students’ mental health concerns.
Goulmamine says she decided to take action after her own negative experience, surprised by the results of the survey. Goulmamine felt it was important to meet with the school principal and head of counseling services. She described the outcome of the meeting as “disappointing."
“He ignored all of them - at least with the counseling coordinator, we got some sort of bare minimum, but with the principal, he refused to acknowledge everything,” she explained. "There is no way we can start to fix the problems at Midlo if we don’t acknowledge them, so that is why we are going to the school board.
Some of the results of the survey include 182 students saying they have had a negative experience with counseling services and more than 200 students saying they have not utilized counseling services because they believe the response would be ineffective or harmful.
The students say they also want the school board to implement a policy that explicitly protects LGBT students in Chesterfield County School.
Protect Midlo Students drafted two pages of demands of the school board to include:
Inadequate Counseling Services
● Counseling services + counselors who are equipped to handle multitudes of diverse student experiences ● A welcoming counseling environment for all students ● Increased resources for counselors, to include continued training ● Increased hiring of counselors ● Immediate end to the hostile + slow-moving responses to grievances by current counseling system
Mistreatment of LGBTQ+ Students
We demand: ● An immediate end to the violent act of breaching confidentiality in the disclosure of student sexual preferences and gender identity by administration and counselors to parents ● Increased awareness + bias training specific to LGBTQ issues; increased support for LGBTQ student groups
NBC12 reached out to the school system for comment from the school, a school spokesperson confirmed they were looking into the matter, and would provide available information, but CCPS has yet to respond.
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