Task force

Members of a task force studying the School Resource Officer program, left to right, included Brattleboro Union High School students Z'Aira Pacheco, Kaiya Colby, Habame Scholz-Karabakakis and Imani Namutebi. Colby is now serving as a student representative to the School Board.

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BRATTLEBORO — Students will now have a more active role in shaping the future of the Windham Southeast School District.

School Board member Lana Dever said the board is “delighted” to announce student representatives to the board and those who will serve on the Student Advisory Committee.

“All have accepted their nominations,” she said at the board meeting last week. “Kaiya Colby, a senior, and Benjamin Berg, a junior, were chosen from a truly remarkable group of candidates to serve as student representatives to the board.”

Colby and Berg will begin their one-year terms next month. They could not be immediately reached for comment.

“As the board continues to work closely with the schools to advance student learning and to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all students in the WSESD,” Dever said, “Ben and Kaiya’s voices, and those of the students whom they represent, will be invaluable.”

Earlier this year, Berg co-led a petition drive in support of Mark Speno getting the superintendent position. Speno, interim superintendent at the time, signed a one-year contract for the upcoming school year.

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Colby worked with other students and school staff on a task force that presented a report about the suspended School Resource Officer program at Brattleboro Union High School. The report recommends alternative security solutions and calls for a more inclusive environment after students reported feeling that white students had less punitive consequences than their peers of color, and administrators were not adequately responding to incidents.

The Student Advisory Committee will meet at least monthly on the BUHS campus starting next month. Board member Tim Maciel said the committee will “promote better communication with the board and provide us with insights on issues, policies and concerns that they deem are important.”

Committee members are Cyrus Smith, Emma Gragen, Habame Scholz-Karabakakis, Lucy Corbin, Magdalena Keppel, Miles Ackerman-Hovis, Skyler Shooer-Sampson and Theia Wepaloki.

“They are bright, committed to their school and they understand their responsibility to represent diverse viewpoints and to work for all of their fellow students,” Maciel said. “We’d like to add that we found them all to be just really nice, interesting people. It was a privilege to interview them and we thank them for accepting this opportunity to advise the board on policies and issues that matter.”

Maciel called the committee “another direct link between the board and our most important stakeholders.”

Bob Audette can be contacted at raudette@reformer.com.