Trustee says GECDSB can do a Better Job Listening to Student Input

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The chairperson of the public school board of trustees admits they have to "do better" when it comes to listening to their student representatives.

Student trustees Isabel Unger of Leamington District Secondary School and Arabella Soave of Walkerville Collegiate raised a number of concerns over inclusion and transparency at a recent meeting.

On Thursday, Chairperson Alicia Higgison responded to those concerns. She tells AM800 News the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) values their opinions.

"It did concern me to hear that they don't feel that we are listening to them," she says. "That's never something that you want to hear from one of your colleagues and certainly not something that you want to hear from a member of the student body who's representing their peers."

Higgison says both students have done a great job gathering input from the student body and admits that information should be put to better use.

"I take their point and that feedback very seriously," she says. "We have to do better to listen to them and make sure their voices are heard, not only during votes, but during deliberations as well."

She's confident the concerns will be addressed.

"I think my fellow colleagues would agree with me in saying that we appreciate them telling us, and with our next group of student trustees, we're going to take that advice from Ms. Soave and Ms. Unger have given us to heart," she added.

Higgison says student trustees do vote on motions, but those votes aren't officially recorded as they're appointed, not elected.

— with files from AM800's Patty Handysides.

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