To the Admin,
Though I might stand alone on this opinion, I sincerely believe that I am incredibly lucky to be attending Westmont. Not only can I obtain a great education, but I can also be a part of a positive, spirited school culture. I am thankful for the wonderful teachers who truly care about their students and work to keep school a safe space. Offering interesting activities and various clubs on campus, Westmont allows every student to belong somewhere and be a part of a community. A unique school, I wholeheartedly regard Westmont as a place of great opportunity for students to learn valuable lessons on how to survive and thrive socially and academically later on in life.
As much as I love Westmont, it is rare to find establishments without flaws; our public school bears some of its own problems. The most pervasive qualms amongst the student population includes, but is not limited to: bathrooms being disgusting and impossible to be used as intended and a counseling department unable to help students with their full potential.
We learn from a very young age to take accountability for our mistakes and to work toward improving our interests with the utmost integrity. But, when the students bring awareness to actions and parts of campus that are in need of betterment, I find that the administration either ignores or diverts students’ pleas. In an environment where advocating for what is right is highly preached, I hope that this letter can serve as a voice for students’ concerns and opens the administrations’ eyes to the issues on campus in order to actually change school for the better.
Dirty, Unusable Bathrooms
Since when did going to the bathroom in a clean, efficient manor become not only a hassle, but a rare see occurrence?
Wet floors, broken toilets, gross graffiti on stalls — all common descriptors for every single bathroom at Westmont. Quite disgusting, bathrooms feel like a health hazard in the current state that they are upkept; personally, I don’t feel inclined to use them at school unless absolutely necessary. As going to the restroom is not something people can (or should) control until they get home, it is deplorable that students are drawn away from bathrooms because of their nasty condition. More appalling, bathrooms are routinely not stocked with the necessary supplies. Running out of toilet paper, soap, and menstrual products should not be an issue for a school in the Bay Area that can most certainly afford to buy them. One of the most important goals, the administration should strive to prevent the spread of diseases and keep students healthy. Yet, along with a lack of cleanliness, bathrooms never have essential supplies in stock.
Furthermore, restrooms at Westmont are no longer used as they were intended. They have become a meeting place for the few makeup gurus and drug users at school. You’ll find that while the great majority of students don’t abuse the bathrooms, they are at the mercy of the select few who do. An ordinary instance, stalls and sinks are overrun by individuals who eat peanuts and throw shells on floors, do their whole makeup routine, and participate in “vape hour” with large groups of friends. It would be nice to be able to eat lunch without scarfing it down after waiting in line for half of the allotted break time. It would be nice to spend time in class learning rather than going to the restroom. It would be nice to focus on the material taught in class rather than “holding it” because I didn’t have enough time to go to the bathroom during break or lunch. If every student — or at least a large majority of individuals on campus — has experienced ridiculous reasons to not use the bathroom in a cleanly, timely manner, I would hope that you would solve this issue with more than just a useless, stricter bathroom pass policy and a laughable “No Loitering” sign.
An Awful Reputation for Counselors
I feel that academic counselors are employed by our school with the sole purpose of helping students with their scholarly careers at Westmont. An essential part of success and ability to graduate, counselors should be a resource that students feel comfortable enough to access.
But, the reality at our school is that some students are afraid to ask for help from counselors or feel that reaching out will have no impact. For some students, we feel that we cannot approach some counselors. Will they listen to our needs? Are we just an entity on a to-do list? Should academic opportunities like Middle College only be shared in rarely read emails? Must it take a mental breakdown in an office to get out of a class when a student feels they cannot complete the course with proficiency? Is it helpful if counselors change for students every single year? Fun fact, I’ve had a different counselor every single year. You have to ask yourself, “Why is there so much turnover?” This does not benefit students; how can students get meaningful letter of recommendations to college from a counselor does not know them?
To me, the answer is quite clearly “no.” Authority figures and adults with a great ability to influence one’s success should be looked up to with a sense of respect and competence. It is saddening to see such a valuable resource go to waste because the attitudes of counselors scare students away.
I am not completely sure what the solution is, but I hope to bring light to a common sentiment felt at this school: counselors are unhelpful and unwilling to help if when needed, becomes a bother.