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Haleemat Adekoya - Student Board Member

Report to the Board of Education of Baltimore County From the Student Member of the Board

December 11, 2018

Good evening everyone!

My name is Haleemat Adekoya and I am the student member of the board. I would first like to welcome the new members of the Board of Education for Baltimore County and commend you on your success in the election and appointment process. I look forward to doing phenomenal work with you. 

Plenty has happened since the last time we gathered. I had the opportunity to be a part of many productive and impactful meetings and discussions. I want to first give a shout out to Dr. Michealson, Ms. Monica Addison-Walker, and the Chat Cafe cast and crew for an amazing episode where we discussed the Truths, Myths and Facts about Mental Health (a topic I am very passionate about). 

We were able to be transparent about the depression we have faced or seen our peers/family members face, and we learned different warning signs and ways to help those who are struggling with mental health problems. One thing for sure is that YOU are not alone! Do not be afraid to speak up or talk, even if you decide to confide in one person, please speak up... 

BCSC President Ruben Amaya and I met with Dr. Martin-Knox and Dr. Nieves to discuss ways to continue to increase the student voice for ALL BCPS students but also begin acting upon those ways, making sure that we do not simply stop at discussing but also implement and act. We are very confident that the outcomes of our continuous discussions of ways to always put our students first will be very impactful in the months to come! 

I also had the opportunity to serve as a panelist at Woodmoor Elementary School where we discussed “Mirror Mirror: Cultural Appreciation and Safe Spaces.” We had the opportunity to emphasize to the beautiful 5th graders the power of culture, acceptance and community. We were able to shed light upon challenges and experiences with bullying we faced especially because of our African background. We then inspired, empowered and charged the students with positivity that we hope that will change their lives forever. 

As I reminded them, whether you’re struggling with mental health, or you feel like you have no voice, or you do not think you’re beautiful... you are greater and more powerful than the tiny voice in your head that says you are not. 

Administrators, teachers, adults: I urge you to be vigilant and aware of the different forms of bullying and unkind treatment to one another that students might display. Every day, children are being treated unfairly by their peers and it is up to you to know the signs of when this is happening - you have a greater role in dispelling situations than you know!

For my new board members, I challenge you to continue to focus on mental health and bullying to ensure that every single BCPS student feels safe and secure within themselves and in schools. We continue to hear the cries from students who have the voice to speak up but then what about those who do not, those who are suffering in silence? It is our duty to ensure that as we celebrate weeks such as National Inclusivity Schools Week and BCPS Bullying Prevention Week, we as well as Team BCPS continue to give value to each student in BCPS!

Last week I had the chance to sit in on the Superintendent’s Student Town Hall meeting where I was in awe watching students advocate on their own behalf, asking pressing questions for example regarding school dress codes, budgeting for their schools, and more opportunities that BCPS students can expect to be on the lookout for. I am very proud of each student who continues to find their voice and uses it to evoke answers and change in their community starting with school. Never stop asking those pressing questions, the system is here for you.

Lastly, I along with Ruben Amaya, and some BCSC representatives visited Woodlawn High School, where we were graced with astounding students who gave us a tour of their unique schoolhouse. We were able to discuss particular problems and issues that affect them and especially talk about the power of “image.” As a system and a team that build its foundation on diversity, equity, and inclusion we must be cautious of the way that we present and describe schools. There is no such thing as a bad school with bad students. As we are aware, there is good and bad everywhere. We must take it upon ourselves to ALWAYS highlight the good in our community, annihilate judgment and preconceived notions, and embrace everybody despite of differences geographically, physically, mentally etc.

Thank you.

Email: Haleemat Adekoya
Twitter: @BCPS_SMOB
Instagram: @BCPS_SMOB

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Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
Towson, Maryland 21204
443-809-4554

Report Fraud, Waste, or Abuse

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Interim Superintendent

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