The weight of the recent Covenant School shooting has been felt across Nashville and many are feeling motivated to have their voices heard. Three LEAD Academy students had the opportunity to do just that when they were invited to meet with a group of state legislators to share their thoughts about the best ways to keep schools safe.
“Our students are the future leaders of this city and state, and now, more than ever, we need to teach our students that their voice matters,” said Courtney McEwen, director of college and career at LEAD Public Schools. “We are grateful for this unique opportunity to empower our students to use their voice, especially in the wake of an event that has had a tremendous impact on our community.”
Last week, Marlene Morones Acosta, Victavia Walls, and Nadin Habib visited Tennessee’s State Capitol with a group of charter school students. The student group met with 11 different legislators, including Lt. Governor Randy McNally and Nashville Senator Jeff Yarbro.
“It made me happy to get to talk and represent the voices of my peers,” said Habib. “If the legislators hear it from students, those are the voices and experiences of people that are going through it now.”
The students’ thoughtful discussion made an impact on legislators, with one legislator even quoting one of the students during an Education Administration Committee meeting.
“[They need to hear] the voice of teenagers who are actually in school so that they can pass laws with our opinions in mind,” said Acosta, a junior at LEAD Academy.
Between their meetings with legislators, the group of students also delivered letters from students at their school, as well as other schools across the city.
“The opportunity to meet and talk to the people who are entrusted with forming our laws in Tennessee made me feel like I was more than just a student, I was an important part of my community,” said Walls, a senior at LEAD Academy. “I was a young voice representing many on a matter that affects us in ways that differ from others. As students today, we have a unique experience.”