Roving Teen Reporter: Teaching Tolerance

Kathryn Reese

Students, parents, and teachers gathered to show their support for marginalized students at the San Dieguito Union High School District Board meeting on Sept. 12.


Snapping and murmurs of agreement from the audience filled the air as students and parents spoke during the public comments section of the meeting to call for the protection of students of color and Jewish, lgbtq+, disabled, and neurodivergent students. Fynn Vance, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy, spoke during public comment in the hope that it would help stop other students from feeling “unsafe and silenced.”


“My school, Canyon Crest Academy, has a lot of problems with a lot of things that directly hurt disabled, queer, and non-white students… I have been on the receiving end of that way too many times.”


Vance reposted a flier on his Instagram that called for students to attend the meeting in support after it was sent to him anonymously. According to him, after posting the flier he noticed more action taken on social media from the students and guardians at his school. “Parents are getting involved and becoming more vocal in their disappointment in the school district and our school’s administration,” Vance said. “If there’s anything I can do with that I am absolutely, completely down. Helping bring awareness to [these issues] is all I really want.”


According to CCA principal Brett Killeen, there are various ways in which issues can be addressed through the school, such as site-based intervention and district processes like uniform complaint procedures.


“Regardless of the outcome of these processes, we are here for all of our students and are dedicated to supporting them in a safe environment,” Killeen said.


Other commenters advocated for the safety of their peers during the comment section. CCA senior Sydney Chan asked that the Board take “adequate responsibility” to support students’ needs.


“Both personally and from peers, I am aware of the countless, repeated instances where students’ very existence are questioned and threatened due to their race, gender expression, sexual orientation, and more,” Chan said. “Let me emphasize that we all exist with differences, and our differences hurt no one.”


Chan ended her comment with a call to action from the School Board.


“We are at school to learn. We are not here to cause unnecessary decisiveness or be unnecessarily controversial, we are trying to exist as we are,” she said. “We deserve impactful and effective action by the Board that ensures that we can learn in, your words, ‘an environment safe from harm.’”


In the wake of her public comment, Chan was hesitant about the night’s results.


“I wish I could say I feel hopeful but I think garnering support for [marginalized students] has been slow,” she said. “It sometimes feels like we are going backwards.”


Yet, overall, Chan was grateful for everyone that garnered support during the meeting.


“I hope next time more people will get involved,” she said.