LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lexington high school students have created an advocacy group to make sure their voices are heard when it comes to school safety.
"My generation has had to grow up with the knowledge of school safety being at risk, every day that we go into our high schools," said Lily Gardner, a junior at Henry Clay High School.
She is one of about 100 students that make up the group The Student Voice Team.
"Students are spending 35 hours a week in the classroom, we're the eyes and the ears of a school. We know what's going on, so it seems only natural that we would be integrated into the conversations about our schools," Gardner told LEX 18's Angie Beavin.
Sanaa Kahloon, another Lexington high school student, said that when Kentucky lawmakers introduced a school safety bill earlier this year, the group knew that students needed to have a say in it. Thanks to an amendment they pushed for, a member of their team sat in on the committee in Frankfort that was working on the legislation.
"I think it was different, to see students leading a conversation that has really been reserved for adults this entire time," said Kahloon.
The Student Voice Team sent members to New York City just before the school year started, where they spoke at a school climate conference, advocating for student involvement in school safety decisions.
"School climate is the ability of a student to feel safe, included and engaged and welcomed in their own school," said Kahloon. "To oversimplify it, it's the emotional health of every student in a school."
The group hopes to encourage other students to get involved, not only in their work locally, but even on a national scale.
"Students in Kentucky are not only leading the charge for safer, more equitable schools in Kentucky but nationally," said Gardner.