The third conference began with a group discussion before Ms. Juliet Stipeche arrived. We began to work out the details of what could be a student government for our district. We knew that however we assembled such a structure, it would have to be meaningful, stay true to principles, and actually represent the HISD student body. For that reason, such a structure would need to be genuinely democratic, open, and active.
There were also several approaches that needed to be handled in conjunction with each other. Some of us were of the opinion that a student government should be bottom-up, by focusing on local high school clubs and organizations that arranged demonstrations, petitions, etc. to deal with issues. Others believed in a more top-down approach, where student leaders spoke directly to district administration and policymakers to create change and deliver opinions efficiently. We problem solved to a two tiered approach that would work best, by using both strategies.
Another issue was having an open door policy where all students were welcome versus a merit-based structure where only elected students could join the government. Again, we saw a middle ground with a double approach where there would be an open door policy with a special emphasis on student councils in the various high schools.
Juliet Stipeche found our idea visionary and workable. She said she was thinking about finding a way to bring student voices to the table, but it was always at the back of her head and she was excited that we were taking the initiative. She offered us resources to see such an institution happen, and is looking forward to its creation.