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Howard S Billings High School Has A Lack Of Student Support

Photo (Howard S Billings - Faith Bandy)

Howard S Billings is a high school in Chateauguay, a small town not very far from Montreal. Since the start of the school year, there have been several issues with students, and staff. Some students have waited almost half a year to get an appointment with their guidance counselor. Individuals feel that they have political correctness being shoved down their throat. In fact, some Howard S Billings attendees feel that they have no voice. It must be dearly noted that everything in this article is anonymous to protect the identity of the students and staff members.

You can read our follow up article on this info here:

One student had a teacher make him an appointment in the guidance department of the school. In this case, it was in September when a student had asked his teacher to make him an appointment with the guidance counselor to talk about post-secondary schools. He waited patiently for around five months, yes that's right, five. This was after asking his teacher at least once to remind the guidance counselor of the appointment that was organized. Despite his efforts, he got his appointment honored in February when he and another teacher walked into the department room and asked the guidance counselor for the appointment. She actually even said that she saw his name on the list but "never got to him." This is hard to believe considering so many students find themselves in similar situations. Another reason it's hard to believe is that the student knows for a fact that several kids had been put ahead of them for the exact same appointment request of talking about future schools they could go to. Some students got their appointments honored in a week to around two weeks. There is no real reason as to why a student waited on his appointment for five months and only got it honored because a teacher walked in and spoke to her while she was on her lunch break. In the end, the student got their appointment honored,  it was actually around twenty-minutes after the teacher walked in the room with the student. In another incident a different student put her name in the box, this is done to easily make an appointment sometimes, she waited over a month and only got her appointment honored when she reminded the guidance department that she needed to apply to college soon. She was called down two days after that.

Other students simply feel they don't have a voice. This is because they find themselves being called racists for questioning sources and presentations. They feel this way because both students and teachers silence them on the issues that they bring up. In other instances, some students who read up on politics feel that conservatives in the school don't have a voice. This is the thought of conservative students since they often see Liberal students not being criticised to the same extent, this includes being called racist and in one case being told that "you would be so much better on the other side." However, that discussion was about politics and religion so it's unclear what the teacher specifically meant, it's still inappropriate to tell a student who disagrees with your opinions on which side religiously or politically they should be on, there's no reason why that should come up.

One student feels there are a lot of biases with the teachers because of the left wing views (Liberal). He feels very censored for his opinions in the way of talking about them and the overall feeling of shame that can come with talking about his opinions. This individual even feels as if the school as a whole is trying to mold him into a "little Liberal." This particular student even claimed that a teacher told him he was immoral and unethical, although he did not provide any proof of the teacher saying that.

When we interviewed a student at the school and asked her if she felt that she had a voice at the school she said: "When issues are brought up to admin, they say yea we’ll look into it but never say oh we have a solution"

"I think they look into it (issues brought up to them) if it’s brought up 2 or more times but the first time is just a thought in their head."

"Unless it’s concerning them then it’s a greater deal but if it’s something let’s say “not as important yet” they’ll push it to the side, Which is understandable because they have a lot to do but sometimes certain issues are more important than it seems."

When she was asked about giving us an example of how this happens she said: "Perfect example I went to guidance a few weeks ago to ask about one of my courses and they said and I quote “we’ll get back to you soon”, but I never heard back since. And yesterday they called me to the office to tell me I missed English class the day before, when in fact I missed the whole day because I was getting blood tests."

A student who partook in a program known as Prefects, an organization where they would help younger students in their educational career. He said that he doesn't feel that he has a voice "Because they act like they listen and care but I bet you money the minute you turn around they ignore what you just said."

In even another case a student mentioned how she waited for weeks to have her appointment with the nurse honored. She needed to have a check-up and to get some condoms as she's sexually active.

This seems to be just a couple of many examples of how students might be feeling while attending school. This might also be why so few of them actually feel that they're worth the time of the school.

This is a school where students clearly don't feel heard, don't feel they have an option to get anything done with the issues that concern them. If nothing is done with these issues, the students will often feel that they can't go to the guidance department with their questions or serious concerns about their lives and futures. This can affect their education. If a student doesn't feel like they're going to be listened to, they won't seek that help out and will abandon that option because they know that it will take months to get an answer. In the case of not having a voice, students who sufficiently bring their issues up are told to join student council. While it may seem like a good option it's still extremely limited because of the way the system works. Students are given a bunch of choices and it revolves around what's going on in that period of time, if it doesn't fall under that holiday or general period of theme focus, it won't be changed. That's why students won't join student council, they don't want to be part of something where they feel nothing's going to happen, they want to solve the problems that matter most to them.

Overall, the students of Howard .S. Billings don't feel that they have a voice because of the way administration deals with issues and how some teachers don't listen to their concerns on important issues. The guidance department of the school also seems to be extremely slow at dealing with the appointments made with the students, despite having two counselors. The department takes to long to honor appointments and it irritates students who are under a lot of stress. Specifically, with Conservative students, they feel as though they might be called names because of their ideas and ways of getting something done. Students are told they're individuals and have a voice, but can't seem to get that voice heard in the school sufficiently by the administration and occasionally by the staff.

By Michael Normandin

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