Soon to be eighth grader Wyatt Burns was chosen to take part in WV State School Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine’s Safe School Advisory Council, which occurred in Charleston in May.
The opportunity was possible through the WV American Federation of Teachers, with Principals Julie Radcliff and Tara Shields choosing Burns to participate. He was happy to be chosen, but added, “I didn’t really know, but I wasn’t too shocked.”
The council was one day, and was comprised of 10 high school students and six middle school students. Burns said he and the other students from across these state designed a safe school, drawing out plans, and talked about what makes a safe school.
Some topics of discussion included functioning windows, ensuring locking doors, both interior and exterior, and installing bullet proof windows. Burns said he doesn’t worry about Robert L. Bland Middle School’s safety. “I feel like they do a good job,” he said.
When Burns returned to school, he sat down with counselors and administrators and filled them in on what he and fellow group members discussed.
Burns elaborated by saying some suggestions were putting anonymous problems boxes around the school. The point of having several boxes, Burns said, was to decrease a student’s anxiety of putting a problem in the box and being seen by his or her peers.
Burns said peer mediation was a topic, as well. This would put students in a position to help other students who may be struggling in some way. Life skills classes were also suggested, which would help students learn basic skills that are seldom taught in schools, such as balancing a checkbook or sewing a button.
RLBMS is working on implementing a new schedule for the upcoming school year, Burns said. The new schedule would allow more interaction between students from different social and academic groups. He said this help students, “meet new people and make new friends.”
Burns will be entering the eighth grade at the start of the 2018-19 school year. He has one sister, Sara, who declined to have her age published. Their parents are Ryan and Julie. Burns is a member of the Apostles Travel Baseball team from Harrison County. He said Mr. Stansberry’s class is his favorite because, “He challenges you.”