Fight For Your Right, Cardenas Style

Fight For Your Right, Cardenas Style

If there is one thing students are always pleading for, it’s change. Whether it’s change within themselves or change around their community, students are always willing to improve their conditions, even if it means doing their homework. So when such an opportunity comes, they take advantage of it.

Mrs. Cardenas, a social science teacher at Baldwin Park High School, has created a project in which the students are to identify a problem they deem needs change, either at the school, city, state, or federal level, and come up with a proposal, or even a whole new solution to that problem. This project allows students to have an active role within their school and teaches them the steps for how to resolve issues.

“It’s important because we’re here for eight hours. If the students don’t feel comfortable with things that are happening at this school, I feel that they have every right to challenge the policies,” said Jenny Andrade, a student participating in Mrs. Cardenas policy project.

Because this is the first year the project has been assigned, the response from administration is still unclear.

“School officials are not used to kids asking questions, so at first I think they’ll be startled by it or surprised by it, and maybe feel like they’re being challenged, but I think this is genuinely good. In the long run, it can create positive change at the school,” Mrs. Cardenas stated.

Groups are working towards the modification and/or revision of policies at school such as the drop off policy, dress code, and restroom sanitation. The school restrooms have a lack of sanitary attention, according to Guadalupe Peña, Jenny Andrade, Jonathan Arias, and Christine Juarez, so they have taken action into their own hands.
One of the reasons this group decided to take action on the restroom policy is because “the girls don’t have toilet paper in the restrooms by third period, there isn’t any soap to wash our hands, there aren’t any paper towels. The restroom does not seem to be getting re-stocked,” Jenny Andrade said. 

        
Students aren’t usually excited to receive projects, yet this one was different from any other. “I didn’t like it at first because I thought it was just going to be too much work, but after we chose our topic about the restrooms and we started talking about how we view things, I saw that we could make a change, and that’s when I started liking it,” Andrade said.

Students partaking in this project are able to realize how much of an impact they can actually make in their community. The project is allowing student voices to be heard across campus, with the benefit of having Mrs. Cardenas, an ex-union leader, by their side.

“In the long run, they’re going to see the value in something like this,” Cardenas said. Keep up the good work, Mrs. Cardenas.

Civic Action poster located in Mrs. Cardenas’ room.
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