Student Representation at the District Level
Damita Sara George
Genesis Summer Intern 2022
Foothill High School
July 18, 2022
Disrupting The School to Prison Pipeline is a core goal of Genesis, and part of that goal includes ensuring that youth play a role in policymaking and practice decisions to create effective and transformative justice systems. It is imperative that students find such representation, especially in their school districts, in which they spend upwards of a decade. One such example of this representation is a position on the school board.
In the past academic year, the Pleasanton Unified School District established the PUSD Student Trustee position to provide students with a representative on the school board. I had the opportunity to sit down with Annabelle Kim, the current Student Trustee for the Pleasanton Unified School District, and talk about her goals and plans for the upcoming academic school year, while also having the opportunity to learn more about the position.
Annabelle made the choice to run for Student Trustee after her work with NOTA magazine gave her some insight into how little was being done to solve certain issues. The magazine, whose name stands for None Of The Above, released a special issue on Foothill's treatment of sexual harassment, mental health and socioeconomic privilege in the area. 
“I talked to a couple of the trustees, and I realized that maybe if I had more say, these specific issues could be solved a lot easier. I just wanted to be in a position where I could represent students,” she said.
Annabelle also mentioned her qualifications for the position at the local level. With her work in NOTA and her involvement in various clubs and activities in the district, she has had the chance to make lasting change in the community, and wants to continue her work as Student Trustee next year.
As part of her goals for the position, she consistently emphasized the need for transparency, saying “Not everyone has the patience to sit through four-hour long board meetings to know what’s going on. I want to improve transparency, possibly through social media.”
Since our meeting, Annabelle has created an Instagram account solely dedicated to reporting updates from board meetings, @pusd_sbt. The account encourages followers to ask questions on any issues they want more clarity on, and reflect a hopefully long-term establishment of a more accessible way to learn about the decisions made by the district.
To make sure she is representing students the best she can, Annabelle highlighted listening in on student advisor meetings when possible and doing elementary school visits to learn the opinions of everyone in the district. “I want to actually talk to people. That’s something that a lot of adults don’t love doing with kids, just talking to them. My goal is just to listen,” she said.
There is often a gap between the district and students, and Annabelle’s goals show promise in bridging that gap. Positions like Student Trustee are imperative in ensuring that youth have a role to play in policies that significantly impact them.
Thank you, Annabelle, for your time!
 Check out the issue here: https://online.fliphtml5.com/ozhpv/ghwu/#p=1