Dayton's top city and school leadership turned out Thursday night to hear teens' concerns at a Youth Town Hall event organized by a Dayton Public Schools student.
Thurgood Marshall senior Chaz Amos led a group of students who aired their concerns ranging from teacher staffing and discipline in schools, to food deserts and the effects of poverty.
Amos assembled a panel that included Mayor Nan Whaley, DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, school principals, city commissioners, school board members, student leaders and more.
Several students asked about better access to services and opportunities, ranging from mental health services, to school band and more extracurriculars.
Lolli was handing out business cards to students and asking them to follow up so she could connect them with DPS administrators on individual issues.
She said many of the issues students raised are already in the school district's strategic plan, but she noted that DPS needs to speed up its efforts on several topics.
School Board President William Harris also said DPS would work on the students' issues, but he urged them to take charge of their own situation, too, and to ask for help any time they need it.
"Be aggressive. This is your future, and you have to go after this thing," Harris said. "Don’t get to the point where it's too late. Have the courage to ask for help. All of us have needed help to get where we are."
At the end of the event, Amos called Whaley and Lolli to the front and asked them if they would "accept the challenge of hearing and acting on some of the issues and concerns ... to enhance the educational experience for not only us, but students who will enter this district and city years from now."
Both accepted, with Whaley saying she is excited to find ways to get more young people involved in the city, and Lolli saying DPS leadership is committed to students' issues and hopes Thursday's student town hall can be a regular event.
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