Equity Council Ensures Equality

Ava Spurgeon, Staff Writer

This 2021-2022 school year, LASA is taking steps to increase representation and equitability on campus. The Equity Council is a group of student representatives who work towards making LASA a more equitable school and giving more opportunities to students. The council was started and organized by Principal Stacia Crescenzi, who meets with students to discuss issues they’ve noticed with equity in the school and to come up with solutions for those issues. 

One of the members of the Equity Council is junior Hana Hussaini. Hussaini is one of approximately a dozen students on the council. The students on the council come from a variety of grade levels and represent different school clubs.

“Ms. Crescenzi asked a bunch of clubs to send representatives because AISD actually has their own Equity Council, and they talk about issues in AISD,” Hussaini said. “Systemically, some people are disadvantaged just through the law and also just naturally. What the Equity Council does is work to make the school more equitable, and Ms. Crescenzi wanted one for our school because, being a magnet school, we naturally disadvantage people who don’t have the same resources or privilege as wealthy white people. It’s hard to be as successful so she wanted to work towards breaking those disadvantages.”

According to Hussaini, the purpose of bringing together different club representatives is to get a variety of perspectives on these issues. Representatives come from an assortment of clubs, including but not limited to Diversity Council, Activism Club, Environmental Club, and LASA Pride Alliance. 

“I’m part of the environmental club and I’m also a part of LASA Cares, so I look at it from an environmental lens, but also naturally I also look at it through the lens of someone who’s Muslim, and as a brown girl,” Hussaini said. “I see those problems. And it’s our job to say here are some problems I’ve noticed. Because sometimes things fly over your head if you don’t struggle with those things every day, and we just wanted to make sure all those things were being addressed.”

The job of the students in the Equity Council is to notice issues in the school and pick up on things that may not be noticeable to the principal. In their meetings, students bring up issues and discuss solutions with Crescenzi. Junior Jaelin Su is a member of the Equity Council, and attends meetings as a representative of Activism Club. 

“We meet every other week with Principal Crescenzi to talk about issues that students are having or institutional and structural issues with LASA,” Su said. “So we try and fix things and put things in place to make LASA safer and more equitable. We’re supposed to be a connection between students and admin, so if students have problems, we hear about them and talk about them, and see if there’s something admin can do to help with that.”

The council has worked on a variety of issues and topics, ranging from gender-neutral bathrooms to recruitment this school year. Although this is only their first year, the Equity Council has been busy with different projects and work. According to Su, while the students bring up issues in their meetings and discuss with the principal, Crescenzi deals with the logistics and handling of the issues.

“In the beginning of the year, we talked about gender-neutral bathrooms and getting around campus and orientation,” Su said. “That was the first big thing we did, was the orientation project. We’ve talked a lot about the application process and recruiting recently, and just how the LASA student body happens and where all the people come from because there are certain communities where there are a lot of people at LASA.”

In recent years, LASA’s application process and acceptance numbers have changed, such as adding a creative aspect to the application and increasing acceptance numbers. Another member of the Equity Council who has been working on this is senior Eli Clark. Clark is a student representative from LASA Pride Alliance who has been attending meetings with Crescenzi about these application reforms. 

“Currently, we’ve been coming up with ways so that in the future we can have better representation at LASA and not just Kealing and Lively kids,” Clark said. “We’re also working on trying to make sure we’re not just tailoring to certain people and people who may have more privilege or more access to applying to LASA and things like that.”

Although the Equity Council is working to fix these issues, many issues of equitable treatment are long-term and may take much longer to fix than a few meetings. But, according to Clark, having a council is definitely a step in the right direction. 

“I think the thing about the Equity Council is it’s important in trying to address some of those issues, especially some of those longer-term issues, like figuring out how we can best diversify,” Clark said. “Even now, by the time I graduate it’s not going to be one easy fix. But I think at least having that and having something to address that and figure that out is important.”

Hussaini agrees with this statement, and says that the Equity Council is very important for representation. She believes that the Equity Council can help students express their voices.

“I think it’s important to have representation for everyone, and it’s hard as the principal to make sure everything is done,” Hussaini said. “So having student voices who can tell you, ‘Hey this is working,’ or ‘This isn’t really working for me,’ makes the system a lot smoother and you can more easily spot problems that you wouldn’t have been able to catch otherwise.”