We are happy to report that in March, student organizers at FEEST had an energizing evening with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) Board Director, Brandon Hersey! Brandon Hersey is also the representative of District 7, which serves students from schools across the south end of Seattle. FEEST Youth Leaders were thrilled to chat with him about our emerging campaign, which is all about mental, emotional, and physical health. As you know, Highline youth leaders met with Aaron Garcia, and Carrie Howell last month to discuss our survey results, which highlight the desire for students to have more resources at school when it comes to mental health.

image is of two graphs which have our survey results

Image is of FEEST Youth Leaders Survey Results

After leading our meeting through a land acknowledgment and introductions, FEEST youth leaders asked Brandon to share more about himself, and how he got into the role that he is in now. We were delighted that Brandon, who is a former 2nd-grade teacher, shared with us his passion for education, students, and creating opportunities for young people to have their voices heard. 

FEEST Student Organizers asked Brandon 6 key questions:

  1. When it comes to the mental health of students in SPS, what do you think the problems are? 
  2. As a teacher, it’s probably difficult to reach out to students and find out what they need when it comes to mental health. What resources do you think students need? 
  3. In recent years, schools have been feeling the impact of teachers being unable to exert more energy into their job or even resigning due to burnout. How do you think these situations could be prevented or reduced for teachers like yourself? What do you think teachers need? 
  4. Due to your experience as being on the side of the district many don’t get to interact with, from your point of view when addressing things such as students’ mental health, What are some systemic solutions?
  5. Are there any resources the district is trying to implement for mental health at the moment?
  6. What are ways we can work together to reach solutions? 

image is of FEEST youth who are meeting w/ Brandon Hersey over zoom

Image is of FEEST youth leaders with Brandon Hersey

Brandon was super intentional about learning from youth leaders, while also giving us his perspective on how we can organize for systemic change in our schools. He was thoughtful about his time with us and gave us a real inside look at the barriers both students and teachers face, as well as what it would take to increase access to mental health resources. Brandom also uplifted the opportunity for youth to join the student school board, a new opportunity for students in SPS to have their voices heard! Brandon, thank you for joining us and being another amazing down-to-earth person who is advocating for us to get our needs met as students.