Remember that you are the ones with the most information about what’s going on in your lives and what you need. If you need better health education, speak up and ask for it. You told me that you felt sad and angry that the school committee had cut health class. You told me that you need to learn this health information, that you liked having a space to share your feelings and that you wanted more opportunities to ask your burning questions.
You deserve a health class, but you might need to fight for it. I’m not there to help you, but I do have some suggestions:
1. Start gathering your stories. Why do you need and want health class? Find examples from your experience this past year to show how health class helps you.
2. Work together. Share ideas, and encourage each other. Use the resources you always use to connect with your peers — the Internet, text messages, and gatherings at the mall or the park, for example.
3. Reach out to adults! They are the voters, the taxpayers, the ones with political power who are supposed to have your best interests in mind. Make sure they understand how you feel. Show them how health education gives you what they want for you. Get adults talking with each other, too.
4. Contact the press — the local papers, in print and online, are major venues for debates about public education. Use them to make your voice heard.
5. Convince the school committee. The school committee consists of elected adults from your city. It’s their decision, ultimately. Show them what you want and why you want it, and make them work for you the way they are supposed to.
To my students and to teenagers everywhere: Fight for the information, resources and support that you need in order to take great care of your health.
I believe in you.