Difference in diversity leave minority students struggling

As part of a minority group, I think about things other students normally do not, including the difficulties adjusting to different environments at a young age. 

I have attended schools in Perry Township since first grade. I was identified as an English Language Learner (ELL) but tested out of the program by fourth grade, when I was  placed in a mainstream English class, where I met people I had never seen before–both students and, especially, teachers.

Although this helped me meet new people, it was scary because I was very shy and didn’t want to talk to my classmates and teachers, let alone ask for their help.

And for some PMHS students, this is still a troubling and challenging circumstance, although diversity enhances the learning environment.

The staff at PMHS is not nearly as diverse as the student body, and students would excel more if the gap has narrowed.

“Sometimes in class it can be hard to interact with other students and it causes me to feel left out,” senior Mercy Tial says. “You would think it doesn’t matter that you don’t know others in the class very well, but it really affects you and causes low performance in school.”

If there was more diversity in the staff, students would be able to relate more, creating a better learning environment.

“I think the more represented students feel in their teachers, the better they will perform,” social studies teacher Nathan Orme says.”It has also been in the last 10-15 years that Perry has had a big spike in diversity.”

In first grade, I struggled with the English language and grammar, especially because it made me sad that I could not communicate with my classmates. Ultimately it was still tough not seeing people who looked like me in my class.

Overall, diversity in the learning environment is something that is beneficial to students.

“People at Perry understand diversity,” junior Katie Goodall says. ”Other students here are able to gain different perspectives which is something that you don’t see in other schools.¨ 

Many students like Goodall are open to the diversity that PMHS has to offer. Ultimately, however, it is time that the racial makeup of the staff better reflect the diversity in the student body.