By Contributing Writer Riley Kim (’24)
On May 16, the J-D community will vote for candidates to join the Jamesville-DeWitt Central School Board. There are three open spots and three candidates. The RamPage interviewed David Babikian on his platform as a candidate.
How will you, as a Board member, impact the J-D schools and community?
As a teacher, I feel that I have a unique perspective on how the school district should run. I would like to bring my many years of experience in the education field to help J-D make the best decisions for our students.
If elected, what would be the main goal of your agenda during your time as a Board member?
Making sure that teachers have all of the necessary resources to help students succeed at the highest level possible.
How would you decide which issues to prioritize as a Board member?
This is tough because it would always be dependent on the district’s needs at that time. That said, I feel that my highest priority would always be student programming.
Moving forward, how would you plan to make changes to our materials, classrooms, and other areas of the school?
I know I could help out a lot on this front with my educational experience. However, I would always make sure that teachers had a voice in what was needed and I would also like to have student input as well.
What do you believe is the most pressing issue facing the J-D District?
Ensuring that J-D continues to be one of the top school districts in the state.
Many community members likely want to hear your stance on pertinent issues. Do you think the district is doing an adequate job addressing security concerns? Additionally, what is your stance on book challenges?
I think the district is doing an adequate job addressing security issues. It’s hard to prepare for the world we live in. There is no foolproof way to fully secure a school building, but we definitely need to be diligent and observant on top of future planning that takes into consideration the types of threats that school districts face. As for book challenges, I am generally against them. In most cases, I find that the community is confused as to what the books are about, and/or who is using them and why. Teachers and administrators that have direct knowledge of childhood development should be the ones that make the decisions about what books are being used.
Do you believe administrators should have the final say on material published in the school newspaper, rather than students having the final say? Do you support the revised editorial policy?
I think that students should have creative freedom, but I do feel like administrators have a responsibility to oversee projects like this to make sure that the best product is making its way to students.
What are you going to do to make sure students’ voices are heard?
I think that J-D already has a great way to address this by allowing a student on the School Board. I would make sure that I was consulting them on decisions that involved students and would encourage them to set up surveys to get even more information.
Whose opinions (students, parents, school officials) should carry the most weight in establishing school policies?
When we start putting weights on opinions is when we run into trouble. All of these groups have an important voice in school policies. Whose is more important might depend on the topic or policy. Obviously, when it comes to curriculum I would say that school officials have the most weight. When it comes to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), I might give students the most weight. And when it comes to issues like security, I think that parents’ concerns should be heavily weighted.