Students and Staff Reflect on Town Hall

by Naomi Klinghoffer

 

Town Hall at Northwest Yeshiva High School (NYHS) has been met with varying reactions from the school community.

Town Hall came to NYHS for the first time this school year. Town Hall is a biweekly event where, in an organized manner, students and teachers come together to debate and discuss moral dilemmas and issues that come up at school. Topics at Town Hall range from discussions about gun control to the prayer services at NYHS.           

Some students feel that although Town Hall provides good dialogue, it does not always lead to change.

“I like the idea of Town Hall and I feel that we do have some good discussion,” said junior Al Benoliel, “however, they feel very controlled and don’t lead to actual change.”

“I think Town Hall is wonderful because it lets people speak their mind on the subjects that are brought up,” said senior Lior Hemmat, “but I don’t think it solves any issues or problems.”

Head of School Jason Feld explained that the primary goal of Town Hall is to create dialogue, not just to make changes in the school.

“Town Hall is about practicing the important skill of listening,” said Feld. “It is a way of creating a community where students and teachers are on a level playing field. We all come together as equals.”

Sophomore Baruch Levine has concerns about equal participation in Town Hall. “There was a time when it seemed like only the popular kids were being called on,” said Levine. “Lately, however there have been vast improvements. People have been getting more civil. More introverted people have been getting called on. It’s becoming more systematic.”

NYHS Guidance Counselor Beth Davis is optimistic about the future. “While it will take some time for NYHS to perfect this model,” she said, “I have already seen the value in our student engagement. I look forward to seeing the program continue to grow.”