Summit Students Strike Back

Students from all three highschools, try to take control of COVID regulations by creating Student Union


Art by Felix Cowan

Ella Byrnes, Staff Writer

Students from Summit, Bend high, and Mountain View have begun to work together, forming Student Unions, to enact change in their community. Student activists have come together through the Union in support of a recent protest concerning the lack of effective COVID protocols. 

“The student union is an organization that seeks to create an avenue for student voices to be heard by the community. The student union allows people to advocate for themselves, their interests, and their beliefs.” Jace Bracelin said, a leader of the Summit Student Union. 

Returning back to school seems like a dream come true; student’s grades are better, students’ parents are happy they aren’t stuck at home all day, ect. Although why did those in-charge decide to return back to school full time, was it a good idea?

With over 150 Bend La-Pine students testing positive daily (Bend La Pine COVID stats), in the recent variant strike, students from all highschools are abruptly being sent into quarantine. 

A Union led, school-wide strike on Monday 24th, banded together over 70 Summit students who didn’t attend school, in support of a movement to bring more cautious COVID restrictions, like Kn95 masks for all students. Yet some of their demands were already in place by schools, albeit poorly advertised.

“All students have the option to get a free KN95 mask at any time of the school day,” said Summit’s nurse, Pam Orton. Information like this should be spread widely by the school. Instead the Union has taken it upon themselves to inform the student body of this access, as well as try and enforce the use of these types of masks.

Although Bend High students have already claimed to have particular COVID protocols already in place, like all-day access to KN95s and a constant cleaning of the desks and hard surfaces, they still were a part of a strike for their own school. This seems to undermine the Union’s argument and the purpose of protests. 

“There were many mistakes made, but we do know it works, and we can now take more radical steps where we will be able to see change” Bracelin said. This was the first Union led protest since quarantine–understandably, the first strike would be disorganized and would pose a smaller turnout than those in the past. Yet, as more students hear about and join the Union, Bracelin hopes that more organized student-led change can turn-out.

During a weekly Summit Union meeting Felix Cowan, an active student member, explains that without permission from the school board, students can’t spread the word about the Union to the student body. 

“I don’t think any Summit students even know about the Union, many students were not even aware of the strike because of us not being able to spread awareness about what it is and what it’s for,” Cowan said, as the group was expecting a bigger turnout in their protest.

The Student Union is open to anyone and everyone. It’s the student body that can enact change in our schools, and that’s just what Bracelin, Cowan, and others are aiming to accomplish.