Hello, I’m Josie Mettling, a Freshman at Southridge Highschool. I’ve been given the opportunity to talk about my experience with Distance learning and how it has affected me. Thousands of students including myself of the Kennewick School District have been struggling immensely with distance learning, and a lot of kids don’t speak up because they are told their opinion doesn’t matter and they are worried their voice won’t be heard. Our voices will be heard, and our opinions do matter. Students will not be silenced, and their education will be the #1 priority. 

Being an 8th grader soon to be Freshman I was terrified! I was scared that I wasn’t gonna have any friends, I was gonna fail classes, worried about what sports I would play, and if I would be as good a student as I was in middle school. In the summer I still had hope that school would open back up, and that everything would be okay. My hope was false and in the following month, I had to be Accustomed to online learning, Staring at a screen for hours and hours on end.

In September I got fantastic news, that school was going to begin on October 12th. I was so excited, at the time I was struggling with my Geometry class and I figured if I waited until October 12th everything would be okay and I would be able to understand math again. About a week before October 12th, the school board announced that they would not be starting school until November 2nd. I was crushed, I felt so unmotivated to do school work and I felt like I was gonna fail geometry class. A few weeks go by and I hear that school has been delayed until FEBRUARY 2nd. I wasn’t sad when I heard the news, I was mad. I was mad at the district for not caring about their student’s mental health and well-being. 

Students finally stood up and decided to express how they felt about KSD’s decision. A protest to open schools back up had been established and set for October 28th at Lampson Stadium. I was worried that not many students would show up to the rally and it would only be a small crowd. As we walked to Lampson Stadium, we didn’t see many people in the parking lot and we were a little spectacle of the outcome of this protest. 10:00 am came rolling around and cars were filling up the Lampson Stadium parking lot, and students were gathered with their signs in their hands. At that moment I didn’t feel so alone, I knew other students were feeling the same way I felt. To begin the march we stood with our right hand on our hearts and said the Pledge Of Allegiance, we stood together as one despite everything else in the world that was going and the differences we had. The march was led by 3 boys, in which 2 of the boys held American flags as they marched to the KSD building. One of the leaders would say “WHAT DO WE WANT?” and we would reply “SCHOOL!” and then he would say “WHEN DO WE WANT IT?” and we said “NOW!”. That day we walked around the building multiple times chanting, walked down the street, and back around, and we made our voices heard.

What I am saying is, I need school back. We need school back. We miss our friends, social life, sports, teachers, and our school experience. Zoom is not a classroom, and will never compare to a classroom. And to KSD, don’t say you’re doing this for the students and that distance learning is what is best for us. Depression has become normal for some students, is this what is best for us KSD? I hope that I have made myself clear, and maybe KSD… you will listen and make students education #1 priority. 

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