The Blake Beat Staff is endorsing Arvin Kim to be the next Student Member of the Board (SMOB). He is a well-qualified candidate who has been long preparing for this leadership position during his time at Walt Whitman High School. Though Kim has had more resources and opportunities as an upcounty student, such as being the Treasurer and Chief of Staff in Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association, he understands his privilege and advocates for Northeast Consortium (NEC)/Down County Consortium (DCC) schools.
Kim wants our curriculum to represent the diversity that exists within the Blake community. His vision is to have inclusive classes that reflect our student body such as LGBTQ+ studies and African-American that has recently been added. By making sure that the curriculums for these sub-courses in English and Social Studies are written with student input, Kim aims for students to be able to see themselves in the books they read and the history they learn. This makes sure we aren’t learning solely from the oppressors’ point of view, and that the cultural stories that we read aren’t always a “struggle story.”
Kim is also a strong believer that school resource officers (SRO) shouldn’t be in our schools. With the recent school shooting at Magruder, a school that didn’t have an SRO present, the school board is re-evaluating the best path for school security. However, Kim acknowledges the racial connotations that reestablishing SROs carries, saying “ …the presence of armed police officers in our schools does not make us any safer, but rather criminalizes Black, Brown, and neurodivergent students. 80% of the students arrested in our county are Black or Brown, and 25% of arrested students are neurodivergent or disabled.”
Instead, Kim wants to replace the SRO program with more mental health resources in our schools. At the moment, MCPS has ⅓ of the National Association of Psychologist recommended number of psychologists. Our school has limited psychologists that we share with other NEC/DCC schools. With an increase of school psychologists, there will be an evident increase of the quality of our students’ mental health which will be ideal. He also plans to add a mental health day which includes having shorter classes, no tests/homework, and a free period. Kim understands the importance of mental health to our students. “Our priority as a school system should always be to support us as students and that starts with our wellness,” reassures Kim.
While we were initially leaning towards endorsing Baba Cisse because he is a DCC student, we chose to opt for experience and implementable ideas over representation. As a community, we would love to see someone like ourselves from an underrepresented area in a position of power, but we believe that Kim is the candidate capable of voicing our needs and wants the best. Arvin Kim is a better candidate that will properly represent the students at James Hubert Blake High School.