Staff Editorial: Amid distance learning, BVH counselors resist connecting with students

Our counselors are the tether that ties students to their future. They are the ones who advise students and communicate with them, making sure they have the proper resources to succeed. They guide students on their unique journeys, leading the way, especially in such a confusing, challenging time.

Unfortunately, at Bonita Vista High (BVH), the counselors have severed this connection.

BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D., has said in a press conference interview with the Crusader that our counselors are working to check in on students’ mental health and academic progress. While the details were vague, he assured the Crusader that they are doing everything in their power to keep that tether connected with students.

However, the counselors have repeatedly avoided countless attempts by the Crusader for interviews. In reaching out to them, we had hoped that they would respond with excitement to share their voice and story with our community, speaking directly to those they serve.

We were wrong.

While the counselors may be claiming to seek connections with students, they have turned us, a student-run organization, away, denying our community the answers it deserves. Families want to know if their student is getting support in planning for life after high school. Students who are struggling need to know what resources are available for them. 

The counselors’ repeated denial to speak to us is especially alarming right now. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conducted a study on how supported students feel by their counselors amidst distance learning, asking them to rate their level of support from one to ten, ten being the best. They report that “before the pandemic, 65% of students gave themselves a 7 or higher. After the pandemic, that percentage had dropped to less than 40%.” 

It’s not just at BVH that students are reaching for a lifeline and coming up empty-handed. This data reveals a startling trend: at large, high schoolers feel disconnected in a time when connection is a necessity. By neglecting to speak with the Crusader, the counselors effectively refuse to communicate with the community at large and fail to share their own experiences.

The pandemic is taking a toll on students and families, and right when we need to hear from the counselors, they are pulling away. They are the bridges between school and home. They dictate how a student experiences BVH. They owe it to students to resolve their uncertainties.

The counselors, after repeated attempts, never told us what we need to know: What specific resources are being used to reach out to and assist at-risk students? How many students are at risk and need help? What is their process in responding to student inquiries and concerns? How are our new counselors adjusting to our community? How are they guiding students who have shifted their post-graduation goals since the pandemic? How are their approaches different this year?

We have given the counselors endless opportunities to share information about their experience, to reach out to the readers of the Crusader, the Baron families and students. At every turn, they have avoided answering our questions. That leads us to ask: why?

Why couldn’t a single counselor give us 20 minutes of their time in the past couple months? Why wouldn’t they want to share their work with the community? Why don’t they want to sit down with us, the students that they serve, and have a face-to-face conversation about an experience that has been hard for all of us?

The questions that our community has are still unanswered. And while the counselors have recently announced a weekly “College Corner” Zoom call for seniors to ask for college advice, it isn’t the solution. For instance, many students who aren’t going to college post-graduation are still left with what seems like no support.

While they are taking a step in the right direction, we are still left in the dark. Until the counselors can speak to the BVH community, they will never establish the connection that they claim to and we will never have the answers we deserve.