Playing an active part in your school community is an important part of student life. School policies are shaped by students’ experiences, so ideally you should get a say in how these policies ar
e formed. However, there may be times when you may not see eye to eye with the school administration and their policies, and you and your fellow students may need to speak up regarding these issues.
For the most part, these can be resolved through a meeting with your student leaders and other representatives from the student body. But there will also be times when the terms you set can be misconstrued, and that’s when you have to organize a more visible mobilization to get the administration’s attention.
If you’re planning to stage a student rally in your area, here are a few things to consider:
Setting the date for your protest is the first step in ensuring a big turnout at your rally. It has to be a date that everyone agrees on based on their availability. If you’re part of a student union or any student organization that’s already in talks with your school admin, then you can discuss with the group when it’s best to stage your rally.
There are a few other things to consider when setting the date for your rally. This often includes the timeliness of your set date. Beyond your group’s availability, is there a concrete reason behind why you’re staging your protest? Is it a red-letter day or have meetings with the school administration not been as fruitful as you’d hoped? In this case, you can set your date during or right after the day itself.
Once you’ve settled on the date of your rally, the next most important thing you already need to work on are the logistics. Logistics include everything from securing a venue to ensuring all promotional materials, such as flyers or customized silicone wristbands attendees are going to wear, will be ready by the protest day.
Logistical preparations can be the most daunting part of organizing any event, but this can be managed by canvassing your potential venues and suppliers early. This will also help you determine the price range, if there’s any, of the materials you’ll be needing for your protest.
If you’re executing your rally on school grounds, you’ll still need to secure the necessary permits to make sure that everything goes smoothly. However, if this isn’t possible, you can opt to have it in a public area close by instead. The only disadvantage to holding your protest elsewhere is the need to explain why you are staging the rally outside of school grounds if your issues are related to the school.
You can play this scenario out to your advantage by explaining your issues extend to a bigger audience outside of school. This might even gain a following beyond the local news or your own circles.
Every successful rally needs a well-structured program. Finalize your speakers, any artistic or cultural performances, if there are any, and determine when they’re going to start. Make sure to allot enough time for each of the designated speakers. You can even line up each speaker or performance according to a specific issue or theme so that your program flows better.
A logical flow to your program will certainly prevent your rally from simply becoming an arbitrary event. Opt to arrange your program in such a way that it starts with smaller issues and ending with the main concerns you have. This will convince people to stay and listen up to the end.
Of course, you won’t have a good turnout if nobody knows what the rally is all about. Spread the word to other like-minded individuals who are interested in advocating for your cause. Publicity is also necessary to get people talking about your issues, so it’s best to start spreading awareness on platforms like social media. If you’re able, you can even contact the school paper or the local news outlets to cover your event.
Your publicity materials should be short and catchy, but they should reflect everything that you want to cover during the protest. Settle on a central theme or idea that would really reflect your values, your vision, and your long-term and short-term goals for the event. This will hopefully draw people to your cause and get enough people interested in it.
Staging a school rally can be a lot of work, but if you’re determined to be heard, then it will all pay off once the event is concluded. Letting your voice be heard as part of the student body is a right, and properly exercising this right is means towards peaceful discourse and the eventual resolution of any issues you may have with the school administration.
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