By Hailey Terracino, News Editor
Caption for social media: Bergen student Yusra Subhani is running for Board of Ed. in Teaneck, running on a platform of inclusivity and a focus on student well-being. Read more on our website, link in bio.
Bergen student Yusra Subhani is running for a Board Of Education position in her hometown of Teaneck, running on a platform of inclusivity with a focus on student well-being.
At 19 years old, she would be the youngest member of the board, something she sees as an advantage against her opponents as a BOE member. “I’m running because I was just a student, I can tackle issues directly affecting students,” said Subhani.
Subhani’s platform centers around adding diversity to the curriculum, creating a more mental health-friendly school system and adding vocational and technical classes.
“We need to expand our curriculum beyond the euro-centric narrative,” said Subhani, who is a first-generation American of Indian heritage. “I went through school thinking ‘none of the people I’m reading about look like me’.” Teaneck’s non-white population is around 45 percent, with a Black population over five times the county average.
In her senior year of high school, she was involved in a group called the Diversity Committee, an intergenerational committee that consisted of parents, teachers, students, and other members of the community.
“What we did was examine the equity in our schools, and this research really opened my eyes to how much inequity we had along with some other issues in our schools, like our lack of representation in the literature curriculum,” said Subhani. “Things that I have spoken up about were never spoken about again and nothing happened, nothing changed.”
Subhani would like to implement a more diverse library for literature and history classes.
In particular, she wants Teaneck to implement the Amistad curriculum, which pushes for more African American History to be taught in classes.
Mental health is another very important topic for Subhani, who feels students are being placed under undue stress due to standardized testing and AP classes. “We want to introduce mental health days, and encourage more progression development for teachers who tend to pick favorites,” she said.
She would also like for the district to cover AP test fees, which can reach up to $95 per class, lessening the stress on students and their parents.
Subhani, a liberal arts major in her third semester at Bergen, plans to transfer to a four-year university to study political science, and later attend law school.
She is part of a growing number of college students in New Jersey who are running or serving on their town’s Board of Education.
The process to become a candidate was simple. After filling out paperwork, she had to get ten signatures from friends and family, and then submitted her application to the county clerk’s office in Hackensack.
She hopes her candidacy will encourage young people to get more involved in politics. “Insight from young people is what we desperately need now,” said Subhani. “Especially in a Board of Ed position, we need to hear from the students and recent students because they know exactly what’s going on in schools.”
The Teaneck Public School District has a nine-member Board of Education that serves 4,500 students. Terms run for two years, and three of the nine seats are up for election each year in November.
This year the election is on November 3rd, and Board of Education candidates for each town are on the last page of the presidential election ballot.