About 30 middle school students from across the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school district had the chance to speak directly with school board members this week. 

One by one they walked up to the podium to ask questions and voice concerns about their education, their school, and the district. 

Multiple students from Kernersville Middle School, Northwest Middle School, and Thomas Jefferson Middle School brought up issues with transportation. Specifically, they asked how the district could support students who want access to tutoring and other after-school activities but can't participate due to a lack of transportation. 

Board of Education member Trevonia Brown-Gaither agreed that transportation was an important issue for the district. 

“You know, when I taught we did have a lot of students who wanted to stay, even if it was for tutoring, but had no way to get back home," she said. "So we've got to look at that because we realize transportation now is an issue for us. It’s even getting the students to school and from school in a timely manner, and we don't have a lot of bus drivers. So we're lacking in that area. And we've got to figure out how to take care of it.”

Board member Leah Crowley said she spoke to students who shared that even some of those with access to transportation aren't able to take advantage of after-school activities because they're needed at home for child care. 

"So you know, just having a better understanding of what some of our students are up against, as far as being able to access everything that we have to offer, helps us know what the work is ahead of us," she said. 

At the end of the forum, Superintendent Tricia McManus said she’d like to invite the students back in the spring for another forum to see how their concerns had been addressed or changed. 

She also said she wanted individual schools to host forums like this one so students can speak directly to their administration.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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