Student Senate Updates Council on Transportation Concerns, Health Initiatives

By Adam Swift

Under President Anthony Cogliandro, the city council has put an emphasis on hearing the concerns of students from Revere High School.

Monday night, Matthew Terrell, chair of the RHS student senate, provided the council with an update on the current state of the school and the needs of its students.

Terrell’s focus was on the transportation needs of RHS students, but he also touched upon some of the public health initiatives at the school.

“In the past several months, we have held two CPR training sessions where students were able to get CPR certified,” Terrell said.

In addition, the student senate  and the student representatives to the school committee are working to increase Narcan access in the school, as well as addressing issues related to vaping, smoking, vaping, and drug use.

In the presentation on transportation issues for students, Terrell presented feedback from several students expressing concerns about the expense to take public transportation, as well as not living outside the two-mile radius where they are eligible to take a school bus.

When the school committee voted to push to the two-mile radius for bus transportation, Terrell said it raised issues of public safety with students forced to take potentially longer walks to school along busy roads, as well as increasing commuting times and creating more congestion at the school during drop-off and pick-up times.

The student senate looked at how some other communities are addressing transportation issues. In Salem, Terrell noted that there is still a two-mile radius for high school bus transportation, but the district has established criteria for “non-mandatory riders” who can take the bus on a case-by-case basis.

Criteria for the non-mandatory riders in Salem, include economic status, the walkability of the routes, and if the students have a younger sibling who is eligible to take the bus.

Terrell also pointed to the Boston Public Schools, where there is a program where students benefit from discounted public transportation.

“Currently, Revere Public Schools provide students with S Cards, which provide for half off for transit options, but an M-7 card (like those used in Boston) would provide students with unlimited free rides throughout the school year, and then it would return to the S card during the summer months, where the cost to the city would be zero dollars,” said Terrell.

Some of the quicker fixes over the next month to a year for Revere suggested by the student senate included adding a crossing guard or police detail at the intersection of Harris Street and American Legion Highway, as well as the city collaborating with the state on planning efforts for the American Legion Highway, Belle Circle, and the American Legion Highway.

In the longer term, Terrell said the student senate would like the city to work on a complete bussing study for the new Wonderland site of the high school, as well as start communications with the MBTA about an M-7 card program in Revere.

“It would be really exciting to see if we could collaborate with MassDOT on a study to see what kind of traffic is coming through at peak times,” said Councillor-at-Large Juan Pablo Jaramillo, who added that he would like to see the council help finance future efforts at improved transportation for Revere High students.

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