“Ending Complacency”: Potomac students circulate a petition demanding urgent action on mental health

Billy Marin, Executive Editor

In response to a mental health crisis in the Potomac student body, Bliss Davis and Malachy Dwyer, both of the class of 2020, led a large group of students that drafted a list of changes they propose for the school. Their petition has garnered almost 500 signatures from students, alumni, teachers, and parents. The students divided their proposals into three sections; Student health, which they define as “a state of physical, mental, and social wellbeing,” Equity and Inclusion, and Community Building.

Bliss Davis, a Black Student Association leader and an organizer of this project, said “This year felt like the right year to do it, not only because of everything we’ve experienced, but also because right now I think is the time we need to examine inequality within our own community.”

Referring to the school’s administration, Bliss said, “I hope they recognize that we’re not just trying to blame them, that we’re not just saying the school is doing a terrible job, we think Potomac is a great school, but while we probably can’t hit perfection, I think we should all strive for it.”

The document’s preamble states “We, the concerned students of Potomac, take pride in being part of this school. We care deeply about the future of Potomac and want it to continue to attract and produce bright individuals. As such, we are dedicated to the needs of our fellow students and believe we must hold our beloved school to its mission statement.”

Titled “Ending Complacency: Student Ideas for Institutional Improvement,” the document sets forth thirteen specific proposals, as follows:

Student Health:

  1. An anonymous and comprehensive community needs assessment
  2. The collection and publication of health resources
  3. Transparent guidelines for students following major mental or physical health events
  4. The hiring of an on-site, full-time clinical psychologist

Equity and Inclusion:

1.Bias and sensitivity training

  1. Increased discussion of diversity with the student body
  2. More institutional support for affinity groups
  3. Increase equity within athletics (Level the Playing Field)
  4. Increased education of identity and the college process


  1. The relaunch of Potomac families
  2. Semesterly grade meetings
  3. Improved transportation for major community events
  4. Increased conversations about respect in younger divisions

The proposal was drafted principally by seniors Khaya Yankey , Jodie Kuo , Windsor Smith , Miira Efrem , Natalie Martin , Nicki Ganti , Qye Woodard , Narayan Kini , and Sophie Leyva; and juniors Ariana Ghafouri , Caroline Dunn , Erika Piertzack , Will Fearey , and Shaurya Nayyar. Many other students, including rising juniors, contributed ideas or helped with outreach.