It’s rare that kids get to speak their minds to school administrators. Brockton community programs SABURA and the Youth School of Liberation held an event on Thursday to allow middle school kids to do just that.

The event, titled “Respect Our Voices,” invited school administrators to hear directly from students about what they wanted to change in their schools, including specific requests for improving the culture and safety at school. A dozen students raised concerns of unfair and racist disciplinary practices as they spoke before a crowd of roughly 200 students and administrators.

Student Kevin Tavares recalled an incident during an art class where a Black student used the n-word casually in a conversation with another Black student. The teacher, who was white, yelled at him and said the word herself, asking him how he would feel if the other student said that word to him.

“I really wasn’t comfortable when she was saying it,” Tavares said, reading to the crowd from a prepared statement. “The majority of the kids in the class were kids of color and I think they probably felt shocked and uncomfortable. ... I don’t think she meant to say it to be racist, but I wish she knew how she shouldn’t say it at all as a white woman.”

Other students who spoke asked for more respect in the classroom, and many felt that teachers didn’t take the time to understand them.

After the event, 11-year-old Mauro Santos told GBH News that he sometimes gets in trouble at school without getting a chance to explain his side of the story.

“The teachers don’t even let you explain, they just go based on what the other person told them,” he said.

Santos said he wants his school to train teachers to respect their students and listen to what they have to say before punishing them.

More training for teachers was one of five asks students shared with Brockton Public Schools’ Deputy Superintendent Sharon Wolder at the event. Students asked for mandating social-emotional training for teachers, increasing the number of staff from their community, creating a handbook for teacher expectations, as well as increasing student participation in the hiring process and teacher evaluations.

Wolder committed to the first two asks, but said she would need to negotiate with the teacher’s union for the other three. The district has already declared its aim to make half of the teachers in Brockton Public Schools people of color by 2027.

Wolder thanked the students for sharing their experiences at school with her.

“The only reason why any of us is here is because of all of you, because of our community, because of our students,” she said. “And if we’re not doing the job well, if we’re not doing it right, we need to hear that.”