Why not? [Editorial]

thendricks@theaegis.com

The grownups have spoken and their message – again – is that kids are to be seen, not heard.

In this case, the grownups are members of the Harford County Board of Education, the majority of whom voted last week to not allow the student representative on the school board to have a vote that counts for board president and vice president.

Here’s the deal: The student rep on the school board is a senior elected by the Harford Regional Association of Student Councils to serve a one-year term. He or she, in this case a he, Matt Resnik, has partial voting rights.

State law says state reps cannot vote on school attendance areas, real property, the appointment and salary of a superintendent, employee appointments, promotions or discipline, collective bargaining, student suspensions or expulsions, school calendars or curriculum.

More simply put, nothing important. Add to that list one more important thing the student rep can’t vote on, at least in Harford: the selection of the board president and vice president.

Patrick Spicer, the school system’s legal counsel, said the state is “silent” about whether student school board members should be allowed to vote on a board’s leadership. He told the board he surveyed surrounding area and found that Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties allow the student rep on the board to have a vote that counts.

High school seniors are old enough to drive, sending motor vehicles down the road that without the proper supervision can quickly turn into lethal weapons.

If they turn 18 before they graduate – which those with birthdays in the first five months of the year do – they can legally buy guns. And they can legally buy cigarettes. They can also run for office, at least for a seat on the county’s central committees, which Resnik is doing.

So, student reps (some, but not all) can partake of lethal choices, but they can’t be trusted to vote on issues affecting public schools in Harford County and those who attend? That’s nonsense.

The state precludes them from voting on most of the important stuff, which is ludicrous in its own right, and the grownup members of the Harford County Board of Education have voted they can’t have a vote on at least one of the less important matters.

We chuckle as time and time again adults mistake age for intellect and emotional ability.

What’s the harm in having a student rep cast a vote that counts on a matter of some import to the students he was chosen to represent?

As Edwin Starr so famously sang in “War,” his 1970 hit song: “Absolutely nothing say it again.”

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