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Learning how ‘to handle it’ at a school board meeting

February 7, 2011
Lake Placid News
Hats off to the Lake Placid High School students who showed initiative by attending a recent meeting of the Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education to voice their displeasure over possible cuts to programs and schedule changes.

It’s a great lesson in civil awareness. School teachers and parents should capitalize on the opportunity to teach students to stand up when decisions have an impact on them and their education.

The Lake Placid students reacted when a story was published in the Lake Placid News outlining cuts and changes the school board discussed during one of its

regular meetings. Although the article said that the moves were not definite, or in anyway finalized, students reacted despite one being told she should “let the adults handle it.”

The school system and the school board are a microcosm of how village, town, county, state and national politics works. It is a model of our democratic society and students should be praised for realizing they have — or at least should have — a voice in what the school

district decides.

In tough economic times, these same students will face a world in which cuts become more commonplace and other situations will certainly arise that impact their lives. There will come a time when they will have to stand up and ignore the easy approach “to let government handle it.”

To build upon the learning experience at the school board meeting, school officials should somehow

implement village and/or town meetings into their lesson plans by requiring students to attend at least one or two of such meetings during a school semester. Such a learning experience would not only be valuable by introducing students into the workings of government, but possibly beginning them on a path to be one of tomorrow’s

leaders.

Not only did students learn by going to the school board meeting, they learned by uniting on an issue. The editor of the school newspaper, The Blue Bomber Times, showed extraordinary initiative by making the issue front and center in a special edition that was put together in only two weeks. By publishing reactions from a large sampling — more than 100 students — the newspaper united the

student body as a single voice.

It was clear that the students want to have a say in

decisions that directly effect their future, a message that was delivered politely and eloquently to the school board by the Blue Bomber Times Editor Allison Shultes.

By showing their maturity and organization the students demand respect, and hopefully the school board takes their thoughts and views into consideration as the budget process moves forward.

Too often potential learning experiences are ignored and an opportunity is missed. Everyone who has a child in the Lake Placid School District, and certainly the district’s school teachers and administrators, should learn a lesson themselves and applaud these students and recognize just how important a step they took by taking the time to voice their opinions. They decided “to handle it.”

These students represent our future. Let’s build on that.



 
 

 

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