The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Monday, August 19, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
The Franklin County School Board could soon include at least one student representative.
Last week, board members discussed options on selecting a student representative, who would attend open meetings in a non-voting capacity. The student member would share the ideas, suggestions and concerns of fellow students with the board.
The student representative would then inform his or her classmates of the decisions made during each board meeting.
The student representative must be a high school senior who is committed to attending board meetings, members said.
Interested students would need to apply for the position. The application process would require the student to gather 50 signatures from fellow students, obtain two teacher recommendations and submit an essay that would be graded on content, clarity and neatness, members said.
"I think this is a great idea," said Thad Montgomery, Boone District member, "but the application process seems a lot like a popularity contest."
Crystal Naff, Blackwater District member, disagreed with Montgomery, saying the process did not resemble a popularity contest.
"The student would have to show initiative," said Naff. "They would have to show that they want to do this. And that will require some effort on their part."
Bill Brush, Gills Creek District member, suggested that the board consider a member of the Student Government Association (SGA) to serve as the student representative.
But Montgomery and P.D. Hambrick, Union Hall District member, voiced their concerns with that idea, saying that a student representative from the SGA would not adequately represent students who are on a career and technical path.
Montgomery and Hambrick proposed the board select a student from the agriculture and industry clubs, as they would represent a larger portion of the student body.
With that suggestion, the board agreed to select two student members -- one from the SGA and one from the agriculture and industry clubs. Although the board did not vote on a particular application and selection process, members generally agreed on the concept.
G.B. Washburn Jr., Snow Creek District member, said the board should not be directly involved in the selection of the student representative.
"The decision needs to come from the students," he said.
The addition of student representatives to school boards is not uncommon. A 2009 poll showed that out of 39 states, 25 (including Virginia) had student representatives on school boards.
California allows their student representatives to vote; however, the student's vote does not affect the final outcome.
Student representatives on the Franklin County School Board will serve a term of one year.
The idea to add student representatives to the board was suggested to Brush by Windy Gap Principal Brenda Hopkins. -- Stephanie Cook contributed to this article.