School board members consider bringing on student representative
August 16, 2012
Douglas County School Board members want students to participate in their monthly deliberations – they’re just not sure how or in what capacity.
On Tuesday, trustees voted unanimously to direct staff to work with student leadership programs and identify potential roles in providing input to the board.
“There are certain items on the agenda where it would be beneficial to hear from our students,” said trustee Teri Jamin. “For example, drug testing.”
District counsel Mike Malloy told the board that it would be illegal for students to hold voting positions, as they’re not elected trustees.
Board member Tom Moore echoed this concern.
“We are elected by our constituents to make the tough decisions,” he said.
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“It would take a pretty extraordinary individual at that age to endure this,” added board members Randy Green.
Trustee Karen Chessell pointed out that the State Board of Education has an ex-officio student representative – Aquilla Ossian of Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas.
Board members mulled over other options as well, such as forming an application process for interested students, soliciting officers of student government for both Lake and Valley meetings, and providing extra credit to students who attend board meetings.
Board President Sharla Hales also suggested creating a five-minute student presentation as part of the board’s monthly principal reports, which rotate between schools.
While Moore argued against mandating any student participation, colleague Ross Chichester emphasized prior student turn-out for controversial agenda items, such as budget cuts.
“Anytime there is an issue students are interested in, they seem to show up here en masse,” Chichester said. “We have to know the parameters of this before we decide if we want it or don’t want it.”