To the editor: In last week’s Phoenix, a front-page headline and subhead informed readers of a Bristol Warren Regional School Committee decision in which a 5-4 majority voted against allowing a …
To the editor:
In last week’s Phoenix, a front-page headline and subhead informed readers of a Bristol Warren Regional School Committee decision in which a 5-4 majority voted against allowing a non-voting student representative a seat alongside the Committee.
There didn’t seem to be any apparent harm to allowing a student representative, so I thought there must be more to the decision.
But there wasn’t.
Unless you count hurt egos.
I’d just like to restate here that the student would not be a true member of the Committee. They would not have the ability to vote. The role is more akin to an ambassador.
“I think that you don’t get to be sitting here until you’ve earned a right to do that,” said Marjorie McBride.
“I think that being in these seats is an earned position and an earned right,” said Tara Thibaudeau. “I think we can accomplish the goal of listening to the student voice and their opinions without placing a student representative on the school committee,” said Adam McGovern. These were the reasons against. We’ve got the bruised ego - “I got voted in, and they didn’t so they can’t sit next to me,” and the classic deflection and condescension of, “Well, they can have a voice, just not in this way. Any other way is fine.” None of those comments provide any actual logic or reasoning that should actively prevent a student representative to have a voice alongside their own. And further, the uniformity of the comments seems to reflect a follow-the-leader mentality that feels insincere and hollow and lacks critical thought.
Who are these grown adults, duly elected officials, who are threatened and offended at the prospect of having a non-voting student representative sitting at the same table as them? Kyle Jackson was being kind when he said of the decision, “Really, it’s just mind-boggling.” Because what this really shows is a majority of school committee members who are more likely to be threatened, unnerved, or simply annoyed by the student voices they were elected to provide quality education and experience for than they are to be supportive and open to.
Bruised egos should not be the determining factor driving the voting methodology of our elected officials.
The School Committee is supposed to be the biggest advocate for the students of our town. With this decision, the majority voting members literally voted to keep the student voice quiet, distant, and in the chairs in front of them rather than at a seat beside them. Our children deserve so, so, so much better.