BOARD REACTS
Student council raises eyebrows
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Eagle Staff Writer
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March 18, 2017
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Claire Staresinic
ADAMS TWP — The student council report at Tuesday night’s Mars School Board meeting met with resistance from a board member and the district solicitor.
Claire Staresinic, the Mars High School student council president, told the school board that student council officers and representatives are now elected by the student body at large.
Claire said the student council recently decided to change the means of selection for student council to allow for greater participation by eliminating elections.
Prospective student council officers and representatives, in the new plan, would be required to carry a 3.0 grade- point average, write two essays regarding why they want to participate in student council and volunteer in some community service for a set number of hours.
Anyone who meets the criteria would be admitted into student council, Claire said.
The new plan would allow students who may not win a popular election a chance to experience student council, she said.
“We think this will really benefit how student council is run and maximize our potential,” she told the board.
But board member William Pettigrew said he disagreed with the new criteria.
He said students who have a lower GPA or who must work and cannot complete the community service might be worthy student council members.
“I just think that’s kind of unfair,” Pettigrew said.
Solicitor Tom King said while he understands that the student council officers are devoted to education and their designs are well intended, he recommended that the student council adviser talk with Superintendent Wesley Shipley before making the change.
King said he feels that because the student council represents all of the school’s students, the entire student body should vote for their student council leaders and representatives.
“I think student council was always intended to be a model of democracy,” King said.
Staresinic reiterated that the change was meant to include people who want to be involved in student council but cannot because they would lose in a popular vote.
King said a student could have a 2.0 GPA that they struggle to maintain or not be able to complete the service hours, but would be a great student council member.
“The more that you reduce the democratic part of the process and create an elitist organization, it’s kind of anti-democratic,” King said.
Pettigrew said he did not mind the essay, but disagrees with the other criteria in the plan.
Staresinic said the student body had not been apprised of the change, and that she would call a meeting of the student council’s executive board to discuss the input of Pettigrew and King.
“We will review it and report back to you,” she said.
The next school board meeting that includes a student council report will be at 7 p.m. April 11 in the meeting room at the district offices adjacent to the primary center.