MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Four students from Fox Lane High School have put together a plan to ensure students will have more of a say in what goes on in their school district.
The students have asked to have student representatives on the Bedford Central School District Board of Education. While the student representatives will be non-voting, they will be able to provide a voice for the district's student body.
The idea came from a Public Affairs class taught by Geoffrey Berger. One of the projects was to identify something you want to change about the school
"We have class officers, but we have no students on the board," senior Dylan Grant said. "They make real policy throughout the district. We wanted to inject the voice of students into this system that all these students go through their lives in. "
Grant, along with his classmates John Townsend, Kevin Robare, and Drew Gregory put their plan into motion, conducting a survey of students and faculty to see how much they knew about the board and whether they would consider being student representatives.
"I think up to this point, a lot of student involvement with the board is sort of superficial," Grant said. "Most of the interaction is during budget season when they say 'Oh no my favorite teacher's class is in danger or 'My sport might get cut, I should tell them how baseball changed my life.'"
Other school districts in the area have similar student involvement on the school board, and the students said the results have all been positive.
At Bedford, the school board and administrators like Superintendent Christopher Manno and Assistant Superintendent Joel Adelberg were immediately receptive to the idea. Students are expected to begin serving as representatives next year once everything is finalized.
The representatives, one senior and one junior, would be elected at the end of the year in the same elections as class officers. The students would share their opinions as the board debates policy, but would not be part of the hiring process or when the board goes into executive session.
"The board would welcome having these high school students," Adelberg said. "I think it's great, I am 100 percent supportive. I think the students came up with a powerful proposal that could make a real difference long term. This may change the conversation of the board. Having a student present can be a really good reminder that this is about them."
Berger praised the students for taking the project seriously and for being so thorough.
"This was entirely student centered and student driven," Berger said. "This was something I had never heard of before."