Bill Would Allow Student Board Of Ed Members Limited Voting Rights

It would only apply to Frederick County.


Annapolis, Md (KM) Student members of the Frederick County Board of Education would have limited voting rights under a bill introduced last week by Delegate Karen Lewis Young. The students who sit on the School Board can express their opinions on issues, but are not allowed to vote.

Young says several students came to Annapolis for the Delegation’s weekly meeting on Friday to make their case for voting rights for student Board of Ed members. “They have been trying for several years to obtain some limited voting rights,” she says. “In other words, they wouldn’t be able to vote on the budget; on personnel issues; on redistricting; on the calendar. There are a couple of other restrictions as well so it’s very limited.”

She says she has formally introduced or “dropped” a bill granting student School Board members voting rights. “We as a society have a bad history of disenfranchising important parts of our population. And to some extent, I see this as an extension of that,” says Delegate Young.

This bill, if it passes, would only apply to student members of the Frederick County  Board of Education.

“Arguments have been made that, ‘oh, they’re not ready yet to take that responsibility. They’ll be harassed by other students,”’ says Young. :”I think that’s pretty lame. These are mature, responsible young people.”

Currently, there are eight other jurisdictions which  give students Board of Ed members voting rights ranging from limited to full voting rights.

She says last Friday, the Delegation didn’t take a vote on whether to support this bill, even though it’s already been introduced. “There was no reason why we couldn’t vote. So at least they agreed, rather than further delay, that I would drop the bill–which I did last Friday–and hopefully, we’ll get a letter of support from the Delegation,” Young says.

At last Friday’s meeting, Young said the County’s two state senators were not there. Both Senators Ron Young and Michael Hough are members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which schedules votes on Friday morning.

Delegate Young said having the Delegation’s support for this local bill increases its chance of passage by the General Assembly. “It will go forward with a hearing, but it would certainly strengthen its chances to have a letter from the Delegation which says the Delegation supports it,” she says.


By Kevin McManus