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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The conspiracy to disenfranchise student school board members

(Posted 27 Sep 2007)
Some school board members, apparently led by at-large member Ron Watson 1 , are working to remove the right of student members, current and future, to vote for board chairman and vice chairman.

Their reasons 2:
  • A 36-page report released in May documented a questionable relationship between former student board member Leslie Hall and former board member Nathaniel B. Thomas. Thomas resigned June 6 after being charged with a third-degree sexual offense against a county student in a separate incident.
  • Altering the student’s voting rights would protect student members, such as current student member Oxon Hill High School senior Haywood Perry III, from lobbying by board members.
Talk about punishing the weak and innocent for the misdeeds of others.

Haywood Perry and future student board members are not accused of any misconduct. But Watson seems to want to punish them for what he considers questionable conduct by a previous student member, ignoring the fact that a previous at-large member has been charged with a crime.

I am told that all the board members, student, at-large, and district-based, may be lobbied by other members.

So, would it not make just as much sense to take away the voting rights of the at-large members? After all, it was an at-large member, not a student member, who has been accused of a felony. And the at-large members, like Watson, are just as susceptible to lobbying as the student member.

So, why is Watson hypocritically attacking only the student member? Could it be simply that Watson has found a relatively defenseless target? Does he see the student member as a threat to his ambition? Does he not care what kind of bullying message he sends to county students and their leaders?

Don't Watson and the rest of the board have better things to do and more important issues to worry about?

I did not oppose Watson in the recent election, but I'm beginning to wish I had.

  1. Students Ask Board Not to Limit Youth Seat
    Post, 22 Sep 2007 (Hernandez).Prince George's County students argued forcefully Thursday night against a proposal to limit the voting rights of the student member of the Board of Education, saying the policy would silence the voice of the county's youths.

    The proposal would strip the new student member, Haywood L. Perry III, of his right to vote for the board's chairman and vice chairman, as well as restrict his travel outside the Washington region.
    * * *
    Ron Watson, an at-large member of the Prince George's board and one of the policy's main supporters, said he was unmoved by the students' testimony. [More]
  2. Student board member voting rights still in question.
    Gazette, 27 Sep 2007 (Carter).
Update: 6 Oct 2007.

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