High school students say they want more say in Davis School Board decisions and asked the board Tuesday night to form a student advisory council
"It seems administrators, teachers, and parents through the PTA all have regular input into the board. We want a system establishing regular input of students to the board," said Jeremy Bahr, who will serve as student body president at Bountiful High School next school year.Bahr, accompanied by several other student officers from the district's six high schools, asked the board to consider forming a student advisory council of between 6 and 18 members - with one to three student officers representing each high school. The council would meet with the school board or superintendent four to 12 times a year.
"By having a voice and input it would help make effective citizens, voters and school board members of tomorrow," Bahr said, noting the Utah law that allows a student to serve on the school board as a non-voting member and that a student serves on the state Board of Regents.
Bahr said students want to be heard on issues like boundary changes, dress codes, attendance policies and privacy issues like drug-sniffing dogs.
After Bahr's presentation the board applauded him and voiced support for the plan.
"I think it is a marvelous idea and it is time for us to act. I think the students have a lot to tell us and I want to hear it," said board member Ray Briscoe.
The board voted to form a task force to help study the function of a student panel and will have it placed on a future agenda.
Board member Bob Thurgood asked one student officer how she would react if the board turned down their requests.
"At least you would know how we felt," she answered.
Bahr, in an interview Wednesday morning, said that he has not pursued getting a student on the school board because of the time required to serve, especially attending sometimes lengthy night meetings.
Under Utah law, high school students can petition the board to grant a non-voting position to a student. The petition must have 500 signatures or signatures of 10 percent of the high school students in the district, whichever is less, according to the state Office of Education.
"Basically what we are doing is instituting a form of student input. I think it would be best to have a student advisory council," he said.
He said he was not sure whether other student leaders might be interested in pursuing both the advisory council and board seat.
Bahr said he got the idea to approach the board about proposing the advisory panel after his brother was in a current-issues class. The teacher suggested that students do something to influence their community.