Youth should be involved in local government

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2016

There’s an old saying that children should be seen and not heard.

While the saying won’t be disputed by many parents, that’s not to say that young people don’t have something interesting or worthwhile to say.

At times, a young person’s observation of the world can be both comical, and quite astute. In order to make the astute observations more prevalent, we should encourage our younger population to become informed in all aspects of how the world works, that includes local government. Intelligent conversations only come from those who are informed.

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Tuesday, two young women from Our Lady Academy in Bay St. Louis attended the Picayune City Council meeting as part of a class project. Seeing young people at a meeting of the

Council, Poplarville Board of Aldermen or Pearl River County Supervisors is a rarity unless they are being recognized for some academic or sports-related achievement. Even then, they typically leave the meeting as soon as their recognition is complete.

And since that recognition takes place at the beginning of the meetings, they miss out on the most educational parts. 

That means just about all young people have little to no idea how local laws are made. The same can be said for a lot of adults.

In fact, just about every one of the previously listed meetings are lightly attended by the general public.  That is also the case for school board meetings in all three districts. It was refreshing to see young people attend a meeting, even if it was part of a class project.

All of our school districts should implement class projects that require all students to attend public meetings, and then report on what they learned.

By attending these meetings at least a few times as a student, perhaps they will stay involved as adults.