How old should a student have to be to vote for the next president? What about the next president of the school board? Should more money go to school budgets? To refugees? Should a polluting incinerator be stopped in Baltimore? Should students have a say in their dress codes? In laws to protect the environment? Students have lots of great ideas about these and other issues, and when students weigh in, it’s better for everyone!
This spring, I had a great time talking with students- as well as teachers and principals who encourage them- in Washington DC, Texas, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts….and more.
Here are a few of the students who are talking about, thinking about, caring about, and working on so many things. For that, they need their rights!
At Langley, students want to stand up for immigration rights, more basketball and better lunches. They got really good at knowing the five rights of the First Amendment: free press, free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and the freedom to petition. Now, they want to use them to stand up for themselves. They liked our “Know Your Rights” coloring book, with true stories of students around the country who have done just that.
Over at the Digital Academy in Akron, Ohio, Katelynn described herself as a “survivor.” She told me she uses her rights to stand up for her son, Jaylen, and loves him so much that she tattooed his name on her arm. Surviving and helping your kids are great ways to use your rights, Katelynn! It was great to be with all of you at Digital!
In DC, students from Capital City Public Charter School recruit people for their Food Justice Summit…..
At Findlay HS in Ohio, the award-winning We The People team (National champs for about 15 years) gets a lot of help from long-time coach Alvin Bell and teacher, Mark Dickman. Here are some of the team with their principal, Craig Kupferberg (L), who is about to unveil the controversial poster from his own election as student body president when HE was in high school….
And, here it is…. what a campaign slogan! Looks like bathroom controversies are nothing new!
Lunch at Millstream Career Center, next to Findlay HS, was deliciously and prepared and served by students in their own restaurant. High school students come from all over the area for classes in auto repair, carpentry, and more. Every town should have a Career Center like the one in Findlay!
Gilmour Academy students give a warm welcome!
Brook, also an 8th grader at North Union Middle School in Richwood, is using her rights to stand up for veterans. Their teacher, Barb Adams, is an amazing, dedicated teacher. No wonder she’s a winner of “teacher of the year.” Thanks for inviting me back to North Union again, Barb. It was so good to be with you and the students!