MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Instead of ridiculing high school students, as we saw last week in Rutherford County, the Germantown Municipal School District is giving them a voice on its board. Houston High student Laila Sharif has been named the first student member of the Germantown District’s board of education.
Laila will be a non-voting member – which is appropriate since she was not elected. But she will have a voice nonetheless on various issues including career and technical education training throughout the district.
It’s the kind of outreach and forward thinking that all districts should emulate. And it’s just the opposite of what occurred last week at a Rutherford County School Board meeting in Murfreesboro. Grady Knox, a junior at a local magnet school, courageously stood before the board to plead for a mask mandate – and explained that his grandmother died of COVID-19 because someone was not wearing a mask. At that point, several so-called adults in the audience laughed at the student and mocked him, telling him to shut up. It was a shameful display that has since made national news and gone viral on social media.
Thankfully, there are school systems that welcome the ideas of the people they’re in business to serve – the students. So, good for Germantown Municipal Schools. I’m sure Laila will be a valuable asset to the board. And I can only hope that the Rutherford school board is taking notes.