Eight Weakley County high school students attended the Student Congress on Policies in Education, or SCOPE, in Murfreesboro earlier this month to express their views on public education in Tennessee.
Attending were Dryver Finch and Emma Winstead from Dresden High School; Kenady Atkins and Martha Nichols from Gleason High School; Kassidy Harris and Lydia Hazlewood from Greenfield High School; and Garritt Baker and Braxton Gunter from Westview High School.
The Weakley County representatives joined 349 of their high school peers to participate in mock school board sessions, where they assumed the roles of school board members, school officials, parents, students and concerned citizens. School board members, superintendents, and educational leaders led the sessions.
Students then chose speakers to represent each of their 16 small groups who went on to take part in full-scale debates on current education issues.
This year’s four debate topics and results from the poll were:
1. High school graduation requirements shall include several pathways/options (college and career, industry credentials, etc.) that allow students to graduate with a regular high school diploma. (Agree: 59%, Disagree: 41%)
2. Students shall have the option of substituting club sports for physical education requirements. (Agree: 80%, Disagree: 20%)
3. Fighting on school grounds or during school activities shall be a zero-tolerance offense. (Agree: 24%, Disagree: 76%)
4. For purposes of honors recognition at graduation, the board shall use the Latin System (i.e. summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) instead of selecting a valedictorian and salutatorian. (Agree: 51%, Disagree: 49%)
Now in its 37th year, SCOPE is designed to give students a voice where public education issues are concerned and to involve young people in finding solutions to the topics that are discussed.