Since February, 2006, Adam King, one of the leaders in NYRA’s chapter formation, has worked extensively to convince the Buncombe County Board of Education to add a student advisor to the board. This position would initially be non-voting, and the student would not be allowed to sit in on closed sessions that deal with personnel or other students. King, of Asheville, N.C., believes that students should have direct representation on school boards because that level of government controls students the most. King, with the documented support of his principal, many teachers, students and parents, spoke to the board on Monday, April 3, 2006. The chair commended him for his involvement, but he told King that it was not a decision that could be made by the local school board. King later contacted the NC State Board of Education, and the board’s legal advisor confirmed that it is indeed a local board issue. On Monday, April 10, King appeared on the front page of the Asheville Citizen-Times, his local paper, and in an editorial in his favor on April 11. He has also been featured on WLOS-TV (ABC), on radio stations, and in his school’s newspaper. With more information and support, King plans to update his school board at its next monthly meeting in May.
King’s idea is not unheard of. There are school boards across the country who have student advisors or representatives on their boards. Some boards even allow students the ability to vote on matters presented. “In order for a school board to best serve the interests of the students, this position is necessary,” King said. “If my state’s school board can have two student advisors, why wouldn’t my local board be able to?” For more information or to arrange an interview, contact King by email.