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City Council chambers may become classroom

January 16, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Some Hagerstown high school students would participate in City Council meetings alongside their elected officials under two proposed programs.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and Councilman J. Wallace McClure, who are each pushing a different program, said they want to get teenagers involved in government so they will be more concerned citizens later.

Under Bruchey's proposal, five high school students would sit at the council table and debate and discuss new legislation with council members. The program would last a month for each group of students.

Bruchey said participation would rotate among the three high schools in Hagerstown. He said students would volunteer for the program although they might get community service hours for participating.

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He said the program was still "in the idea phase" and he hasn't met with any school officials to discuss the proposal.

Bruchey said his wife Susan has volunteered to coordinate the program.

Meanwhile, Councilman J. Wallace McClure has been pushing an idea to appoint a junior council member. He expects the proposal will be on a council meeting agenda soon.

McClure said the junior council member would sit with council members during meetings and participate in council discussions. He said the position would rotate among three or four students a year.

The junior council member could have additional duties including sorting the city's electronic-mail.

"Hopefully, this will plant the seed for a career in politics, or at least get them to be more involved," McClure said.

Bruchey said getting students involved in council meetings could eventually increase voter participation.

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