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Grasmick says Md. students make a difference

March 31, 2001

Grasmick says Md. students make a difference



By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Maryland Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick told the state's student leaders Saturday they are already making a difference.

"Some people say that you're coming here to learn to be leaders. I say you're here because you are leaders," Grasmick told about 1,000 students and their advisers at the annual Maryland Association of Student Councils Convention.

"This world, this whole world is hungry for leaders and you have the potential. You in this room have the potential to fill that void," Grasmick told students who filled the ballroom at the Ramada Inn and Convention Center on Dual Highway.

Grasmick used an experience of her own to illustrate to the student leaders how persuasive they can be.

At the request of Baltimore City Student School Commissioner Jennifer Prowell, Grasmick testified last August before the new Board of School Commissioners for Baltimore City public schools in favor of giving the student commissioner partial voting rights.

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Since then, a bill to grant those rights has been introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates and will have a Senate hearing Wednesday, Grasmick said.

The student constituency "warrants a voice and deserves our attention," Grasmick said.

Grasmick said that when she is in Annapolis, she sees student leaders everywhere, lobbying and testifying on student issues and others.

During the three-day convention in Hagerstown, students from the 19 regional student council associations attended workshops and voted on legislation.

One workshop focused on diversity. Students discussed tolerance and how to get other students involved in student council and activities, said Jenny Aiken, convention co-chair and a senior at North Hagerstown High School.

The legislation included a vote to allow cellular telephones on school grounds and a vote opposing metal detectors in schools, said Tyler Patton, convention co-chairman and a senior at South Hagerstown High School.

"We opposed metal detectors because it made students feel uncomfortable in schools," Patton said.

Some schools, including many in Baltimore City, already have metal detectors, Grasmick said. However, it is not the usual practice and there is no effort before the Maryland State Board of Education to put metal detectors in more schools, she said.

Student leaders will return to their home schools Monday, where they will discuss legislative issues with their Student Government Associations and perhaps their local school boards, said Ed Koogle, supervisor of secondary social studies for the Washington County Board of Education.

The students, from grades six through 12, stayed at the Ramada, Venice Inn and Quality Inn during the convention, Koogle said.

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