By Cheryl Chatt
Simpson School’s ASB has been active for about 8 years, and has been involved in numerous projects. Under the supervision of Cindy Shearard, fifth-grade teacher and ASB adviser, young student government officers and room representatives learn the ropes of running for office, attending meetings, forming committees and generally doing the work required of them. Simpson’s ASB elections were held earlier this fall for the first half of the school year. Officers were elected as well as a room representative and alternate for each fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade classroom. We caught up recently with Ben Royer, newly elected ASB president, and asked him a few questions about one project that ASB is currently working on.
Mrs. Chatt: First of all, congratulations on your recent election to Simpson ASB President.
Ben: Thank you.
Mrs. Chatt: We understand that the Simpson ASB is currently working on several interesting projects. At a recent ASB meeting, an ASB representative brought up playground rules. Can you share with us some background on that, and where it stands currently?
Ben: We are still in the process, we’ve had two committee meetings where we looked at the old rules that were posted and we looked at things that were obviously needed, mostly for fun and safety, because the safer students are, the more fun they have. We had to have a committee and the officers are supposed to be there (as well as representatives and alternates) at committee meetings. During the weekly ASB meeting there has to be a motion by representatives to have a committee meeting, then it’s seconded and the motion is voted on. After the committee meets and decides on the rule revisions, the ASB president (myself) takes the revision to Mrs. Klinger for her approval. We are taking a look at a couple of things, four square for example, students seem to make up their own rules a lot, and it seems to be a problem.
Mrs. Chatt: Why do students feel it is important to make some suggested revisions to the playground rules?
Ben: Some things needed to be changed for safety reasons, and some things didn’t make sense. We are also looking at things on the playground itself, for example having the custodian paint some wall ball boundary lines on the play shed to help wall ball games go more smoothly and be played within their own courts.
Mrs. Chatt: What else would you like to add?
Ben: ASB is building, progressing, and as officers, we are all getting used to our jobs. We would like to see more involvement by students in student government. Some students don’t want to be involved because they have to give up recess time to attend meetings or be a part of it in other ways. I would say to them, “Do you want to have a recess, or do you want to have a good school?”
Mrs. Chatt: So would you say that having student input on the playground rules is giving ASB officers and representatives some experience with democracy in action?
Ben: That’s what the ASB officers are about—to help students. That’s why I ran—you help to run the school, you help the students, you run to be leaders. You don’t have to interview me, talk to the other officers. The president is one voice, and ASB is many voices.