News / Edmonton

Edmonton’s public school board could include student trustees in 2014

The board of trustees at Edmonton Public Schools may look a lot younger next fall.

Claire Edwards, 19, wants elected high-school student trustees to sit on the board and she has convinced EPSB chair Sarah Hoffman of the benefits of student trustees.

This September, school trustees will debate a motion Hoffman submitted in June that asks for elected student trustees on the board.

If passed, one or more high-schoolers could sit on the EPSB as student trustees as early as the fall of 2014.

“I think that having young adults at the table to help influence decisions could really improve the policies created,” said Edwards, a student at the University of Alberta.

Edwards was inspired to push for student representatives on school boards after winning a TD Scholarship that resulted in her meeting student leaders in Ontario, where the government mandates student trustees and they have existed for more than two decades.

“I felt it wasn’t fair we didn’t have that representation,” said Edwards, who is an ambassador for Student Voice Alberta, a group working to get student trustees on boards across the province.

Hoffman said she was pleased Edwards contacted her with the idea of student trustees. While adult trustees receive student perspective through administration and a student advisory council, Hoffman said she sees a need for student trustees.

“I’m really excited about the possibility,” Hoffman said.

“It’s not everyday that we get to talk to students about how they think policies might impact them.”

If Hoffman’s motion passes this September, details like how many high-school students would sit on the EPSB or how they would be elected will have to be worked out.

“It’s my view that there should be more than one (student trustee). I would love it if there was three,” Edwards said.

If it passes, Edmonton would be the first school board in Alberta to have student representation and would follow the Vancouver School Board, who passed a motion in June to allow a high-school student to sit on the board as part of a one-year pilot project beginning this fall.

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