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Put a student on the School Board?

Emerson High School senior Stephon Wright was among the more than one dozen people who applied for the at-large seat on the School Board in December.

"I think the students need more say in the policy," he told the board. "They need to be able to speak and to have a voice."

Stephon Wright4Wright offered some simple solutions to problems in the district. Probably the most memorable: his perspective on how to increase parent involvement.

"You know what I come to find out draws a lot of people? Food. We need to have movie night or chili night or something like that," he said.

His main theme? Everybody in the district needs to start working together better. He likened the district to a family.

"The district needs to bring people together," he said. "Like I said, food brings people together. Family eats together. Family does a lot of things together. If we're going to be family, let's work together."

Well, Wright was not selected to fill the seat, which went to Barbara Seals Nevergold. But he drew a lot of interest from a number of board observers, who found him to make a compelling case for the merits of having a student voice at the board table.

Wright has since launched an effort to have the board add a non-voting student member -- something that a number of other districts in the state have done in recent years.

The District Parent Coordinating Council this month voted to support the idea, and Wright this week provided the board with a draft resolution to add a student member for the remainder of the school year.

Will it happen?

Stay tuned.

- Mary Pasciak

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |