Hauppauge, NY: On March 15th, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-18th LD) joined her colleagues and the League of Women Voters in welcoming students at the Suffolk County Legislature for Student Day. This dynamic event orchestrated by the League of Women Voters (LWV) provided the young participants with an opportunity to learn more about the legislative process, in addition to the work of organizations like the LWV.
The day began with a breakfast and networking session, allowing students to interact with participants from other schools. However, the main event of the day was the mock debate during which the students argued for or against a proposed resolution. The proposed resolution was entitled, “Arming School Safety Officers and Suffolk County Police Officers Working in Suffolk County Schools.” As the title of the resolution implies, the legislation would allow the presence of armed safety and police officers on school premises throughout Suffolk County.
A police officer from the Suffolk County Police Department was on hand to give a brief overview of the resolution, which was helpful to the students in the process of formulating their positions whether they took on the role of a legislator or member of the public. Soon after the presentation, the students formed two groups (caucuses), one for and one against the resolution.
“This was a tremendous learning experience for the students, and it was so encouraging to see how seriously they treated the subject matter,” said Bontempi. “The presence of armed officers in public schools is quite controversial, thus this topic was ripe for a spirited debate. The utilization of the legislative horseshoe certainly added to the realism and excitement.”
The Suffolk County Legislature provides numerous opportunities for students, most notably through its Legislative Page Program for undergraduate and graduate students. If the Page Program sounds interesting to you or someone you know, please visit this link for more information: https://www.scnylegislature.us/895/Page-Program.