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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — High school students in Narragansett may soon have a seat at the table — and a voice — on the town’s school committee.

It’s an initiative that newly re-elected School Committee member Alex Menzies has hoped to bring to a vote, and which was taken up when a draft of his proposal got its first reading this week.

Menzies, the committee’s youngest member, campaigned this year and in 2020 on his status as a recent graduate of the Narragansett school system who wants to give back to the community that educated him.

“I am very excited to say that the advocacy for greater student involvement and bringing added representation to the school committee is finally coming full circle,” Menzies said this week.

The proposed policy lays out the creation and responsibilities of a student representative to the committee.

The representative would not be a member of the School Committee, but would serve in a non-voting, advisory capacity, advocating for the interests of the students.

Selection for the post would be open to any high school junior in good standing who has taken or is enrolled in the school’s U.S. government or civics class. Applications would be available March 1.

Students would have until April 1 to apply, and then move through the selection process. The high school’s principal and School Improvement Team would review applications, with input from a school committee member liaison.

Finalists would interview with the principal and the liaison as well, and both would appoint the representative by the end of May, in time for service the next school year.

Even better for the students: serving as a representative can be considered as a senior project.

“The Student Representative will attempt to communicate with various student groups once a month during the school year to obtain input and keep students informed on all pertinent issues before the School Committee in ways approved by the superintendent or designee,” the policy says.

It outlines stringent standards for the representative to stay in their position: failure to maintain academic standards and “behaviors that the committee deems unacceptable” are grounds for removal.

As a representative, the senior class member would also receive committee meeting agendas and documents, though not those related to specific students or employees or otherwise deemed confidential. The student also can’t attend the executive sessions that are closed to the public.

The representative member would also take part in discussions, give reports and suggest items to be put on the agenda for future meetings.

As a former student who grew up in the Narragansett school system, attending all three public schools and graduating from the high school in 2011, Menzies said the policy is near to his heart.

“I believed strongly that a student’s perspective was necessary and important to have in order to better serve and care for the needs of every student,” he said. “This is also a terrific opportunity for students to get involved and to give students a platform to share their thoughts and feedback.”

The school committee is expected to continue deliberation and possibly take action on the policy in December.

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