Students shine in town meeting debut

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To the Editor:

Our two nights of town meeting in West Tisbury (with a projected third night on April 30th, as one article remains to be debated and decided) were exhausting, frustrating, extremely confusing, and sometimes exciting, sometimes a bit boring.

However, there was one shining star in the whole process, and that was the West Tisbury School kids (fifth and sixth grade, I believe) who studied, drafted, and presented an article about plastic bottles (banning the sale of drinks in plastic bottles under 34 ounces). They also presented an amendment which delays implementation until May 2020. With about 300 people present, their bill carried unanimously. Here is what I just wrote to a friend:

“Tuesday night [at the West Tisbury town meeting] was agonizing, frustrating, and a lot of the rhetoric was endless and repetitive, as well as unnecessary. We had worried that the kids and the bottle bill were going to be the total roadblock, but the kids were superb. They had been well coached; they had done their research, and along the way they got a huge and incredibly valuable lesson in how democracy is supposed to work in a nonpartisan and collaborative way. Also along the way to town meeting, they had made persuasive visits to various vendors and stores, they researched the issues, they learned about the amount of crap that we are putting into the oceans (not to mention dumping on land), and how it is impacting our planet. They stepped up to the microphone, read what they had learned — which they had obviously fact-checked — asked for our vote, and then they wrapped it up. Those kids were the absolute stars of town meeting! I couldn’t have been more proud, and impressed, if I had had a grandkid in that cohort!”

Virginia Crowell Jones
West Tisbury