Athens Drive Ponders Changes To Co-Class President System
Posted March 25, 2004
RALEIGH, N.C. — Athens Drive High School actually uses race to elect its class presidents.
When students go to the polls, they pick two class presidents -- one for white students; one for minority students.
School officials said it started as a way to get minority students involved in student government. Though some students said it is working, others do not like the message it sends.
"Something has to change," junior Paul Reichelt said.
"What it's saying is that white, black, Indian students can't represent the entire student body. I guess it's saying we have different values than people of a different race."
Like most schools, Athens Drive has one student body president. But Principal Kathryn Chontos said the idea of co-class presidents started about 15 years ago.
"I think it was put in place to ensure that all students had a voice in the student government," Chontos said.
Many students in student government like the system.
"I think it's important to have two people there," Vanessa Athis said.
Said Michael Crook: "Look around the school. Everyone is represented equally."
The Athens Drive student population is 70 percent white. But Chontos said the school is much more diverse than when the co-president system began.
She said the administrators inherited the system and continued it because no one has questioned it.
"Sometimes what happens is you continue doing things the way they've been because it's always been done that way," she said.
When asked if she thought this system of government is appropriate, Chontos said: "I think we have to let the students have a forum of discussion.
"Our president and co-presidents do a really good job at what they do," she said.
The students have a constitution. Chontos said changes are up to the students to make.
The student government is reviewing the idea of changing the current system. It reviews the constitution every year.