Malinda Meehan's former sixth grade class at A.B. Combs Elementary has received much praise and attention for its success in a class project aimed at getting students proactive in the lawmaking process, and even more attention was given to them by a television crew from the Center for Civic Education.
Project Citizen, which is a program for middle grade students that helps young people learn how to monitor and influence public policy, gives students like the ones at A.B. Combs the opportunity to influence public policy, and in October of last year, they did just that.
During the regular meeting of the Perry County Fiscal Court, Mrs. Meehan's class addressed the Court in regards to animal control in the county. As a result of that meeting, Perry County is set to adopt a new ordinance that
requires an animal control officer in Perry County that destroys an untagged animal must report that animal to Perry County Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble. Before, the ordinance state that an untagged animal could be destroyed by any means necessary.
The film crew was busy filming a re-creation of events that occurred to lead up to the students' meeting at the Fiscal Court. Early yesterday morning, the students at A.B. Combs were re-creating what they did in front of the camera, and yesterday afternoon were back in the Fiscal Courtroom to re-create their meeting before Judge Noble and the magistrates.
During that meeting, the Fiscal Court passed the first reading of a resolution to put the new ordinance concerning the destruction of wild animals into effect. Noble said before the meeting started that he thinks the students are right, but at the same time expects an animal control officer to do what's right for the public. He noted that Perry County has a lot of wildlife and the possiblilty of wild dogs that could be dangerous to the public.
According to Dr. Deborah L. Williamson, Grants Administrator for the Budget Department, the crew will also be interviewing Kentucky Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, Secretary of State Trey Grayson, and officials of the Education Department regarding the significance of projects such as this, and how their respective offices are involved.
Although Mrs. Meehan has since taken a position at R.G. Eversole teaching seventh and eighth grades, she couldn't be more proud of here former students. "They did absolutely awesome," she said outside of the Fiscal Court room, waiting to give her former students their trophy from the national competition last month. "They learned more about civics than anything else they could possibly do. I'm so proud of them."
The students involved in Project Citizen from A.B. Combs won state competition in May, and went on to win the blue ribbon at nationals last month.
The scenes shot yesterday will be broadcast on Kentucky Educational television this coming fall.