Pubdate: Thu, 02 Nov 2006
Source: Durango Herald, The (CO)
Copyright: 2006 The Durango Herald
Author: Chuck Slothower, Herald Staff Writer
Cited: Amendment 44
Bookmark: (Students - United States)


High-Schoolers Conduct Mock Election

"I don't want to vote," said a Durango High School sophomore as her
friend pushed her toward the ballot box.

"Yes, you do," her friend responded.

"Vote for what?"


Amendment 44, which would legalize marijuana possession for adults,
was among the issues that excited DHS students as they cast ballots in
a mock election Wednesday. Students crowded around lunch tables to
mark their ballots while their parents prepared to vote in the actual
election in six days.

The DHS Student Council picked a handful of ballot measures of
interest to students: a school spending initiative, a minimum-wage
increase, a constitutional ban on gay marriage, the marijuana measure
and Durango's proposed public library. The mock election continues

"Students are really not represented in the things that affect us the
most," said Kelly Graves, a senior who serves as Student Council's
administrative liaison.

No preliminary results were available, but students overwhelmingly
said they favored legalizing marijuana and opposed banning gay marriage.

Freshman Trey Heath, 14, said he supported marijuana

"I don't believe in smoking marijuana, but if they ban it, people are
just going to want to do it more," Heath said.

"What you can't have, you want to have," said another freshman,
Franchesca Framer, 15. Furthermore, she said, "everyone does it anyway."

Students said people should be able to marry whomever they

"What if a man loves someone who's another man and a woman loves
someone who's another woman?" said sophomore Alicia Hansen, 15. "I
think it's fine."

In a notable difference of opinion with their administrators, several
students said they favored Amendment 39, which would require school
districts to spend 65 percent of their operating budgets on classroom
instruction. School districts across the state have come out against
the amendment, saying it would reduce local control of schools. But
students expressed other concerns.

"My textbook in history doesn't even have a cover," said freshman
Autumn Northrop, 15. "We need money so we can get stuff like that replaced."

Teacher Dale Garland roamed the commons area, warning students, "If
you don't vote, you can't complain." Students voted behind wooden
screens and cast their ballots in a box splattered with black and red
paint, reflecting school colors.

"Kids our age, our opinions need to be heard," said sophomore Kaeti
Zeller, 15. "We're at an age right now where we're kind of breaking
away from our parents and thinking about issues for ourselves."
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