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Addressing elected officials

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Posted: Friday, June 22, 2012 10:27 am

I’ve covered public government meetings for half my life and remain impressed when a teenager addresses a public official. It takes a lot to gather one’s thoughts and give your opinion on a topic, even if it’s just in a prepared statement.

But such a presentation last week left a strange taste in my mouth. It wasn’t so much what new Liberty Ranch High School graduate Taylor Hill said to Galt Joint Union High School District Kathleen Amos, but how he said it.

For some background, Amos has been publicly outspoken about the school’s inagural graduation being held in Sacramento. She was concerned about the cost and precedent the June 1 ceremony outside of city limits would create. It wasn’t a popular opinion -- and this student wanted to let her know what he thought.

In a nutshell, he felt the graduation went well and pointed out the festivities aren’t really a community event since once graduate friends and family attend. In the midst of his prepared statement, he used phrases including, “I hope you feel ashamed at what you said" (not referring to any specific comment), and “I am here to teach you a lesson.”

And with that he walked away from the podium. No one, including the opinionated Amos, said anything and the meeting commenced.

What do you think? Was the young man justified in using the tone of voice he did to address Amos? Should those 18 and under be held to a different level of respect than adults?

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