Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner has a message for the county’s students: You matter and we care.
County Council members hope to send that message while fielding questions from students—who are welcome to send messages to the Council in person or via Twitter—at a Town Hall Meeting for Students tonight in Rockville.
High school, middle school and elementary school public and private students are invited to attend. The format is designed to offer “an organized, but informal, setting,” according to a news release announcing the meeting.
“The purpose of this Town Hall Meeting is to send the message loud and clear: ‘Your voices do matter and we want to know what you have to say,’” Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Potomac said in a statement. “When it comes to questions like ‘How do we make our county better?’ or ‘I wish Montgomery County had ...,’ our young people have a lot on their minds. I hope they will join us on Twitter ahead of time and during the Town Hall.”
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the third floor hearing room of the Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, at 100 Maryland Ave., in Rockville. A pre-meeting reception begins at 6:30 p.m. in the second floor cafeteria. Students are asked to RSVP by calling 240-777-7931.
In an attempt to bring more young people into the discussion, the Council will take questions via Twitter using the hashtag #mocoyouth. Students tweeting about the event are encouraged to use the hashtag as well.
The Council periodically holds town hall meetings around the county for all residents. This will be the third such Town Hall for students. Student Town Halls held in February 2010 and October 2011 were each attended by more than 400 people, according to the Council news release.
The Council has increased efforts to reach out to young people in recent years, including the launch of youth café programs that offer youth-driven activities through the county Department of Recreation.
Youth issues took center stage at the Council in summer 2011 after County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) proposed a controversial teen curfew. The Council eventually declined to act on the proposal after students organized opposition, including a “Stand Up to the MoCo Youth Curfew!” Facebook page.
“Young people in Montgomery County today are smart and engaged,” Councilwoman Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring said in the release. “As technology makes it easier for them to connect with their community, it is more important than ever to learn their point of view. The Student Town Hall Meeting will be another opportunity to see how we can better serve our students.”
The Council building is a three-block walk from the Rockville Metro station, which is on Metrorail’s Red Line and is a hub for many Ride On bus routes. Free parking will be available by entering the Council building’s parking garage at the Fleet Street entrance.
The meeting will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast in the weeks following the meeting.
Susan Kennedy, a producer for the CCM, will serve as the moderator.
Will you attend the Council's Town Hall for Students? Will you tweet? What does the County Council need to know about young people in Montgomery County?