Cheers to those who speak up

In this country young Americans get a bad rap for indifference. News stories often chide them for not showing up to public meetings or not registering to vote.

A misconception seems to be in the air that young people simply don’t care. That isn’t the case, of course. As one New York Times article from October 2012 pointed out, millennials are voting at approximately the same age as the boomer generation did when they were younger.

The NYT research showed that in 1976, those between 18 and 30 voted at a rate of about 50 percent. In the 2012 election, 51 percent of young adults between 18-28 voted.

Still, a nod and word of praise should be given to local youth who are getting involved.

While all youth committed to making their community a better place deserve a pat on the back, this week a group of Sheridan High School Student Council representatives met with Rep. John Patton, R-Sheridan, to discuss a potential bill to be introduced in the Wyoming Legislature regarding cyberbullying.

They talked about concerns surrounding a potential bill — including losing some freedom of speech and privacy rights — and the obvious benefit of cutting down on harassment.

Discussions were had on what constitutes bullying and where the line is drawn between harassment and a disagreement.

No matter the outcome, these kids took time out of their day to meet with a state legislator and talk about the law. They had the meeting before school hours on their own time.

This is admirable. No matter what happens with the bill, these students spoke up.

Just as Patton will take away many concerns and points of view from the meeting, the students will know that their voices were heard.

In a society that rewards the voices who shout the loudest and say the most extreme things, these students will know that civilized discourse still has a place in our democracy.

Kudos to them and a thank you is warranted to the legislator who took the time to listen.


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