If any person believes that children are too young to become active participants in their community, they forgot to mention that to some sixth grade students at Edgar Middle School. On Monday, March 18, 2013, these sixth grade students presented public policies they created in their Life Studies class to distinguished members of the community, their parents, and their peers.
Part of the Life Studies curriculum is a unit called Project Citizen. The Project Citizen unit teaches students how to become empowered and dynamic citizens in a democracy. The unit allows the students to gain firsthand experience in dealing with the policymaking process by giving them an opportunity to identify and fix a problem in their community. These specific students chose to create policies on the issues of underage smoking and pedestrian safety. The class is taught by EMS teacher, Ken Smith.
The students looked at different ways to make Metuchen a safer town for all of its citizens. Being a residential town, Metuchen citizens are constantly on the streets walking around, which can be dangerous if both drivers and pedestrians are not careful when people are walking in the crosswalks. The students feel the need to re-paint crosswalks yearly and to teach other students how to properly use the newly implemented flags.
The other group of students focused on creating a policy that punished any person under the age of 19 who is caught smoking cigarettes. Their passion and interest in this problem can be credited in part to the D.A.R.E. program, in which all sixth grade students participate.
In looking at the energy and enthusiasm the students have regarding these issues, it is apparent that Edgar Middle School is breeding a group of concerned citizens, regardless of their age.