Right before spring break, Berkeley High School held the annual schoolwide Associated Student Body (ASB) elections. In this election, students had the sole power to decide who should be elected. This is a lot of responsibility to put in the hands of teenagers, especially teenagers who are so easily influenced by their friends and peers. Far too often, ASB candidates are chosen because of their popularity which ends up negatively affecting the entire school.
Throughout high schools all over the U.S., popularity can have a huge effect on student elections. One of the main reasons this happens is because teens are so easily influenced by others their age. Oftentimes, if a student doesn’t know who to vote for, they’ll simply ask their friends who they’re voting for. Another possible way to choose who to vote for is to check out different campaign social media accounts. Well, if one candidate has more followers than the others, shouldn’t that make them more well suited for the job? Actually, no, it doesn’t. A large reason that the followings on these accounts grow is through the reposting of it by the candidates personal account, and/or their friends accounts. In turn, these follower counts are much more likely to be a reflection of the amount of followers that the candidate already has.
Students need to stay focused on the policies and actions that candidates want to take, rather than silly methods of campaigning. During the elections, every hallway at BHS was covered in campaign fliers and posters. While some posters were more informative and serious, many decided to take the funny route instead. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it draws attention away from the real point of the campaign.
While a lot of this is students’ responsibility to educate themselves on the best candidate, they aren’t solely responsible. Students had a few different resources to learn about candidates, but not everyone had access to all of the information. For example, though there were bits and pieces of each speech in the video bulletins, many students didn’t get the opportunity to watch them. This is mainly because not all teachers uphold their responsibility to show their students the bulletin every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
While some may say that students should just be able to vote for who they like the best or who their friends are voting for, this is untrue. Students have a responsibility to make BHS a better place. That means that they shouldn’t elect the funniest or “coolest” person if that person isn’t the best fit for the position.
Students at BHS deserve to have the best ASB leaders as possible. They need to be thoroughly educated on the policies of every candidate in order to make accurate, informed decisions. They also need to realize that popularity shouldn’t be a factor in who they choose to help make important decisions and changes for the school. To make BHS the best it can be, students need to make careful, informed, and non-influenced decisions when selecting ASB leadership.