Students should learn about their government

Do high school students care about their county government? Does it matter if they care? Don’t they need to know about it anyway?

Martin County commissioners wrangled with the issue this week, as they dealt with the fact that the American Legion Auxiliary has discontinued Boys and Girls County, a long-running program that offered tours and information about city and county government. Commissioners are considering taking over the program themselves, or finding a sponsor.

A tenet of Boys and Girls County was to expose teens to local government, whether it thrilled them or not. But commissioners have noticed in recent years declining interest among the kids, many of whom have lacked the proper decorum for the outing. Officials suspect the teens enjoy the day away from their normal studies, but could care less about learning anything on the field trip. We assume there has always been some truth to that worry. Kids may have hid it better in the past, in better manners.

Whether young people – or adults, for that matter – care or not, city and county government exists and has an impact on the lives of everyone living here. This is true in terms of services and taxes.

We think the county should find a sponsor or find a way to hold a government day for youth. It would be nice if the school could push the issue, making the outing part of class work and something on which students would be quizzed.