Lawmakers head back to school

Tuesday, September 30th 2008, 5:18 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

BYNG, Okla. -- With all that's going on in Washington right now - with lawmakers trying to solve the financial crisis in the middle of a presidential campaign -- this would seem a good time for students to learn about the legislative process.

That's exactly what's happening, thanks to a certain national program.

Byng is in the district of Susan Paddack (D) District 13, a first-term senator who's quickly made a habit of visiting her local schools.

The former teacher offered students a simple, but key lesson in representative government -- that she is their voice at the state Capitol.

Paddack has passed two bills in the Legislature that originated from Byng Junior High. One of those bills, making it a crime to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, came from a group of Byng students that included Byng Senior, Dakota Abbott.

"Whenever we got all of our data and results and everything in to show what could happen, we took it to Susan Paddack and showed her," Abbott said.

And now other Byng students are coming up with their own capital ideas.

"I'd probably work on getting funding for roads and bridges and stuff, ‘cause we struggle in that area," Byng Senior, Dylan Hendricks said.

The school's principal said this is an important lesson for students.

"Too many times you see things on the news and you don't think that really affects you or you don't have a say in what goes on," Byng Jr. High Principal Kevin Wilson said. "This lets kids know, ‘Hey, I've got a say, I've got someone who cares about what I say'."

Paddack said the school visits are a win-win; they make her a better lawmaker, and make students better citizens.

"We've got to educate our future, and the children are our future, so to me it's just so important to be out with the kids and let them know that their voice is important and that I want to hear from them," Paddack said.