St. Joseph Teenagers Get Firsthand Look at Local Government

St. Joseph Teenagers Get Firsthand Look at Local Government

Students tour government buildings and meet their local city leaders.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) (ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) City Hall is just one of the locations where St. Joseph high school students are getting the chance to be face to face with the people who run their local government.

October 15 was Student in Government day.

"It's just a good opportunity to come and see how their tax dollars do work," said Mary Robertson, Public Information Officer for the City of St. Joseph.

Every St. Joseph high school, including Bishop LeBlond, and St. Joseph Christian are represented at this field trip that takes them behind the scenes of the local government.

"I don't want them to sit in the council chamber all day and just be talked to," Robertson said.  "I want them to be engaged; I want them to interact, and see firsthand some of the facilities and the operations."

Their first guided tour is at the Police Headquarters. 

Students learn how computer experts collect evidence from the internet and cell phones.

"Nearly every single one of our secondary investigations - every investigation that the detectives follow up on - has some sort of electronic element," explains Detective Josh Howery, from the Electronic Crimes Unit.

Students also tour the SJPD's armory, where they see and learn about the weapons available to the police officers.

"Most of the students that are here have some sort of interest in government or history already, so they have a pretty good idea as to what happens," said George Ross, government and history teacher from Benton High School, "but now they get to hear it first hand from those who make it happen."

The students are juniors; they're not quite eighteen years old.

But their teachers say this is the perfect age to be exposed to government and civic duty.

"It's never too soon to start," Mr. Ross said.  "With the state we're in with our country basically being polarized, the earlier and the sooner we're getting our young people involved and put in a civic mindset, I think the better off we'll be for our future."

The Student in Government Day concluded with lunch and a mock city council meeting.
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