By Daniel Adri and Mason Archer, Staff Writers
// A simple extra credit opportunity for Acalanes teacher Kristen Anderson’s government class, escalated quickly into an interview on live television with KTVU.
On Thursday Nov. 7, seniors Gavin Jones, Ethan Michon, Jimmy Harrington, and Riley Labrosse attended a congressional town hall meeting to listen to Representative Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, speak about an anti-vape bill that would temporarily stop the sale of all e-cigarettes nationwide until they undergo a per-market review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Anderson believed it would be a good experience for her students to see the legislative process in action, so she offered the opportunity as extra credit in hopes of getting more student attendees.
“Since I teach government and civic responsibility, I want my students to understand that it is our responsibility to stay informed as citizens and to know what our elected public servants are doing for us,” Anderson said.
Unexpectedly, the students were approached about the possibility of being interviewed about their thoughts and connections to vaping.
“We were just sitting there at the Town Hall and some news reporter came up to us with no real reason other than just ‘can we interview you guys about the new vape ban,’” Jones said. “I would assume it was because we were the youngest people there.”
Since the majority of attendees were older, the students offered a unique perspective. While the prospect of being on television seemed daunting, the students did not pass up the rare opportunity.
“It was a really cool experience even though it was a little nerve-racking,” Harrington said.
The students were mostly questioned about the teenage vaping experience.
”We were asked about our personal opinions on the vaping ban, if people we know people that vape and if we think it’s a big issue right now,” Jones said.
Anderson hopes that the students take away from the meeting how important it is for young people to stay informed and get involved in local government.
“We were some of the youngest there and I’m really disappointed in that,” Anderson said. “It’s young people who need to be out there finding out what their lawmakers are doing for them because they’re also being represented, not just older people.”
Click the link below to watch the full interview.