1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

A Hypothetical one from a class discussion

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by llanelliboy, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. llanelliboy

    llanelliboy New commenter

    I'm a pre-service teacher and this came up in a class discussion. The source movie is Election.

    Your school has allowed the students to elect the president of their student council. You and a colleague are the staff advisers. During the vote count, a student whom both you and your colleague perceive as inappropriate for student council president wins the election by three votes. The second-place candidate is perceived by both of you as a better choice for student council president. Your colleague destroys four of the ballots, giving the school council presidency to the runner-up. What do you do?

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. llanelliboy

    llanelliboy New commenter

    I'm a pre-service teacher and this came up in a class discussion. The source movie is Election.

    Your school has allowed the students to elect the president of their student council. You and a colleague are the staff advisers. During the vote count, a student whom both you and your colleague perceive as inappropriate for student council president wins the election by three votes. The second-place candidate is perceived by both of you as a better choice for student council president. Your colleague destroys four of the ballots, giving the school council presidency to the runner-up. What do you do?

    Any thoughts?
     
  3. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    An interesting question. For me the answer is a no-brainer: unless you report the colleague, you are colluding with the corruption of a democratic process that makes you no better than corrupt leaders around the world. Syria? Zimbabwe? Iran? Texas? Tower Hamlets? Children have to learn that ballot-box decisions have consequences but also that, in a democracy, an unpopular leader can be voted out of office.
     
  4. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    Far too strongly put (imo).
     
  5. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Can you prove it? Wasn't it Stalin who is reported to have said that it's not the people who vote that count, but the people who count the votes? I say "reported" as there's plenty of doubt.
     
  6. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    With respect, I beg to differ. The chosen examples were deliberately emotive, to provoke reflection of the point at which it is acceptable to draw the line.
    Are we shocked at electoral corruption in Zimbabwe? I guess most of us are. What about lower numbers with a less-obvious impact: what about the example of Tower Hamlets I gave? The farming out of postal votes and intimidation of voters didn't affect most of us. Do we know or care who was elected to the council in Tower Hamlets? Does it matter that large-scale fraud appears to be taking place related to the Mayoral elections?
    How many corrupted votes is too few for it to matter? 100? 10? 4...?
    If a school is going to run elections for office-holders, it matters that those elections are free and fair.
     
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I thought all teachers had the casting vote for all student council elections. So the voting is always done 'in secret' just so a teacher can overrule the result should they deem it appropriate.
     
  8. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    The powers exercised by those in public office are very different to those excercised by members of a school council. To me, that is a rather big difference. By suggeting it is anyway comparable it (in my mind) belittles the "true" abuses...
    It is not a matter of a "number" of corrupt votes.
     
  9. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Then on this we shall have to agree to disagree. I believe that transparency and integrity matter at every level. Children have important lessons to learn from making a poor electoral decision and having to live with the consequences.
     
  10. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    even if that has an impact on the OTHER students who make "good" choices...
     
  11. causabon99

    causabon99 New commenter


    Consider who runs the school and for whose benefit, and the messages that could be sent out. The appropriate candidate by teachers' decision (if such a situation were to arise) wins. Schools are not democracies. In point of fact this scenario puts into question the whole idea of student councils, because if in any way the authority of the teachers is undermined, schools fail. So there are limits. Children learn from consequences, but the consequences here may mean that the children learn more about how to corrupt a system, through a putative democratic process. It's a kind of power-struggle on their part that should not be engaged in by the staff; staff action should be simply to get theirpreferred candidate in and sideline the exercise. It is in no way akin to supporting tyranny or decrying democracy in the 'real' world. In fact it is supportive of school student democracy in the long run.
     
  12. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I surprised that such a situation would be allowed to develop.
    In my school, all student council elections are counted in the presence of both staff and students. Our experience has been that students are quite sensible when electing representatives and see through all the posturing and "cool" factors and invariably vote for the representatives who are the best on offer.
     
  13. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I have known similar things happen when voting staff for union rep or governing positions.... Democracy is only as fair as the people following the process through.
     

Share This Page