Advocate Staff report
Students from the FFA chapter at Green County High School made a motion at KSBA’s annual conference in February to offer school board members a refresher course in Robert’s Rules of Order. The board members who attended seconded the motion.
This group, which competes annually in FFA parliamentary procedure contests, led the pre-conference session, which focused on the history of the procedure, its ins and out and why it is so effective. They finished their presentation with a mock meeting showing board members how it’s done.
Student Hetzer Durrett said Robert’s Rules were created by Henry Martyn Robert in 1876. There have been 11 editions since then, with updates to accommodate the changing society.
“Why are they still used today? It’s mostly because it’s easy to understand and isn’t as complex as other methods,” he said. “It protects the rights of the members present, that you have the right to have a voice in the meeting and what goes on in the schools. It also protects your rights if you’re not able to come to a meeting; you can reconsider decisions at later meetings. It also protects against instability ... it lets all members have a voice in a meeting.”
The rules are designed to keep the meeting moving forward in a professional, courteous manner, said FFA chapter President Jordan Abell.
“People can get very passionate about their children’s education and I think that it’s very important to say what you feel but you can’t go too dramatic,” he said. “It’s important not to get too upset about people’s opinions. That’s a big thing that Robert’s Rules of Order does; everyone says how they feel and tries to persuade them to vote toward you. But you can’t get upset just because someone disagrees with you, you just have to try to persuade everyone else to vote on your side.”
He said the rules encourage civility.
“Respect other people’s ideas and feelings,” he said. “That’s a big part of this and why Robert’s Rules of Order is so effective, because it helps to do that and keep controversy to a minimum. Other people respect your opinion more if you listen and respect theirs.”