By kristine gill
Students participating in the 31st annual Civics Day on Friday approved a city ordinance to ban texting while driving.
The actual ordinance has been in place since October, but this was an exercise for Canfield High School seniors.
“How many of you knew that ban was in place?” city council member Andrew Skrobola asked.
Less than half of students raised their hands, but the experts were on hand to provide the facts.
“We just want to educate voters that texting and driving is dangerous,” said senior Bryan Clark. Clark had the help of Canfield Police Chief Charles Colucci as his stand-in for the day.
Would common sense be enough to persuade drivers to stop texting? Senior Luke Daprile, city council member Dan Frazzini for the day, wanted to know.
“We’ll just take you down to the station and put you in a holding cell, and that will be enough education,” Clark added.
Once laughter subsided, students had genuine questions about the ban, such as, did using an iPod count as texting, and can an officer ask to see your phone if he thinks you’ve been using it?
“This is an example we want to provide, and it gives students a semblance of how our government works,” Skrobola said, adding that a bit of fun made the meeting bearable and informative.
Students also passed a resolution to recognize Nancy Brundage, a real member of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Board, for her work in helping Canfield to maintain its Tree City USA status. After the motion to pass the resolution was seconded, Mayor Bill Kay’s stand-in had a question.
“What’s a Tree City USA?” asked senior Jillian Smith. The designation involves a community’s making special efforts — such as having a park board — to grow and preserve trees.
Explanations ensued, and the final item on the agenda was addressed: a motion to make student Kaitlin Kaleel, standing in for board of appeals chairman Dave Kanarr, a member of the Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Board — her term to expire at the end of Civics Day.
“Kaitlin Kaleel has planted thousands of trees in the city,” said city council member Marleen Belfiore’s prot g , Emily Cestone. “Her backyard is a forest.”
“Those trees have all been cut down for paper,” Daprile countered.
“She’s also planted thousands of ferns,” Cestone offered.
“She actually lives in a tree house.”
All those credentials weren’t enough to earn Kaleel a spot on the board as council members voted the motion down.
“Motion failed,” said senior Ha Le, Skrobola’s stand-in, who gave two thumbs up.
Their primer on city government began with a mock school board meeting followed by tours of the elementary and middle schools and the police and fire departments.
After the mock city council meeting, students had a mock trustee meeting at Canfield Township Hall followed by a lunch.