Homestead Epitaph Issue 7
Published April 30, 2015
By Shauli Bar-On
Local schools such as Gunn, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos allow online campaigning during student elections. I sometimes see some of my friends liking a page that promotes a certain student for office, or posting on social media to help a friend gain popularity.
HHS, however, does not permit its students to campaign via social media, cell phones, or any other method outside of the campaigning allowed on the school campus.
Despite the policies practiced by neighboring schools, HHS should maintain its ban of online campaigning for school office positions. Without this restriction, the administration cannot monitor the campaigning process which is, after all, for a school position.
Since students are running for school positions, they should still be obliged to follow school rules. Opening campaigning up to social media puts candidates at risk for cyber bullying, and creates the possibility of online fights regarding the “better candidate.” There is no way for the school to enforce their rules on such a large platform.
Therefore, by threatening disqualification from the race, the administration blocks all possibilities of rule breaking through online campaigning.
In addition, by allowing students to campaign online, some students could have advantages over others. Some parents may not allow their children to have social media accounts, which means those students might not be able to reach the same number of voters as their opponents who do participate in social media.
The proper solution to the online debate is to dedicate an area of the school website for each candidate to create a profile about themselves. Candidates will instantly be able to transmit their ideas to a large pool of viewers.
The administration should also continue to uphold its rule of not campaigning via text or by sending personal messages to other students. Some students simply do not have the ability to send as many messages as their opponents – candidates may not have the means to contact as many students as others, and not all families can afford an unlimited texting plan for their children.
The reason students should vote for a certain candidate should be because they genuinely believe in the abilities of the candidate who wins their vote. This can only be done through face-to-face contact with the candidates.
The online campaigning ban ensures an equal chance for all competitors and allows students to decide who they want to vote for based on their ideas as well as the personal interactions they have with all the candidates.