tampabay.com

If students made the law: 'Slow down' and 'pull up your pants'

By LETITIA STEIN
Published February 10, 2007


Hillsborough County students are competing in a contest called "Ought to be a Law." Each high school nominates an idea. Today, the Hillsborough legislative delegation will pick one to champion when the legislative session begins in March. Below are several of the student-proposed laws. Letitia Stein, Times staff writer

High school safety zones

Lexi Darsey, Chamberlain

It's time, students say, to put the brakes on fast cars around campuses. For starters, Lexi would establish school zones around high schools. She also wants solar-powered speed indicators to remind drivers to slow down. It's easy to understand why: In December, a student died outside Brandon High School when a car struck him in a marked crosswalk.

Community credit toward graduation

Cory Givens, Robinson

Students who "do good" should be rewarded. This proposed law would let them earn a half-credit for 25 hours of community service. So how many hours would it take to get an exemption from the FCAT?

To challenge the sun

Miqae'lah Grace, Newsome

Newsome High joined the culture wars when some parents protested the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance as a student club. Now it's weighing in from a different view. Newsome High's proposal would repeal a ban on same-sex marriages in Florida. The sponsor, senior Miqae'lah Grace, asks in the bill: "How is it that two people of the same gender wanting to marry threatens the institution of marriage?"

Dress code for schools

Taniqua Roberts, Middleton

This high school junior is fed up with guys who think it's cool to wear their pants down low. "I believe this fashion trend is nonsense," states a draft of her bill, which would make the practice illegal in the city of Tampa. She would fine first-time offenders $50. Second-time offenders would pay $50 and face 25 hours of community service. On the third offense, she would ship them off to jail.

Finance reports by political parties

Lexi McBride, Armwood

A kid can learn a thing or two about politics when Mom wins election to state office - and Dad makes an unsuccessful bid for governor. Lexi, the daughter of state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, is concerned about a campaign finance loophole. During her mother's campaign, Lexi learned that political parties don't have to file frequent financial reports in the weeks immediately preceding an election. She thinks they should so the public can know who's influencing elections. "I've been exposed to a lot of politics," she said. "You see how it's a problem."