Six Startling Facts About Students on School Boards

This is the SoundOut Students On School Boards Toolkit by Adam Fletcher. It includes research, examples and more. SoundOut offers professional development and training! For more information contact us.

This article features six facts about students on school boards, most of which are exceptional, different or unexpected. Each is linked to its source, too, in order to ensure accountability. These are the facts, and just the facts; check the rest of our Students on School Boards Toolkit for research, tips, examples and more.


SoundOut is concerned about the absence of students on school boards in school districts and state boards of education across the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, and around the world. Engaging students as decision-makers is a key to ensuring Meaningful Student Involvement for every student in every school all of the time.

This list of facts is related to students on school boards. Each is linked to its source, too, in order to ensure accountability. These are the facts, and just the facts; check the rest of our Students on School Boards Toolbox for research, tips, examples and more.

1) Students are on state boards of education.

  • Nationwide, at least 17 students in at least 13 states serve as members of their state boards of education. *
  • As many as five states allow student members of state boards of education to vote. *

2) There are roles for students on state boards of education.

  • Student representatives in all 13 states with student members are able to share their opinions and those of their peers. *

3) Students sit on district school boards.

  • At least 24 states have specific laws addressing roles for students on district school boards. *
  • At least eight states have laws that sort of addressed the issue of students on school boards. *

4) Students in some states have full voting rights.

  • Students in at least seven states can potentially vote on district school boards. *
  • In at least 27 states, student members of school boards cannot vote at all. *
  • In at least five states, the vote of the student board representative is limited to topics adults request their vote on; otherwise, students cannot to vote. *
  • In at least three states student representatives to district boards are not limited on what they vote for. *

5) Some students can only speak when spoken to.

  • In at least 24 states, student representatives’ role is only as advisors with no real authority. *
  • In at least 11 states, student representatives are treated as regular members of the district board of education. *

6) Some states do not all students to serve on school boards at all.

  • As many as 14 states do not allow students to serve on school boards. *

Students on School Boards Toolkit

Students on School Boards in Canada

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