In politics, especially high school politics, elections revolve around promising something new and different to the student body. Whether that be better or cheaper school lunches, longer recess periods, or more control over events like prom or the senior trip, candidates will emphasize their go-getter mentality and come across as more confident to convince students that their vision of a more satisfied student body is possible.
The Drake Academic Party is another, albeit different version of this trend championed by junior Hunter Nerviani. Their mission statement reads: “We intend to do several different things when Hunter is elected into office: Revise the ASB constitution, create realistic and practical protection measures against threats to the student body of all kinds, make student government fully independent of the administration at DHS, and expand to other high schools.” They also state that they plan to get rid of the 2.0 minimum GPA requirement to be in the Associated Student Body.
Obviously, compared to by-the-book former ASB member Ella Acker, the Drake Academic Party’s policy positions and demeanor are unique in an ASB presidential election. Their official instagram profile (@thepartydap) contains this comment: “Tfw [sic]footballs canceled and teachers are laid off in massive [sic]number so (((certain admins))) can maintain their salary.” This statement makes use of the “echo” or triple parentheses, devised by alt-right blog The Right Stuff in 2014. It was created in order to highlight certain individuals or groups as Jewish, marking them for harassment by anti-Semites online.
The Drake Academic Party’s platform is largely based on the idea that student government can be separate from the Drake administration, or rather, the District. In the ASB manual provided by the California School Information Services, it reads: “… the state relies on districts’ governing boards to ensure that ASB activities are carried out within the law, based on a district’s internal policies and procedures… governing boards establish parameters for district operations through board policies and regulations. These policies and regulations must specify how the student body organization will be established, how the organization’s activities will be supervised, and how the organization’s finances will be operated and managed. The district’s administration is responsible for establishing and monitoring the procedures to carry out the policies and regulations adopted by the governing board.”
In short, in order to become fully independent from the Tamalpais Union High School district, the Drake Academic Party would have to present and argue their case in state court in order to change the legislation. This requires funds for a lawyer or lawyers and ample amounts of time to prepare and present a convincing case.
Is the Drake Academic Party’s argument convincing? In a statement explaining the need for ASB members who “care about the student body” released by Nerviani, he says, “Students are still suffering. Students are still dying. Nobody seems to have an answer to the current issues we face, but everyone agrees on one thing: This ISN’T working.” Nowhere in the statement does Nerviani expand upon this quote citing ASB’s incompetence as a reason why students are suffering or dying, nor does he cite a survey indicating that the majority of the student body is unsatisfied with the current state of ASB.
The Drake Academic Party’s profile is littered with small statements clarifying its various policy proposals, such as removing the 2.0 minimum GPA requirement to be in ASB, stating: “The most logistically sound reason to keep students with low grades out of student government is because the administration believes low GPA students will be less likely to “cooperate” with them. High GPA students will be more likely to make an effort to work in ways which the administration would like them to.” This accusation, again, is not supplemented with any evidence or further reasoning, just the assumption that the administration is a tyrannical entity whose only goal is to control and censor.
Is a candidate who views the administration in this way fit to be the one who works the closest with them? In attempting to make the radical changes he desires, will Nerviani really be able to lead and operate ASB in a way that is able to provide for the student body? His inexperience with ASB’s functions, desire to battle state law, and transparent animosity towards the Drake administration indicate that, if elected, the students of Drake High School may no longer be able to benefit from ASB.