Employees should not be forced to register to vote

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Natchez-Adams School Board member Phillip West has the right idea, but the wrong execution.

West — who has never been accused of holding his tongue about ideas in which he has great passion — suggested last week that the school district should make voter registration mandatory for school district employees, particularly teachers and administrators.

West is correct that teachers and school administrators should be good citizen role models for our children. Certainly exercising one’s right as an American to vote would be on the list of things a good citizen role model would do.

Teachers and administrators — as well as the rest of us — should certainly be at the voting booth on every Election Day.

But West’s assertion that the district should force the employees’ hands is not wise or proper.

Few people respond well to being forced to do anything, and this is certainly not a case that necessitates such measures.

If the district wants to improve the quality of the role models presented to the district’s student population, the best way is to promote good behavior and good citizenship from teachers.

In some cases, all that may be required is to encourage that behavior in existing staff members. In others, replacing staff with others who seem more responsive may be the best way to handle.

Regardless, we urge West and others to lead by example and encouragement than by using a stick.