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posted: 10/28/2013 5:31 AM

Students to take on issue facing Buffalo Grove

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Buffalo Grove and Stevenson high school students will see if they can teach Buffalo Grove village board members a thing or two about government Monday night.

For 16 years, the Civics Forum has provided students a chance to learn about village government by attending village board meetings then splitting into teams to tackle a pressing issue.

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At Monday night's village board committee of the whole meeting, students will take on a particularly weighty issue: an assault weapons ban.

Village Clerk Janet Sirabian said the students met last Monday, on the night of the village board meeting, for an orientation about the topic and also about "the mechanics of municipal government."

They will meet again Monday at 2 p.m. and put together the program scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at village hall. As with the regular board meetings, the forum will be aired on Buffalo Grove's cable channel.

"The purpose of the Civics Forum is to acquaint (students) with municipal government. We want them to know how to get involved, how to be a part, how to contribute to their communities and how important it is to vote in municipal elections," Sirabian said.

Past issues addressed by students have included equipment for the fire department, the village skateboard park, traffic flow situations facing the village and online payments of utility and water bills.

"The Civics Forum is a unique place, where the village of Buffalo Grove essentially asks for the input from 16-, 17- (and) 18-year-old students about village operations and sometimes about the vision for where Buffalo Grove is headed," said Andrew Conneen, who teaches civics at Stevenson High School and is one of the teachers working with the students.

Conneen said the students receive valuable lessons about village government and village staff.

They also get the opportunity to research public policy issues and, most importantly, the students get a chance to demonstrate their presentation skills, he said.

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