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MHS students debate the issues during mock council meeting

MORGANTOWN — Joe Abu-Ghannam is fit to be tied over the laissez-faire attitude surrounding Netflix password sharing.

Danielle Trumble is big MADS — that’s Mothers Against Delinquent Students — about youths running wild in the streets after 10 p.m.

Both made their feelings known Thursday morning as Morgantown High School students tackled these hot-button issues during a mock session of Morgantown City Council held in the courtroom of the city’s public safety building.

Trumble, Morgantown’s deputy mayor, and Abu-Ghannam, a teacher at MHS and the city’s 1st Ward council representative, helped spice up the proceedings with the aforementioned public comment, as did Morgantown City Clerk Christine Wade, who initiated the exercise as part the city’s recognition of Municipal Government Week.

City Manager Dante Salgado and City Attorney Chaise Thompson spent the morning getting peppered with questions from council over a pair of pretend proposals.

Both said they walked away with a new appreciation for how the city’s laws make it on the books.

“I just assumed they would say what it is and council would say, ‘Nah, I don’t want to agree to that’; not all this rebuttal and possible adjustments to the ordinances,” Salgado said. 

Thompson added, “Honestly, after this feeling of being involved in big conversations about the citizens and the future of our city, I would probably put in consideration of maybe doing something like this.” 

In the end, Mayor Aaron Reedy and councilors Madison Baker, Emily Carpenter, Alex Newbold and Kaley Mersing voted unanimously against a law prohibiting the sharing of streaming service passwords in city limits and 4-1 in favor of a law creating a 10 p.m. curfew for anyone under 18.

Reedy, who’s spoken before Morgantown City Council and the Monongalia County Board of Education in recent weeks, voted in the minority.

“Getting to be on the other side of it was very interesting,” Reedy said, explaining local government is where the decisions are made that often impact people the most. “I’m for sure interested in working in politics somewhere, whether it’s with the ACLU or city council like this.”

Following the session, Abu-Ghannam said he was impressed with how the mock meeting went down.  

“I was a little nervous that they would just sit quietly, but they asked some really tough questions,” he said. “I would hate to have them coming after me like that.”

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