Delegates boo high school students

Youths going to see how their government works, whether on a local, state, or national level, is a time-honored field trip. Yet, last Friday, a group of liberal high schoolers visiting the House of Delegates in Richmond were booed by some of the state's elected officials, presumably Republicans.

Ironically, the exchange came shortly after an appeal by Delegate Kris Amundsen, D-Fairfax, asking her fellow legislators to behave in a more mannerly fashion.

"I had witnesses from out of town ignored and treated rudely, who left with tears in their eyes," she tells her fellow legislators. "For most people who come here one time, this may be the only time they ever encounter their government. My plea to all of us is to treat them the way we'd want our own mothers and fathers and children treated."

Message unheeded. When Delegate David Toscano introduced the teens as Charlottesville Young Liberals, the boos began. Noting that the youths hadn't actually stepped into the historic chamber, Toscano downplays the incident.

"I didn't take it as the insult others did," says Toscano. "Just as many were clapping loudly."

Caught on video and webcast by a Democratic caucus play-by-play video of the General Assembly called Assembly Access, the booing incident was just part of what Toscano calls "another raucous day in the House." General Assembly watcher Waldo Jaquith agrees. "I know the proper reaction is shock or surprise, but I'd be lying if I said I was," he says. "That's the House, especially Republicans."

On his blog, the generally liberal blogger writes: "House Republicans have become so partisan that they can't even behave politely to a group of school children who happen to be Democrats. This is why House Republicans are bound and determined not to transmit video of their sessions. If people could see how they behave, they'd have lost the majority already."

So what about Southern hospitality? Says Jaquith, "Ain't none of that here."

3 comments

If David Toscano isn't concerned, then neither am I. What's wrong with letting high schoolers know some of the truth about politics?

on his blog the generally liberal blogger whines, so it should read. Calm down people, watch the video and realize the hook and all the liberal loudmouths have blown this out of proportion. Maybe the hook should focus on some real news and stop being the yuppie liberal downtown publication it is.

Did you read either my blog entry or my quote here? Ain't no whining going on. I'm not sure you'd find a more honest assessment of the situation -- acknowledgement of the norms of the chamber, confession that there's nothing surprising about it, full disclosure of my political beliefs. The difference between you and me, I suppose, is I have the cojones to put my name behind what I write.