Constitution

We The People...The primary governing document of our organization, our Student Council Constitution provides the necessary structural framework to enable relevant student leadership and guidance to handle almost any issue. This Constitution was adopted by the Second General Assembly on March 16, 1999 and was subsequently ratified by the Student Body on March 23, 1999. There have been four revisions since, the latest adopted by the Ninth General Assembly on January 25, 2006 and subsequently ratified by the Student Body on February 1, 2006.



ARTICLE I – NAME, PURPOSE, AND DUTIES
  1. This organization will be called the Student Council of Brooklawn Middle School.  It will consist of a General Assembly drawn from the Student Body, an Executive Board elected and appointed to work with the General Assembly, and an Advisor appointed from the Faculty to work with the Executive Board.

  2. The Student Council will have these purposes:
    1. To improve communication between the Student Body, Faculty, and Administration of Brooklawn Middle School by providing a place for students to voice their opinions and become actively involved in issues affecting their general welfare.
    2. To encourage active participation by all students in the various extra-curricular activities of Brooklawn Middle School.
    3. To develop leadership qualities, organizational skills, and democratic ideals in preparing the students of Brooklawn Middle School for active participation in a democracy.

  3. The Student Council will have these duties:
    1. To discuss concerns of the Student Body or any segment of it, and to take action on its behalf when appropriate.
    2. To provide a calendar of extra-curricular school activities and raise adequate funds to support it. The administration of all Student Activity funds will be handled by the treasury of the Student Council under supervision of the school Bursar.
    3. To work with other organizations to sponsor assembly programs and otherwise enhance the educational experience for the Student Body of Brooklawn Middle School.
    4. To conduct elections each year for representatives to the General Assembly, the various offices of the Executive Board, and for all Freshman Class Offices and Student Council Representative positions at Parsippany Hills High School.

ARTICLE II – SOURCE OF AUTHORITY

  1. We recognize that our authority is granted by the Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education, and also recognize its governance over all operations of Brooklawn Middle School.

  2. We recognize the authority of the Principal, and his or her right to veto any resolution or motion approved by the General Assembly or any decision of the Executive Board.

  3. We recognize the role of the Advisor, designated by the Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education and the Principal to guide and oversee our operations. He or she will settle all disagreements involving the interpretation of this Constitution.

  4. We recognize that only the Student Body has the right to choose the representatives and officers of the Student Council, and that no Faculty or Administrative approval is needed to become a representative or officer in it.

ARTICLE III – THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  1. The General Assembly will include:
    1. One representative elected from each homeroom, or two from any homeroom which has over thirty students. Any member of the Student Body has the right to be elected as a representative, except as outlined in the Ninth Section of this Article.
    2. Volunteer members-at-large, who must register with the Advisor, agree to attend all meetings and serve on one committee of the President's choice. The number of members-at-large, not including those added through the Third Section of this Article, will be less than the number of elected representatives in any one grade level.  Any member of the Student Body has the right to volunteer to become a member-at-large, except as outlined in the Ninth Section of this Article.
    3. Each member of the Executive Board, who may not serve as a Representative for their homeroom or as a Member-at-Large.

  2. Representative Elections will be conducted by secret preferential ballot through homerooms each September, before the tenth day that classes are in session.  The ballots will be delivered to the Executive Board for counting, the winners to be notified within three days of the election.  The Executive Board will provide all candidates the opportunity to view the final vote counts for their homeroom, but will not post, publish, or otherwise announce them.  All ballots will be sealed and kept for at least one year following the date of the election. 

  3. When homerooms change due to quarter or semester courses, a list of all displaced representatives will be made by the sixth day of the new quarter or semester, with the new homerooms indicated for each.
    1. If a new homeroom contains one displaced representative, he or she will become the new representative for that homeroom.
    2. If a new homeroom has two or more displaced representatives, the Advisor and President will approach them as a group and request that one become representative and the others remain in the General Assembly as members-at-large.  If agreement cannot be reached there will be a homeroom election involving only those displaced representatives, the winner to become the representative with all others to remain in the General Assembly as members-at-large.
    3. If a new homeroom has no displaced representatives but has one member-at-large, he or she will become the representative.
    4. If a new homeroom has no displaced representatives, and either has no member-at-large or more than one member-at-large, there will be a homeroom election in which any student not disqualified by the First or Ninth Sections of this Article may become a candidate. This election will be conducted according to the same rules used in the homeroom elections the prior September.

  4. The General Assembly will meet at least twice per month from September through June. Meeting dates will be set by the President or Advisor and be announced at least two school days in advance, except in case of emergency.
    1. Any member of the Student Body has the right to attend and speak before the General Assembly, but only its members may introduce, second, or cast a vote on any motion or resolution.
    2. Upon the petition of one-quarter of the Student Body or one-half of any grade level, it will be required to hold a special meeting to consider their concern.

  5. The President has the following restrictions and powers:
    1. The President may not introduce, second, or cast a vote on any motion or resolution, except where a tie must be broken. This restriction will apply to the Vice President if he or she is presiding over the General Assembly.
    2. The President may veto any action of the General Assembly, in person at the meeting where the action took place, or delivered in writing to the Advisor within two days of that meeting.  This veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly present at that meeting.  This power will rest only with the President and cannot be delegated.

  6. No motion or resolution may be voted on by the General Assembly without the Advisor, President or Vice President, and at least one more than half of its members present in the meeting room.  In the case of split session grade level meetings, at least one more than half of its members in that grade level must be present.

  7. All meetings will follow modified Parliamentary Procedure, with Robert’s Rules of Order as the official reference. The Advisor will settle all disagreements involving Parliamentary Procedure.

  8. All meetings will include, but not be limited to, the following:
    1. The President calling the meeting to order.
    2. The Secretary taking attendance and calling for the approval of the minutes of the last meeting.
    3. Reports from each officer and committee chair.
    4. Report from the Advisor.
    5. Resolution of any old business from the last meeting.
    6. Introduction and possible resolution of new business.
    7. Motion from the floor to adjourn.

  9. A member of the General Assembly who has consistently failed to carry out his or her duties, or who has failed to uphold its standards of ethics and behavior, may be removed as follows:
    1. On the fourth absence from its meetings, he or she will be automatically removed for the rest of the year. Absences may be excused by the President or Advisor with prior notice.
    2. An elected homeroom representative may be removed by a four-fifths vote of his or her entire homeroom. This vote will be by secret ballot, with the Advisor and President as witnesses. A vote to remove a homeroom representative may only be attempted once.
    3. On the fourth absence from meetings of his or her assigned committee, a member-at-large will be automatically removed from the General Assembly for the rest of the year.  Absences may be excused by the Advisor or Committee Chair with prior notice.
    4. Any member that is removed from a meeting due to disciplinary reasons by the Chair, President, or Advisor with consent of the Executive Board will be referred to the Principal, who has the power to remove them from the General Assembly for the rest of the year.
    5. If a homeroom representative is removed from the General Assembly, a member-at-large from that homeroom will first be asked to serve as its new representative.  If this fails, then there will be a homeroom election to select a new representative.

ARTICLE IV – THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

  1. The Executive Board will be chosen in a general election of the entire sixth and seventh grade Student Body, and will contain at most twelve members except in times of transition.  All terms for the offices listed below will begin on the day of the Graduation Ceremony in June, and will end on the day of the Graduation Ceremony in the following year.
    1. A President, who is a seventh grade student at time of election.
    2. A Vice President, who is a seventh grade student at time of election.
    3. A Treasurer, who is a sixth grade student at time of election.
    4. A Secretary, who is a sixth grade student at time of election.
    5. A Board of Directors, to include the students who each receive the second highest number of votes in the election for each Office above.  The President-elect may appoint other unsuccessful candidates in the seventh grade to the Board of Directors, with consent of the Advisor and under the limitations outlined in this Article.  Each member of the Board of Directors will become the chair of a Standing Committee as defined in the Sixth Article, to be assigned by the President and Advisor.
    6. Any member of the Student Body elected as Middle Level Representative to the New Jersey Association of Student Councils (NJASC), will become a member of the Executive Board, or allow for appointment of a thirteenth member for the duration of their term.

  2. There will be a Registration Period of at least three school days, in which interested sixth and seventh grade members of the Student Body will have the opportunity to declare their intent to become a potential candidate for Executive Office.  The dates for this period will be set by the Advisor, who will consult the eighth grade members of the Executive Board.
    1. To register, a student must have maintained an overall combined average of C+ or better in English, Math, Reading/Writing, Science, and Social Studies for the first two marking periods of the current school year.
    2. To register, a student must not have been assigned office detention or suspension from school on more than six occasions in the current school year.
    3. Reasonable requirements to become a potential candidate, such as completion of a Leadership Training Course, may be set by the Advisor.

  3. There will be a Petitioning Period of at least three school days, in which all potential candidates will have the opportunity to collect signatures in support of their becoming a candidate for Executive Office.  The dates for this period and the Rules of Petitioning will be set by the Advisor, who will consult the eighth grade members of the Executive Board.
    1. The Advisor will provide in advance the Rules of Petitioning to all potential candidates, who have registered according to the Second Section of this Article.
    2. To formally become a candidate for Executive Office, a registered student must have their Petition signed by fifty sixth or seventh grade students, who may each not sign any other petition for the same office.
    3. Any potential candidate that violates the posted Rules of Petitioning may be disqualified by a unanimous vote of the Advisor and all eighth grade members of the Executive Board.

  4. There will be an Electioneering Period of at least three school days, in which all candidates will have the opportunity to distribute campaign materials and convince fellow students to vote for them.  The dates for this period and the Rules of Electioneering will be set by the Advisor, who will consult the eighth grade members of the Executive Board.
    1. The Advisor will provide in advance the Rules of Electioneering to all potential candidates, who have completed petitioning according to the Third Section of this Article.
    2. On the final day of the Electioneering Period, all candidates will be given the opportunity to speak to the entire sixth and seventh grade Student Body.  Speeches will be reviewed by the Advisor at least two days in advance. 
    3. Any candidate that violates the posted Rules of Electioneering may be disqualified by a unanimous vote of the Advisor and all eighth grade members of the Executive Board.

  5. The General Election will be held by secret preferential ballot through homerooms each April. The ballots will be delivered to the Advisor for counting, the winners to be notified within three days of the election. In case of a tie vote, a runoff election excluding all other candidates will be held within five days. 
    1. The winners will become associate members of the Executive Board to assure a smooth transition, but will not gain full membership in it until the term of the departing Executive Board has ended.
    2. If an Officer-elect becomes unable to take their office before their term begins, the second place finisher for that office will be elevated to it and the third place finisher for that office will take their vacated seat on the Board of Directors.  If there are less than three candidates for the office in question, the President-elect may appoint an unsuccessful candidate for another office in the same grade to fill any remaining vacancy, with consent of the Advisor.
    3. If a Board of Director-elect becomes unable to take their seat before their term begins, the third place finisher for the office that person was originally a candidate for will be elevated to the Board of Directors.  If there are less than three candidates for the office in question, the President-elect may appoint an unsuccessful candidate for another office in the same grade to fill any remaining vacancy, with consent of the Advisor.
    4. The Advisor will provide all candidates the opportunity to view the final vote counts, but will not post, publish, or otherwise announce them except to the current Executive Board.  All ballots will be sealed and kept for at least one year following the date of the election.

  6. An elected member of the Executive Board who has consistently failed to carry out his or her duties, or who has failed to uphold its standards of ethics and behavior, may be removed as follows:
    1. There will first be a meeting with the Advisor and all other members of the Executive Board, at which they discuss a plan for improvement. The Advisor or four-fifths of the entire Executive Board excluding the member involved may request such a meeting to take place.  The member involved will then be given a two week probationary period to see if there is any positive change.
    2. At the end of this two week probation, the Advisor or four-fifths of the entire Executive Board excluding the member involved may act to remove this member from the Executive Board for the rest of the year.  Each will have veto power over any action by the other to remove an Executive member.  Any action by the Executive Board to remove or veto removal of a member will be done by secret ballot, with the votes to be counted by the President or Vice President.
    3. Any member of the Executive Board who fails to uphold the same academic standard required to become a candidate for office in any two marking periods, or the same behavioral standards required to become a candidate throughout their term will automatically be removed for the rest of their term.
    4. If a member of the Executive Board resigns or is removed, the President will appoint a replacement with consent of the Advisor. If the President resigns or is removed, the Vice President will become President and the Executive Board will choose one of its eighth grade members to become Vice President.  Any position vacated as a result will be appointed by the new President with consent of the Advisor.

ARTICLE V – THE OFFICERS

  1. The President will…
    1. Assist the Advisor in various tasks, as necessary.
    2. Prepare an agenda for each meeting of the General Assembly after consulting with the other officers, committee chairpersons, and Advisor.
    3. Preside over meetings of the General Assembly, ensuring a fair and full hearing to all concerns and the maintenance of order at all times.
    4. With consent of the Advisor, appoint individuals to chair standing and special committees, and monitor the progress of each committee.
    5. Be a member of all standing and special committees.

  2. The Vice President will…
    1. Assist the President and Advisor in various tasks, as necessary.
    2. Preside over meetings of the General Assembly in the absence of the President.
    3. Be ready at all times to temporarily or permanently become President. In this case, the succession procedures in the Sixth Section of the Fourth Article will be invoked to assure continuity.
    4. Be a member of all standing and special committees.

  3. The Treasurer will…
    1. Assist the President and Advisor in various tasks, as necessary.
    2. Assist the Advisor in collecting all funds due to the Student Council, depositing monies, paying bills due, and providing for the safe keeping of all funds.
    3. Prepare and present periodic summaries of financial records to the General Assembly.
    4. Prepare and maintain accurate records of Student Activity Card sales and keep a current listing of all cardholders.

  4. The Secretary will…
    1. Assist the President and Advisor in various tasks, as necessary.
    2. Keep accurate minutes of all meetings of the General Assembly, and send a copy of them to the New Jersey Association of Student Councils (NJASC).
    3. Maintain a calendar of school events and a complete file of minutes and correspondence.
    4. Maintain accurate attendance records for the General Assembly, and notify members at risk of removal due to excessive absences.

  5. The members of the Board of Directors will...
    1. Assist the Officers, President, and Advisor in various tasks, as necessary.
    2. Serve as chairperson of a Standing Committee, with all rights granted and responsibilities assigned by the Fourth Section of the Sixth Article.
    3. Be ready at all times to temporarily perform the duties of any elected officer, except the President.

ARTICLE VI – THE COMMITTEES

  1. There will be at least the following six Standing Committees:
    1. A Publicity committee, to publicize upcoming events and maintain the Student Council Bulletin Board.  The chair of this committee will also work with the other chairs to promote the events and activities of their committees.
    2. A Decorating committee, to decorate for dances, pep rallies, and other Student Council activities.  The chair of this committee will also work with the Advisor to coordinate these events and activities.
    3. A Graduation committee, to provide input from the Student Body into the annual ceremony as well as other eighth grade activities.  The chair of this committee will also work with the Advisor to coordinate these events and activities. 
    4. A Liaison committee, to represent the Student Council and Student Body with all outside groups, including the PTSA.  The chair of this committee will also serve as the Corresponding Secretary of the Student Council.
    5. A Leadership Committee, to coordinate all educational and leadership training activities of the Student Council.  The chair of this committee will also take an active role in all candidate and member training programs.
    6. A Community Service Committee, to coordinate all service activities of the Student Council.  The chair of this committee will also actively promote participation in service activities by the Student Body.

  2. Special committees to address other concerns may be formed by the President or Advisor, who each may appoint members to these committees, and disband them when they have finished their work.

  3. Any member of the Student Body has the right to join a committee, except those removed under the Ninth Section of the Third Article or the Sixth Section of the Fourth Article.

  4. Chairpersons of each Standing and Special Committee will:
    1. Assist the Officers, President, and Advisor in various tasks, as necessary.
    2. Encourage active participation in their Committee by members of the General Assembly as well as the Student Body. 
    3. Conduct regular meetings, maintaining a Committee Book that includes accurate attendance records, detailed minutes of each meeting, and written reports of its progress to be reviewed by the President or Vice President and presented before the General Assembly.
    4. With consent of the President, designate an Assistant Chairperson who may serve as acting Chairperson in case of absence, but will not become a member of the Executive Board.

ARTICLE VII – RATIFICATION AND AMENDMENT PROCEDURES

  1. To be ratified, this Constitution must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the entire sixth and seventh grade membership of the General Assembly, followed by a majority vote in two-thirds of the sixth and seventh grade homerooms represented in it.

  2. This Constitution will not take effect until the first day of September following its ratification. Afterward, any individual section or subsection can be amended only as outlined in this Article.

  3. If any part of this Constitution is found by the Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education to violate its stated policy only that individual part will be declared invalid, with all other parts of this Constitution to remain in place.

  4. Only the General Assembly may propose Amendments to this Constitution, which will require a two-thirds vote of its entire membership. However, upon the petition of one-quarter of the Student Body, it will be required to hold a special meeting to discuss and vote on their proposal.

  5. No proposed Amendment may take away the right of students in any homeroom to choose their own representative in the General Assembly or alter the Second or Seventh Articles of this Constitution.

  6. An Amendment proposed by the General Assembly will become part of this Constitution only after a majority vote by two-thirds of the sixth and seventh grade homerooms represented in it at the time of its proposal, and will not take effect until the first day of September that follows.

 

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