Vermont Youth Council representatives advocate for liberal, conservative political causes

Student leaders from the Vermont Youth Council testified before the House Education Committee on Wednesday to address concerns about climate change, equity, anti-racism efforts and school choice.

Speaking mostly over video conference, two of the students voiced popular left-wing opinions. Another student identified as politically conservative and spoke out for school choice.

The organization works with the Vermont Department of Health and the Youth Services Advisory Council.

Some members focused on left-wing politics

“For climate change, what we teach about the climate impacts the actions of a whole generation, and our schools, as we find pretty frequently have a significant carbon footprint,” student Jasper Lorien said.

Lorien noted that the State Youth Council has five committees: Youth Voice, Education, Equity and Anti-Racism, Climate Change, and Youth Mental Health.

The student also spoke on social justice matters.

“Many of the issues of inequity are evident in our schools, as well as issues related to wealth, race, and gender inequality — [which] also begin at the school level,” Lorien said.

The student noted that 40 Vermonters under the age of 24 committed suicide over the past three years and said, “I truly believe that through legislation our schools can hold a significant portion of the solutions to these problems.”

Teachers ‘obligated’ to teach on activism?

Harmony Devoe was the next student to speak.

“I joined this council because I believe that students should be educated on how their actions and words affect others, and [learn] how to stand up for themselves against racism, sexism, queerphobia, and ableism,” the student said.

Devoe continued, “I believe there should be more hands-on lessons in schools to raise awareness on creating equity, the environment, the importance of their actions and care, and how to stand up for themselves and others. I would like to see every teacher be obligated to include at least five lessons about change-making each semester.”

A conservative student speaks up for school choice

Jeremiah Watson also addressed committee members, identifying himself as “a bi-racial, conservative Christian male.”

He spoke favorably about school choice, which exists in Vermont towns that lack a public school. In these tuitioning towns parents have the option to use taxpayer funds to send children to public or independent schools.

“By making school choice statewide Vermont youth can go to any school which best meets their needs,” he said.

Watson also explained why he joined the Vermont Youth Council.

“I applied to be on the Youth Council because I wanted to make a difference,” he said. “I wanted to fundamentally change the way that young people see Vermont, and make our state a more prosperous, exciting and attractive place.”

He continued, “We must find a new way to change how Vermont youth think about our state while providing an environment that promotes business, more opportunities, individual freedoms, and a wealth of choices for prosperous education.

“School choice has brought me opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible. I hope the legislature continues to support students like me by making school choice available to everyone in our state.”

He said that private, independent, and public schools, each meet the needs of a certain type of student.

“This is embodied in the true strength of diversity, ideas, and thought,” Watson said. “Join me in celebrating it by supporting universal school choice.”

The nearly half-hour-long committee session can be viewed online here.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Public domain

6 thoughts on “Vermont Youth Council representatives advocate for liberal, conservative political causes

  1. The saying “it takes a village” comes to mind. When the villages in Vermont are run by adult morally, ethically corrupt idiots, the results are not difficult to comprehend. Ignorance is indeed bliss in Pervmont. I do not lay any blame upon the children. They are coerced and forced by adults into thinking and believing things that have no business being put into a child’s mind. The nefarious ideologs started this destruction of humanity long ago. All of it perpetrated under the noses of people too busy and too distracted to pay attention. The acceleration of these evil plans is on purpose. Some people now realize children are being used and abused by adults once entrusted not to abuse children in any form or fashion. It is a sick, twisted, and seriously dangerous game being played upon society. The time of decision is now. Rise up, stand up, and declare their evil plans are null and void now. Do not consent, do not comply, and above all, do not partake or support any of this reprehensible conduct any further. The time to decide is now.

  2. Glad to see one conservative but notice he is already being censored by the fact that he chooses a very safe topic. If only these kids knew that the equity they preach or strive for will call an end to such committees in the future because the state will decide or worse mediocrity will reign and no one will have the motivation to do so.

    • Hi Jennifer, we will be glad to stand on more conservative topics. I am the conservative who spoke. I was told to write about my youth council experiences, and some wants for VT education. I put school choice, because that is my main goal. Here, we stand for conservative values. I’d be happy to take any questions, or suggestions, at

      • Jeremiah- it was so great to see you at the statehouse on Wednesday. You are an incredible young man with solid values and a worthy vision of Vermont. Thank you for speaking common sense and clarity on behalf of Vermont youth and working hard for a healthy direction of our state and world. Many Many thanks

  3. How did these youths become “student leaders”?
    Years ago a rich NY lady got the idea of bringing “student leaders” together to chart the nation’s future, or some such., and I was – mysteriously – picked as one. (Reminded me of the man running down the street in Paris during the 1794 French Revolution shouting “where is the Mob? I am its leader!” (Predictably nothing came of this but I enjoyed sitting at lunch next to singer Judy Collins, who was very nice and had dazzling blue eyes.)
    Did these young leaders have any idea about the menace of climate change – or just VPIRG talking points?

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