SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The 4th and 5th grade student council at Sweetwater Intermediate School got a firsthand experience with city politics when they presented their case for why residents should be allowed to raise chickens within the city limits.
“We discussed it in our meeting and talked to the girls about the possibility of speaking in front of the city council, which they were really excited about,”said Sweetwater Intermediate Social Studies Teacher Carolyn Mullican.
The idea came about when student council president Sophia Vela had a dinner table conversation about the possibility of raising chickens with her father, Sweetwater City Manager David A. Vela.
“The next morning I came to city hall, I looked up the animal ordinance and lo and behold, the raising of chickens was prohibited in Sweetwater,” David Vela says.
The student council researched, planned, and practiced their speeches for a month before presenting to the city council.
“It was kind of scary because we thought we were going to mess up a lot, but it was actually really fun once we started doing it,” Sophia Vela said.
After a lively round of debate, the vote passed, allowing chickens to be raised in backyards within Sweetwater city limits.
All members voting in favor except David, who abstained so as not to show bias.
“These kids, they’re 9, 10 years old now, but at some point in the future they’re going to be the leaders of this community, this region, and this state. We want to try to do what we can as the City of Sweetwater to help them prepare for those eventual leadership roles,” Vela says.