Eric Lin Becomes 50th Student Member Of The Board


Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) swore in its 50th student member of the board (SMOB), Eric Lin from Severna Park High School, this summer.

He campaigned for the position — the only one in the nation where the SMOB has full voting rights on a local school board — with five key policies in mind: no homework or assigned work on select SAT/ACT testing days, improving and diversifying school meals, reforming late attendance policies concerning student-athletes, revamping the world classical language curriculum so students can use their skills in the real world, and removing some dress code restrictions.

“Any SMOB is really there because they want to make sure the students' voice is represented on the board,” Lin said.

Lin has been an AACPS student his entire school career and moved around in the school system enough to see a difference in resources between schools. This, along with his involvement in Student Government Association, Maryland Association of Student Councils and interactions with other SMOBs, culminated in his motivation to run.

“Just hearing all of the things that [other SMOB’s] counties are doing to improve the quality of education for their students really inspired me,” Lin said. “I wanted to bring some of these changes to AACPS, and I knew that one of the only ways that I was going to be able to do that was by running for the seat on the board and getting my voice heard.”

Lin is already assuming duties in his position, having spoken at the July 12 board meeting about adopting a policy that would ban certain flags from being displayed on public school property in Anne Arundel County. He voted no for the decision after gaining feedback from students. The final decision came after four board members voted no, three board members voted yes and one abstained.

Next, the board will debate the proposed policy on special education programs for students with disabilities on August 23. As of early August, Lin planned to vote yes on the policy. Students can reach out to him at with questions, perspectives and input.

“I’m always open to hearing perspectives and thoughts and what concerns that might be going on at schools,” Lin said. “I’m here to help, and I’m here to listen, and students can always feel free to reach out to me.”

Lin has tried to reach students through familiar avenues to stay connected. He’s active on his SMOB Instagram account, making video updates about board decisions and upcoming events. He also plans to create a SMOB newsletter to make short, monthly updates on board decisions for students to view.

“It’s just another way for me to reach out to students and another way for students to reach out to me,” Lin said.

Lin emphasized that he's dedicated to being what the SMOB was intended as — a voice for the people the education system serves.

“We make some of the biggest decisions and sometimes the toughest decisions that relate and impact students directly when it comes to their education,” Lin said. “I feel like every time I talk to a student, it’s an opportunity for me to learn.”


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