Those attending a Gahanna City Council meeting on any first or third Monday likely have seen a handful of high-schoolers in the audience.

Those attending a Gahanna City Council meeting on any first or third Monday likely have seen a handful of high-schoolers in the audience.

It's a requirement of Gahanna Lincoln High School's student government class that the seniors attend a number of public meetings. Many pick council. Usually, they sign up on a list. Council clerk Isobel Sherwood gets their names off the list and tells their teacher they attended.

John McAlister, a council member and a Libertarian, has been speaking directly to the students, explaining why he often ends up on the short end of a 6-1 vote.

On Oct. 20, he voted against four measures that would have authorized Mayor Becky Stinchcomb to apply for federal Safe Routes to School grants to pay for a program that encourages students to walk to school.

"As students, you study the Constitution, or I assume you do," McAlister said at the end of the council meeting.

McAlister suggested the students look up and read the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. It reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

He pointed to his vote against the grant applications and said, "There is no power in the Constitution that gives the federal government the right to tax people and then turn around and give the money to the local governments."

This should be done at the local level, McAlister said.

For extra credit, McAlister suggested that students learn about sovereignty. He cited a resolution introduced in this session of the Ohio House of Representatives: "To claim sovereignty over certain powers pursuant to the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, to serve notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates, and to insist that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed."

After McAlister's lesson, council member Shane Ewald addressed the students, encouraging them to become consumers of news.

"Don't rely on any one channel" and look for alternative voices, he said, especially regarding the economy. "The city is dealing with the most difficult economy we have ever dealt with yet. The highest levels of unemployment now are for youth to 28."

The competition for jobs will be great, he said.