The Calvert County Board of Education has agreed to ask the state legislature to grant voting rights to the board's student member.

In a 3 to 2 vote, the Board of Education decided Thursday to ask the Southern Maryland delegation to the General Assembly to present a bill calling for the voting rights. The board is scheduled to meet with the delegation on Nov. 19.

Under current procedure, the student member votes on certain issues, but that vote is not officially counted.

If the new guidelines are approved, the student's vote would count on most issues except for collective bargaining, school closings and personnel matters.

The issue of granting student board members voting rights has divided both the Board of Education and the delegation. Some counties throughout the state allow student school board members to cast votes that count, and students in counties that don't are trying to change that.

Most supporters argue that the voting rights would empower students, whom they say are perfectly capable of making good decisions.

Others see it as having potentially dangerous implications.

"I thought that the citizens of Calvert County elected five people to the board, and to add a sixth person would be a disenfranchisement of the authority that the voters of the county gave us," said Robert L. Gray, president of the school board.