Gautier leaders use Facebook to connect with students in the classroom

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier city leaders have found a popular way to connect with their young constituents without kids having to leave the classroom.

Sarah Israel's third grade students are a little too young to have their own Facebook pages. At school, they are getting a chance to log on as a class at Gautier Elementary.

The school and The City of Gautier are partnering to teach these young minds about their local leaders.

"They were able to meet each councilman in wards one, two, and three. They are sitting by their computers answering questions for my third grade class," Israel said.

The subjects these kids picked were far from elementary.

"How hard is to run the city of Gautier?" one student asked.

"What is the estimated cost for our mall in Gautier?" another student asked.

A few miles away at city hall, the councilmen couldn't believe the questions popping up on their computers.

"You have to be on your P's and Q's with these third graders. They ask some pretty tough questions," Councilman Johnny Jones said.

Longtime Councilman Johnny Jones and Hurley Ray Guillotte admit social media has not always been at their fingertips, but said the new way of getting their message across to kids is very effective.

"Never would we have thought that we can sit here and office and talk to so many of them at one time at school. It is a great thing," Guillotte said.

Councilman Casey Vaughn also enjoyed the chat sessions.

"We think of them more than just children; We think of them as young adults and future leaders of our community," said Hurley Ray Guillotte.

The students seemed impressed.

"I learned being in the city council takes a lot of hard work," a student said.

Gautier leaders are hoping this Facebook forum will encourage other cities to connect with their young future leaders.  Gautier's police chief, fire chief, and economic development director have all participated in the Facebook forum, as well.

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