The Connecticut State Department of Education has named Ridgefield High School senior Tarini Krishna as the student member of the state Board of Education throughout the 2018-19 school year.

Krishna, a 17-year-old senior, told The Press she was inspired to serve as student representative after she joined several students last year to protest cuts to the high school English department. A column written by Krishna supporting the school’s English program ran in The Press in February.

“I have a role equivalent to any other board member, except I do not vote because I’m not 18 yet,” said Krishna.

She recently addressed the board after a presentation on reforming the youth courts, where she advocated for using the courts to reduce the number of young offenders who return to crime after being caught and sentenced for the first time.

An AP student, Krishna said she’s considering public policy and political science in college.

She said she wants Ridgefield’s school board to one day also have an additional sitting student representative, who can provide a voice for issues raised by students.

The board currently has a representative from the high school student government, but the role usually involves giving a brief presentation at the beginning of the meeting. They do not typically sit on the school board during meetings to comment on matters before the board.

“Appreciation for the student voice has often been repressed,” Krishna said. “I think at times they get scared of what a student will say.”

She hopes to be a part of “creating solutions” for greater equity between school districts.

“We have to foster a love of learning and not just the end goal,” she said.