Political debates constitute good civics lessons for students, but they should be more than just civics lessons. Conducting an election year debate before an audience made up to a large degree of those too young to vote, which will be the case on Oct. 22 at Monument Mountain Regional High School, is the equivalent of a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it.

The Berkshire Hills Regional School District has invited 4th Berkshire District Democratic incumbent William " Smitty" Pignatelli and Green Rainbow Party challenger Scott Laugenour to a debate before students and faculty at one of its periodic "Arts and Ideas" forums at Monument Mountain. These forums have always been closed to outside media and the public, and Mr. Laugenour says he doesn't have time to engage in a discussion closed to news coverage that close to the election. Mr. Pignatelli has accepted the invitation.

While the forum will be good for the students in attendance and ideally help get them interested in politics and government, allowing the press to attend will not diminish the forum's positive impact on young people and will have the benefit of getting information on the race to voters in the 4th. We hope the BHRSD reconsiders its ban on press coverage of the forum.