I have not been on this site for long, but I have been on other sites like this a lot, and my school actually did used a form of this in 8th grade. He said a site like this, so it wouldn't have to be this site. It actually got my class involved in politics a lot more and since everything was moderated by teachers the posts were forced to be mature.
Peters Smith, your view is very interesting. On the other hand, I thought that could be an opportunity to rather, rebel against the popular vote by supporting your claims with evidence. In fact, I feel that this going against the popular vote is a skill that is needed in the future. Popular doesn't necessarily mean "right." Having the courage and strength to go against what others believe in shows the difference between a person who might merely go along with the popular vote because "if others believe it's right, it most likely is" from a person who stands up for what he/she believes in. In my school, I have seen things where a teacher would ask if the answer to a question is A (blah blah blah) or B (blah blah blah) and if a few people had their hand raised on one, the rest of the class would follow. Although some chose the other answer, not disheartened by how it might not be the popular vote, and they picked the right choice. Erego, I feel that this might be a positive influence and teach kids skills which is needed in areas such as business and management.
I have to agree with CommunistDog on this one, but understand the bullying concern. Giving students a forum to discuss their less than popular take on any subject is a net positive. In a ordered, and moderated place, it could allow for better understanding, and CUT bulling.
Lets say I am a young atheists (as I once was), a very minor part of any student population. Further lets say I WANT to discuss this with other peers. This is where arguments on a forum would work well. No direct interference from a teacher who would have concerns about discussing religion with students, but could stop hateful posts or arguments. I see it as a win.
Could work across a district, or multi-district. Connecting students between schools. Run on private servers (either district or individual school servers) private could be maintained. No tolling could happen. It could be safer than the open-internet.
@TBR That is a BRILLIANT idea! You know... It could be possible for an inexperienced web designer (a REALLY inexperienced web designer, I mean EXTREMELY INEXPERIENCED, no training) like myself to do something like that. Just put a topic in some page and pop on a forum!
TBR: My school did something called Econgress back in Middle School and that's exactly what it was like. Other schools would propose things, and we would review them/make changes and vice versa. Worked out great.