OPRF should invest in 'civilized debate,' not Friday night lights

Opinion

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I recently attended a neighborhood meeting regarding the OPRFHS Booster Club's request for stadium lights in their newly renovated field on Linden and Lake Street. Apparently the Booster Club has the monies to disperse as they wish and the administration and school board appear to support the Booster Club's efforts.

I surely realize that this is about money and the assumptions those with the money use to discuss financial matters. And yet, it seems to me that the whole community ought to be aware of how the high school administration and board use any monies to meet the primary goals of the school, which is the education of our youngest citizens.

When a high school cannot seem to find the funds to support a high school forensics (debate) team which prepares young people in the primary skills of communication so necessary in our increasingly complex society, does this community want the high school to use funds (from whatever source) in a way which does not further the school's mission?

Football impacts very few students actively; even the notion of "school spirit" is vacuous and panders to students base instincts. Isn't the message abundantly clear these days that we need citizens who resolve conflicts using diplomacy, not force? Aren't all of our students, better served if we require them to learn the skills of civilized debate?

When a high school consistently has one class of students who do not do as well as we know they can do, how can the expense of football lights be justified? For that matter, what percentage of school monies (from whatever source) are funneled into football? Are there connections between poor student performance and the priority given to sports?

This is a major issue for this community which prides itself on education. Does this community think that the administration and the board are putting its resources into its most valued asset, the student?

In these economic down times, can we afford to use monies for lower priority issues, if the top priorities are not being served well? We cannot afford citizens who cannot function intelligently in our complex society.

Mary Rose Lambke
Oak Park

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