Speaking out on closing the OPRF campus

Range of views as school board listens to community members

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By Jean Lotus

Contributing Reporter

The District 200 Board of Education got an earful last Wednesday night as its members listened to public comments by parents, neighbors and students about whether to close the OPRF campus.

In two hours of emotional commentary, board members heard a catalog of alleged student misbehaviors that take place outside of school during the 40-minute lunch period, including dealing and consuming drugs and alcohol, engaging in sex, driving recklessly and smoking cigarettes.

Equally emotional appeals to maintain the open campus were brought by students who claimed that drug problems were over-exaggerated and who begged for "a little bit of fresh air" every day.

Three options were on the table, said Dietra Millard, school board president. The first would be to close the campus for all students, not just freshmen, who have been eating lunch on campus in a designated cafeteria since 1998.

The second choice would be a modified closed campus with juniors and seniors allowed to earn the privilege to leave. The third option would maintain an open campus for all students except freshmen.

"This is a highly time-sensitive issue. We must decide by June," said Millard. Almost 70 people attended the meeting in the school's large auditorium.

Diane Fascione, of the 500 block of Woodbine, said her experience as a substitute teacher at both OPRF and Elmwood Park High School (which has a closed campus) had convinced her the "behavioral expectations are higher" in a closed campus. She said closing campus would limit opportunities for student drug use and other misbehavior such as "going to an empty house for sexual relations and cutting their afternoon classes. ... Your students are our children. They are minors in the eyes of the law. If something happens to my child ... the shame and the blame will be on you."

Eric Lupke, a freshman at OPRF, said, "Let students have 45 minutes in the day to go outside and get some fresh air as opposed to locking them in a noisy room with a bunch of other kids who they might not want to be with. The claims of drug dealing during lunch period seem very exaggerated to me. I've never seen an illegal drug in my life. I only have two classes with windows and it's kind of depressing."

Neighbors told of drug deals they have witnessed from living room windows. One woman produced drug paraphernalia (baggies and a pipe) that she found while dog-walking. "We are five blocks from the West Side drug market," said one speaker.

"April 20 was drug day, I guess, and my daughter told me that at least six students were stoned out of their minds in the back of the class, and nothing was done about that," said Dave Biggus from Harvey Avenue. "Drug testing, and closing the campus would at least give the kids a chance to say 'no' and know there were some adults showing the way."

Karen Daniels, mother of an OPRF sophomore, opposed closing the campus because her son "likes to have a break from the noise and craziness. He likes to go to a friend's house and stretch his legs. ... I don't mind a little experimentation," she said, pointing out that learning to make choices during high school is preferable to "being locked up 24/7 until he goes to college."

"We cannot blame the West Side of Chicago for our children getting drugs. There has to be parent accountability," said one woman. "Closed campus will bring about many behavioral problems. It takes away some of the dignity, socially, for some students."

"These are new drivers racing back to get to class," said Lisa Lowry of IMPACT — a local citizens task force addressing student drug-use in Oak Park and River Forest. "Luckily, we are not here because there's been a tragedy."

Describing himself as "part of the problem" when he attended OPRF 40 years ago, Mike Lennox, of the 200 block of N. Ridgeland Ave., said his son is now in the Coast Guard, fighting the drug trade in South and Central America. "He's putting his life on the line for us. ... It is not the same marijuana today as it was 40 years ago. This board has a chance to act to close the campus."

OPRF Student Council President Emily Hendricks said, "I know our school has a reputation as being 'Smoke Park-Reefer Forest', but ... to punish 3,600 hundred kids for the wrongdoing of just a small section of our student body is wrong."

Suggestions thrown out by speakers included shortening lunch periods to 25 minutes, hiring motivational speakers for parents and beefing up programs such as "Snowball" — a three-day retreat where students discuss personal problems underlying their choices to take drugs.

The board will meet again on Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 a.m. to evaluate the suggestions.

Reader Comments

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Steve B from oak park  

Posted: May 11th, 2011 3:19 PM

Closed campus is not a punishment. It would make spoting those doing smething wrong/illegal easier. We copare ourselves to other schools when it comes to giving adminstrators a raise yet we won't compare ourselves to the same schools who have closed campuses. School is for learning including learning to follow rules nd occasionally do what you don't want because that is what is expected of you. School is not about personal freedom,that is what other 16 hours of student's life is for

OPRF Alumna  

Posted: May 11th, 2011 4:35 AM

I graduated nearly 20 years ago, and even then some kids in my honors and AP classes had flasks and joints in their lockers. Closed campus won't do a thing to stop drug and alcohol abuse - it will simply move it to another time and place. Blaming the West Side is ridiculous. Kids in Geneva or the cornfields of Iowa do just as many drugs, if not more. If you want to stop poor behavior, the parents have to be the FIRST to discipline the kids. Schools play a supporting role.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 10th, 2011 10:03 PM

It's not just drugs. The board has been presented with a number of behavior problems. What actions would you like to see taken to address these violations?

op rez from Oak Park  

Posted: May 10th, 2011 8:22 PM

I went to a large high school with an open campus and somehow, I managed not to buy or use drugs during lunch time. (Even though drugs were sold in the neighborhood)

op rez from Oak park  

Posted: May 10th, 2011 8:19 PM

Close the campus and property owners can expect to reimburse the city for the money it loses from taxes paid by the restaurants the students used to patronize during lunch. Also, more students on campus during lunch means more supervision and discipline issues at school.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 9th, 2011 1:59 AM

You're right, Ruth. It would be helpful to the discussion if OP-RF teachers would be willing to share their views. I'd also like to hear from OPPD Chief Tanksley. Does anyone know the policy at other member schools in the West Suburban conference? How about Fenwick and Trinity? What benefits have been realized by other area high schools that operate a closed campus? Has any school district reversed their decision after review?

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 8:44 PM

Even if I thought a closed campus would be a good idea, (and I don't), I would strenuously object, (and I have), to any change process that doesn't include the most important "stakeholders", the students! I also wonder what the teachers at OPRF are thinking about all of this. Any teachers care to comment anonymously? Your voices have been pretty silent.

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 8:43 PM

I'll put on my expert hat for a moment to remind everyone that the "experts" don't all agree. The research on teen drug abuse prevention identifies lots of priorities that we probably would agree on, including various parent/teen factors such as temperament and communication. But the closed campus issue is not seen by all of us in the same way, as this "discussion" clearly illustrates.

OP Resident #2  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 5:40 PM

For everyone's info, I have been posting since Wednesday Journal debuted this new site. So it might be debatable who posted first. It's not that big of a deal to me, and it seems silly for someone to get so offended by a name that could mean any of THOUSANDS of villagers (are you also offended by OPRF Parent???). I'm done tho as if this irritates so many, then we really aren't here to discuss the issue of our students using drugs.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 5:03 PM

Let's respect the experts who deal with these issues on a daily basis. I'm sure the high school will be able to make sure the students get some fresh air. I do understand the frustrations of the students who see this as a punishment based upon the actions of a small group of their classmates but it's certainly not going to be the most extreme restrictions they will face in their lives. I dealt with a department head at Village Hall who told staff they needed permission to use the restroom.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 3:42 PM

You bet I am bothered by the fact that you chose to ride my coattails. What motivated you to continue with the charade even after I called you out on a number of occasions? I think you are trying to undermine the purpose of a local discussion forum. You simply could have post as OP Resident #2 to avoid any confusion but that was not part of the game. I'm still going to post as "OP Resident" and will likely have to deal with stalkers and flim flams. Maybe you thought I'd just quit. No chance!

OP Resident #2 out of 52,524  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 3:14 PM

Since you are so bothered by being the "original" OP Resident, maybe now we can get back to the discussion. Do you want to argue that the school does everything it can to help our students with their problems and behavior issues? You may work there (I don't know) but I have seen security watch things happen and talk about it but never interfere. So I guess Original OPResident, we will disagree on what the school is doing to help our students. I am confident so much more could be done.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 2:54 PM

You are the "other" OP Resident. I was here first! In fact, I took the heat from David Pope & Ray Johnson regarding TIF mismanagement and wasteful spending. I'm the one who challenged Jim Kelly. You don't know what you are talking about regarding OP-RF HS staff trying to help students with drug problems. Heroin addiction is especailly difficult for women to overcome. The success rate is about 5%. There are fewer programs available to them. Now get off my back & come up with a new dub. Try "TOOL"

OP Resident  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 11:36 AM

@the Other OPR: don't assume I don't have experience with drug problems either in my family. Secondly, do you really think closing the campus would have saved any of the children we are discussing, including mine, yours, the others here? I have never downplayed the drug issue. As a matter of fact, I have repeatedly said I think the school does not do enough to help these kids, including having security that watches our kids. Don't pretend I am insulting other's pain. This is not a solution.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 10:47 AM

More gibberish (05/07 posting @ 11:24p)from the "other" OP Resident! My family has firsthand experience with a child using hard drugs. It has been a nightmare. Wisecracks directed at concerned parents have no place in this discussion.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 8th, 2011 12:41 AM

Yes, teens will still try to take drugs in washrooms and deal drugs at school, but there is a lot more risk involved and a much higher chance of getting caught compared to teens hanging out outside of school without any worry. Again, closing the campus is just 1 little piece of the way to fight this issue, it's not the be all end all, but it helps. There IS no one way fix everything, but a combination of things. People against the the policy should keep that in mind before disregarding it.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 11:24 PM

@Conc. parent, that is where you are so wrong. Those kids will still use drugs, even during 8 a.m and 3 p.m. Ask your kids! Drugs are being used in the washrooms & sold in school. This is not news. Closing campus has absolutely nothing to do with the drug use. Kids who are using drugs do not follow OPRF's rules (or society's & hopefully their family's). It will make kids leave at lunch & not return. Are you really worried about kids on drugs at OPRF (b/c I'm sure your kids aren't using,rite?)

Concerned Parent  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 10:52 PM

@ OPRF Parent from River Forest Thank you sharing your daughter's OPRF heartbreaking story. To all OPRF parent's this mothers experience is a sober reminder that OPRF's Open Campus policy is a failure. All our teens are good kids, they just make "stupid decisions". The high school currently has 180 kids in some kind of substance abuse program either on campus or at facility. OPRF Board of Education our community needs your leadership right now. Closing campus won't stop kids from using drugs and alcohol but it will prevent them from using drugs and alcohol from 8 am to 3 pm five days of the week.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 9:10 PM

Somebody's playing games, again. This OP Resident does not share the views and opinions being posted by the "other" OP Resident. That's the problem with dubs. There's not much that can been done since there are also phony comments posted using the real names of some prominent people in the community. Just keep a grain of salt handy. My response to the "other" OP Resident is, "I was here first!".

OPRF Parent from River Forest  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 6:15 PM

I have two daughters.. one went to Oak Park and got into the drug scene..she started with smoking weed at lunch she became addicted to heorin she almost died on an overdose. I pull her out of high school sent her to treatment and another school My 2nd child is a top student there.... but does any parent to go through what we went thru to go through with our 1st daughter? Some teens make very stupid decisions does the high school need to help them? Close the Campus!

OP Guy  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 6:00 PM

OP Resident, NO, actually I understand the issue pretty well. Closing the building is NOT and should NOT be the only solution, but it's does help and I've seen it work before. Elementary and middle school kids are not exactly the same as high school kids. Of course it's also up to parents and police, but how' schools run their campus also makes up part of the solution/problem. It's not as black and white one group of people are responsible. EVERYONE is.

OPRF Grad (The cafs were often already too full even with an open campus)  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 5:28 PM

The kids who already use drugs will use them whether or not the campus is closed, most of it happens off campus anyway. Parents shouldn't blame the school for their kids using drugs, but if anything blame themselves since they seem to assume it is the schools responsibility to teach them about that. Teach your own kids what you believe on the subject and realize that they are going to make decisions on their own. If you are uncomfortable with this idea you are not goin want them to go to college

Set Expectations and Enforce Them from OP  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 2:27 PM

@Huskie Mom: Yes, they are bad kids who misbehave and do drugs in all schools, public or private. What the private schools do better, however, is setting expectations and enforcing them. OPRFHS seems to have a problem with that based on the wreckage the neighbors claim. Close the campus and set expectations...and hold the kids accountable for living up to them. It's the only answer. (And, if you're concerned about your child's freedom, create opportunities at home to express it)

OP Resident  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 11:21 AM

@OP Guy, I think you totally miss the point. Elementary school kids get out of the building, middle school kids get out of the building, but let's not let our teenagers, who most parents would let walk around Oak Park by themselves, to leave the building during the day. The point is kids are misbehaving and our solution is close the campus? Yeah, that will really assist those on drugs or drinking during the day.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 10:41 AM

OP Resident, you miss the point. It's not about being like others, but at some point you have to see the silliness of this gripe relative to the larger plan of what is more beneficial to the direction of the school. Jimmy John's? Really?

OP Resident  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 7:00 AM

@Ruth, oh why would we CARE about why the kids are using drugs? And why oh why would we ever ask the kids their opinions -- they are not old enough to make decisions or have meaningful input to this discussion. They should be told what to do and be happy about it! Silly you! Seriously your two posts made more sense than any others on this board. At least someone in OPRF gets it.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 6:57 AM

@A positive reason - wait until your daughter is a sophomore and has left the building for lunch with her friends (perhaps a walk down to Jimmy John's?) and then ask her what she thinks about it. Plus remember she follows the rules. The students on drugs don't so closing that campus may not have an impact on them.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 6:55 AM

Wow, first the comparison to private schools and now China. If only our awful OPRF students could be like others!

OP Guy  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 2:56 AM

Most schools in China have closed campus policies, they finish school later, have morning school on Saturdays and go to night school for a couple of hours every weeknight. Some in the US may consider that oppressive, but for people there it is the norm (cultural differences), and seems to work out pretty well for them academically. Many of them would be scratching their heads wondering what the crying is all about in regards to the new policy. Comparing prison to the policy is arrogant.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 7th, 2011 2:43 AM

The whole argument about freedom and feel imprisoned is weak... we take away their choice to go or not go to school, there are attendance policies, there are behavioral policies etc... this is just another policy, and not even an outlandish one. If we just left their decision to attend school based on their better judgement, I wonder how many would attend? How many would skip class on a regular basis? And not just the kids with problems.

A positive reason to close the campus.   

Posted: May 7th, 2011 1:48 AM

I asked my daughter and her friends, all freshman, if closed campus felt like a prison. Their answer, absolutely not. Being in the school at lunch gave them a sense of belonging. Lunch was their time to be social with old and new friends. These girls talk about their classes, their teachers, their school, their clubs, Glee and American Idol. It dawned on me this is where school spirit is created. It's not at Tasty Dog or Scoville Park or the yards of neighbor. It's right here in this school.

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 11:29 PM

Adolescence isn't just a transitional period between childhood and adulthood. Teens are learning how to make good choices, and we know that they make better choices regarding drugs and alcohol when they feel connected to the significant adults in their lives. The educational value of an open campus is that it provides an opportunity for students to develop good judgment, to have a voice in the things that matter to them, and to relax.

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 11:27 PM

Aren't we even a little curious about WHY so many of our children are using drugs? Why don't we ask them? Why aren't we listening to them?

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 8:18 PM

I'm not a neighbor. I am however a future parent and I want it closed. Not every issue in Oak Parkmis a NIMbY. Weak accusation nimby is.

OPRF Parent  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 7:41 PM

Who wants the campus closed? The neighbors. And the administration is giving in because it's easier to do that than deal with security issues and why kids are leaving the building misbehaving rather than being in school. Guess what, though, when the campus is closed and those same kids are still in the alley smoking pot, drinking, having sex, don't be surprised. They are the rule breakers already so why would a closed campus stop them. Deal with the real issue, not pissed off neighbors.

Huskie mom from OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 6:52 PM

We've discussed this issue long enough. The public has spoken. 80% on Feb. 15th's survey want this campus closed. More than 80% of the voices present here want this campus closed. Are you waiting for some kids to wrap a car around a tree as they rush back from lunch? Why would you want the liability? Close the campus!

Greg from Oak park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 6:43 PM

OPRFHS is a school. Decisions should be made based upon what promotes the education of the students. How does open campus promote the education of the students? No other school in the conference has an open campus policy like ours. We could be right and every other school could be wrong, but OPRF's rates of drug and alcohol abuse don't make that seem likely. My taxes are too high to send my kids to Toke Park Reefer Forest.

Oak Park parent from Oak park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 6:10 PM

Since when is a closed "campus" considered a punishment? I vote for closing it!

Huskie Mom from OP  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 3:04 PM

Let's not start the debate on how private school students are better behaved then public. Please... there's kids that do drugs/alcohol in every HS public or private.

Violet Aura  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:31 PM

As a fellow OPRF grad, I never went away to college. I was very put off by the 'party hardy' mentality of most of the kids. I will say that most of these types probaby bested me in ambition but they were sooo uptight that come Friday and Sat. they'd go nuts. And no way did I want to some school where they acted so childishly with the whole chugalug drinking games, etc. That is the mentality of many lemming students. And you just prolong the inevitable instead of addressing WHY they do it!

Violet Aura  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:27 PM

@OPRF Alumni: Wow...sounds like a real party. Are there also gestapos posted at the entrance? Here's the deal: do you or don't you trust your child? If you have rasied your child in an authoritarian manner, then I can see how afraid you would be at the thought of such freedom because you know your kid wants to rebel, due to your Draconian mentality towards life. But guess what, dear? Your little angel will one day go away to college. And then how crazy will s/he act?

Mary C.  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 12:52 PM

To say that a "closed campus will bring about many behavior problems" is a gross overstatement. My son goes to Fenwick, which is closed. In 2 years, there have been no major problems. The school won't tolerate it, the kids know what is expected and learn self control. Do they like it? Perhaps not. Do they abide by it? Yes. Will their social lives and development by arrested? Doubt it. I also went to a closed campus school - we all turned out just fine, got a good education, and were normal teens

Ruth from Oak park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 11:34 AM

to CC: Staying in school during lunch is a "punishment" because that is how the students experience it. Maybe that is a sad statement on things, but if we serious want to support our kids, help them make good choices, and be adults who they see as allies, we need to listen to what they have to say.

OPRF Alumni from Oak Park  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 10:42 AM

As an alumni of OPRF I am happy to have the opportunity to read the comments posted by the readers. The article makes it crystal clear that my husband and I have made the right choice to bypass OPRF and send our son to a private High School that drug tests all students and has a closed campus. I am certain that more parents will do the same. High School is about education and preparing for college not personal freedom.

Concerned citizen  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 9:13 AM

To Donna (and others), why is "staying in school" a "punishment" and not an enrichment opportunity? In many parts of the world people wish they could go to school but the message here is that it's "punishment".


Posted: May 6th, 2011 8:43 AM

Don't kid yourself, Donna, drug involved youth will get their drugs during the school day too; regardless of closed doors, exposing uninvolved kids even more. The "druggies" are big risk takers.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 6th, 2011 1:52 AM

Well, I don't think it's as simple as "kids will do drugs because they want to". Kids that do drugs usually do so because they are either escaping something or are trying to fill some void in their lives. Kids that have full lives usually don't turn to drug use. So, it's not just the schools responsibility to create a safe context, but also the parents to see to it that they raise well adjusted children, and the police to see to the dealers, and kids to take responsibility for their own actions.

Oprf parent  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 11:34 PM

Putting aside the fact that parents and OPRFHS are both failing students involved with drugs, the other obvious concern is where is the school security and the police dept? If these students are misbehaving as badly as the neighbors say, where are the cops? Closing the campus only hurts the kids who are not misbehaving. The other kids are not following the rules anyway. The school needs to acknowledge its shortcomings especially with security.

Donna from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 11:27 PM

Does anyone really think that closing the campus will stop all these vices? There's still before/after school and weekends. You can't control every waking moment. Kids who smoke, drink and use drugs do so because they want to. I went to OPRF 30 years ago. My kids go there today. There were drugs, smoking, drinking etc. back then and there will be 30 years from now. BTW...30 years ago we all knew who the druggies were, and my kids today know who they are too. Don't punish everyone.

Nan E. State from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 11:23 PM

A couple of thoughts...1) OPRF is not a campus, it's a BUILDING. A big long building, but a building. 2) Let's ignore the drug/drink/sex component for a minute ask a basic question: Is it a good idea for up to 2500 teenagers (good or bad) to be out roaming the streets during the school day? 3) Closing the building should be viewed as a progressive idea to enrich the educational experience by having the diverse student body interact more closely. There...it's easy. Close the building!


Posted: May 5th, 2011 10:19 PM

What is the standard of adequate supervision for 4,000 enrollment? What are the increased safety issues within the school with a closed campus? Who really benefits? Drug involved youth will find their drugs regardless; ie. truancy,absenteeism, drug deals in school. How is school performance impacted? Current system is failing, not by design but with execution.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 10:17 PM

Previous comment directed at "Fed up with the lot of you..."

OP Guy  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 10:16 PM

So, give your kids some LSD and opium, and let's see if they turn out like Huxley or Coleridge.

Anne from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 10:15 PM

I lived at 418 W. Lake for more than 20 yrs. and never dreamt that OPRF even had aft. classes. Kids swarmed around our building, the parking lot next door, and the Village Beef Shoppe from 1 p.m. on, sometimes as late as 1 a.m. next morning. Some of these kids didn't appear to have homes at all. I'm not anti-social but a big factor in my moving away from there was all the high school kids. It doesn't matter that most were nice, it's the jerks that ruined it for everyone, including me.

Fed up with the lot of you from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 8:52 PM

Samuel T Coleridge took opium, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took cocaine, Jean-Paul Sartre used amphetamines, Aldous Huxley took LSD. But we want our kids to grow up to get jobs with half-hour lunch breaks. No wonder your kids won't listen to you.

OPer from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 8:23 PM

are you kidding me ?! First off, I'm in favor of closing the campus. But to say that if anything happened to your child, you'd blame the school? Just another parent looking to blame someone else for their kid getting into trouble. "my kid would NEVER do that!" ... Lady, your kid is probably the worst out of all of them. And -- "i need fresh air" is code for "i'm looking for some drugs" ?? Wow. I guess a lot of my co workers are going out for lunch and scoring some smack!

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 7:17 PM

Do all of the parents who are so anxious to see the campus closed, pick up their children at the end of the school day, drive them home, and lock them up? Do your children ever leave the house unsupervised? Do you ever leave them home alone? Some children drink their parents alcohol, take their parents medications. Let's try understanding what the problem is so we can develop meaningful solutions.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 6:55 PM

SCHOOL, close the campus! POLICE, get the dealers! PARENTS, parent your children! Having been through a high school with a closed campus, I know for fact that it DOES, cut down the opportunities to get up to no good, and no body felt oppressed.

Chris Goode from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 6:31 PM

Why does it have to be all or nothing? I think that leaving campus for lunch should be a privilege based on grades and behavior, perhaps for Juniors and seniors only. The school doors would have to be monitored in some way to keep track of those entering and leaving and make sure that those leaving school had permission. No one should be permitted to hang out adjacent to residences but could go to the park or to commercial areas.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 4:51 PM

Those paid to make these decisions should make their decision. I fear that this discussion could lead to another - Please No - Referendum!

Melissa from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 4:36 PM

For the life of me, I don't know what the big deal is about closing the campus. EVERY DAY there is drug use in the alleys and in the open on the streets around the school. Let them be supervised ..as it were....all day long. It may keep a few kids out of lifelong trouble.


Posted: May 5th, 2011 4:02 PM

David, too funny!

David G from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:58 PM

I went to a high school with a closed campus, and I think having an open campus is depriving these kids of one of the rights of passage: sneaking out of your closed campus. Close it! Kids today have it too easy, they should have to work for it and sneak out like we did. Humbug.

Al from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:51 PM

Stop blaming the open campus for the drug/alcohol use/abuse. The majority of the students aren't leaving campus during lunch to go smoke or drink. Your kid goes out and gets drunk or high? Suspend them. Three strikes and you're out. Stop punishing the whole for the actions of a few.

Concerned Oak Park Citizen from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:49 PM

Surely this problem can be solved somehow by raising our property taxes again!

Martha Flowers from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:49 PM

People who think only bad kids use drugs and their kids never would are fooling themselves. Opportunity is the problem. The school should not provide any more opportunity than is already out there. Keep the kids in the building. "I need some fresh air." is code for "I want to find some drugs."

Bob from Milton-Freewater  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:48 PM

A closed campus is not a form of punishment. The campus was closed when I attended OPRF (class of '66) but that term was not even used. The school day ran 8:20-3:20; somewhere in the middle of that was an 18-minute lunch period. Combined with the passing periods before and after, it was a total of 34 minutes between homeroom and the next class. We survived, & it was good training for some jobs which allowed only a half-hour for lunch. Plenty of time for fresh air & stretching after school.

muriel schnierow from River Forest  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:43 PM

Who is running this show? Close the campus and teach them self discipline.

Greg S  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:35 PM

What is there to discuss? Close the campus. All other similar schools have closed their campus in the 90's. For the parents that think their kid is not using drugs or having sex during the time off campus, check your kids facebook page and their friends. It's happening every day.

Donna from River Forest  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:20 PM

My husband and kids all grew up in and attended schools both public and Catholic in Oak Park. I am still hearing "new" stories about their past adolescent exploits. Kids will be kids, I know, but it seems that even fine kids (like mine!) find an awful lot of things to do that are definitely not in their own best interest. Sadly, I think the campus needs to be closed.

Warren Schmaus from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:11 PM

When will we stop treating drug and alcohol use as some sort of moral failing and start thinking of it as a symptom that something's not quite right in a young person's life? Maybe high school life is too stressful for our kids? Adolescence is never easy. OPRF's immediate response to a student caught using controlled substances seems to be a punishment such as suspension; it would be an exaggeration even to say that counseling is an afterthought.

Maggie from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 3:03 PM

I do not know of many schools that have open campus. Parents pamper their children these days. It will not kill them to stay in school and have their lunch. Maybe they will learn some discipline & have some moral character. I have lived in Oak Park for 49 years and moved here for the great high school we had. We were always number one in the State. Now we are not even in the top ten in the State. Not very good for home values and the reputation of our High School. Get back to basics.

Close it  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 2:56 PM

Close it

Elmwood Ave. Resident  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 2:53 PM

Note the apathy - only 70 people attended this discussion.

Ned Ryerson from River Forest  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 2:52 PM

Closing the campus with the exception of access to East Avenue is the right choice. The availability of alcohol and drugs is so much more prevalent that it was in years past. Excuses like fresh air and stretching the legs are petty at best. The Adminstration should take control of a school culture that has too many liberties for young men and women who are offered too many opportunitites for mis-behavior.


Posted: May 5th, 2011 2:51 PM

Students: You will be perfectly fine in life with a closed campus, don't worry.

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