Changes at Oak Park River and Forest High School are failing

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Connor McIlwain

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Another week of school for Oak Park and River Forest High School, the second week students dealt with the plethora of changes enacted this year. Students remain burdened by hallway congestion, lunchroom overcrowding, and other ramifications of the many adjustments that fail to address the very real problems at OPRF. The changes have stifled the once intellectually stimulating and liberal environment that provoked thousands of budding families to flock to Oak Park.

Valuable class time has become stymied with bombasts regarding IDs and the condescending recitation of "I can" statements. However, the condescension is not a product of the teachers' delivery of such discussions. They are the results of the reactionary manner in which the administration proctored these changes.

The problems at Oak Park and River Forest High School are problems prevalent and, in some instances, embedded in most major cities. They require years of open dialogue, analysis, and the consensus of the entire community, not the inexorable bang of a gavel. While there was some effort to include a more diverse crowd in the discussion of these issues, the many repercussions of such changes were not fully expanded upon in an accurate light. The same goes for the changes occurring in the classroom (I can statements).

Thankfully, the students at Oak Park and River Forest High School are voicing their opinions. This week, hundreds of students donned bright orange shirts which read "OPRF Penitentiary" on the front and "Inmate Number" on the back, with their ID number written under it. Hundreds, if not thousands, of students are also awaiting a new shipment of shirts, which will hopefully convey to the administration the student body's disdain for the changes. It is abundantly clear that no consensus has been reached, despite the administration's attempt to work out the "kinks" in the modifications, which were detailed in a message posted on the school's website.

Without immediate action from the administration, more challenges will undoubtedly arise and the effects of these changes will inevitably creep into all aspects of the town. Students, parents, teachers and other concerned members of the community cannot let certain changes demean the highly esteemed high school that many families are fighting to put their children into. The administration must be flexible and willing to significantly alter these changes to better suit the diverse needs of this community.

The principle of a democracy that allows the minority to make decisions sets the stage for much greater issues, ones beyond an open or closed campus. It is time to preserve the aspects of this town that continue to attract an exuberant mix of young families.

Connor McIlwain is a resident of Oak Park and a student at Oak Park and River Forest High School, as well as an active member of his community. He participates in local athletic teams, school clubs and a myriad of volunteer activities.

Reader Comments

76 Comments - Add Your Comment

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eheck from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: September 26th, 2011 1:02 PM

Last time I did something wrong at work...they didn't reprimand my entire department. And I can leave the office for lunch...or eat it at my desk...outside at the park...or in my car if I want to. Across the board punishments do not encourage personal responsibility. Responsibility does.

ref  

Posted: September 22nd, 2011 12:43 PM

How do you suggest they show responsibility?Many of them have done that by following the rules, not doing drugs, not drinking, being where they are supposed to be and doing their homework. They have been punished for the bad acts of a small group. Great life lesson. Also, for the people who say that somehow this closed campus prepares the kids for the world of work? Where I work, I am allowed to leave the building.

Let's be serious...  

Posted: September 22nd, 2011 12:37 PM

More than half of us have jobs where they don't pull you in a room and ask you your opinion...it's life. These are children, as evidenced by the laughable rant from "the legend." I think we forget that we sounded crazy like them when we were teenagers and how we look back and laugh at how we thought. There is a reason that someone else is held responsible for their well being right now.They should be encouraged to think for themselves but being mature comes with more responsibility than whining.

eheck  

Posted: September 20th, 2011 12:29 PM

Class of 89 and current Oak Park Resident: We had open campus. And back in the day when you had to blot the grease off of your lunchroom food with paper napkins...going for a "salad on a bun" at Tasty Dog was a real treat in the middle of the day. Most of the drug use I saw at OPRF was IN the building. (In the bathrooms to be exact.) Why punish everyone for what a few kids are doing? Why not ask the students what they think would help reduce truancy and drug use?

OP Guy  

Posted: September 18th, 2011 11:33 PM

That's funny legend... sounds like "Connor" is a legend in your own mind. I'm going to guess that "Connor" is your BFF!

The legend from Oak Park  

Posted: September 18th, 2011 10:36 PM

First of all, all of you haters out there need to be respectful, his name is spelled Connor. Next, addressing all of the adults who commented on this article, obviously none of you have ever met Connor or else you wouldn't be commenting on this because you would know he is going to be 10X as successful as all of you, especially the security guard. Let the kid voice his opinion he is most likely more educated then all of you and is choosing to use his voice something we should all admire.

Derek Brewer from Fayetteville AR.  

Posted: September 18th, 2011 9:23 AM

OPRF class of '76- grew up at 159 N. Elmwood in the "open Campus" era. Everyday - EVERYDAY- I'd come/go at lunch and there were always kids smoking dope in the Alley ways around the school. Nothing has changed. The rules are there to protect the little darlings- PUBLIC School folks! Your little liberal land of tolerance is not safe when you can't even verify the residency of a significant portion of the Students. Follow the rules, and make statements on your own time.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 17th, 2011 2:02 PM

Parent, if Conner is a "marked man", then so are the majority of OPRF students, since many of them are supporting the opposition through the T-shirt protest. There is safety in numbers, and somehow I find it hard to believe that Conner is going to be the focus of any retaliation, if there is any at all, because you'd have to punish the masses. I give Conner props for his writing skill, that's about it. A heroic effort? Give me a break!

Big Deal  

Posted: September 17th, 2011 9:27 AM

@ L from Oak Park: Some colleges restrict Freshmen from bringing cars to campus or living out of the dorms their 1st year. There are restrictions imposed on some deploying troops where they cant leave the base, have any alcohol use, have a curfew on base, and can't wear civilian clothing. This is stateside and it does include adults in their 30s and 40s and it is unnecessary. I'm not really moved b/c they can't go out for lunch. There are GROWNUPS twice their age dealing with the same thing.

Parent  

Posted: September 17th, 2011 8:43 AM

Parents and students know that anyone who vocally opposes HS admin practices runs the risk of retaliation from adults at the HS. So I stand by my commendation of Conner for speaking up. He is now a marked man at the HS but it looks as though he may have what it takes to weather the storm.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 11:31 PM

Parent, the majority of students seem to dislike the new rules, which is no surprise, so Conner isn't exactly displaying his courage by going against the grain... He's preaching to his own choir. Actually, students who vocally oppose this majority against the new rules would be showing a lot more backbone, as they'd knowingly become less than popular amongst many peers... and adults would do well to learn from THAT!

Parent  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 10:21 PM

Kudos to Conner. In this town it takes a lot of guts to say out loud that one of our cherished institutions is less than perfect. We can only hope that some adults will learn from this young man. BTW the cynic in me can't help but wonder if the real reason for all these stupid new rules is to trip up kids they don't like and make it easier to get rid of them.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 10:20 PM

Well said, KRistau.

ref  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 5:55 PM

Well said, Ruth.

oakparksenior from Oak Park  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 5:42 PM

In the face of all these changes, it is reassuring to know Oak Park is still a nuclear free zone

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 5:07 PM

In trying to create a safer learning environment, I'm afraid OPRF has forgotten that these are intelligent students who do not appreciate being held responsible for the irresponsible behaviors of a few. The students know that there are drug problems at OPRF, but they are learning we are not really interested in addressing these problems, because we are too busy arguing with them to listen to them.

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 5:05 PM

I see some of the rules as appropriate (no eating in the hallways), and some as just plain silliness (no students in the student center!?) I also do not understand why we would want to make it more difficult for children to go to the library, or the band room. I don't know about the rest of you, but in my experience, children and adults learn best and work hardest when they feel safe and are treated with respect.

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 5:04 PM

Some of these comments remind me of exactly what the problem is with the current changes at OPRF. Such disrespect! By disregarding the student perspective, OPRF is missing an opportunity to involve them in meaningful change. I think Connor wrote a thoughtful piece that highlights some very specific concerns about overcrowding and classroom time being wasted on rules that, right or wrong, the students don't buy into.

KRistau  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 4:44 PM

One more thing: if students really believe that OPRF is like a prison, they are in for a ridiculously rude awakening should they ever find themselves in one. Honestly though, if you want to be taken seriously by the administration and school board, come correct with your concerns, and ease up on the bandwagon (albeit well-written) monologues.

KRistau  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 4:16 PM

New policies are a failure? Its been 2 weeks. Ease up the drama, Connor, and look at the bigger picture. If people carried their id's and were generally respectful, do you think the school would trouble itself the issue? Probably not. Suggestion: take heed, act right, and ENCOURAGE YOUR PEERS TO DO THE SAME. Dramatics, fear mongering, and inciting a bogus uprising only further the original issue; it certainly doesn't illustrate respect, maturity, or concern for your peers and community.

Ha from Oak Park  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 3:29 PM

Ref, Mexican drug cartels? How could they sneak in any drugs. We have boarder protection against any drug, terrorist, gun runner, people runner and the rest of the mess. The drugs are being stolen from the medicine cabinets.

Chet21  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 2:24 PM

@ref. Actually, I did read your posts and was unclear of your "stake" in this matter: student, parent, teacher, etc? Also, YOU (and many others) brought up "drugs" and so I expanded upon the theme. You did, though, lose me with your 9/15 "four walls and a floor" quote about D97ref. A district which spends $14,000 per student can be described like that?!? I don't think so. Adios, I'm done.

ref  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 1:25 PM

Chet, you said, " Why are YOU even concerned about this closed campus matter?" I guess you could go back and read what I've written about it as well. I think I've been clear about it. It's interesting closing the OPRF campus for freshmen and sophomores regardless of their behavior is your idea of "taking action to stop" the Mexican drug cartels Good luck with that.

Chet21  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 12:16 PM

@ref. I AM taking "action to stop it" - and this is part of the effort. If you read my writings I'm open-minded to the specifics regarding the closed campus. Why are YOU even concerned about this closed campus matter? I have one child still at OPRF and one recently graduated. I know from them that drugs at OPRF are an issue and I know from reading about the closed campus process that drug usage is one of issues being addressed by this. I also know that most high schools are closed. Why not OPRF?

ref  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 10:10 AM

Chet, I suggest if that truly bothers you, then you should take action to stop it. Personally, don't believe that closing the OPRF campus is going to bring the Mexican drug cartels to their knees.

Chet21  

Posted: September 16th, 2011 9:42 AM

@Informed and Ref, I guess that, regarding "drugs," I have been somewhat influenced by the recent arrest of the OPRF student AND that he was in the possession of a lot of stolen items like calculators, phones, etc. Further, the reference by "Ref" to drugs in the 70's & 80's, "my time," is a disconcerting feeling and the brutal and horrific violence in Mexico truly bothers me. Do I think that OPRF has a drug epidemic? No, but having a recent grad and a sr as kids - I'm not THAT naive, either!

OP Guy  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 10:51 PM

ref, Euh... you obviously don't in this case.

Informed Student  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 10:21 PM

While drugs may be a problem at OPRF, closed campus will not effect drug use whatsoever. Those who are addicted or unintelligent enough to do drugs off campus will just turn from outside in an ally to a school bathroom, making the school environment even more dangerous. The drug problem is also not as serious as certain sources have made it sound. Contrary to certain news paper articles written last spring their is not a "drug, weapons, and sex trade," taking place off campus on lunch.

ref  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 10:11 PM

OP Guy, I process better than you think, which really isn't saying much. And yes, Chet, I am just saying that the school's approach doesn't work. It catches the low-hanging fruit, the people who wouldn't do drugs if they were thrust upon them.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 8:36 PM

ref, what's funny is your inability to process what people write... i.e. where did I make the assumption that you haven't been to Calcutta? I asked you when you were there last?

Chet21  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 7:49 PM

@ref. Of course drug usage in the 70's and 80's was rampant. It was dumb then and dumb now. But the "now," as most know, has many different twists. One is that the violence associated with the source has grown exponentially. Every OPRF student participating in this "dumb" activity is an accessory to this. It is well known that drug usage during lunchtime at OPRF is an issue. It is also well known that most high school campuses are closed. I am supportive of discussing specifics of the latter.

ref  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 7:03 PM

Chet, are you saying there wasn't a drug or alcohol problem when you were at OPRF? My friends who went there as kids (70s and 80s) would beg to differ. For me, there were far worse drug problems when I was a kid than what we have in OP, and we had a closed campus. I don't think that closing the campus is going to help curb the efforts of Mexican drug cartels. It's a broad-brush problem that punishes the good kids.

ref  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 7:01 PM

OP Guy, it's funny you say that, since you have been lecturing others on being presumptuous. What makes you think I haven't been to Calcutta recently?

OP Guy  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 5:01 PM

ref, though your example is probably suppose to be silly, when was the last time you were in Calcutta? It's a much bigger world outside of the US.

Chet21  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 4:58 PM

@ref. My daughter is displeased with the new policy. She has parental permission to leave the campus. We'll see what the winter is like. I don't presently consider the changes to be significant, but I have an open mind. However, I'm addressing an issue, drugs, touched on by many other posters in this thread. BTW, when I attended OPRF the school had in excess of 4,000 students. The campus was open, but what do you think that it was like during non-lunch hours in terms of density? We survived.

ref  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 4:34 PM

Yes, and all the OPRF students should be punished for this. Punished, I say.

Chet21  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 12:12 PM

Drug usage and OPRF teens? Based on what I've read here, sadly, it looks the Mexican drug cartels will continue burning down casinos (and killing the women inside) and murdering thousands of innocents every year. I have frequently shown the news reports of the murdering of judges, mayors, police, children, etc to my teenage kids (youngest is now an OPRF sr) and that using drugs is enriching the cartels and a death sentence for a lot of people. FYI, actions by OPRF students ARE related to this.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 11:12 AM

Wearing t-shirts in defiance of what the principle thinks is a way to handle students is government at it's best. The school belongs to the people, and people have a right to express their opinions. Without students, there would be no reason for the principle to show up.

ref  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 7:26 AM

At OPRF, they are painting all students with the same brush. And when all is said and done, they will congratulate themselves on whatever kids don't end up doing drugs (even though most of them probably wouldn't have done them in the first place) and throw their hands up about the others. I doubt it will make any difference, but it doesn't show the students, even the "good" ones, that they are worthy or capable of respect. It's a shame.

ref  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 7:22 AM

In any case, this closed campus issue really touches on one of the big mistakes I think both districts make, and that is not targeting discipline. If there is a fight, for example, both children are disciplined regardless of what happened--it's like no-fault discipline, and because of that, they don't get to the root of the problem in that skirmish, or in the school environment.

ref  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 7:20 AM

I guess because people have less personal space in Calcutta, that makes OPRF a luxury resort. Okaay,,. This is reminding me of the argument set forth during D97's referendum fight that just because we had four walls and a floor that the schools weren't hurting.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 1:35 AM

Considering the amount of time a youth spends in schools, it would be irresponsible for schools not to get involved when issues such as drug use become a problem. The experience in school (interacting with, influencing and being influenced by peers, have teachers as positive or negative role models) in addition to the material taught has a huge impact on a students up bringing. Whether students like it or not, their lives are a part of what makes the school what it is, and drugs are in the mix.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 1:29 AM

Student, secondly, it is an over simplification to say that there are laws to deal with drugs and no one else has any responsibility towards the problem. Parents, police, schools etc... all play a part in the relationship between the development of youth within a context that involves drugs. If you think that a teachers job involves the mere transaction of educational material... you know about 50% of what a teacher does. Continued...

OP Guy  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 1:22 AM

Student, firstly, without knowing the background of every person in Oak Park, you cannot say effectively say that people haven't experience places, or even schools that are as dense as OPRF. Not everyone here is from the US, and I can garentee that there are schools outside the US that make the personal space of OPRF students seem like many of the McMansions they live in.

Student  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 12:44 AM

There is no way it's that simple, but in my perspective, I don't understand why schools involve themselves with anything other than education. It's simply not there job.

Student  

Posted: September 15th, 2011 12:40 AM

No parent or citizen living in either oak park or river forest can comprehend the density of people in front of the north cafeteria during lunch periods, only the students really can. Drive in traffic everyday, and get to work on time. And drugs? Drugs are self detrimental and that's that. So why have the school try to tackle such a widespread problem? These problems are so simple and historically redundant, and with laws against every type of drug out there, why must schools be involved?

OP Guy  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 11:44 PM

Another thought, it's always easier to start or join a fight inline with popular ideology... its much harder to start or join the protest that goes against the grain. If a person takes the easy way out, what does that make them? Sheep!

OP Guy  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 11:34 PM

continue to do so without an effort on their own part... but one move would be to make t-shirts protesting problems that matter a lot more. See if students can get a a majority to wear them. There will always be those who laugh at honest efforts, but who cares! I can promise that the junkies of the future will be the last people laughing when their trying to scrape a few dollars together for the next hit.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 11:28 PM

Just Another Student; I appreciate your level headedness in this issue. It's good to know that there are some students at OPRF that can evaluate this issue without the contrived angst. Now, my comment about students getting together to tackle important problems was more a call to students to look at how trivial their current gripe is. I understand the implications of being the "rat" or the "nerd" who tells the smokers to stop, and I know that people who smoke weed and shoot up will most likely

Just Another Student  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 10:49 PM

all our privileges, and we all unfortunately take the blow for it. Sorry I forgot to put cont. on all those but theyre all the same person. 4 comments total. Haha the 2nd comment got cut off. Its "nowhere near that simple" sorry.

Paige from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 10:47 PM

Not only does the increased emphasis on abiding to these freshly imposed rules distract from the actual learning in the high school-at least ten minutes per period are spent reminding students to "put on your ID," or that "you can't see your counselor, it's a new rule,"-they reflect a huge disconnect on the part of the administration. The staff is upset with the changes, the student body is, many parents are. In a school famous for its liberal environment, these are stifling to say the least.

Just Another Student  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 10:47 PM

There are plenty of anti-drugs, anti-truancy garbage clubs (SADD or whatever..) going on at the school and NEWSFLASH none of them work. And maybe you'd say a club isn't enough but I'd like to see you try approaching some kids smoking during their lunch period and tell them to stop. As a student, I know how others would react to me trying to do that and they'd laugh in my face. There's little to nothing that we as students can do about the rogue students that have lost us

Just Another Student  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 10:45 PM

But that still doesn't take away from the fact that the lunchroom is waaaaay too crowded and there's no space to breathe, let alone eat. As for you parents saying "oh, you kids should all get together and stop doing drugs" or whatever (sorry, I know I changed some words, but that was the general idea, a student led attempt to do away with the initial reasons why we had open campus and all that stuff taken away in the first place), you really need to understand that its nowher

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 10:38 PM

Excellent narrative by Connor and a great perspective by Nick. It's reassuring to see the level of talent by OPRF students. Protest -- OK; Anarchy -- real bad! Keep your passion but remember why you are in school. You have a lot of school years ahead of you so don't lose your focus. Twenty years from now, you'll remember this year when your job gets reorganized, you get a really bad boss, or your employer moves to the moon. Keep going, but stay cool.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 10:33 PM

ref, ever heard of sarcasm? If you look at the post I was responding to, the wording of my post, add it all together, you may just see how I used the word "patronizing". Hope that wasn't too patronizing.

L from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 10:27 PM

Huh? from Oak Park, do you have to ask your boss for permission to go to the toilet? Does your job require new employees to work for two years before they are allowed out of the building?

ref  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 10:11 PM

Actually, OP guy, your post is pretty much the definition of "patronizing."

OP Guy  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 9:09 PM

a frustrated student, it's presumptuous of you to think that parents or "concerned citizens" have a 20 year age gap to the students, and that many don't know what being a high school student is like. Sounds like the typical adult vs teen argument which is somewhat juvenile... not to be patronizing! I would argue that being a young parent gives you the insight of being a recent student and the experience as an adult to make well calculated plans. I urge you to watch "Lord of the Flies".

John   

Posted: September 14th, 2011 9:07 PM

Great article connor, you are one great author way to go!

Frustrated Student  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 7:19 PM

cont. In the case of a fire, it would take way too long to get everyone out of the lunch room, especially with panicked teenagers running around. A fire alarm was pulled during my lunch period a few weeks ago, and it took way too long for everyone to get out and safely away from the school, even though we were right next to several doorways. There are simply too many students in the cafeteria. It's ridiculous.

Frustrated Student  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 7:16 PM

RF Parent, the overcrowding in lunchrooms and hallways is a major issue. Speaking as someone who walks through the terribly congested hallways everyday, it's annoying. Not only that, but there are kids elbowing and pushing. It smells terrible, hurts, it's very difficult to get to class on time when you have to walk through a mob. Also, the overcrowded lunchrooms cause. The lunch lines are insanely long, the lunchroom is very loud, and above all it's a major fire hazard.

Huh? from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 7:13 PM

So after reading another article, my best guess at what Conner here is getting at is tighter restrictions on leaving campus (leading to absences) and being late to class. Is there more? If not, you need to get over it. Must have been a reason to put these restrictions in place. Pretty basic stuff: go to class; show up on time. Good luck getting through the rest of your adult lives without this kind of discipline.

a frustrated student   

Posted: September 14th, 2011 6:12 PM

Not to patronize any of the parents and "concerned" citizens posting their complaints about this article, but for those of you who think the author is addressing the wrong issue- you really have no idea what the real issue is considering you don't go to the high school, you aren't expected to learn in that environment, and it's certainly difficult for you to understand a teenager's needs with at least a 20 year age difference. Keep it up Connor, you're absolutely right!

RF Parent  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 6:05 PM

Nick answered nothing about what Conner was saying. Connor never explained his issue(s) only that there is problems with overcrowding and then vaguely said something about community. Nick's point is well taken that parent's involvement is the most important factor in child development. Comprehension is a skill "a kid" may need to work on. Connors letter leaves us wanting for more specifics and direction.

a kid  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 4:14 PM

Hmmm look at that RF parent, it looks like Nick answered your questions pretty damn well.

Nick  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 4:11 PM

cont. A student in class will never improve the school's "All Important" standardized test average if they have not drive or incentive to perform. What can the school do to fix this? Absolutely nothing. Intest and involvement lies in the families of these students. When a student has role models who poorly demonstrate a proper academic attitude, that student will most likely have a similar atitude. The school can make students attend, but only the parents can make the students care.

mv113 from op  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 4:08 PM

How much did the school pay to print and hang all those lame signs throughout the building? I was there for the open house last week and it seems like propaganda aim at taming the herd. What's next those "success and work" signs that companies put up to try and make the employees work 60 hours a week for no increase in pay? Just plain silly, like the now ironically named student center. We can't have visitors see students when they enter. What a joke.

Nick  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 4:06 PM

The issue that faces OPRF is not one of "Safety and Security" as the school so ludicrously states. It is one of student intrest and involvement. While the OPRF can increase a students incentive to get to class with their tardy, unexcused absence, and study hall policies, they will always be unable to maintain the intrest of students who don't care. Weather or not a student is in class is irrelevant. The true issue is weather or not they care or try.

Oak Park Parent  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 3:34 PM

Excellent letter! I am a parent of younger children, so I'm not very familiar with the closed campus issue. But I am very pleased that our future high school has a community which includes such articulate and passionate advocates. One of the things that appealed to us (ahem, a liberal family) about OPRF is the collegiate atmosphere and the involvement of the students in activities. An open campus seems to be representative of an atmosphere that encourages maturity and self-direction in students.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 2:20 PM

Families are still moving in... so I don't know where you get the impression that they're not. Oak Park is still a desirable place to move to, but it won't be it things like drugs... take over the community. After actually talking to "young liberal families" that were considering Oak Park as their home, their only apprehensions about the schools were drugs, NOT the loss if it's liberal ideals, cause there weren't any.

OP Guy  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 2:11 PM

Cont. If the student really want a solution, they need to look at and discuss why the closed campus way created, and work out how THEY, the STUDENTS, can come up with ways to battle issues in the school. What's pathetic is the that students will group together get up in arms about a closed campus, but they won't lift a finger to battle the real detrimental issues like drug use, drug dealing... STUDENTS, how about showing some back bone for things that matter!

OP Guy  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 2:04 PM

I agree that it's a good thing to have proactive students, but seriously, it's not like their human rights are being taken away! These t-shirts are actually insulting to people who are and have been in prison. Like with a lot of group mentality, a few people get the ball rolling with their individual ideology, and the rest follows. This t-shirt thing is kinda brattish, and does a huge disservice to rallying against issues that actually matter.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 9:20 AM

While I admire Connor's passion and his writing ability, there are several things missing here. Indeed, what are the specifics of the "real issues"? His letter is predictable, though. The changes impact this years junior and senior classes only. In two years this angst will likely have run its course, and students will be used to the changes and tweaking of the policy. 2 questions: 1) what is with the "I can" stuff, & 2) Who's profiting from the T-shirts? I do admire the entrepreneurial zeal!

RF Parent  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 9:03 AM

This letter lacks any real specifics on what the issues are and any solutions to them. In the last paragraph Connor asks us to "preserve the aspect of this town" that attacks people here. What aspects specifically? Read the letter again and ask yourself...what is he talking about? Generally we know, but his letter leaves us lacking. Cheer-leading some teenagers angst is not healthy. Overcrowded halls and lunchrooms is not reason to panic.

Delaney Miller from Oak Park Il   

Posted: September 14th, 2011 6:41 AM

Connor this is amazing!, and so true!

goalie  

Posted: September 14th, 2011 12:01 AM

you tell um' connor, -lax team

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