In response to John Hubbuch’s “End of an era” in the Viewpoints section of the Oct. 12 Wednesday Journal:

I moved to Oak Park 17 years ago because of the reputation of the school system. My son entered first grade and exited upon completion of the 12th. Over the years I met wonderful and caring educators. In general, I was pleased with the experience and with a few caveats, recommend Oak Park to people with children.

The system seems focused on the top and bottom few percent, leaving the majority to figure their way. Just a head’s up that a good reputation doesn’t leave students or parents off the hook.

Prior to my son entering high school, the superintendent and principal at that time, Dr. Susan Bridge, told a group of parents of incoming students that our most important job was enforcing discipline. Nonsense. Discipline is one aspect of being a parent and I don’t rate it as the most important.

Dr. Bridge now works at Concordia University, and I don’t know what the current Oak Park and River Forest High School administration advises parents regarding their responsibility.

Children and Oak Park in general: Many excellent activities are available to engage kids outside the school day throughout the K-5 and 9-12 grades. During the raging changes of the early teen years, I found it a scramble to find structured activities for my son. Who willingly walks into that mayhem?

When I moved to Oak Park, my intention was to head back to Chicago once my son completed 12th grade. Five years later, I’m still here. Some reasons: a canopy of mature trees — hawks have nested in a tree in front of my apartment the last three years; our Farmers Market, complete with fabulous musicians; a treasure of political activists; some beautiful housing stock and architecture; the easy connection to Chicago via public transportation; our public libraries, including the employees; the Third Saturday events at Unity Temple; public forums at Third Unitarian Church (OK, this is in Chicago, but only by two blocks).

I don’t know how Oak Park rates on any diversometer, but what I notice and enjoy: young adults with and without children walking and bicycling the neighborhoods; bi- or multi-racial families; a thriving LGBTQ community (my understanding is that Oak Park welcomed same-sex partners buying houses together earlier than many areas); active senior citizens.

Mr. Hubbuch, times change. Mobility is more common than putting down roots. Oak Park vs. block-busting is history. As you note, history is often more easily appreciated by those who live it, but history is a work in process.

Oak Parker Mary Alice Rankin founded the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty in 1976. She died in 1990. The death penalty was repealed in Illinois this year. While abolition was not specifically an Oak Park issue, the spark was lit here. Many in our village united to end an era of judicial killing. Does this make Oak Park “special” or “good?”

Got me.

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