In recent months, we’ve seen several examples where young people in Oak Park have gathered around an issue, studied it and come forward to governing bodies with thoughtful, sometimes provocative, concerns.
There were students concerned about the potential impact on Austin Garden of a potential mid-rise, mixed-use building on the northwest corner of Lake and Forest. The study reflected the blocking of sunshine on the park if a new building reached certain heights.
The student-led debate this winter at OPRF over graduation garb reflected the most progressive ideals of inclusion and fairness that we have seen in all the years where the white dress debate has raged and simmered. While the change made this year was modest, clearly these students raised the consciousness of the school board going forward.
And most recently a student at the Secular Jewish Community and School represented his class in making a presentation to the District 97 elementary school board about its discipline policies. While based on a small sample, the study raised worthwhile questions about the ratio of minority students, special-needs students and even very young students who received suspensions.
In every case these students were respectfully received by elected officials, though we are told the group looking at discipline in D97 is still waiting for a promised response.
It goes without saying that we admire these students, and the adults who work in support of them, who take a strong and thoughtful interest in local affairs.