Some months back we urged the school board at Oak Park and River Forest High School to reclaim the decision over what graduates wear to the ceremony. For 100 years there was no debate or dissension over the white dresses and dark suits worn by young women and men. And then, as our collective awareness grew about stereotypes and clothing choices, an interesting debate ensued. The school, we think rightly, left the gradual modernizing vs. tradition debate in the hands of students.
That was well and good until these past few years when it came into focus that there are real issues of gender and gender fluidity underlying what had seemed a more basic decision. The rights of the minority of students on a sexual identity continuum needed to be actively acknowledged and respected.
The decision last week by the school board to accept the position of the administration to move to caps and gowns this coming spring is absolutely the correct one for our high school. Well done.
For 40 years, since the exodus of auto row, Madison Street in Oak Park has been a hodge-podge of odd uses. Some retail, a few restaurants, some remnant auto care, a few institutions and governments. Not much of a destination but a pretty good thoroughfare. The village of Oak Park accumulated some key parcels but never had the vision, will or the economy to make the future happen.
But Monday night that changed as major developments on both sides of the street at Oak Park Avenue were approved. Further, the lingering debate over narrowing traffic lanes on the street was finally implemented.
This is what progress looks like.