Dismissive, evasive and pathetic

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Wednesday's community conversation consisted of pathetic responses from OPRF administrators, a failure to address questions regarding steps being taken to ensure student safety, and constant shifting of responsibility. Student after student spoke up about not feeling safe based on the actions of other students and teachers. 

One teacher allegedly used the N-word multiple times in class recently. How can you possibly expect a student to return to that classroom and focus on learning? What message are you sending about that student's value and dignity? One student had been called the N-word by a fellow student and their concern was dismissed by a teacher, whose alleged response was "I didn't see what happened" and "you can't control what other people say." 

Dr. Pruitt-Adams, in effect, suggested they seek out someone else who will believe you (go from one teacher to another if you have to). How does this not place an undue burden on a student who is already feeling marginalized and vulnerable? It also illustrates a failure to enact a clear policy and have it consistently applied. 

The moderator said the crowd is "angry and looking for someone to blame." Seemed more like the crowd was frustrated at the constant deflection and evasion by the administrators on the panel. "It's not just one person's fault." No, it's not. It's the fault of seven school board members and the boatload of administrators employed by this single school district (the org chart lists 38 administrative positions, seven department heads, and five deans). "Don't turn this into an indictment." 

Well, I think the district's dismal track record has already indicted the administration. Between the persistent achievement gap, these incidents, and the sentiment expressed by several prominent minority alumni, the district is seemingly incapable of meeting the academic, social, cultural, and safety needs of its minority students. 

But sure, let's keep patting ourselves on the back for how "progressive" we are, and how great it is that we can come together for these conversations, and let's make sure we give ourselves a nice round of applause for how "awesome" OPRF is. 

The overwhelming message that night was the district doesn't care enough about the concerns of vulnerable students to actually do anything. And when it comes to feeling safe or achieving success, students are on their own and have to fend for themselves. Instead of any effective, consistent policy, we get endless discussions/conversations/forums and nothing really changes. 

It was dismissive, evasive, and pathetic.

Charles Behensky 

Oak Park 

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Doug Springer  

Posted: November 13th, 2018 9:36 PM

Sadly, the school has been passing the buck for decades. Every new administrator claims to have the answer to the equity issue. Yet when the rubber meets the road its always " we need the community to engage in this fight". Well, the community kinda has, and the school hasn't. But they still think a $218Million facility plan is all about equity. These people should be ashamed..

Dori Bernstein  

Posted: November 13th, 2018 9:16 PM

Charles, Thanks for reporting what happened at the D200 Town Hall and the problems at the district. I was also frustrated by the answers the administration gave to the students. I'm happy to see these kids marching and speaking out for what is right. I hope they achieve their goals sooner, rather than later.

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