A History Lesson for the School Board:  Letter from a Ludington Male

The agenda packet for the January 17, 2022 meeting of the Ludington School Board had some action items of interest for those keeping track, with all of them being passed.  They approved the hiring of a school nurse through the local hospital in a three year contract, authorized putting the PM Elementary School up for sale after recognizing that the district had no additional use for it, approved a 'distance learning plan' (effectively adopting virtual learning for any additional snow days or Covid days) and approved a revision of the school's mitigation plan (effectively reducing quarantine times by half).  

Nothing in the passage of these was unexpected, with the possible exception that Board member Scott Foster brought forth a comparison of the differences between our mitigation plan and those used in the Muskegon area which he summarized as 'if you feel sick, stay home'-- pretty much what was standard protocol two years ago.  Foster indicated his inclination to simplify the mitigation plan before the vote, remove some of the mandates imposed by Dr. Morse of the local health department, but the rest of the board was unmoved to act further.

Prior to that, Foster had brought a variety of suggestions before the board in regard to traffic concerns at the new elementary school on the corner of Jebavy and Bryant.  Several of these issues were ones that I had documented myself over this last weekend.  These include the lack of a transition from a 45 mph road to a 25 mph school zone on Bryant that only begins just before the entrance, the lack of any school zone identifier when turning off of Jebavy, the lack of any flashing signs notifying the beginning of the school zone, poorly placed pavement markings for stopping at Jebavy, etc.  

It's rather shocking that the district did not recognize these inherent dangers in the two years before opening the school in this area.  It should be rather embarrassing for the district who still haven't installed 'boots' for security on the doors of their classrooms at the new elementary; fortunately, with Foster on the board one believes these oversights will be taken care of.  

What you won't read about in the recap of this meeting in the local paper or in the as-yet-unwritten minutes of the meeting was that three members of the public spoke out on three topics important to them.  The first mother expressed concerns about the amount of 'snow days' the district had already accumulated and how each additional day missed at this point will have to be made up (the LASD has used the 9 'free' days the state allows at this point), and how adding extra days of school in June would conflict with planned school trips and parent's own vacation plans.

A second mother expressed her frustration over the time it still takes to pick her child up from the elementary at the end of the day, comparing it very unfavorably with how it was before at the schools inside the city.  One could easily believe this problem wasn't seriously considered by the architects of this school, much like the traffic situation wasn't, much like the internal security situation wasn't.  

These two diatribes were a good lead up to my message to the school board this evening, but the board itself also helped set the table for what I was about to say.  As you can see in the agenda, just before the public comment period, they had two special presentations recognizing the board during School Board Recognition Month (January), and Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.  The former had board members acknowledging artwork from young students of the district, the latter just had the new superintendent note the fact that it was the civil rights leader's birthday.  Technically, his birthday was Saturday, but since we celebrate it on the following Monday, I incorporated some of the famous orator's philosophy into my own comment, stressing the need for the school board to get on the right side of history.

XLFD:  "The school board took a few moments to recognize themselves and the legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., allow me a few moments to recognize each in proper perspective.  As a young man, Martin exercised his right to protest in the beginning of the civil rights movement, Bull Connor led local government forces in suppressing those Constitutional, God-granted rights and threw him in a deplorable Birmingham jail cell.  While deprived of his rights and his liberties, he wrote a long letter many consider one of the most important historical documents ever penned by a political prisoner.

As a captive of the local government, he wrote:  "We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.".  Who was the oppressor in Reverend King's situation?  Local government officials who egregiously violated their oaths of office by not defending the rights guaranteed to all men, women and children found in the Constitution and its amendments.  

Let's now recognize what has happened nearly six decades later in this school district.  Last August, local school officials defied guidance from state and federal health officials and mandated face coverings, even when the box they come in says quite clearly they "will not provide any protection against COVID-19". 

The public recognized that four board members, including a medical doctor that should recognize the right of informed consent for all of his patients, struck down the parents' rights to choose medical care most appropriate for their children. 

This school board aligned itself with Bull Connor in August, they doubled down on bad policy in September by removing mask exemptions.  In October, two dozen oppressed students protested before your meeting, one of their leaders, flanked by several of her friends, spoke out against this board's tyrannical policies and how it had harmed her mentally and physically.  Basic civil rights are not granted to people by the government through a permission slip, they are bestowed by a higher power.

Reverend King would say that a right delayed is a right denied, but he would also say that the time is always right to do what's right.  I have a dream, a dream that this board will recognize that they should never again be on the side of needless oppression should the choice once again come before them.  I have a dream that they recognize the rights of every parent and emancipated students to make their own medical decisions and repeal fully the school's mask mandate. Thank you. [END]"  

Unfortunately, those who would so easily oppress other people and take away their rights 'for their own good', rarely recognize that they are oppressors when they do so.  Fortunately, history has a habit of recognizing oppressors eventually.

Views: 293

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Well stated X. You covered all the bases in this topic. The fact that traffic safety has not been addressed shows that the only thing supporters of this wasteful school project care  about is the fact that they have a glittering new building to show off. The kids are just an after thought, a nuisance. It's still hard to understand how children from all over town must find their way to a school which is located outside of town and they must do so without the proper traffic safety hazards being taken into consideration. Whoops! Guess what we forgot. Yes, at least Ludington school District has their bejeweled  building located in the magical forest far far away from any and all local neighborhoods. Who needs cohesive neighborhoods any way. X your comments to the board were right on the money.

Ludington's own magical forest money pit!

Thanks Willy for the picture worth a thousand words! How true being stuck outside town and what a mess with the traffic (or a hiccup as some like to hope). I categorize this whole $100 million dollar mess by hoping that those who voted yes, sit in their cars waiting in line and contemplate how they got the wool pulled over their eyes by group think from on high which may not work for each community. For those who aren't stuck in traffic and are just sick of the rising taxes and all other associated water increases in Ludington and reduction of services, maybe they can find their own paradise outside of the city (i.e., contributing to the decision to move out of town to reduce property taxes). Those that jumped on the bandwagon to vote for this school had to be swayed by the rose-colored glasses of those working for the government in some capacity getting higher than average wages for this area.

From my recollection, the new elementary construction was a little more than 40% of the $101 million school bond, the new construction at the high school/middle school project was a little less, and around 25% was for other stuff involving buses, athletic fields, contingencies, etc.  

Even had the school board decided to move ahead with minimal renovations and kept all the schools, they were still set to be spending at least $40 million on a bond.  There was going to be a lot of money spent regardless.  It's why I rarely focus on the substantial price spent on the new elementary, and instead look at the move as an error in judgment.  I firmly believe that many folks are getting buyer's remorse and will be getting buyer's remorse in the future when they figure out that this was a dumb move.  Taking the schools out of the family neighborhoods and putting them in the hinterlands makes the suspicious person inside me question the overall motives of the board and the Grand Rapids contractors who called the shots. 

This is what you'd want to do if you were trying to isolate the children from their parents in their education, which is why I think there may have been a motive in the poor traffic planning and poor pickup planning.  The school seems to want parents to just put their kid on the bus and forget about them for eight hours when they get dropped back off.  Twenty-first century learning is likely what the MI Democratic Party said out loud for a couple of days-- cutting the parents out of the indoctrination process.


© 2024   Created by XLFD.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service