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Reader asks: 'Are we pathetic or apathetic?'

Letter to the editor

To the editor:

Are we pathetic or apathetic?

Luckily our issues don't reach the caliber of the St. Louis City Schools problems, but I really wonder about us as a school district.

At times I can appreciate the open and frank comments I read in the Call about the Mehlville School District. I have read many columns by Dan Fowler and Mike Anthony about the shortcomings of the school board, some are on target, while others are way off base.

I have stood before the redistricting committee and then the school board meetings passionately speaking about my displeasure of being redistricted. I was the only non-committee member who sat in on a redistricting follow-up committee meeting to review how the numbers shook out. I wanted to hear it from the "horse's mouth."

I read with interest Mike Heins' comments that the open forum portion of a school board meeting is not the best time for communication. While I agree with Mike and his sentiment, I can also attest to an example of it when I did voice my opinion about the redistricting plan and watched the bored school board members shuffle papers and watch the clock.

There probably are some requirements under the Sunshine Law that dictate this time period, but a good faith acknowledgment from the board during this time period is not cause for penalty. If it is an agenda item that is spoken about, why can't the board address the speaker?

Back to my initial question, are we pathetic or apathetic?

As a school district with just under 12,000 students, we have enough bickering weekly in the Call to line several bird cages. Has the vocal minority of the district become pathetic or are the rest of us apathetic?

I think involvement is good at the local "individual school" level. Those of us in Scouts, sports and other extracurricular activities are always at school. We do see each other; we do recognize those families that are involved. But rarely do any of us carry it any further.

I know that people thought I was a little too boisterous in my redistricting comments. The reality is I am passionate about my kids, their happiness and success, nothing more. As the parent of a second-, fourth- and seventh-grader, I will continue to be passionate about my kids' education and the Mehlville School District.

I only wish more parents were vocal and involved at the district level — myself included — three candidates for two open board seats from a large district should be cause for concern. I challenge other parents to look at themselves and how they feel about the Mehlville School District, it extends past the pages of the Call. Are you pathetic or apathetic?

Food for thought — — is interesting reading, but then again so is the Call.

Paul B. Anderson


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