Boycott could hurt

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 1999

L’Observateur / August 18, 1999

The boycott of St. James High School by parents, upset at the apparentlyabrupt removal of its popular principal, is an unfortunate development and could send the wrong message to students.

Sometimes, a boycott is the answer. In Birmingham, Ala., when municipalbuses forced black riders to sit at the rear and stand in favor of a white rider, a boycott brought the bus company to its knees, launched the desegretation movement and made Rosa Parks a household name and a national heroine.

Sometimes, drastic measures are necessary to capture the attention of the powers that be, when other attempts to communicate break down and compromise or even discussion seems to be impossible.

In this case, the children may be hurt by inadequate schooling while a boycott goes on and may learn the message that a boycott is a first-choice in cases of dispute. Rather, a boycott, like a labor strike, should be a last-resort measure and taken only when nothing else works.

Today, parents of students at St. James High School are expected to keeptheir children away from school. Meanwhile, talks between the schoolsuperintendent and the St. James High parents appear not to be on thecalendar.

We urged Supt. P. Edward Cancienne to sit down with the parent group andat least communicate the reasons for his action in removing principal Ridgely Mitchell.

The students are owed that much in the interest of a quality education and the peace of mind for their parents.

That would also be a good lesson for students.


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