St. James boycott would displease Dr. King

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 13, 1999

L’Observateur / September 13, 1999

DEAR EDITOR: This is on the St. James Parish boycott by parents keeping their childrenout of school as a way to protest the transfer of a principal to another school which, the party involved claims, was a political move on their (the School Board’s) part.

Have those leading this boycott bothered to even mention to these parents the longer-ranging effects of all those missed days to these students when it comes time for scholarships, college entry, keeping up with others in vocational schools or in their ability to obtain jobs, once out of high school? Or the negative impact on their futures or their hopes and dreams being turned down for college, being passed over for scholarships, not keeping up with others coming out of vocational schools or in landing those prime, better-paying jobs? Or that disciplinary actions through court process in the adherence to state laws will also have a negative influence on their futures? That those already with degrees will not suffer at all from the longer- ranging future effect of these missed days and only the students themselves will be negatively impacted by the missed days? Or that a petition of writ signed by all parties concerned sent to the school board would have just as much impact of speaking out and making their positions knows as all the hoopla presently going on at this time? It sure does not appear the students are put first, but rather last, as sacrificial lambs being led to the slaughter of their future hopes and dreams.

Martin Luther King, the greatest civil rights leader of all time, fought for education. For schools to be open and available to move people forward, tobetter jobs, homes and happier, more successful lives. He had a dream!Not to hold students back and shut down school systems, but to open them up. That dream is being sadly tarnished by the radical actions of what iscurrently taking place in St. James Parish.Should it come to be proven the transfer of the party everyone is rallying around and for was not at all politically motivated, yet the negative future effect on these students missing days still lands hard in their laps.

How are these parents making this present choice of keep their children out of school going to feel and react then? As they so boldly state it, “it is our choice.”Martin Luther King was a great and most respected leader by peoples of all color, race and nationality because he had insight and forethought, not just in the heat of the moment, but also for the future. He would have hadthe longer-ranging effects on the students’ lives in hand and have weighed the consequences upon them before leading them into any course of action.

Would he have advised parents to keep their children out of the schools and away from the education he fought so hard and gave his very life for them to have? I think this is a question for the parents of students being kept out of school to consider and ask themselves, then decide and do what they feel is right, each for their own individual children. And are they opening doorsor closing doors on their children’s futures?

Lillian Ridlen


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