Monday, October 06, 2008

The City is Buzzing

My daughter is a junior at a midtown high school. It's the oldest school in the city and has a long, rich history. There is a long-standing rivalry with a school in the southeast part of town. We actually live in the other school's attendance zone, but my daughter is a magnet student, so she chose the mid-city school. Our son graduated from yet another magnet program. My wife and I attended Catholic schools in town. So, until recently we had been blissfully oblivious to the intensity of the rivalry.
Things are coming to a head now, thanks to this billboard.
That's a message touting the spirit of my daughter's school. It was paid for by a group of seniors. What's wrong with this picture? It's a block away from the rival school, and it's easily visible from the south side of its campus.
Hold on. I should say it was visible. The other school's principal, a person who clearly has nothing better to do, complained to school district authorities. Somehow, the principal of our daughter's school was compelled to become involved. A flurry of phone calls and urgent conferences ensued and it was decided that it would be in the best interest of all concerned for the billboard to be moved.
I will resist the temptation to register my disappointment with this development in harsher terms. Let's just say I think some kind of explanation is in order. This is not the principals' or the school board's business. This was a transaction initiated by a group of citizens. It makes no mention of the other school, although its placement was quite intentional.
I'm embarrassed for the other principal. If she had her head screwed on straight, she would have laughed and acknowledged that the kids from across town had found a healthy positive way to poke good-natured fun at her student population.
This was a great teaching moment, an opportunity for her to lead by example, and she blew it. She taught her students to be shallow and thin-skinned.
I'm glad my daughter isn't under her influence. I hope our principal comes to his senses.
I asked my daughter if people are talking about this. She just rolled her eyes and said, "God, yes." The schools play against one another in football a week from Friday in the stadium they share. Sounds like fun! The other school's mascot is the gators. It's tradition the week of the game to have parties featuring "gator gumbo." The students wear camo gear to school on game day because they're going "gator hunting." It's great fun and it's been going on for decades. It pre-dated their myopic leader and will survive her. Jacket Pride, City Wide indeed.

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Pat Austin Becker said...

I'm an alumni of your daughter's school (c/o '78) and taught for five years at "that other school." Trust me, you are absolutely right on the "nothing better to do" score. I'm was stunned this weekend when I heard the billboard came down. Shame on everyone for caving into the dictatorial whims of one person.

The Hive is Alive!
Go Jackets!

davefoster said...

Tell you what would be funny is if one adult individual re-bought the same billboard in or around the same area without any help from the students at Byrd.

Think a principal can tell a citizen they can't advertise on a billboard ...