Letter to the Editor from Lake Forest High School freshman Michael Rourke, originally presented to the District 115 Board: I am currently a freshman attending Lake Forest High School. I appreciate the opportunity to speak in front of the Board on this very important issue that effects current and future students of LFHS. Please forgive me if I am a bit nervous.
I first heard about Chala Holland’s candidacy for Principal on Friday night May 22nd when I saw an article posted on dailynorthshore.com. This article contained an email written to the Board of Education as well to the Superintendent. After doing some digging, I came across an archived version of her website. It stated that Ms. Holland views tracking as (and I
quote) “beacons of racial inequalities disguised by a false notion of meritocracy and the reality of white privilege and internalized racism”. This quote was from her website, hollanded.com which is now ‘down for maintenance’. There are multiple social media posts and blogs of Ms. Holland supporting these beliefs. However, they too were taken down or deleted before her candidacy was announced to the public. Web archiving services provide a Facebook page for Holland Educational Consulting Group and further evidence that Ms. Holland is against tracking and views tracking as “white privilege”.
I knew something had to be done about Ms. Holland as a candidate for Principal. As a result, on Saturday night, I started an online petition using change.org. Within the first hour of the petition being published, there were 50 supporters. When I woke up the next morning there were 100 signatures. I went to a Boy Scout training exercise for an upcoming camp this summer and when I checked the petition after completing the training, there were about 180 supporters.
Throughout the course of the day, the numbers kept increasing and before I knew it, the petition had 250 supporters. On Monday, I reached the threshold of 500 supporters and the numbers keep increasing. As of this morning there were 546 supporters. I have included comments from the petitioners in your hand-outs.
The remarks made by Ms. Holland do not represent what I believe Lake Forest High School to be. Lake Forest High School is a place where students should be able to reach their full potential academically. After all, isn’t the school’s mission statement “Developing compassionate, confident and accomplished students?”
Even if Ms. Holland can’t get rid of the tracking programs at LFHS, she still made it clear she feels this way. That doesn’t seem to represent the mission statement of LFHS. Why would these views be scrubbed from the public domain during her candidacy? If she became Principal, what other views would be hidden from the public?
Her lack of experience (as demonstrated by not having been a Principal previously) and her stated views aimed at diluting opportunities for ALL students to pursue academic excellence (independent of race) make her a difficult choice. dditionally, the public controversy she will no doubt carry with her to the job would suggest LFHS can find a far better candidate for such an important position.
Thank you for your time,
Michael Rourke, LFHS freshman