Letter to the Editor: My name is Chris Fischer. I am a Junior at Lake Forest High School and I am appalled by the lack of decorum, lack of objective dialogue and the high level of counter-productive emotion that has infected the conversation regarding the questions raised over the candidacy of Dr. Holland.
On Facebook, cries and a petition for the removal of Dr. Holland from the candidate pool circulate. The vitriolic response to the principal search has now boiled over into questions of Superintendent Simeck’s leadership, questions about District 67’s curriculum and social media posts based more on rumor and hearsay rather than intelligent dialogue.
One fear is fueled by a rumor that AP Classes will vanish from Lake Forest High School from now to eternity. Yet in a letter to parents on May 25th, the Superintendent stated, in large, bold letters, “We are not, and have no intention, of eliminating AP or Honors [classes] at Lake Forest High School.” If he wasn’t clear enough, he also said “Let me be very clear.”
In the event that Holland becomes the principal at Lake Forest High School, proposed changes have to get approval from the elected, local school board. She would also have go through several layers of school protocol for making these changes, making it hard for any agenda of any type to get through intact. A good example of this would be block scheduling. Last year, block scheduling was proposed for Lake Forest High School, which would have made a transition from our original scheduling to a more commonly adopted method. This was met with fierce resistance from parents, teachers, and students. The proposal died in the process. Any proposal that is unpopular with parents, teachers and students would be met fiercely. The reality is, even if Holland wants to implement something as “horrendous” or “outrageous” as the rumors have suggested, she wouldn’t get far and the proposal has a strong chance of dying in the process.
Facts aside, the most outrageous thing about the process is the lack of respect and etiquette members of this community have displayed. On May 26th, the school board held a public meeting on the subject of the candidate in an attempt to clarify the efforts of the school board. The Daily North Shore reported on May 26th, 2015, “Some – but not all — of those in attendance responded negatively with shouts of “No!” when Dr. Holland’s colleagues from Oak Park & River Forest High School and Evanston High School took the podium to share their positive experiences and offer support for her candidacy.”
The question that must be asked those people who were booing is this: Do you believe that this behavior sets a good example to the young people in this community? Booing is considered a form of bullying in my family. In my family, bullying is equated with immaturity, cowardice and a lack of respect. As a teenager, I am part of an age group that is constantly being lectured to about maturity, bullying and respect. In Scouting, I’m told that I should possess a strong and respectful attitude. My parents expect me at this age to act like a responsible adult. I should not have to ask parents and adults why they don’t set an example when I sit in a class in which the teacher tells us to set an example like adults do. This solidifies the disappointment I have in the way this process has unfolded.
There is a necessary, intelligent and constructive debate over this issue that is not being had. There is a process where people can actively participate in our community in a respectful way. We have charged the members of the Board of Education with sorting through information, vetting candidates and making challenging decisions for the betterment of the school and community. If there is an opinion that you have, use the process in a respectful, objective manner. That is how we will create meaningful dialogue and resolve this issue and future issues at Lake Forest High School.
Chris Fischer, Lake Bluff