The following is an op-ed by co-Editor in Chief Alec Brandel regarding the upcoming school board elections. All of the opinions and viewpoints expressed within the article are solely that of the author and may not reflect the beliefs of The Forest Scout newspaper.
To quote the Final Four in their recent email, “Here’s the biggest problem: the children are watching.” Yes, we are watching, and while we prefer to be called students, we are watching them. Here is what we see.
We see a group which attacks members of our community and fails to show strong character, a mandatory attribute for a candidate for a school board position. A school board is supposed to work with the school administration and parents, not plant false news stories and pick fights with community members.
In their email, they bully and disparage other candidates, namely Dr. Nemickas. It is one thing to have a difference of opinion, and quite another thing to bully. I grew up in a school system that, to this day, discourages and uproots bullying. Is this concept that we are taught to be so wrong acceptable in a school board campaign? I hope not. In addition, by calling the Lake Forest Caucus, a large group of community volunteers, negligent, they are shaming the character of our community.
In the Final Four, we see a group which likes to alter facts and statistics, again blemishing their own reputation as candidates for public office. A school board is supposed to focus on the facts and provide solutions rather than focus on lies and spark conflict. This is most noticeable in the apparent drop in standardized test scores that they reported, despite test scores actually being at a record high. It is important for school board candidates to be able to read and analyze data effectively. Moreover, when Dr. Nemickas explained why the contract between IBJI and the school involved him in no way and offered to go to an extent to ensure that he is mentioned nowhere in the contract, the Final Four picked small parts of his response out of context and attacked them. If you would like to read the full response from Dr. Nemickas, as well as a comment on the clear transparency of the school board, please follow the link below:
Worst of all, we see a group that has an agenda. Through their false claims and frightening ideas, it is clear that their agenda is not to improve the school and serve the students. This, of course, should be the goal of all school board candidates. They have proven that they cannot compromise or consider the perspective of people from different schools of thought, and their first response to any ounce of controversy is to attack others, all of which is what Lake Forest High School teaches students not to do.
We, as students, are afraid of a group which spreads false claims, attacks students, and constantly seeks to insult large portions of our community. We are afraid that a group such as this could be in charge of making decisions for our school when their actions contradict every value that our school teaches.
In concluding their email, they articulated, “We’ve had enough scandals in our local schools that have affected our children’s moral and psychological well-being. Do we really need another?” This is a sign of a desperate group losing public opinion that wants to cause conflict and create the image of a scandal. Creating a scandal is not what a sound, progress-driven school board candidate would do. It is no wonder that Mr. Moorman, when asked to join the Final Four, said no.
Please research all of the candidates running and form your own opinions. Don’t make this article or any article on The Forest Scout your only source of news regarding local elections, and most importantly, vote on April 4th. Vote for candidates who do work well with others, who cooperate and compromise, who value truth and honesty, who believe in students, who embody the values that our school teaches, who strive to improve rather than cause controversy, and who love this community and our school.