to put down students because they go to a certain high school?
Today’s headline is about a local vp who was arrested on suspicion of DUI and carrying marijuana. I obviously cannot and will not comment on Mr. Cassity’s current predicament. What I can and will comment on is the ugliness unleashed on the PD website against Elsie Allen High School students.
Elsie Allen High School is located in the southwest quadrant of Santa Rosa, on the edge of the Roseland area, the poorest part of the city. It is over 70% Latino, about 30% English learners, over 50% free and reduced lunch, and large percentage of parents who didn’t graduate from high school. It also probably goes without mentioning at this point that EAHS has low test scores. All these “negative marks” have given the high school a bad rep, and it’s hemorrhaging students. The district has put various programs in place to try and stem the exodus, mostly to no avail.
So back to the newspaper story on the vp and the negative comments posted. Of course there are the tired old railings against teachers and tenure and unions, all of which have nothing to do with Mr. Cassity, as he is administration. There are also posts by kids who were busted by the vp and now see this as some kind of hilarious divine retribution, while other students defend him as being a good guy and don’t we all make mistakes. The last, and most vile, group of commentators are the adults who have decided the school’s bad publicity is the perfect time to attack students as “losers” and thugs, with poor English skills and who are a general embarrassment.
What some of the “adults” don’t seem to understand is that kids don’t pay attention to grammar, spelling and such when texting, so postings on fb shouldn’t be used as a measurement of intelligence or non-loserdom. And yeah, many don’t know the difference between your and you’re, but neither do many adults.
And even more importantly, reputations often have nothing to do with what a school is about, it’s culture, the relationships between students, staff and community. I went to a high school with a bad rep, but it couldn’t have been further from the truth, and I enjoyed my four years at Jefferson High School. I teach at a solid middle class school with good test scores, but our campus is a mess, because too many of the students don’t seem to have any pride in keeping the school looking good. But we have good test scores, and that’s all that counts, right? Reputations should be taken with a grain of salt, and nothing but nothing replaces visits, questions, and finding out for yourself.
I’m proud of our Lobos, and wish them the best.
So again I ask, how bitter and vile do you have to be to attack kids because of the school they attend?