Tear Down That Wall
On March 31 at a special School Board meeting, the Board unanimously passed my motion to approve the remodeling plans for the Glasgow High School. The motion to approve the design was contingent upon the following: "that we improve communications and our response to this project with all staff, with all students and with our community." This is the rest of the story. (The following are my personal views as a Trustee and may not be those of the Board.)
At the March 12 regularly scheduled Board meeting, a large contingency of the wrestling community – including students – attended and testified against the construction of a wall that had been built across the wrestling room. I was out of town and participated in this meeting by telephone. I did not know about the wall prior to that time, nor was it built pursuant to any plans approved by this Board. Therefore, during that meeting I asked for a workshop to review the High School plans upon my return. That workshop was held last Monday (March 24).
After that workshop with the design team and administration and a tour of the High School with Principal Zahara-Harris, I became convinced of the following: There was no need for the construction of the wall in the wrestling room. If the wrestling community had been contacted, the entire room could have been used for temporary storage and the mats could have been stored/protected.
Steve LaHeureux, design team leader (who is doing a great job), advised the Board at that workshop that since moving the calendar up one year for the High School project, the storage/locker room areas should be finished by the start of the upcoming wrestling season. If not, the tour demonstrated to me that there are other areas at the High School available for use for storage.
I personally did not find anything to suggest that the wall had intentionally been built to hurt the wrestling program. It was, however, a decision made without good communication, and it was insensitive to the wrestling community.
The wrestling community has a right to be concerned. The former Superintendent refused to accept a Board hiring decision that had been supported by many in the wrestling community, and the resulting deadlock was broken by hiring dual head coaches for the program. The Board received numerous complaints about hiring the last wrestling coach which were ignored to the detriment of the program. Then, at the March 12 meeting, a uniformed law enforcement officer was present (which is unique at school board meetings.)
I admire the strength and purpose in the wrestling community, as well as your strong traditions and support of Glasgow's wrestling program. And notwithstanding the problems of the past, I want to encourage you to continue to work with the administration and the Board in an effort to build on our trust. We all should know what impacts one group of students impacts all students. I believe in putting the students first and treating each and every one of them fairly. That is why if the wall is still up at the start of the coming wrestling season, I will proceed from the Board room to the wrestling room to "tear down that wall."
Glasgow School Board Trustee