An Open Letter to the Current Students of Bolton High School:
It’s been a week since I first posted a series of questions about your school, and during that time, we’ve heard from past and present teachers, principals, alumni, parents, concerned citizens, and a number of your classmates. Many of you have been concerned about the direction this forum has taken. You’re rightfully worried that people will believe the lies told about some of your best teachers, and you’ve admirably come to their defense. It’s important that faculty in-fighting doesn’t distract us from getting the questions answered and finding solutions to the problems. Bolton students should be commended for understanding this.
A few of you seem a little bewildered by the point of all of this discussion. One of you wondered why I would care about the plight of Bolton, considering I am a graduate of ASH. One of you asked for my address so you could find me and beat me up. (Again, it’s 1000 Bolton Avenue, the big building with all of the cop cars in the parking lot). And one of you subscribed me to a litany of listserves. (Thank God for Gmail’s spam blocker). I certainly understand why you’re upset, but try to see the bigger picture: Discussions such as these, despite all of the bruises, are essential to finding solutions.
Let’s redirect the conversation. Let’s focus on what can be done. Let’s think about things that can be done, right now, to unify the school.
Work with the alumni association and other concerned citizens and parents to build a coalition of support. I also think it’s important for current students to petition recent graduates, ask them about their experiences, and what they think Bolton can do to turn things around.
Like it or not, there are many people, some of whom have worked at Bolton for several years, who believe that without the proper leadership and political support, Bolton may have to shut its doors. Permanently. When you lose students, you lose money, resources, and teachers, and without those things, Bolton may become a shell of its former self (something many people believe has already happened).
No doubt, it’s not easy to remove yourselves from the daily experience of school and understand this issue in a greater context, but if you care about the survival of your school, you’d realize that no one is personally attacking you students. If anything, the concern people feel toward Bolton is because they care deeply about its students.
Bolton’s probably not as bad as its most vocal critics make it out to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. The issues raised in this forum should demonstrate that there are a great number of people who are worried.
One final note: One of your fellow classmates accused me of being a “bad moderator.” He believes that I should have shut down this conversation because, in his estimation, it became repetitive and redundant. I strongly disagree with his assessment. I never “lock” threads or prohibit people from contributing to a discussion, even when someone else has already made a similar point. You should understand, however, that even when people decide to post anonymously, they can still be held accountable for their words, and I caution all of you to choose your words wisely. (Incidentally, this same issue has come up in another conversation on another blog. Many of us in Alexandria are just now getting into the blogosphere, and some people make the mistake of believing that the Internet is a lawless new frontier. It’s not. Libel is a real issue).
I sincerely thank all of you for contributing. Hopefully, in the near future, this won’t be a conversation relegated to an Internet blog.
All the best,