I had a chance to speak with Mr. Jim Dey in regards to his
Saturday recent editorial on Unit 4’s proposed Temporary Alternative Learning Placement (TALP) program. Mr. Dey clarified that he supports the program but remains skeptical about whether it will have any positive impact. I felt the article did not convey a sense of support whatsoever, but instead projects a mindset of a white dominant majority.
I have a challenge for the Editorial Board of the News-Gazette; I challenge the Editors to go and meet some of these “misbehaving students”, to see the various environments (high school classrooms, READY, the Novak Academy), and then to write an editorial about their experiences and findings.
The reason I issue this challenge is based on the Champaign Public Library’s recent theme of Civility. One of the tenets of Civility is to get engaged, to see of whom you speak. When I spoke with Mr. Dey on the phone, I asked him if he knew any of the children and young adults whom he feels does not deserve respect. He did not. I will confess I do not either. Perhaps we should go together to meet the “classroom troublemaker.”
The true chronic problem, in my opinion, is that society is not stepping up to the plate to provide an environment that puts these young ones on a path where they can participate in and be a part of community; instead we ostracize and all too often doom them in a failing “correctional system.”