Valentine’s Day is a lovely day. We extend our love and affection to spouses, significant others, children, parents, good friends and many others. We send flowers, candy and cards to those we love.
While incarcerated with Ralph Abernathy, Dr. King wrote a beautiful sermon about redemptive and reconciling love directed to those who would try to hurt us. Dr. King quotes Jesus and Lincoln, who both told us that the best way to defeat our “enemies” is to make them our friends. From Dr. King’s sermon come the often-quoted words, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We could really use a holiday where reconciliation and cooperation are encouraged. Loving those we love is not nearly as difficult as loving our detractors. A “reconciliation” holiday would be a surprising, productive and fruitful celebration of the love that Dr. King somehow managed to summon and personify at the times when such emotion would be impossible for most.
Last Friday night I read a legal document filed against LRSD which asserts that LRSD plans to close ten elementary schools. There are no such plans. In fact, we have already assigned students to our schools for next year, and we have no plans to close any school in 2016-2017. Our Civic Advisory Committee is planning a series of community meetings to discuss the future of our school district. Our facilities needs will be a big part of the discussion. We need to decide, as I said last June in a report to the Civic Advisory Committee, whether we want to replace a number of older buildings with new facilities. I have said that my preference is to afford our students the better opportunities that new facilities provide. We do not, however, have the financial capability to rebuild all our schools at once. Just so there is no confusion, we have no plans to close any schools for 2016-2017. The future will be driven, as it must be, by how we as a community cooperate to confront the issues now before us. All of us need to work together if we hope to succeed.