I don't usually repost articles in their entirety, but this one from the Dunwoody Crier is important and eloquent and I want you all to read it in it's entirety.
No right or wrong in redistricting
by Lauren Menis
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 11:57 AM EST
Dunwoody’s schools are being redistricted and as many of us know, it’s an emotional and volatile issue. As I write this, I realize that by the time my column comes out, things may have changed. But I believe that what I have to say will still be relevant.
For those who are not in on the debate, with the exception of Dunwoody Elementary School, our elementary schools are overcrowded. A previous plan to move fourth and fifth graders to the new Dunwoody Elementary didn’t solve the problem. Now, it’s back to the drawing board for the county.
DeKalb has hired consultants to come up with a new plan. And our parents are also working hard to come up with their own versions, depending on where they stand on the issue.
As Dunwoody’s school districts are sliced into various pieces of the pie, there are many people affected. Understandably, people are upset. The bottom line is that no one wants to leave the schools they love and, conversely, no one wants overcrowded schools.
I am not going to state any opinions or discuss boundaries, neighborhoods or the many other issues in this debate. But what I do want is to call for civil discourse on this complicated and multi-faceted matter.
Sentiments are running high and things feel very turbulent here in our city. There are blogs, emails and petitions. There’s distrust among those who a short time ago worked together. Because redistricting is such an emotional issue that affects our kids, it’s causing negative feelings among friends and acquaintances.
We need to remember that we are not enemies, regardless of how we want the school lines drawn. Every person is entitled to an opinion and to fight for what they want. Those with differing views have the right to disagree and try to get their opinions taken into account.
We are, after all, parents who care about our children and where they go to school. We are mothers, fathers, neighbors, friends and acquaintances. We need to have empathy toward those with different opinions.
At a recent informal meeting, I was impressed that while there were charged emotions, there was very little ugliness and people on all sides were extremely informed. But it still left me with a feeling of neighbor against neighbor. If you listen to the conversations and look at the blogs, you can see that things have taken on a somewhat vicious tone.
The passions incited by redistricting speaks volumes about the type of people we are and how much we care about our kids’ educations. I am proud to live in a place where there are so many involved parents. And I truly believe that however things turn out, Dunwoody schools will always be great because of this commitment.
I’ll take this over apathy any day.
Lauren Menis is a Dunwoody mother whose column appears in The Crier each month. You can reach Lauren at Lauren.Menis@gmail.com.