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Our View: A call for a little bit of understanding

Posted: March 27, 2010 8:15 p.m.
Updated: March 28, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
The community was abuzz last week over the decision to eliminate eighth-grade promotion ceremonies in the Hart district.

Our inbox has been inundated with letters from parents and family members angry that, less than three months before the end of the school year, the William S. Hart Union High School District decided to take this bit of pomp and circumstance away from more than 3,500 students.

Parents were notified by phone last week of the decision, sparking an outcry.

One parent threatened a revolution if the decision isn’t reversed.

Another asked, “How expensive can it be to have the kids walk across a stage?”

The answer is: The district is saving $40,000 by canceling the ceremonies. That may not be a huge savings in the face of the $28 million the district must cut from its budget — but it’s still a fair amount of change.

If the district doesn’t start cutting wherever it can — even in small amounts — then where and how should it cut? A few tens of thousands here and there can quickly add up to make a dent in the shortfall.

We understand how disappointed students and their parents must be to lose the formal rite of passage from junior high to high school.

But in light of the threat to public education posed by the state budget crisis, we call for some understanding.

Canceling eighth-grade promotion ceremonies was not a decision made behind closed doors by the Hart district board.

It was decided by school principals and parent advisory groups — people closest to the affected students.

No one likes the idea of canceling a ceremony that celebrates the completion of an educational chapter.

But it’s not too late to draw up a “Plan B.” There is nothing stopping parents from banding together and celebrating this milestone in their children’s’ lives.

If anything, this is the perfect opportunity to teach youngsters a lesson: A stage, a ceremony and a keynote speech are nice, but they’re not necessary to mark accomplishments in one’s life.

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