Dis­ap­pointed that for some, eth­nic­ity is a fac­tor in ri­valry be­tween schools

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

Clearly we have ex­cel­lent rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the lo­cal branch of the NAACP with its pres­i­dent, Jan­ice Walthour, and an ar­tic­u­late and ded­i­cated rep­re­sen­ta­tive for our lo­cal school sys­tem in Su­per­in­ten­dent Scott Smith.

As a mem­ber of the lo­cal NAACP and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the St. Mary’s River Water­shed As­so­ci­a­tion, I at­tended the press con­fer­ence Mon­day night mostly to sup­port ci­vil­ity and mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, but also to learn the facts sur­round­ing the al­ter­ca­tion(s) at the Leonard­town High vs. Great Mills High football game on Sept. 28. I was greatly dis­ap­pointed to learn that, for a small group of stu­dents, eth­nic­ity is a fac­tor in the ri­valry be­tween these two schools.

In fact, it breaks my heart af­ter work­ing so closely with so many lo­cal high school stu­dents in our sum­mer in­tern­ship pro­grams (STEM and GIS acad­e­mies, nat­u­ral re­sources man­age­ment at the Dr. James A. For­rest Ca­reer and Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter and our part­ner­ship rain gar­den project at Fair­lead Academy I) to learn that we still have a few prac­ti­tion­ers of hate in our stu­dent ranks.

I de­parted the press con­fer­ence with op­ti­mism, hav­ing been en­cour­aged by the pas­sion­ate and force­ful state­ments made by Walthour and Smith. The call by Walthour and the NAACP for a “hate-free school zone” is an ex­cel­lent way to move forward, and I strongly sup­port ex­plor­ing this pol­icy. Ad­di­tion­ally, the stu­dents at Leonard­town High should con­sider a theme of unity and re­spect for their next football game.

Bob Lewis, Lex­ing­ton Park

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