I’ve received quite a few comments concerning the proposal for Tract K — a solar farm for Collier Schools and a community athletic field.
A few individuals, who’d really like to see a high school there, are sad the dream may be dying.
Before I throw in my two cents, let me make a couple of things clear: I have no problem with the current plan; and I’m not against Marco Island getting a high school. In fact, I think Collier County should consider a performing arts high school for the island — one that could attract students from all over. The limited size of Tract K, or the like, would be perfect for a school that doesn’t require much in the way of athletics and Marco Island is the perfect community for such a school.
All that aside, my thoughts today pertain to the few of you who desire a high school because they don’t want to send their precious children to Lely High School. There, I said it. More than one person has mentioned it to me — i.e. we need a high school so the island teens aren’t forced to mingle with the likes of immigrant children and hoodlums. Some say freely, as if unaware that they’re being extremely racist and elitist.
Yes, Lely has a lot of immigrant teens. Yes, it may reflect poorly on overall performance; but it doesn’t mean you can’t get a quality education there. Lely has quite a few superstars. Let’s also remember how hard all these teens are working both in and out of school. Many of them hold jobs, not to buy CDs or concert tickets, but to help their families put food on the table.
Also, how many U.S. born teens are fluent in another language? How would their test scores be if they had to take an exam in Spanish or Creole?
And yes, Lely has had a few troublemakers. So has Marco Island. That behavior crosses all ethnic lines and social barriers.
But go ahead, keep your precious children away from the immigrant children and the “troublemakers.” Nothing prepares a child more for the hard life lessons than complete isolation from the real world. Please note the sarcasm.
I know a lot of the hostility toward the children of color comes from the fact that they or their parents, in some cases, are here illegally. But they’re still children who had little to do with the decision. And it’s not so long ago that many of our parents, grandparents or great grandparents were immigrants, too.
I know for a fact that if my family’s well-being depended on it, I would do just about anything to feed and protect them. I believe the same is true for most of you. So while we may not approve of their actions, let’s do better to understand them. A little tolerance goes a long way.
And if you feel that Lely has some genuine challenges (and don’t all schools?), ask yourself, ‘what can I do to help?’ Rather than just focusing on a high school that may never be built, let’s support our children today by focusing our efforts to advance the school we already have.