When I graduated from William Allen in the mid 1960's, the school was lily white. Yesterday, the district attorney filed charges against two juveniles for ethnic intimidation, against a minority there, a white student. This is a story most bloggers would stay away from, especially one running for Harrisburg as a state representative. However, if Allentown is going to have success, beyond some new buildings being subsidized by state-wide taxpayers, it has to embrace it's diversity. The school district in the last fifteen years experienced significant white flight. It is now time, if somewhat overdue, to repackage the assets that Allen has to offer, and make the school attractive to students of all colors. The unfortunate bullying incident should be used as an instrument to begin that lesson plan. Like the school system, the communities of Lehigh Valley, and their elected representatives, have been reluctant to discuss real quality of life issues. While unspoken despair conquers one block after another, in one town after another, their representatives offer little more than a handshake and smile. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the ribbon cutting for what would have been called a new minority owned business years ago. Who is now the minority no longer matters. What does matter is a frank discussion and assessment of the problems facing our communities. If it's a major grocery store needed for downtown Allentown, or better public transportation for Slatington, it's time Harrisburg concentrates on quality of life issues. UPDATE: ASD Press Release
Allentown School District’s IBEAM Academy
Receives “No Place for Hate” Distinction
Today, Friday, May 2, at 2:00 p.m. the students and faculty at the Allentown School District’s (ASD) IBEAM Academy will celebrate the school’s designation as No Place for Hate, having completed a year of anti-bias and anti-bullying programs. Jeremy Bannett, No Place for Hate Assistant Project Director, will attend the ceremony and present the school with its official designation banner. To earn this distinction, the school formed a No Place for Hate committee, adopted a resolution pledging to create a more inclusive school, and implemented a number of projects promoting respect for differences.
I can only assume that the above press release, issued only 3 hours before the event, is damage control. The IBEAM Academy, conducted at the Jackson School, is the districts alternative school, for students already identified as having discipline issues.