Source: Sherman Publications

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Let America be America again

April 20, 2011

Dear Editor,

In 1982 I helped our son skip school. He called asking if he could stay overnight at his friend's house, explaining his buddy had been expelled from Brandon High for punching out the assistant principal.

"Well, he was drunk, Mom," our son said.

Of course I approved his staying with his friend, calling the high school in the morning to excuse him for the day.

My coworkers were appalled that I would encourage our son's relationship, telling me he needed new friends, what a bad influence this young outlaw would be on our son.

I assured them the opposite was true: our son would not only help his bud though this crisis, but also positively influence him. Both our sons became wonderful husbands and fathers: kind, thoughtful and intelligent men of whom their dad and I are so proud.

I am sharing this old event to make a point about the controversy over the schools of choice students in our system today. Some of us are worried about SOC kids being a threat or a bad influence to our homegrown students. Both contentions are questionable. As a community, let us be confident, like Terry and I were in 1982, that our kids are sturdy, solid and dependable.

Let us share our good students and good schools with families that have come to us with no motive other than to hope for a better life for their kids. Do we really want to replicate some 1950s social arrangement in our schools? Do we want to reject the promise of America: the promise of an open, tolerant and diverse society? Join me in welcoming all the youngsters from the schools of choice.

In our corner of Oakland County, in Brandon Township, let us, as Langston Hughes once demanded, let America be America again.

Bonnie Beltramo