To the Editor:
I graduated from high school in 1981 in a town located between Chicago and Milwaukee. The things teens mostly got in trouble with at that time were alcohol, marijuana and sex. Today, teens are faced with those same things plus synthetic marijuana, cocaine, meth, prescription pain killers, heroin, crack cocaine, bath salts, sexting, Internet porn, cyber-bullying, high school shootings and other things I probably do not know about. It is a new world residents of Fairmont and, in my opinion, it is now more important than ever that "it takes a community to raise a child."
I am a volunteer coach for junior high track and field and so I have observed the kids getting out of high school at the end of the day on numerous occasions. What I see are partially developed brains that are not fully connected, raging random hormones managed by that same brain, pent-up energy ready to be unleashed, whether it is channeled or not, and each kid a unique, special person in their own way.
In my opinion, the residents of Fairmont have a choice and no matter which choice you make it will cost you at least the same - the issue is only who you will pay. You can either vote "yes" for the referendum and continue to fund the extracurricular activities for our teenagers or you can fund the increase in costs associated with hiring additional police officers, probation officers, public defenders, etc.
I do not buy into "Let the parents of the kids in the activities pay." All of those parents already do pay a portion of the cost. I realize economic times are tough, but as I say above, you will pay one way or another so let's do it the right way and invest in our kids' futures.
If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. If you think funding extracurricular activities is expensive, look into how much a new home security system costs. Teens with nothing to do will definitely find something to do.
Vote yes for the school referendum.