I am writing in response to the article “60 years after Brown vs. Board of Education.”

I love Forest Park. I moved here when my son was four years old and started kindergarten at Garfield. Since then, my girls have joined the ranks and attended Garfield, Grant-White, and our Middle School.  I applaud each teacher that has provided excellent instruction and character development to my kids, especially at the Middle School level when education and character become so complicated.

I agree with Dr. Cavallo — my kids never had any issue with racial disharmony, as we are so politely calling it.  Reading groups were formed with students of all colors and ‘lexile’ levels, home-rooms were a melting pot, which is a wonderful way to start the day. My kids have easily enjoyed hanging out with any of their schoolmates.

Could we Forest Parkers be blaming our schools for our own unrecognized prejudices? Are we really content when our neighbors’ child is ‘left behind’? To me, the issue of education is null. Our students’ test scores go up yearly, even within the year. Can we adults say the same? Are we growing? Are we making progress that can be measured?  My children have received a fine education at every level in Forest Park.  Two out of my three children are in advanced classes at their high schools thanks to District 91. 

I believe the issue lies in the perceptions and prejudices of some of our parents. First of all, it’s OK to be the minority, my white friends! There is no tide turning other than the same wave of equality that has been steadily rolling in our country since Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.  Because of our years in Forest Park, my children will go out into this world having the experience of quality relationships with peers of many races.  This will benefit them and those whose company they may enjoy in untold ways.  Once again, I applaud the words of Dr. Cavallo — we don’t realize how fortunate we are!

Let us continue to take anything that divides us, from test scores, to the awkward misbehaviors of adolescence, to skin color and work together to raise our children to make a positive difference in this world. 

Maggie Simmons

Forest Park

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