Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2000

Open doors is the only alternative

Editorial

August 24, 2000

Another school year began this week and once again the Eudora school district was forced to take a lesser-of-two-evils approach to its student-safety policies at the middle school.

It's no secret the building is antiquated. Its best years are long behind it and the school district will soon be in the process of addressing educational needs through another bond issue that the district hopes will alleviate both the overcrowding problem at the high school and the dilemma of the decrepit middle school.

But in the meantime, Principal Dale Sample is forced to compromise student safety by keeping the doors open at the middle school because the building is not equipped with air conditioning.

This time of year, air conditioning is not a luxury. It's a necessity.

Every school district in America has been forced by the school-shooting tragedies of recent years to come up with a safety plan. Eudora has one and it includes keeping the doors locked at all times at every school except the middle school, where keeping the doors locked in August would create a serious health risk to student and staff.

As a result, Sample must weigh the option keeping the doors open while holding his breath that Eudora doesn't become the next small community synonymous with tragedy.

He has help from the police department, which monitors the middle school a little more closely, but this is a Band-Aid fix at best.

The school board is in the process of doing a feasibility study on adding air conditioning to the old building. It's our hope it looks closely at the feasibility of pouring good money into a bad project and instead concentrates its efforts on getting Sample a new building.

It will take solidarity and commitment to sell it to the community, but it is absolutely necessary. Spending millions to add air conditioning to the existing middle school will lead to spending millions more to fix the plumbing, the electricity and any other shortcoming the building may have.

The heat is not conducive to learning at least not at Eudora Middle School. It's time for the community as a whole to address this problem.

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