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Focus on education and respect

Recent articles in the newspapers have talked about canceled classes at Lakeridge High School, the loss of Lakeridge High students to Lake Oswego High, and 'the ever-' declining enrollments at both schools (particularly Lakeridge).

It is clearly evident that the population in Lake Oswego is growing grey. Subsequent to this fact, school usage and closures are a reality that we continually have to face as a community, as we move forward with fiscal responsibility.

I am awe struck and amazed that there is local outrage over the issue that Lakeridge does not have a 'full-blown' stadium to compete with Lake Oswego's 'regional' stadium. And that the lack of concern with canceled classes and lower student performance scores do not get parental concern with the same 'fever.' Where is the logic in asking the taxpayers to get excited about backing and funding a 'second' stadium at Lakeridge, when reality is that there is a declining high school enrollment? Given the current state of enrollment, future demographics, and fiscal responsibility, Lakeridge may be forced to close and possibly reopen as a middle school. It does not make sense to consider a 'second' stadium until we know that there is a population base with sufficient (and sustainable) resident demographics (resources) to fully support a shrinking 6A school.

The houses around Lakeridge High School are not going away. Students attend the school for no more than four years, while some residents have been near the school for the entire 35 years of its existence and before (yes, there were houses before the school), to include its 'dust choking' reincarnation some two years ago.

We live in Lake Oswego (the city) and will be here long after the students graduate and go on to college. My neighbors around the school are grandparents, parents, teens and young children. My children have graduated from Lakeridge, my neighbor's children are attending Lakeridge, have or will attend. These citizens are good people with families, involved in their community and sports.

Recently, local Lakeridge residents have said 'enough is enough.' Because of this they are being targeted, bullied, called names, told to move, and very recently one was accosted in their own front yard by an angry parent. The message is clear from the radical 'name-callers': 'I am blaming you (personally) for living here so close to the school.'

All this negativity is directed towards the way we (some parents) want to play (have our kids play) a full slate of 'after hours' sports within 100 feet of your bedroom in front of 3,000 or more spectators. What message is sent to our children/students with this type of 'openly bad' behavior? Is it safe today that bad manners/behavior is teaching our kids respect for their community and neighborhood?

Living by a school does not forfeit all your property rights. Regardless of how this overly emotional issue for some parents of a 'home game' or 'second stadium' plays out, it is outrageous for anyone to make personal attacks on the neighbors surrounding the school. Behavior like this is clearly unsportsmanlike.

Neighbors love the school and their community. We watch over the school (report vandalism, fire alarms, mischief, etc.) long after everyone has gone home from the games at night. Neighbors are not anti-sport, nor anti-school. They do have the right to be respected for their opinion, treated with respect, enjoy some modicum of serenity, and not chastised for being 'second citizens' because 'they live by the school.'

This behavior needs to be stopped now.

Cindy Lewis is a resident of Lake Oswego.

Editor's note: Nancy Duin, communications specialist for the Lake Oswego School District, has previously stated: 'Beyond the assumption that the district would continue to use its high school sites, there have been no proposals or decisions regarding school closure or reconfiguration, nor has there been any determination that such action will be necessary. As a strategic planning measure, the school board has appointed a Configuration Committee to develop detailed financial and cost/benefit analysis associated with various scenarios; reports on the committee's work to date are available on the district Web site. Should school closures become necessary in the future, the school board would initiate an extensive public process before making any decisions.'

Also, the reference to recent articles should not be construed as meaning just the Lake Oswego Review. We have had no recent stories about canceled classes in the district while a sports story discussed a Lakeridge football player transferring to LOHS.

Regarding the declining enrollment mention, as the story on page A1 of today's Review indicates, Lakeridge has gained 47 students in the past year and LOHS' enrollment has gone up by 24. Overall, the district population is up 27 students.