Letter: We’re all neighbors

It is with great dismay that I write this letter after reading the morning paper about the debate going on about my home city of 50 years. The Baton Rouge mayor, some council members, and the powers that be are going on the attack against a group of its people for wanting to set up a separate community for their children’s education and, therefore, their future. I sympathize with the St. George group but also understand the problems it could create for our great city. We’re told it could have a dire financial affect on the city of Baton Rouge. However, being an optimist, I can see our brightest minds come forth with creative innovations to reduce or eliminate any shortfall of funds that might occur.

I understand the group’s frustration after our having fought for better public schools 40-plus years ago. Some improvements have been made in public schools, but the overall outcome is actually worse in some areas.

The atmosphere for teachers to work in is deplorable with disciplinary problems, children who are afraid to go to school, lack of parental involvement and people who are unable to speak in a critical way, with facts, for fear of being labeled racist. Some think throwing money at the situation is the answer, but we know and have seen that it doesn’t work. Let’s face the real problem: the home life that the kids are raised in and their environment. No one wants to mention responsibility, accountability, morality, manners, respect and hard work. If these were implemented in the home, the child would come to class ready to learn from a teacher who is ready and able to teach.

So why not, Baton Rouge, try to fix the home life issue so all of our people can be well-educated and prepared for a good future? But don’t condemn the ones who are trying to make a better life for their children.

I can see a great divide coming about, and comments from Metro Councilman John Delgado saying “they should grow up” only fuels the fire. There is no crystal ball to see the outcome, but remember, there will be a winner and a loser in this debate, so let’s debate with compassion. Let’s not pit neighbor against neighbor. That is my greatest fear for our dear city.

Karen Gautreau

retired volunteer

Baton Rouge