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Community can’t afford arguments

Sometimes, the lessons a community needs don’t come from its leaders.

Sunday, October 24, 1999

Sometimes, the lessons a community needs don’t come from its leaders. Sometimes, the example comes from those who have not yet become tarnished by the adult world.

In today’s Readers’ Forum, Lea Clark, the mother of an Ironton student who is handicapped, writes a letter that should make everyone involved with the Ironton school board race stop and think.

Every week, Timmy can’t wait to head to the Ironton Fighting Tiger football games, eager to watch the band and the players.

Mrs. Clark is writing because recently the Ironton High band took the time to come over to Timmy and offer him a special sweatshirt and to make him an honorary member of the band. The junior varsity football team made sure that no one bothered his view as he watched his last home game of the year.

What is important in this year’s Ironton board election is not who is for this or against that. It is not even who is saying what to whom or about whom.

What each candidate and voter should consider is the example that Timmy and his friends at Ironton High have set about what it means to care about each other – and to love your school.

Timmy doesn’t care about politics. He just loves to watch the band perform and to cheer on his Tigers. He knows that the orange and black "I" means something special. He is proud to wear it.

The Ironton High students aren’t worried about the board race, either. All they wanted to do was make a little boy’s visit to the Ironton football games one he would always remember.

They know that the one quality that should shine through for anyone who calls himself an Ironton Tiger is school spirit. They know they owe their alma mater their loyalty and the best they can be as people and as students. Their compassion proved they deserve our respect as well.

During a board race, it is easy to focus on mortar and brick, staffing levels and test scores.

But, what should be most important to everyone who has decided to put his or her name on the ballot as a candidate for the Ironton Board of Education are those who will not be able to cast their votes Nov. 2.

Timmy and his friends should remind us of the wonderful parts of being a small-town school district – the closeness, the caring, the understanding that we are family, even if our last names don’t match.

Our children mean more than any silly political squabble.

There is one week left before the election. Perhaps it should be spent talking about the children, not jobs lost, grudges created and rumors.

Timmy and his friends deserve more.