Lately, it seems the Sun Journal has had it in for public schools. First it was the “sting” on school security, then teacher sick days. But, the paper’s condemnation of Poland Regional High School (June 2) was a terrible insult to students who work hard and meet standards.

It may sound callous to say, but McKyle Foster, the young man who was not permitted to march at graduation, brought it upon himself. He knew the graduation requirements and did not meet them, pure and simple.

As a local teacher, I have seen students face insurmountable odds: brain tumors, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and yet, maybe because of their challenges, accomplish wonderful things. They come to school, work hard, meet deadlines, and yes, graduate having met the standards, and why not? They earned it. To make exceptions to the graduation requirements only minimizes their efforts. Today, education is more than mastering skills and knowledge; it is being able to accept personal responsibility.

This type of human interest story may play well on the heart strings of readers, but it does little to address the real issues schools and parents alike face: lack of effort and accountability among students. The administrators at Union 29 should be commended, not condemned for assuring that those standards are honored.

If you want a real challenge to report on, consider investigating the per-student cost increase since the enactment of the Maine Learning Results. Now there is a real story that taxpayers might like to hear about!

Mike Bernier, Buckfield

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