By George Minkowski
In 2008, District 113 received a lot of media attention for teaching the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.” In 2009, the administration was back in the news for their controversial decision to suspend the entire senior class of swimmers on allegations of hazing during the team’s “Senior Night” festivities. After these two publicity stunts, citizens of the North Chicago suburbs were left asking, “What on earth will District 113 do next?!”
That question was answered when they decided to not allow Highland Park’s Girls Basketball team to travel to Arizona next year for a tournament. Superintendent George V. Fornero said in a release that the decision to cancel the trip to Arizona was “not a political statement regarding the State of Arizona’s recently enacted legislation regarding immigration.” Honestly, no one is really buying that. As a result of this decision, a highly charged debate has broken out. The difference between the two sides? Politics. “Whoops…” said one administrator sarcastically who couldn’t hide his excitement.
The administration knew that just whispering words “political statement” would cause a media blitzkrieg, so instead, they shouted it. Their plan has been working. This story made the front page of the Chicago Tribune, has been on WGN, ABC, and America Live with Megyn Kelly on FOX where Former Alaska Governor and Hockey-Mom Sarah Palin gave her two cents on the issue. She believes the girls have the right to “play ball” and should “go rogue” if need be. Her opinion, however, is being dismissed by most because the only sport she is qualified to comment on is hunting large mammals from a helicopter.
But still, the majority of those with an opinion support the team playing in the tournament. According to Facebook, the group denouncing the administration’s decision has over 12,000 more members than the group supporting the decision of boycotting the entire state of Arizona. (Boycotting a state seems a little impractical, especially if they make such delicious iced tea.) Either way, the administration wins as they get another 15 minutes of fame.
On Monday night, a statement was delivered by the District 113 Board of Education President claiming to “regret the unwanted media attention our district has been subjected to.” The President of the Board then went on to sell some District 113 merchandise. The basketball team signed and sold several copies of the Chicago Tribune, only to be outsold by the administration who sold 200 novelty Fornero bobble-heads and tickets to their next press conference which they hope to hold in the United Center.
We sat down with an administrator who surprisingly didn’t want to have their name published. “It’s a ‘shame’ that we are getting so much attention for this whole ordeal. We really just want to run the district ‘efficiently’ and with ‘little’ controversy. Oh, who am I kidding? We live for this!”