Proper behavior

The students at Sentinel High School are, apparently, learning an important civics lesson. Unfortunately, they may be learning the wrong one. Instead of valuing good public process, they may be learning how to whine about government and its inevitable mountain of paperwork.

In order to tell the world about their oh-so-important high school activities, Sentinel wants to make our city a little more ugly. They already have a sign attached to the school, but instead they want a new one that is 56 square feet in size and 15 feet tall. Nevermind that community standards are 10 square feet and six feet high. Because the school is state property, the students and school administrators feel it is OK to do whatever they want. In effect, shouting to their neighbors and anyone else driving by that they don’t give a darn because they don’t have to. Great lesson in civics, eh?

And I’m not even sure that Sentinel High School should be spending thirty thousand dollars on a flashing, blinking sign full of advertisements. Don’t they have some textbooks or new computers they should be spending that money on? I’m sure the next time that the High School wants the Missoula community to support another bond issue that they’ll then be crying poor. Many of us, however, will be remembering the respect that they showed the community in proposing this sign. That stick in the eye might hurt a little bit more next time at the ballot box.

Maybe there are more lessons here for the students. Firstly, as any good marketer will tell you – is your product or service the right one? I suspect there are many other effective ways of letting students know about the events and goings on at the High School. I thought this was the internet generation, full of Facebook, Twitter, and instant messaging. Why, then, are they insisting on the old technology of a sign?

Secondly, the students should probably do a full accounting of the costs of the project including the costs born by the community at large. I wonder how they will account for the commercialization of their education? I wonder how they will price the loss of scenic beauty as the valley is marred by one more loud sign. And I wonder how they will figure the cost of accidents caused by drivers distracted by their sign. Maybe they just assume those costs away since they don’t have to pay them directly. But, they are real costs. And, I for one don’t particularly care to pay.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the students should learn that any operation or project in the public arena survives only on the goodwill of their fellow citizens. Once the school has lost the trust of the community it may find it very hard to regain that trust. And when their local council person, Jon Wilkins, questions the wisdom of their actions then perhaps the students should learn a little respect for our elected officials and their sense of the body politic. The community may not have the ability to vote down the school’s plans, but we certainly will have many more chances to remind Sentinel High School how to behave in public.

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5 Responses

  1. […] Griptight, an occasional 4&20 commenter, has gotten himself a blog – and has a spot-on analysis of the sign issue and the students take on it. Must […]

  2. Spot ON! You are right in so many ways…and yes – when the school district comes to the taxpayers with a request for more money, it will be impossible for me to separate this spendy sign from their request for more money.

    If someone wants to show some leadership, maybe someone should want to spend that $30,000 on a lasting legacy of education: Funding an arts program. Funding some civic/non-profit-minded project. Funding some lasting legacy that 20 years from now those students will look back and say that they were proud to be a part of it.

  3. LOL. Is this one of those jumbotron-type monstrosities like Smokin’ Joe’s has up on Evaro Hill? That thing blinded me when I was coming back from Quinn’s Saturday night.

    I think the folks are much too influenced by pro sports.

  4. Sentinel is having a meeting on the 21 7pm on the sign in there small theater come and let them know howe you feel
    Jon Wilkins

  5. Sentinel High School’s Electronic Billboard is on the MCPS Board of Trustees agenda, tonight February 10th at 6pm; 915 South Avenue.

    Please support the neighborhood. Help protect them from this bad project. Email your comments to the MCPS BoT :

    publiccomment@mcps.k12.mt.us

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