Recently I was talking with a group of people when the topic came up that Unity Christian School was planning to relocate its high school to Clinton.

Within the group was a person who made what was taken as a factual comment.

It was said, “Half the students at Clinton High open enroll out to Northeast”.

I have to tell you, that comment made my heart sink. As one who has spent a considerable amount of time over the years working with organizations and causes that are trying to make a better and brighter future for Clinton, to hear such a blatantly false, demeaning, derogatory, negative and outrageous statement made me question why I even try.

Why should those who are trying to make things better need to spend the first half of their time debunking such misconceptions and false narratives? What is really frustrating is that if you ask those who make such egregious comments what needs to be done to make things better so they will stop the negativity, the general response is that they don’t know, but something needs to change! How can one identify an issue, but have no idea how to correct it?

So I spent some time searching out the facts about this negative and false narrative. Those who want facts will be interested to know that Clinton Schools have about 3,400 total students, and of those, Clinton High has just over 1,000 students. That would mean another 1,000 high school students are alleged to be open enrolled to Northeast High School. The real number districtwide in all grades K-12 is a total of 380 students open enrolled out, with only 181 students in all grades K-12 to Northeast as of the last reporting period, thus maybe at most a third of those to the high school. It seems the facts show it is nowhere close to the 1,000 high school students alleged to be open enrolled out, and in fact seriously short of the “half of the students” as alleged.

Simply continue with the outrageous, baseless, derogatory comments about your community. Then look in the mirror and ask yourself why nobody is doing anything to change it when they have to first break through the false narratives and perceptions spewed forth as fact. There is nothing wrong with not knowing the facts, but there is also nothing that says you have to speak up and prove you do not know what you are talking about.

Keep it up. I’ll join those who have given up even trying to make things better.

Les Shields,


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