Lyle school fight is disappointing to ex-resident

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dear hometown (Lyle),

It’s been a while. How are you doing? You say you’re fine? We’ve known each other too long for me to believe that. You need to know that I love you enough to be honest with you. You’re not looking very good right now. In fact, you’re looking pretty silly. You don’t believe me, do you? The look you’re giving me is a dead giveaway. I think that we need to take a look at your past before we can begin to discuss what’s happening to you now.

You know, it wasn’t that long ago that you really seemed to have yourself pulled together. You were one incredible little town. You still are, don’t get me wrong — it’s just that you’re not living up to your potential right now. You see, you once were the place where community unity built something very special. I’ve lived all over the country, but I’m still proud to call you home.

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You know, that’s why reading the news today was so very disappointing. Hey, don’t get upset with me. I’m not the one highlighted in a headline that reads “Heated school board meeting in Lyle, board walks out.” Don’t tell me you don’t see anything wrong with this headline. When reading that article, I was shocked to see people I’ve known for decades yelling at each other – and walking away from what should have been an orderly and rational discussion. Within that article were people with whom I’d attended school, played on sports teams and with whom I’d grown up. Also in that article were people I’d respected as a kid – the grownups who provided a model for the grownups we were all becoming.

Hometown, I know these people. They’re what makes you who you are.

I have some suggestions for you if you’re willing to hear them.

• Don’t yell at your elected officials. As a community, you voted them into office. You hired them to do a job. Let them do it – and constantly evaluate their performance while providing feedback in the manner you would want to receive it. Elections happen routinely. If you’re not satisfied with the job they’re doing, let them know … but in a civil manner. If they don’t respond in a way you like, don’t hire them again in the next election.

• If you are an elected official, listen to your constituents. They’re your boss. You may not like them. You may not like what they have to say. In the end, though, you work for them.

• Those of you who are shouting at the school board need to grow up. Seriously? Shouting at the board? This isn’t some nameless “they” — it’s the board you elected. You’ve known each other for decades. You don’t talk to friends like that.

• Those of you on the board need to grow up. Seriously? Walking out on a meeting? If a friend says something you don’t like, you listen … and then you discuss it. This isn’t the playground. Let your friend have his or her say and then have the maturity to respond in a reasonable manner.

Lyle, you’re better than this. I know you are. Have your disagreements, but don’t forget where you’re from. You’re from Lyle. Is it still true that you couldn’t be prouder?

Alan Ellis

Dallas, Texas, formerly of Lyle