Letter to the Editor
A hollow victory was won last night for the people of Brawley who think Captain Scott Pace’s name should be placed on the floor of the “Old Gym” at BUHS in memory of his dying in Afghanistan June 6, 2012.
It is a hollow victory because the BUHS Board of Trustees got to stick with the Board policy of waiting a year to honor the death of someone unless the circumstances of the death are extraordinary. The Board is sleeping well because they preserved and protected their policy.
No explanation was ever given as to why they have this policy, but they have it and it was protected and followed. Scott’s name should go on the floor in June of 2013.
Trustee Rusty Garcia did mention the extraordinary clause and attempt to convince the board that Captain Pace’s being killed in action in Afghanistan might be an “extraordinary circumstance” and placing his name on the floor could happen sooner, but the other board members held their position and refused to budge, even though it made them sad, because BOARD POLICY must be maintained.
This isn’t about placing Scott’s name on the floor so much as it is about a small group of people keeping something good and just from happening in a timely manner.
It is about the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law.
Board policies are easy to change. I worked in education for nearly 40 years and I know that. The Board didn’t want to place Captain Pace’s name on that floor; no one will admit to that, but for what ever reasons, known only to them, our school board is reluctant to honor the fallen.
A young football player died on the football field several years ago and other than having his name on a banner under the old scoreboard, nothing was done to recognize him. I am not sure what the Board is preserving the school for, but they are doing a wonderful job of keeping it un-memorialized.
I come from a part of the United States where heroes are routinely honored. I grew up surrounded by statues of Jackson, Houston, Travis, and Lee. Every town had a statue of a WWI and WWII veteran near the courthouse. My high school has a memory garden to our graduates who gave their all in Vietnam and other conflicts. Thankfully they don’t have policies limiting such displays.
The movie LINCOLN is currently playing in local theaters. It tells the story of getting the 13th Amendment passed. Like the BUHS school board, members of Congress wanted to protect their policy and not pass this much needed amendment to our Constitution. Passing it could lead the way to other things like Blacks voting and then maybe women voting. Fortunately for all the Amendment passed and current policy wasn’t protected. If we kept protecting policy we might all still be drinking tea.
Captain Pace died so we can have this discussion and school boards can have policies they don’t wish to change. Perhaps a better way to honor Captain Pace, in addition to placing his name on the floor of the Old Gym, would be to change policy when something extraordinary has happened.