The April edition of Park Cities People includes a chart breaking down the biographies of the Highland Park ISD trustees. It details the following information: their jobs, when their terms end, whether or not they or their children are Highland Park High School graduates, and which churches they attend.
Two readers have told me that the inclusion of the trustees’ churches was “offensive.” If that offends you, then you’re probably just looking for a reason to be offended.
(Full disclosure: I had a bar mitzvah, but I’ve never been a member of a synagogue as an adult, and I have no plans to keep kosher for Passover.)
The point of that chart was to introduce the trustees to our readers; I’ve been to many of their meetings, so I know how sparsely attended they are. These people are about to make some key decisions about the future of the district and its growing number of students. By including the trustees’ pictures, the idea was that you might recognize them if you saw them at a store or a restaurant or, yes, a church.
I was not trying to say that membership in a Christian church is a prerequisite for serving as a trustee. And I know the school district is saying no such thing by including the trustees’ churches on this page. I, and HPISD administrators, know all about the separation of church and state. But that separation does not mean trustees of a public-school system have to hide their Christianity or their church affiliations.
If you genuinely think the board would benefit by having a member who’s an atheist, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Jew, a Muslim, or a Wiccan, then put your money where your mouth is. The seats held by board president Leslie Melson and vice president Jim Hitzelberger will be up for grabs a year from now. Go for it.