Freeport, Illinois — In light of the recent events that took place at Freeport High School this past Friday, where multiple fights broke resulting in multiple student arrests and overall public hysteria, one local Freeport resident is making a call out to the community, to take action and do something positive about it.
Ryan Shirley of Freeport wants to help our students but he doesn’t want to help with a new program or some state funded curriculum, Shirley is pressing the community, right here in Freeport to step up.
“We’ve already blamed the parents, students, the staff, and whomever else we could think of” Shirley wrote on his Facebook page. But what’s next he asks.
“If we think about it, a lot of us were “raised right”, but still made some bad decisions” he notes but says that didn’t stop him from doing things he probably shouldn’t have done in his school days. But yet Shirley was just recently honored as one of Freeport’s Small Town Heroes.
While he admits he may not have the absolute solution, he does have a few suggestions.
1. If we want our youth to “be” better, we have to be and do better.
2. Improve communication on all fronts such as staff, parents, students, clergy and Ryan says have some real life, uncomfortable conversations.
3. Remove this mindset: “Not my child, not my problem”.
We don’t know what school life was like when you went to school but we remember back in the 80’s at every last day of school. During each year during every senior school year there were threats and a lot of talk about huge fights that would happen on the last day of school. Hundreds of students would gather at the corner of Pretzel Stadium by Empire and Moseley. Many times, fights between 5-10 people would break out. Boys and girls too.
Like now, where were the parents, the community, the aunts and uncles of these students?
Shirley says “we know the students”. He says if we as a community are there and students see our faces and understand by our involvement in their lives that we genuinely care about their education and safety, chances are this type of issue wouldn’t happen.
By we, Shirley says he means all of us because, as he says, that’s ultimately who it is up to. Us, the parents, pastors, ministers, retired teachers, off duty firefighters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, small business owners…
Shirley says “we can make it happen if we really want to” and has challenged the public to join with him. Shirley says he’s even willing to coordinate with the principal himself, so everyone can get started.
We’d like to know what you think.
These kinds of problems ultimately become all of our problems. We’re a part of it whether directly involved or not, these events and life situations affect us. Would you support a more community wide effort to be more engaged with our local students? Would you get involved yourself.
Thoughts, comments feel free to chime in.
You can reach Mr. Ryan Shirley on his Facebook page here.