By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99
We are celebrating Homecoming this week at NCHS. Many of you read an article that I wrote a few weeks ago which addressed the clothing styles and dancing that are a part of the festivities. Recently, we have also considered the themes of Homecoming. Our classes have done a great job of selecting “A Hornet Production” as the central theme. I had the opportunity to discuss a possible design by one of our classes. A couple of well-meaning girls asked me about the line….”cut the Panthers”. They were thinking about “cut” as it relates to filming a movie. Mr. Pasero and I had concerns, however, given this day and time that “cut” could be interpreted as perpetuating violence against fellow high school students. We don’t want our friends from Pinckneyville to think they are being invited to a knife fight!
As I thought about how sensitive we have become about the words we use, I was listening to a 70’s & 80’s radio station. Oh, music when it was pure and innocent! As I was driving down the road, one of my favorite wholesome “old” songs came on the radio & I began singing like I was a rock star. The only time I ever sing loudly is when I’m alone. Everyone can be thankful for that. Suddenly, something caused me to stop in the middle of my private concert and made me really listen to the words. Here I am, a 54 year old man singing…..”she’s just 16 years old, leave her alone, they say……if I could fly, I’d pick you up, I’d take you into the night and show you a love like you’ve never seen”. I gasped……what is this song saying? The song that I once loved suddenly sounded more than inappropriate. It was downright creepy! Was it an anthem for pedophiles? My face turned red with embarrassment. The realization made me want to give my ears and my brain an enema!
I began thinking about other older songs that I grew up with. In 1978, our high school prom theme was a song by Rod Stewart called “Tonight’s the Night”. School administrators approved a song with lyrics that include….”Come on angel, my heart’s on fire…don’t deny your man’s desire”. How did that song become a prom theme? Oh yes, now I remember….it was the “ innocence” of 1978!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a father, and yes….even a “papa”, I believe even more strongly than before that a school has a great responsibility to protect our kids from exposure to things that fail to promote a positive lifestyle. NCHS will not promote violence, sex, drug/alcohol use, or anything else that is potentially harmful to our kids. The young people of today are exposed to enough bad stuff on a daily basis despite parent’s best efforts to safeguard them. To our students I would advise this. Be careful about the lyrics of today’s music. Sometimes a catchy tune masks a horrible message. If the songs you are listening to are not building you up and encouraging you to be a better person, please reconsider your song selections. For me, maybe I better stick with Andy Griffith’s greatest hits!
NCHS Superintendent’s Notes