As I thought of the triumph and tragedy that surrounds Schenley High School, it dawned on me that Mark Roosevelt’s decision to close Schenley because of asbestos was the local government equivalent of George Bush’s decision to invade Iraq because of WMDs. In both instances, cherry-picked information was utilized to muddy the waters and drive elected officials towards a conclusion they would probably not have chosen with more complete information. In the case of Iraq and the WMDs the national press largely vacated their responsibility to investigate and report beyond the official White House and Department of Defense talking points. They failed the due diligence test that is the hallmark of a free press. In our local situation, the newspapers of record failed to investigate the claims of unsafe asbestos levels and instead chose to accept as gospel the “facts” as presented by Mark Roosevelt.
It is too late for a do over re the US invasion of Iraq. But as long as Schenley High School is mothballed and not sold, we have the opportunity to do the due dilligence and reverse this decision. I urge our local news media and the entire School Board to do a real fiscal analysis before taking the step to sell Schenley. Listen to the community and get the answers to their questions re the asbestos. Then listen again to their concerns about the future of public education and the storied history of Schenley High School.
Barbara Daly Danko
(Barbara Daly Danko is a member of Allegheny County Council and the mother of two graduates of Schenley High School.)