Wednesday, October 8, 1997
It seems unusual in this day and age to argue for the life of a school, especially one that few people are choosing to attend.
But in the case of Kaw Tay Whee school in Dettah, which is on the verge of being shut down because of low enrolment, there is more than a financial bottom line to consider.
Dettah, while living in the shadow of the city, continues to enjoy its own village-like atmosphere and its Dene culture. This is a notable achievement while living just down the road, or across the bay, from the North's biggest community.
For reasons that aren't yet clear, many Dettah parents are sending their children to school in Yellowknife, more than 40 per cent of them.
In itself, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The privilege of being able to choose which school your child goes to gives parents more control over their children's academic and cultural development.
But rather than closing the school down, why not take advantage of a rare opportunity and bring up enrolment figures at the same time?
The future of the Western NWT and Yellowknife will rest largely on the cooperation between cultures and what better and more convenient location for such cross-cultural education than Dettah?
Experience teaches that once an institution is closed, it's twice as hard to convince those in authority to re-open it.
In this case, no decision to close Kaw Tay Whee school should be made until all viable alternatives are thoroughly investigated and every effort made to keep it open.
If you want to play, you've got to pay.
That's exactly what happened to two boys nabbed by police for vandalizing and kicking in some windows at N.J. MacPherson school.
Both boys were under the age of 12 and can't be charged by police with a crime, and even if they were what good would come of it?
Parents, police and the school's principal came up with a much better punishment -- the boys' allowance for a few months and an apology.
Now that's good old fashioned justice.