As I thought of the triumph and tragedy that surrounds Schenley High School, it dawned on me that former Superintendent Mark Roosevelt's decision to close Schenley because of asbestos was the local government equivalent of George W. 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 toward 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 Post-Gazette 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 regarding the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But as long as Schenley High School is mothballed and not sold, we have the opportunity to do the due diligence and reverse this decision. I urge the Post-Gazette 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 regarding 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
The writer is a member of Allegheny County Council.