Take the survey, and save sibling clause

Nathaniel Curtis, Managing Editor

A debate has been roaring over the sibling preference clause, threatening to split up potential Wildcat families. And Brevard Public Schools is asking you to weigh in by taking a survey on its web site. The current acceptance system allows for younger siblings to be admitted to the school so long as the prospective student meets all of the admission requirements.  It has been in place since the 1998 foundation of the West Shore, which has grown to be one of the top schools in the country. That raises a vital question: If the school has worked so well for so long, why would anyone change it?

To be quite frank, it is rather selfish to repeal sibling preference. If a student doesn’t make it through the lottery, that is unfortunate, but if a student can succeed at West Shore, then the same potential exists to succeed at any other school. But to try to change the system that has been proved to work with tests and graduation rates is just outright wrong. What if one child in a family goes to West Shore, but another is denied entrance? What happens to the family? It would have to make reservations for different school events, such as different days for sport matches and separate transportation routes. This would be devastating to a family like mine.

Both my parents work nights and have to sleep during the day. If they had to worry about my sister and I having drastically different schedules, it would interfere with their work to the point where it would be better for me to drop out of West Shore and attend my respective zoned school. I know for a fact that I am not the only one with a family who would not be able to manage without the sibling preference, and to deny a whole family admittance for that matter is beyond selfish.

For me, it was the luck of the draw that got me into West Shore. It is like that for the majority of the students here. It’s not uncommon for people to not be selected by the initial lottery, that is what the wait list is for. Honestly, if someone doesn’t make it into West Shore, I understand that the parents and student would be upset, but that doesn’t give any right to split up siblings. Furthermore, competition of such a selection is part of life. You may be just as qualified as the person next to you, but it turns out that a job is given to the other person instead. What about the service academies? Those are the most competitive schools in the country. You have thousands of great students lined up to go to the academies each year, yet very few are chosen. This doesn’t mean that the academies have to change to please every person who applies.  If your child doesn’t get past the lottery process, then try again next year and hope for an open spot. But please, don’t change something that has been working and don’t add extra troubles to the Wildcat family. If you agree with me, encourage your parents to take the district survey at www.brevard.k12.fl.us.