imageCynthia Reynaud wrote an article yesterday for The Des Moines Register that highlighted a problem that East High School in Des Moines is having with students loitering Oasis Wine and Spirits that is located across the street.  The principal, Dan Conner, in a letter to parents expressing concern about the high number of unexcused absences said, "Way too many hang out on the ‘Oasis’ property. Why should our high school have a liquor store literally on our front porch?”

Because Mr. Conner that is private property.  While I am not a fan of the store by any stretch of the imagination.  I pass by there often and have never gone inside.  The draw for students appears to be mainly the grocery items they provide – snacks and soda.  They also sell alcohol, tobacco and adult items, but they also check IDs, block the alcohol aisles during the school day and keep the adult items behind the counter.  Instead of taking responsibility for the students that leave kids without permission during the day he thinks the store should be closed.

On what legal basis would that be done?  None if they are complying with state law and local ordinances.  East High School isn’t the only school that has had this problem.  How about this, let’s close all small businesses located close to schools because they are inconvenient to public school officials!

That would be ridiculous right?  That seems to be what Mr. Connor is suggesting.  Instead of taking steps to close campus during lunch, have teachers police hallways and exits, and have people monitoring the sidewalk between the main building and the freshman annex; let’s just demand that the store is closed.

Another suggestion would be parents who are complaining… if it is your student doing this, how about providing some consequences at home?  If your student doesn’t want to go to school and it is a challenge keeping them there perhaps other alternatives need to be explored.  Parents, not the school, are ultimately responsible for their children’s education.  More parents need to understand that.

There are plenty of solutions available that don’t require infringing on private property rights and messing with somebody’s livelihood.

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