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Malibu High letter-writing assignment lights up parents

October 3, 2011 |  1:53 pm

A letter-writing assignment at Malibu High School asking students to write officials in support of lighting for the school's athletic field has raised the ire of parents.

As part of a freshman seminar assignment, students were told to write a letter that would be sent to the California Coastal Commission, which will consider the school’s lighting proposal this week, the Malibu Surfside News reported.

The assignment instructions, published by the newspaper, said:

“We believe there is strong support for limited use of field lighting in our community. One only needed to have attended a past game to understand what a positive and unifying experience night games have been. Now it is time to make sure your words are read and your voices heard. Please write a letter to the CCC to ensure your support, even if you are AGAINST the lights … ”

A number of parents have criticized the assignment, contending that the school is using a classroom assignment to gin up support for the lighting plan.

Malibu High's principal, Mark Kelly, told the Surfside News that’s not the case. The assignment, he said, was for students to write a business letter, but students can write a letter objecting to the lighting plan if they don't support it.

"The teacher saw the lighting issue as one directly relevant to students and thus appropriate for students to learn how their voice can be heard," Kelly said. "The fact that this issue is relevant to students only enhances motivation. It is reasonable that our students, who are affected by decisions regarding lights, be afforded the opportunity to lend their voice to the discussion."

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-- Rick Rojas

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