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Thursday, March 02, 2006

No driver's license? Something must be wrong!

In a tone of shock and amazement, one of my sophomores asked me, “Did you hear that our new principal doesn’t have a driver’s license?” Several of his classmates chipped in, in a similar tone. Apparently this was supposed to be some kind of scandal: how was it possible for someone not to have a license?

Had Anthony Parker done something wrong, for which he had lost his license? No, of course not: it simply turns out that he grew up in New York City and had never learned to drive. Perfectly normal in New York, but clearly unacceptable in Weston.

Stephanie V. Siek’s Boston Globe article that reported this issue was actually very reasonable. More than reasonable, in fact. Anthony Parker is currently learning to drive, but that wasn’t the thrust of this excellent piece, which recounted Parker’s journey to his present position. What’s most important is the last two sentences of the article:
Does Parker see a role for someone with his passion for social justice in one of the state's most privileged communities?

“Social justice is something that concerns all of us and makes us an activist wherever life has put us,” he said.
Right after I accepted my own job offer from Weston ten years ago, I checked into the possibility of getting there by T. Unlike our new principal, I’ve had a license for decades and am comfortable with driving. Like him, I prefer public transportation. Of course it turns out that public transportation is un-Westonian. Not only are the nearest commuter rail and Green Line stations pretty far from the high school, but there’s also the schedule to consider. The commuter rail is apparently meant only for the convenience of people who live in Weston and work in Boston, not for reverse commuters like me. The first train from Boston arrives in Weston long after school starts in the morning. Sigh.

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