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Events surrounding closure of the track at Tokay High School questioned

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Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012 12:00 am

In a recent story, you reported that a track team from Stockton held an unscheduled meet at the Tokay High School track, and that in response the track has been closed to the public.

Let me clarify the facts.

In early June, a group from the Stockton Starz Track Club met at the track to work out. I was present.

An individual who later identified himself as the Tokay High School Athletic Director approached one (female) of the four adults supervising the group and began questioning their use of the facility. In a condescending and rude tone, he began interrogating this young black woman.

He demanded to know who she was and what she was doing there. He told her that they were not to be there, that the track was closed for construction and repairs.

There were others using the track and handball courts. She asked him if it was closed to all or just to them. He said he was going to talk to everyone else and told her to leave with her children. She gathered them and left while others continued their activities at the track.

Two days later I returned to the track and all gates were locked.

There are some serious issues here. First, there was no track meet — just an attempt to blame someone for the district's capricious closure of a public facility. (Remember, the AD approached a black woman and told her it was closed for construction and repairs.)

Secondly, someone with LUSD is attempting to keep the public out of public facilities.

Back in 1974, voters supported bonds to build Tokay. During the 1977 dedication of Tokay High School, then-Superintendent of Schools Ellerth Larson encouraged the community to "stay close" to the school.

He saw the importance of the public being involved in the school.

In Lodi, the public no longer feels a partnership with the district. The district wants residents to support bonds and then wants to shut them out of the same facilities they fund.

I will no longer stand by as someone tries to provide a smoke screen for their attempts to explain away and deceive the residents of Lodi. The truth: They don't want you to use it because it is theirs.

Ken Rhoads


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