ALAMEDA — Just a stone’s throw from Encinal High School on this island town’s western end sits the once-bustling but now-shuttered Alameda Naval Air Station. The proximity is not merely physical: The school’s athletic teams are the Jets, its newspaper is the Jet Blast, and its mascot is a smiling cartoon plane.
But the harmony between school and armed services is under strain now as a small group of Encinal’s teachers and parents attempts to bar the return of a retired Marine Corps jet to a display on the school’s front yard.
…David Olstad, a volunteer who assists on technical support issues at the school, said, “I’d just as soon see a .357 Magnum blown up and put on a pedestal. I mean, there’s no difference to me. It’s glorifying violence.”
Janet Gibson, a school board member and Alameda resident since 1973, said she’s long considered the jet an inappropriate emblem for Encinal. “I would think there is a better symbol for the school, something that might reflect education and intelligence,” she said.
If this school is like most government schools then maybe an appropriate symbol to put up is a large brain full of mush or maybe a globe of the world with the countries misnamed.
As a 69 Jet I think Ms. Gibson and her team ought be focusing on getting McDonnell Douglas or Boeing to donate a used DC-10 or 757 for the front lawn before they suggest getting rid of the A-4. That way, since they are ignoring the real
issue that the district is in a financial tailspin, the jet could double as needed classrooms or provide an excellent site for on the job training.