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The D.C. school board sniffs out some shaggy role models for local kids.
Like most legislative bodies, the D.C. Board of Education issues resolutions honoring heroes in the community it serves. And because the board concerns itself with education, honorees have tended to be teachers, students, coaches, and administrators.
Then came the board’s Jan. 16 meeting.
Perhaps in recognition that the District alone can’t solve its education problems, board member Dwight Singleton read a ceremonial resolution honoring “Scooby-Doo and the members of his mystery-solving pals, Mystery, Inc.”
Most people remember Scooby and his four sidekicks—Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy—as a bumbling band of teenagers who chased ghosts and goblins.
But the D.C. school board saw in the Scooby episodes something more meaningful, commending the group’s “accomplishments as a positive non-violent model of cooperative problem solving for children.” In the words of the resolution, that feat includes “consistency in solving challenges” as well as “maintain[ing] and driv[ing] the same Mystery Machine van for over 30 years.”
Not exactly a tone-setting resolution for a panel in the throes of a school-funding crisis. Sensing the frivolity of the document, Singleton tried to distance himself from it. “I don’t know the sponsoring board member of this resolution,” he declared.
School board President Peggy Cooper Cafritz shot back, “On my schedule, it says you are.”
Zoinks! Is the board haunted by a ghost writer?
In fact, the Scooby recognition was proposed by Ward 5 activist Rick Sowell, who organizes a North Capitol Street crime-prevention group. Board member Tommy Wells, who represents Wards 5 and 6, brought the resolution to the panel’s attention but vanished when it came time to read it.
Sowell proposed the resolution to various elected officials, and even lobbied Mayor Anthony A. Williams to read it with the costumed cast of Scooby Doo in Stagefright, which closed last week at the Warner Theatre.
The mayor’s office was considering a Scooby moment at his weekly press conference that same day, but that event was canceled because the mayor had to attend a funeral. A disappointed Sowell sensed Williams’ staff had never been “really enthusiastic” about giving Scooby his 15 minutes of civic fame.
Speaking on Scooby’s behalf, the Cartoon Network’s Executive Vice President Jim Samples said, “We at Cartoon Network have always considered Scooby a hero, so we are thrilled that the Washington, D.C., Board of Education agrees.”
But do the kids agree?
“I think it’s completely ridiculous,” says 12-year-old Hope Glastris, a seventh-grader at Hardy Middle School. “Scooby-Doo is one
of the silliest shows on television….[I]t has the same ending every time.”
Glastris recommends that the flannel suits on the school board update their taste in cartoons. “How about The Simpsons, The Powerpuff Girls, or Dexter’s Laboratory?” she asks. CP