Highland Park historical items tossed in dumpster

Historic collection of learning materials found in dumpster at Renaissance Academy

By Will Jones - Reporter


The saying goes that one man's trash is another man's treasure, and that is definitely the case in Highland Park where a historic collection of learning materials ended up in a dumpster.

Some folks want to know how the historic items ended up in a dumpster behind the Renaissance Academy.

The collection contained thousands of books, video, films, audio recordings; decades of history. Historian Paul Lee received a call from a teacher last week to report the collection in the dumpster.

"To my horror, I saw books scattered among broken audio/visual materials, equipment that I myself had helped order in the 1990s. What is frightening many Highland Parkers is that the Highland Park archives were also kept in the high school and go back to the early 20th century. We don't know where that is right now," said Lee.

There is much concern about the records, but perhaps a broader question being asked by residents involves the school district under the control of one person, emergency manager Donald Witherspoon.

Lee gets very emotional at the thought of history simply being tossed away. He believes violence among young people in the African-American community is a result of not having a sense of history or a pride in heritage, and now this treasure of history is in the trash.

"It breaks my heart that our children and grandchildren may not be as lucky because of a decision and the incompetence of one man who is imposed upon us by the state.

Witherspoon talked to Local 4 and said it's a misunderstanding and a few things were accidentally thrown out last week and everything is fine.

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