The following letter was submitted to the Warren, Ohio City School Board after the home opening "cannon fire" attack on residents courtesy of Warren G. Harding High School.
Dear Superintendent/Warren City Schools,
I am extremely appalled by the decision of the city school board to approve and allow the excessive use of fireworks at the football games. Excusing this activity by wrapping it up in warm and cozy words like ‘tradition’, ‘school spirit’ and so forth is absolutely no excuse to impose the war-type sounds of cannon fire which continued for nearly 3 hours on a helpless public at the home opener. There is a silent majority out here that refrains from speaking up on this issue for apathetic reasons----and which does not wish to have this kind of excessive noise pollution assault unleashed upon them.
While you may still want to drape this activity in whatever cloak that sounds good and satisfies you, the reality is you are causing a great deal of stress for people who need to rest to function properly on their job… and are acoustically assaulting people, young and old alike. Animals in particular are severely traumatized by this noise. What’s more, you’re also being very disrespectful to those who have served in war combat and suffer from shell shock by imposing excessive noise on these individuals.
I do not understand what making excessive cannon fire noise has to do with raising school spirit---instead, it merely raises adrenaline in an unhealthy way, and has many of us not wanting to support the schools for anything. As it was when I attended the same school in 1987, tolerable are of a couple ‘kabooms’ when the team scores--followed by the powerful sound of the high school band which, by the way, appears to be absent from the soundscape you created---BUT what you are doing is imposing a kind of noise assault above and beyond what is socially acceptable. No focus is on the talent of the band anymore because the focus is on setting off bombs. While this may appeal to the lowest common denominator in society, it is not appealing the vast majority of residents nearby this stadium. Additionally, these fireworks are louder than anything ever used while I attended this school.
The above problem you have created makes me wonder where the priorities are here. Education or sports related hype? Listen to this: Not everyone wishes to follow or attend sporting events! You do not have a right to impose on these residents the bomb blasts you apparently associate with your sporting events---or assume that everyone thinks the KIND of unnecessary cannon noise at these events is ok with the majority of the population not at the game!
Quite frankly, I find it alarming to come to the conclusion by the examples you are setting, that you have failed to expose your students to any other wonderful aspect of life such as art, history, nature---or world culture---that would help to foster and promote some of these students getting involved in more than just sports. Isn’t that a part of the social responsibility of the educational system?
Tell me, is this town so starved for some sort of identity that you decided to play up on the sports theme to attain one? If so, how sad is that! I believe in our students more than that and feel we can turn out more than just athletes or those addicted to noise. It is shameful that an institution of education of such does not even take the time to stop and think for a moment just what kind of harm you may be inflicting on many….from this belief that you have to set bombs off at games. We pay taxes to support schools, and education---not to be assaulted with cannon bombs. Please find a better and more creative, entertaining way to arouse enthusiasm instead of making those who profit from the sale of gun powder, rich!
As an avid activist in the arena of educating people about the ill-effects of excessive noise pollution on the community, I am well aware of the fact The City of Warren struggles with enforcement of its codified ordinance on noise---while at the same time, excessive and unnecessary noise is the number one complaint by residents to the city safety director! Excessive and unnecessary noise ranging from illegally modified, or deteriorating exhaust systems on cars or motorcycles, to incessant obsessive abuse of gas powered leaf blowers…to boom cars… is the under-recognized plague that is robbing this community of its right to reasonable peace affecting its property values in an negative way----AND, now you are part of a growing problem! With a plague of deafness and hearing damage occurring in this country, who do you suppose will pay the price for it in society when disabilities reach epidemic proportions?
It is time to educate the educators: To educate yourselves as to the problems you are contributing to in this community, I would suggest you visit the website www.noiseoff.org and read about the dark side of excessive noise and what it does to the body, our quality of life, and property values. I would hope that after reviewing this material, you, an institution of education, will make the choice to be a more socially responsible neighbor. Please try and see the picture from the outside in for a change to understand why this is a problem so you will try and be a more respectful neighbor and member of the community from now on. I will also follow up with you to request a sit down meeting to discuss this problem