Cheers and jeers in Federal Way | Mirror editorial

• Cheers to the Federal Way School District for finding alternative means to prevent truancy. In this case, “alternative” means “not wasting time and money on lawyers.” It also means trying to solve truancy problems proactively at home rather than passing the buck — and fighting in court. The Becca Law requires court hearings for students after a school district files a truancy petition. Largely due to attorney fees, Federal Way sends fewer students to court. Instead, the school district engages students with workshops intended to increase communication and decrease unexcused absences. There is no magic formula that keeps all kids in school. However, any effort that saves money while keeping kids in school is an effort well spent.

• Jeers to conspiracy theories. Yes, man walked on the moon. Yes, Elvis is dead, and no, you didn’t see him at a gas station in Federal Way. Speaking of Federal Way, its prominent leaders are neither perfect nor corrupt. The city’s leaders, elected and non-elected, care about this community and want Federal Way to be a better place. Do leaders like the status and/or recognition their positions bring? Of course, and so would you. They have the same human virtues and flaws. Criticism comes with the territory and plays a vital role by fueling public discussions that lead to solutions. But in the end, Federal Way leaders commit to grinding through the everyday grunt work that runs the city, all with their necks on the public line. If voters like what’s in place, they keep it. If voters dislike the status quo, they change it. Federal Way’s political stage looks little like the high-stakes fame and fortune sideshow associated with the national political stage (at least not yet). Conspiracy theories about Federal Way leaders make entertaining mind movies, but cannot conquer the informed voter who speaks with a ballot instead of a tale.

• Cheers to Federal Way’s Westway neighborhood and its efforts to improve quality of life. On April 9, volunteers from Federal Way AmeriCorps and Habitat for Humanity Seattle/South King County, along with Westway homeowners, convened in the neighborhood near Southwest 334th Street for the Community Day of Action. The group honored the late Jimmy Box, a longtime advocate and leader who helped transform the neighborhood — once known for its criminal activity — over the past decade. Fed-up homeowners such as Box began taking back their neighborhood. Box helped AmeriCorps set up an after-school program nine years ago, when the Day of Action first started. A key catalyst in this ongoing transformation has been communication through action: Jimmy Box and AmeriCorps sent a message that Westway is worth caring about.

• Jeers to a Federal Way man who, after an argument with his wife April 4, killed a cat by throwing it against a closet. He has been charged with animal cruelty.

• Cheers to Special Olympics Washington for expanding its message of acceptance in Federal Way. Thanks to an $80,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Way was one of two school districts chosen by Special Olympics Washington to bring the Young Athletes program. Special Olympics is for ages 8 and up, but the organization’s Project Unify is geared toward children ages 2 to 7 with intellectual disabilities. The program introduces Special Olympics to younger athletes through activities such as catching, throwing, walking, running, kicking, jumping and balancing. The program also promotes inclusion between special needs students and typically developing students.

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