I grew up in a neighborhood where all of my friends and I typically wore blue jeans, tennis shoes, and white t-shirts – unless it was a school day or a Sunday and then different clothes (ie, cleaner, better) were hoisted upon us by our parents. Each one of us had a bike, a ball glove, a lucky bat, and some baseball cards to trade. Rough language basically began and ended with the word, “poop.” Oh, how life was simple and pretty good back then. (But what do I really know? As public education advocate Jamie Vollmer points out; we do not always remember the good ol’ days or our good ol’ schools so well. And he’s right.)
However, I do remember playing “cops and robbers” at an early age with my friends. If you were designated a cop, you’d search around and chase your robber-buddies all around the yard, and scream and yell “Stop Thief!” This tag-you’re-it type game incorporated a pretend jail and, since there weren’t any pretend defense lawyer-buddies playing as well, if you were a fast runner, you could fill up the jail with bad guys in no time.
I’m probably not the only one who remembers hearing the phrase “Stop Thief!” numerous times. It’s admittedly an ancient phrase, and fortunately it’s been replaced with something much better in recent years; something that NSPRA (our National School PR Association) and our state school PR associations have always taken the lead in proclaiming, and this is: “Go Thief Go!” (That’s right. They’re encouraging people to steal.)
Whether it’s an idea snatched from one of their best practice workshops or a communication tips publication, our professional groups are all about continually fanning the “Go Thief Go!” flame. They actually want school communicators to join in and then take back any ideas that might work well back in their home districts. Their “Go Thief Go!” cheer serves all of us much better than my ol’ “Stop Thief!” warning. NSPRA and our state associations truly have their eyes on the ball (school communications wise) – and I appreciate how they’re willing to pass the ball around and share some new plays.
FYI – Michigan’s MSPRA has a ½ day conference on December 10 in Clarkston, MI. Interested? Email Sue White.