To whoever stole my daughter’s volleyball sign from our front yard early on the morning of September 17: I can only assume that you desperately needed that sign, and I trust that it will serve you well. Good luck with your volleyball career. Thank you for the realtor sign you left behind, but we’re just not ready to list our house yet.

All kidding aside, you’re better than this. I’ve lived in Brookings 20 years and each fall I am disappointed, but not necessarily surprised, to find that the most obvious sign that the students are back is a notable increase in littering, vandalism and theft in my neighborhood. Our weekend morning ritual now regularly includes picking up trash, seeing what’s been moved or removed, and checking vehicles and buildings for damage. You are supposed to be our “best and brightest,” aren’t you? That’s what everyone says … our future is in your hands … you are tomorrow’s leaders. Seriously, you’re better than this.

Obviously, this is not about a circular piece of corrugated plastic. Nor is it about cleaning up a few empty beer bottles. It’s not even about replacing a car mirror, a potted plant or a piece of lawn furniture. It’s about having some common decency and respect for those around you. I guess maybe you haven’t taken that class yet.

Perhaps the most telling commentary came from my daughter when I told her that her volleyball sign had been taken. “Well, I suppose we all knew it was going to happen sooner or later.” How sad that a 15-year old has already “learned” what “normal” college student behavior looks like. How sad that she also is disappointed, but not necessarily surprised. Really … you’re better than this.

Rod MayBrookings