jeffersonpost.com

Learn from the recent bullying incident

Lonnie Adamson, General Manager

November 1, 2010

We seem to be losing an important teachable moment over the recent bullying incident in Ashe County High School.
In defense of Principal Jason Krider and Superintendent Travis Reeves, this situation has to result in a tight-rope walk for them, protecting the identity of the victim and those doing the bullying. Their anonymity is an important consideration given their ages; although some would argue we have something to learn from their identities, also. We are not pushing that issue.
Some of the more important things that we as a community need to learn from the incident include specifically what happened, why it is wrong and what are the consequences.
Instead the school officials seem to go with the safer response: Yes there is bullying, and yes we responded.
The teachable moment missed here by the schools lies in the specifics. We have the generalities of what bullying is.
When the reality of the incident is described in clear detail, the description puts a face on the incident and clarifies that the action can happen right here in our community. Wed like to be able to learn from the consequences suffered by the victim and know what a member of our community has had to deal with.
We should be able to read the regulations and understand that we shouldnt do the things it prohibits, but a community example brings it home.
The same goes for the discipline meted out for the incident. Knowing that students here have received punishment helps us relate the possibilities to our own children and work to avoid them.
Lets not forget the active rumor mill in Ashe. It has been working nights and weekends on this issue.
That is an understandable response. Parents want to know what is going on with their children in the schools they pay for. Our investigation, as far as it went, revealed some of the rumored information inaccurate.
Those inaccuracies should reveal the importance of informing the public about the circumstances.
One key question that the rumor mill has is the appropriateness of the discipline, and whether some of the instigators were protected by virtue of their parents connections. We dont know the identities for the record. The rumor mill thinks it does.
Maybe now is the time to clear up what the discipline was and let the community decide whether it is appropriate.