This is in response to your 12/15/04 news story "Judge Finds IEKHS Principal in Contempt of Court." I was in shock after I read this article.
I know that the teenagers in today's society could be trying at times. The problems that teenagers face today are so immense, and many adults throw up their hands in frustration. In many communities, teens are written off as unsalvageable by their schools.
Early adolescence, however, is recognized as the last best chance for communities to ensure that the youth have the coping mechanisms in place to prevent their entry into high risk practice. That is why we as responsible adults need to do every thing in our power to make sure that a dilemma such as this is not repeated.
I do not know all the details of this matter, but personally, I think that this situation has gone too far. Every thing that has transpired such as; protests, closing of the school, the student was sent home for two months (that is unheard of), and the constant harassment endured by the victim (student)…should not have occurred.
Where were the government officials while this unfortunate situation transpired? Some government entity should have intervened before this problem escalated.
In reference to the principal; she should be removed from her position. In order for a Principal to be an effective leader, he/she should have more than just advanced education or credentials. A principal should know how to utilize conflict resolution. Conflict resolution may not resolve the problem 100 percent, but it better than cruelly mistreating any student which can cause them to lash out in a negative way.
If the principal attempted to make this student "a public example," there were other constructive ways of handling this situation.
I do agree that;
-An individual has to suffer the consequences of his/her actions.
-Schools have standards that should be maintained.
-Students should abide by the rules (zero tolerance).
-Students should be respectful.
However, when a public figure (such as the principal in this case) presents herself in an atrocious manner such as this, I have to question her ability to be a leader. I am not a psychologist, but I do know that there are diplomatic ways to manage conflict.
The principal disobeyed a court order. What type of message does this send to her students? She has clearly shown that she does not respect the law. She acted on her emotions by not complying with the court order. Obviously, this case was investigated and therefore the judge made his ruling based on the facts and the evidence.
In reference to the school monitor who is a former police; after reading about his past felonious misconduct, I would like to know how he got that job. What type of standard is set in regard to hiring individuals for certain positions, especially one that entails dealing with teenagers?
What happened to the security measures? Such as background checks; do they just hire anyone to work with or around our impressionable teens? It is very clear that there is very little or no standard in this school when it comes to hiring individuals. All of their policies and procedures should be revised to ensure that issues like this are less likely to occur.
The bottom line is; there are a number of things that need to be changed in order to help reduce the recurrence of this situation. Believe it or not, problems sometimes start from the top of an organization and trickles down to the recipient at the bottom. Change is needed.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to firstname.lastname@example.org.