Move along

That’s right, move along, nothing to see here.

It has become a common refrain, if not an entrenched attitude, for those in charge of things.

Often people willingly do so – walking away to avoid conflict, denying an issue is relevant and going about their affairs. They might even whisper “not my problem”.

In a very real sense the unfortunate episode at Centre Wellington District High School (CWDHS) speaks to what we view as yet another move-along moment, or so they hoped. Official correspondence from the OPP and the Upper Grand District School Board would certainly suggest the incident on Oct. 7 is routine business in the fight against crime and social woes. Nothing to see here.

Authority figures, whether it be members of the educational community, the constabulary, parents or guardians – the adults in the room are not helping kids as they navigate some of the most difficult years of their life. Instead, they function within a system that is not working. Move along doesn’t cut it this time, if it ever did.

Concerned parents contacted our editor to follow up on what they believe was a targeted attack and in keeping with a culture they claim permeates the school.

Although school board officials and teachers have been reticent to speak candidly and admit the school year is not off to a great start, there have been a few brave souls willing to talk honestly. Those teacher comments have since been taken off line, leaving parents to decipher bureaucrat buzzwords and slogans that might sound great at a rally, but do little to address real problems.

Police had responded to 14 calls at CWDHS in the first 24 school days this year – the genesis of those calls or nature of complaints are not known.

Ironically, intimations by school board officials earlier this year that they could do without officers in the school rang hollow more quickly than we expected.

Family members of the accused, who obviously had a different version of events that day, still sat in limbo 12 days later, waiting to hear about the outcome for the child. Will this student be expelled or serve a lengthy suspension? Will the criminal nature of the charges follow this person into their working life? There are many questions unanswered.

The court of public opinion, that hazy arena of conflicting stories, assumptions, and potential for rage, notes the role of teachers, the absence of an officer-in-the-school program and the function of parents in an ever- changing social dynamic. There is plenty of blame to go around.

If in the end we are to escape hate and all the degrees of dislike that encapsulates, the system needs to get honest with itself. There is hope though when I hear of both parents looking to resolve issues rather than keeping up the feud. That’s a good first step.

While the paths of life are different for all students, a talented listener could help reconcile points for these students. They may find out, as others have since time began, we are all just trying to get through life as happy as we can.

Speaking of talking

Centre Wellington council is again grappling with the concept of perfection (see article).

In a perfect world, people could speak, make a point, feel listened to and move on.

Regrettably, that doesn’t always happen, and in a great many instances, passionate people who feel really strongly about an issue come across as pushy or almost offensive. While a quiet manner typically garners results or at least a sense of having added to a conversation, some people are just loud and naturally obnoxious.

What Centre Wellington needs to consider is the application of good judgment. Whether it be the mayor or CAO who calls it quits with a taxpayer when lines are crossed, we care not. In fact, there are times when someone does need called out and brought to task.

However, a corporate policy to tamp out rare cases of imperfect engagement is not in keeping with encouraging a robust, healthy democracy at the local level.