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School safety comes first
web posted January 30, 2006

OPINION – Every day parents send their children off to local schools to receive an education. Some would argue, in general, government schools do little in the way of real education and instead provide more in the way of indoctrination to political ideologies. Whether the latter is true or not is beside the point. Every day parents entrust their children to school officials to provide a safe and secure setting, free of threat or harassment, for the development of young minds.

The recent discovery of a “hit list” posted on the internet naming a teacher and students at Strom Thurmond, along with booster members, has raised the concern of police and school officials. That student still attends classes along side of those named in the hit list. School officials state their hands are tied due to the fact the hit list was posted from a home computer, not a school computer, removing any authority they would have to punish the child.

However, the fact remains this student did publish the hit list and it included the names of other students and a teacher at the school. Some of those listed were the mothers of two of the students. That is not a “safe and secure” environment for education. Regardless of whether the student actually intended and harm with the hit list, which no one believes, the problems that have stemmed from the episode remain.

A glaring case of a school not providing a safe and secure environment for education is coming out of the Fox Creek Charter High School in Merriwether. There, two parents say, a student is being harassed and picked on continuously. What makes this situation worse is the parents say school officials are the ones doing the harassing.

As a result, they say, the student’s grades have dropped and the child is suffering both mentally and physically from the actions of those who are supposed to be protecting the student. The parents have tried to resolve the issue with the administration at Fox Creek with no success. They have also turned to the Edgefield County School District to resolve the situation, which is being perused by the district office at this time.

However, they say the damage to their child has been done and removing the child from the school will do little in the way of resolving the matter they consider bordering on abuse and the long lasting effects it will have on their child. Counseling is being sought for the student to deal with the stress and undue mental harm inflicted, they claim, by the school.

The parents say they are speaking with their attorney and may be seeking legal help in resolving the matter. Their first priority and concern is the safety of their child and the effects the events have taken on their child’s education. A point Fox Creek seems to be missing they say.

Schools should be more interested in protecting the children than protecting themselves from litigation or proving they are always right and the parents are always wrong.

The major role of a school is education and safety. The safety of the students entrusted to the school is critical in the educational process. To see a hit list with students and an educator’s name on it, or to have the administration of a school accused of hurtful and belittling comments to a student and harassment, should never be something we hear of in Edgefield County Schools.

We know the Edgefield County School District will resolve the issues they have on their plate at this time as they have in the past. Each day situations like these continue the ones being hurt the most are the ones who are the most innocent and vulnerable, the children.    


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