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Letters Published in January 17, 2007 Issue
Jan. 17, 2007 - Letter submitted by Becky Flowers, Knightstown
I would like for anybody that is reading this to know that what I am writing is my own personal opinion. I am using my freedom of speech right to get my letter printed, and to let people know how I feel. I am referring to what has happened with those boys who produced the “infamous video.” The more I read about this story, the more irate I am.
Last year, my daughter was expelled for making a “hit list.” (She had three names on it.) She said that she didn’t intend for anybody to think she was going to kill these people. She wanted to hit them. (She’s really small and couldn’t fight her way out of a wet paper sack!) It was wishful thinking on her part. I believe the school acted exactly the way they should have. She deserved to be punished. With all the killings that have occurred at schools over the past couple of years, she should have known better.
I believe these boys did something just as bad, if not worse. I realize that they made this film away from the school, but how did it end up at school and on the Internet? Somebody was evidently showing it to people.
What possessed them to use Mr. Clevenger’s name in their film? I have been told that he is a tough educator, but I think he is that way because he wants our children to learn. Has anyone considered how Mr. Clevenger and his family might feel? If I was him, I would be upset, a little scared, and very pissed off that they weren’t really punished.
Yes, they missed some school, but they get the chance to make all work up! They also want their records expunged. What do their lawyers want money for? Are they actually going to receive some money for making their “tasteless” movie? Where is the justice? The person that deserves some money is Mr. Clevenger, for the humiliation that he went through and for making a mockery out of him.
Why can’t my daughter have her record erased? Why can’t my daughter have some compensation for the school that she missed? I’ll tell you why! She doesn’t deserve to be rewarded for what she did, and neither do those boys.
Thank you for letting me vent.
Jan. 17, 2007 - Letter submitted by Angela and David Halicki, Carthage
We have been grieved by the situation concerning the Knightstown students and their video – but more, how response to their reprimand has been handled. We find the school at liberty to train students not only in academic matters, but to hold them accountable for attitudes and actions that are clearly not acceptable or respectful, especially when directed toward a member of the staff.
We need to be very careful what we are teaching our children … just because we have the freedom to express ourselves does not mean we should misuse that freedom at the expense of others. This video was clearly meant to ridicule and express hostile and utterly disrespectful feelings toward a known authority figure. The school’s response in dealing with this was not a clamping down of free speech, but a very appropriate discipline of a wrong action and thoughtful protection of an innocent party.
Some might say the school has no reason to discipline because this was accomplished on free time away from school – although this involved a teacher, this could be true. However, then the parents should be responsible for training their children more appropriate ways to deal with ill feelings toward another person – especially an authority figure who has potentially invested their time and effort into the lives of these obviously ungrateful young people. Instead, an attorney was hired to defend their rights to publicly defame another undeserving person and lots of press is being given to our rights to freedom of speech.
What is the message being sent to young people? That freedom gives us the right to hurt and slander another? An impression that if children act inappropriately toward an authority figure, they are backed by the law and government and community, let alone their parents? In the future, they will lose their jobs if they choose to treat a manager or boss in this way – why isn’t this an opportunity to teach that reality of life to them?
We are slipping into an age where authority is despised rather than respected; we will regret teaching our children that they can act as they please without accountability – in fact, punishing their authority figures for attempting to impress reasonable discipline upon them. “‘Everything is permissible for me’, but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’, but not everything is constructive.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)
Just because we possess freedom to do something does not mean we should act without discernment and reason – we need to train our children in this right and understand that while they do not possess the maturity of adults, if we do not hold them responsible now, we are opening very dangerous doors for the futures of us all.
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