Trust, it’s a simple word full of confidence.
We trust airplanes not to fall out of the sky. We trust the electrical company to provide adequate electricity to our homes. We trust the ocean will not overflow.
Trust, it’s such a confident word, but such a dependent word.
We trust law enforcement to keep us safe. We trust emergency services to come to our aid. We trust our accountants and lawyers to keep us out of hot water.
Trust, it’s such a dependent word, so full of expectations…
Recently, a local mother felt she had to go public, very public, with an incident that happened to her child. The school had done their due diligence, “closed the matter” and was cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation. But she felt she was unable to receive satisfaction through the school district, so she exerted her rights and contacted an attorney as well as the media.
Trust, so full of expectations, so easily shattered.
Over the last couple weeks, we have heard many things, some true and some untrue. It is important to point out that what we are hearing is newsworthy, but it’s only one side of the story.
As curious as some are to find out “what exactly happened,” we may never know.
The school cannot share what they learned from those involved. They will not share the names, they will not specify who was or wasn’t punished. And, quite frankly, even if there are some type of criminal charges filed, unless someone is tried as an adult, don’t expect to receive a ton of information there either.
I know this is a tough pill to swallow, but this is all done in an effort to protect our children.
There is no law that gives us the right to have our curiosity sated.
But honestly, do we really believe the coach, principal and activities director colluded to further victimize a student? Do we really believe not one of them has scruples? Do we really not trust them to do the right thing?
Every day we send our children to school and hope they will flourish. We hope they will learn new things, expand their thinking, build strong friendships and become better people. We expect our children to be safe, protected from the evil that exists in the world outside the schoolhouse door.
But ugly things happen. It’s a fact of life and they can’t be undone. All we can do is deal with them, learn from them and do our best to grow and move on.
Could things have been handled better in this situation? You bet. USD 428 could have issued a statement early on explaining that an incident happened, that it had been addressed in a timely and appropriate fashion, and that these matters are taken very seriously. Throw in a little information about how student matters are handled, perhaps express a little empathy for the victim, let the public know that if they had any questions about school policy to contact them and perhaps the big black eye that the Great Bend Schools received would have been avoided. As an added bonus it would publicly state that the District Office was monitoring the situation and stood behind the coach and administrators.
We can’t change how we got to where we are. We can’t undo the past. But going forward, if we aren’t satisfied with school policies or people, we can contact our friendly neighborhood school board members. After all, that’s why we elected them. And when something criminal happens, contact law enforcement.
As for me, I’m praying for everyone involved, hoping for healing to the victims and choosing to trust.
Mary Hoisington is publisher of the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.