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Blind eye turned to violent crime
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Dear Editor,
I just read your article after pursuing some of the TV stations videos online. I’m still sitting here dumbfounded. How no one has been arrested considering there was a bus filled with witnesses after a brutal assault would cause you to believe this happened in a third world country. But no, it happened in the heartland of America, Kansas. My daughter moved my grandchildren there two years ago from Phoenix, so they could be a smaller town and a safer community. Really? So this is the definition of safe? I’m scared for grandchildren.
The upside to being here in Phoenix is we understand how the law is supposed to work, (with the exception of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I cannot make any excuses for the senile). We do not allow our coaches, a superintendent of a school, and a principal whose job description does not include drafting to impose legislation and somehow dictate the fate of two adolescent boys who were assaulted and victimized while on a school activity. This needs to be called what it is....forcible rape. For some unbeknownst reason, the police department of Great Bend has opted to turn a blind eye to the fact that a violent crime has been committed. At a bare minimum, a report should have been filed citing HB 2758 the anti-bullying legislation which was written into law in 2014 by Kansas’ own Governor to make certain this type of behavior and criminal activity DID NOT take place in Kansas schools ever again. Each school was to implement their own anti-bullying policy and adhere to it, as well, which somehow did not apply to GBHS. This somehow seems to be lost on everyone who is suppose to be looking out for these young boys with the exception of their parents. How tragic. In conjunction with violating basic human standards regarding, love your neighbor as yourself, it appears the two Donald Trumps in Training - Superintendent Reed and Principal Friess, overlooked the two following issues which could possibly land them, 1. Out of work, hopefully practicing a skill set to say, “do you want fries with that”. 2. In jail, where they experience first hand exactly what those two young boys did at the back of the bus, with guards not helping THEM while they are in their jail cells. I am hopeful the Ellsworth County Attorney charges them with indecent liberties, aggravated sexual battery, which are both class 5 felonies in Kansas. Not knowing the boys ages that were violated, the charges could be more and harsher. One could only hope. The icing on the cake is the basic code of ethics according to the KSHSAA. Correct me if I am wrong in my interpretation of the guidelines of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, but just booing a referee is an infraction, so when numerous officials from a school sanction a criminal activity, I have to believe there would be a severe fall out for the entire sports program as a whole. The problem being they have overlooked their sense of priorities, but perhaps they never had them in tact to begin with. Superintendent Reed and Principal Friess have an obligation to the well being of the children under their care and the people that were hired to do so. When given an opportunity to do so, they both failed. At the very least, they need to be fired and along with the adults on the bus who allowed for this to take place need to be criminally prosecuted. That’s a given for the actual boys who perpetrated the crime and those who assisted. It’s time for people to take accountability for their thoughtless actions. The scars that are left on the innocent will be carried throughout their lives, as a reminder that their high school years are now just ugly stains in a yearbook where photos of a proud swimmer once were.
Michelle Coughlin
Phoenix, Ariz.