Our thoughts...

Mis­placed pri­or­i­ties

The Covington News - - Opinion greed is good? -

When peo­ple get news they don’t want to hear, they of­ten re­act by blam­ing the mes­sen­ger. It is some­times the obli­ga­tion of a cred­i­ble news­pa­per to fill the un­pop­u­lar role of de­liv­er­ing bad news. But blam­ing the news­pa­per for re­port­ing on a prob­lem doesn’t solve the prob­lem.

Last week we re­ported that deputies re­sponded to a party be­ing held for stu­dents at New­ton High School, some of whom were mem­bers of the high school foot­ball team. While there, a deputy was wit­ness to the fact that shots were be­ing fired, and later found shell cas­ings that in­di­cated some­one had been fir­ing a TEC-9.

That’s a real gun. Shoot­ing real bul­lets. The kind that kill peo­ple.

The re­port­ing of that fact has an­gered some lo­cal par­ents and the NHS foot­ball coach. Their per­spec­tive, as made ev­i­dent in tele­phone calls and let­ters since the pub­li­ca­tion of the story, is that the event should never have been re­ported at all, and cer­tainly not without per­mis­sion of the school sys­tem and foot­ball coach.

We re­peat: It was a real gun. Shoot­ing real bul­lets. The kind that kill peo­ple.

It’s sad to see such mis­guided con­cerns from adults re­spon­si­ble for par­ent­ing and ed­u­cat­ing our young peo­ple. This news­pa­per firmly be­lieves that the peo­ple of this com­mu­nity need to know that their chil­dren were at a party where shots were fired and lives were en­dan­gered. Surely, some­where, more rea­son­able par­ents can ap­pre­ci­ate the value of such knowl­edge and will use it to pro­tect their teens in the fu­ture.

Par­ents have chas­tised us for not seek­ing per­mis­sion from the coach and school be­fore re­port­ing on the party. Our read­ers de­serve bet­ter than news re­port­ing that is cen­sored by those in au­thor­ity. If those par­ents ex­pressed the same de­gree of out­rage over the event it­self and the be­hav­ior of those re­spon­si­ble, a life might be saved some­where along the way.

As for the school of­fi­cials, more time spent in hon­est ap­praisal of what hap­pened and a lot less venom di­rected to­ward the news­pa­per for re­port­ing the in­ci­dent would have a far more pos­i­tive im­pact on teens at New­ton High School.

Get some per­spec­tive peo­ple – lo­cal teens were in­volved in a party, to which deputies had to be sent af­ter re­ports of fight­ing among large groups of peo­ple, and at which mul­ti­ple shots were fired – and you are wor­ried about whether it makes the school or the foot­ball team look bad. Well, it does, but not nearly as bad as par­ents and school of­fi­cials look when they in­sist on keep­ing their heads buried in the sand and ig­nor­ing the re­al­i­ties around them.

Maybe some of those par­ents are us­ing out­rage to mask their own guilt in let­ting their chil­dren go to a party without know­ing what was go­ing on. Maybe some of the school of­fi­cials are us­ing their out­rage to mask their guilt for wor­ry­ing more about the school sys­tem’s rep­u­ta­tion than the safety of lo­cal teenagers.

It’s easy to blame the mes­sen­ger. It takes moral con­vic­tion and strength of char­ac­ter to deal with the mes­sage.

We know that we live in a com­mu­nity that cares about the wel­fare and safety of its chil­dren ei­ther in school or out of school, let us here from you, pro or con, let us know if you think this in­ci­dent was just one of those un­for­tu­nate oc­cur­rences or was this in­ci­dent a wake up call for all of us par­ents or grand­par­ents or just car­ing cit­i­zens to come to­gether and come up with a plan that will al­low our chil­dren to grow and play in the same type of com­mu­nity that we grew up in.

We will make the space avail­able for any and all com­ments.

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