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Herald-Mail Forums

November 12, 2007

Last week's question: Recently, in regard to a recent incident in which a 5-year-old was let off a school bus two miles from home, the Washington County school system said it could not release "specific information" about its review of what happened because it's a personnel matter. Does that satisfy you?

· No. It's a dodge - because it would take a huge chunk of the Board of Education's hubris for them to say "Hey, someone made a huge mistake, put a child's life in danger and we're taking this seriously."

· No. The people involved were the kid, the bus driver, the kid's mother and maybe a couple of "staffers" at the school. There may still be a video from the camera on the bus. Washington County Public Schools may or may not have finished their coverup - oops, I meant investigation.

Remember the high school teacher who took a gun to school? That was a personnel action and she was publicly named. How about the fourth grade teacher who gave the students the answers to the tests? he was publicly named. Or the high school teacher who molested and raped at least one student. He was publicly named - 20 years later.

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· Nothing about this whole situation has been acceptable. First question should have been "Do you have a policy to deal with a situation like this?" If no, why not? If yes, please provide a written copy.

Second question: "If you do have a policy covering this situation, was it followed?" If no, who did not follow it and what were they supposed to do?

Third: "Did the bus driver contact anyone prior to putting the child off of the bus?" If so, who was it and what direction was the bus driver given? Simple questions really. This should have been completely cleared up the next day.

Most noticeably absent from any of this has been the superintendent. It seems that she has built a ring of subordinates around her who get to deal with these matters while she takes the credit when good news comes out. Again, very disappointing. Why hasn't the reporter asked the superintendent these questions directly?

· Who's to say someone hasn't asked them and they're just being ignored - kind of like the rest of the public who'd really like to know what the deuce happened here and why!

Hopefully The Herald-Mail isn't so censored by the WCPS that these questions couldn't be asked of the superintendent. How about it, Bob Maginnis, can you check with Erin Cunnigham and see if she asked any of these questions of the super? If not, will she say why not? Thanks.

· Absolutely not. We are the ones who pay all of the salaries involved, we are the ones who have to accept the monopoly of the board of education. It is about time the school system is held accountable to the parents and general public. The bus driver should just be glad nothing bad happened to this child.

If I were caught throwing a 5-year-old kid out of my car two miles from the kid's home or throwing an animal out of my car two miles from the animal's home, I'm pretty sure that I would be arrested, charged, tried, and convicted and that the newspaper would give me more publicity than I ever wanted.

The bus driver let the kid off the bus two miles from his home and WCPS continues to stonewall. How about the county's Sheriff's Department arresting someone for child endangerment and then maybe we could learn what really happened. If the kid had been injured or killed would WCPS still claim it was a "personnel matter?"

· Absolutely not, and the newspaper allows the Teflon Superintendent to get away with it. Just like there was no coverage of the payroll fiasco last week in the paper, yet it made statewide TV news. It is time for the newspaper to get out of the BOE's pocket and investigate them as you do the other government entities in this area.

(Editor's note: The payroll problem was covered in The Herald-Mail on Saturday, Nov. 3.)

· The fact that there has been no final conclusion on this matter weeks afterwards just confirms that there is no easy, honest answer that will be shared with the public.

It's relatively simple though; if all procedures were followed, then the policy was flawed. If the policy was not followed, then the people involved did not perform adequately. This is not rocket science.

The silence from the superintendent on this contradicts her contention that the safety and security of the students is the first priority.

This is eerily similar to when the school system's security flaws were exposed by The Herald-Mail last fall. The safety and security of the staff at Commonwealth Avenue came before that of the students.

Commonwealth Avenue had security systems to monitor building entrance by outsiders long before any school did. The bus situation is just another consistent contradiction by the superintendent and her staff.




This week's question: Sunday was Veterans Day. If you are a veteran of one of the branches of the American armed forces, what was the best thing about your time in uniform?

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