Wednesday, April 20, 2005

UPDATE #3: A "violence summit" is the answer?

Blogger, syndicated columnist, and sometimes FOX News guest/guest-host Michelle Malkin is on the story in this blog post and in her syndicated column today. She shares my concern about the relatively mild actions taken against the assistant principal who discouraged the victim's father from calling 911, and she correctly ridicules the school district's latest move, which is to convene a "violence summit." Crime prevention policy isn't within the purview of this blog. But it seems to this media relations veteran that a gab-fest scheduled for some time in the future is a diversion from the more immediate issue: that school officials made "spin" a higher priority than the safety of a human being, and that at least one school official is not being held to account. The Columbus City School District still has some work to do.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

UPDATE #2: It's DISTRICT Policy?

From Saturday's Cleveland Plain Dealer comes news that the decision of a Columbus, Ohio, high school's principal and assistant principals not to call 911 may have been encouraged at the school district level. "School district policy warns that calling police might draw media attention," the AP reports in a follow-up story on the sexual assault I've blogged about previously. Without reading the actual policy, I hesitate to render a harsh judgment at this point. But as I noted below, the safety of a human being was trumped by misguided concerns about reputation. It now seems that the concerns were so strong that they may have dictated school district media policy.

When I witness a wreck on the interstate, my calling 911 might draw media attention. I'll make the call every time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

UPDATE: "An assistant principal cautioned...against calling 911...."

I feel the need to update my previous post, which was hastily composed before I dashed out of the house this morning. I put up the link and my initial reaction, but I must emphasize how wrong the school's actions were for so many reasons. First and foremost was the utter disregard for the safety of the victim. Second--and more relevant to this blog's purpose--is the completely warped belief that NOT calling 911 would somehow ward off a media swarm.

Bad things can, and do, happen in just about every conceivable setting, from schools to businesses to government offices, and in a range of public and private places. That something bad happened in this school certainly will affect people's perceptions of the school and the quality of its leaders--that is unavoidable. That this school's leaders reacted as they did speaks volumes more about the character, integrity, and trustworthiness of the adults to whom that community entrusted the care and education of its youth--and that will be far more damaging to the school's relations with the media and community than the incident itself.

"An assistant principal cautioned the girl's father against calling 911 to avoid media attention"

A sexual assault on a disabled student has school officials more concerned for their reputations than for the safety of a human being. Disgraceful.