It's been an interesting saga playing out at the Reed Springs High School. Emotions are high and the children attempted to stage a revolt. After receiving a phone call that a dozen students were asked to call their parents to be taken home while trying to stage a protest. After a couple hours of discussion with radio station correspondents Sally Kaucher and Greg Brock a decision was made not to run the story.
The demonstration started in the lunch room. 25 students gathered when someone incited the protesters to regroup by the flagpole in front of the building. The principal went outside and gave the students a choice. They were allowed to come inside without being tardy or call their parents to be taken home. Approx 15 (number uncertain) opted for a vacation day. Later in the afternoon three more kids made a protest attempt and were suspended.
I phoned one of the juveniles after the newsroom pulled the story and gave the young man a heart to heart. "What could the school have done" - the kid was stumped. "Did you talk to the principal" - no - "Did you set up a meeting with the superintendent - no - "Did you stage a protest elsewhere" - no - Many of the parents, students and concerned citizens that showed up to the last School Board meeting weren't educated as to what the rules were. In Reeds Spring, the first 10 speakers have three minutes to speak. After the first 30 minutes of the meeting the board goes into closed session. When the closed session is finished the agenda items (which are posted beforehand) are addressed. Reeds Spring follows the same procedure each time. It can and would likely be changed if citizens spoke up and addressed the issue with board members ...no one has ...that is until this week.
I tried to encourage the young man to follow the proper channels and let him know he was lucky he wasn't suspended. I also encouraged him to learn his governments rules - to participate and go through the proper channels. This was Sally Kaucher's input and well...I agree. Greg Brock told the naked truth "We have a victim society....they want to speak and then the don't participate after they've spoken" Many people go to a meeting once and raise a stink about how the rules don't fit their momentary desires. It's likely they'll only attend one meeting - to complain and never return.
With freedom comes responsibility and getting involved means more than going to a party when an orgy of press will be present. Hundreds went to the public commentatry on Wednesday but only 78 stayed for the actual meeting.
If the proper channels don't work - I'll run the story. But I want to see these high school kids give democracy the good ol' college try. I want to see them set an appointment with their administrators - if they don't respond I want to see them protest when it isn't convenient. I want to see them give their administrators a shot at listening. Hey, this is school - this isn't a democracy. We want you to learn so we can hand you can take society's reigns one day - but you need to try this the right way first.
I'd also like to see teachers have a little more leverage and a lot more support from the administrators. I empathize with Randy Turner and can only imagine the shades of blue my hiney would reveal if I disrespected a teacher or tortured the innocent. Mike was/is an extraordinary teacher and you could honor him most if you went through the system first and used your right to revolution sparingly. Educate yourselves - show some effort - come back...that was my message and promise to the young student.