Parents want district to be fair, offer justice

Average citizens can feel powerless when they go up against “the system.” What they need are some essential elements to make their voices heard. These are: fortitude, allies, organization, a valid argument and a willingness to step into the public spotlight. We believe a group of parents at Blue Earth Area Schools has emerged to rightly challenge the powers that be and help foster a dialogue for change.

This group has submitted a letter to the school board, seeking a deeper understanding of, investigation into and remedies for bullying within Blue Earth Area Schools. The 30 or so parents and students want to have their say, see their concerns addressed and assist with long-term solutions.

The district has established a task force to take on the issue of bullying, with school board chairman Frankie Bly saying parents’ concerns are being taken seriously.

One understandable but terribly unfortunate factor in Blue Earth Area’s situation is that of data privacy, which limits what school officials can say about specific incidences of bullying, because violations of student privacy can result in lawsuits. Likewise, questions about what staff knew — and when they knew it — are handled internally, so the public is left out of the loop. All the secrecy, to avoid litigation or for other reasons, adds to the perception problems Blue Earth Area is facing.

None of this, however, prevents elected officials (school board members) from doing all that is necessary and proper to investigate events and decisions within the schools, and to subsequently require change, or even to terminate staff, should it be warranted. The school board represents the public, and the public wants fairness and justice. The school board has to deliver on this, even if it cannot make public all the details of its decisions.