There was sure a full agenda and a lot of discussion at the nearly three-hour long Emporia School District board meeting Wednesday night: building projects across the district; employee health insurance; the FFA Trip to Indianapolis; correcting capitalization in board policy documents; and so much more.

However, the one thing that didn’t seem to be important enough to warrant any sort of discussion, or even a comment, for that matter, was this: the safety of our students in Emporia schools.

After a widespread community outcry over the school district’s refusal to share information about the status of the football players who were involved in a hazing incident, and after The Gazette sent our news editor to the board meeting to directly ask for answers, the district apparently doesn’t feel they owe their stakeholders a thing.

If there was ever any doubt, it is now obvious who the superintendent, the board, and the administration really want to protect. Pointing the community to district privacy policies, they will say they are protecting the kids, but it appears that who they are really protecting is themselves.

Certainly there are ways to follow policies as well as answer community questions about such a serious incident that took place inside the walls of one of our schools.

The district’s refusal to share what action is being taken to assure student safety and accountability in our schools is a failure on the part of the district; and a failure to our community, students, and most importantly, the victim (or victims … depending on what rumor you’ve heard) of the hazing incident in the locker room that day.

The school district is accountable to its stakeholders. Why they don’t seem to think so is shocking.

Building projects are not the most important thing right now. Assuring parents and the community that their children will be protected inside our schools is.

Ashley Walker

The Emporia Gazette

(3) comments

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Well Ashley, looks like some people who have commented can't read. Nowhere in your editorial did I see you ask for victim names or for the district to break their privacy policy. There is plenty the board can do to explain to the public what happened including the answer to my original question which has yet to be answered, where were the coaches when all this was going on? Thanks for your report. Hopefully others will be able to read it more carefully.

Ksuemaw2

The gazette didn't give this much attention to when the previous USD 253 superintendent and the school board mutually agreed to part ways halfway through the year. Stakeholders had a right to know what happened but the story ended after a couple articles. Probably because they couldn't get as much of reaction from the public as they can over this matter. The matter that no one really knows anything about. Student confidentiality cannot be broke. The district obviously handled the matter and is trying to move on. Maybe the gazette should do the same thing.

Ricky

Miss Walker, if you can’t see why the school board is not releasing information about what happen until the police have determined exactly what has happened, and then has the opportunity to present it to the district attorney, maybe you should quit putting out these foolish Opinions. What about the victim? Maybe he doesn’t want to have his name posted on your newspaper daily.

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