Letter: Factors That Kenyon Ignored
To the Editor:
Even when I agree with Jim Kenyon’s perspective, his writing makes me uneasy. I tell myself he’s just doing his job sparking debate and conversation about controversial issues, but “In Loco Police” (Sept. 29) reminded me that Kenyon too often uses his column to pursue a personal agenda at all costs, pursuing one-sided and overly simplistic arguments and ultimately undermining the work of people who do their job in accordance with standards and laws they spend far more time understanding and upholding than Kenyon bothers to represent.
In his rant against Hanover High’s handling of the recent behavior of members of its football team, Kenyon neglected to explore school districts’ legal requirements pertaining to bullying and harassment. Extensive laws guide administrators in conducting in-house investigations. To my knowledge, these laws do not require or even suggest that parents be present. Additionally, in New Hampshire, decisions about which offenses will be handled only at the school and which must be brought to the attention of law enforcement are governed in part by an agreement — a state-mandated collaboration — between the school district and local authorities.
Kenyon also completely disregarded the time and effort educators are likely spending to support the students involved. As an educator, I would be willing to bet Hanover faculty and administration are less eager to “cover their own you know what” than they are to support students and help them learn. Most educators know kids are not perfect, and that mistakes and failures are important teaching moments. I imagine this is what Hanover High Principal Justin Campbell was referring to when he indicated that the Hanover “community, school and football team most of all (are) working hard to learn from the incident.”
Jim Kenyon, the Valley News has given you the right to publish, but you too often fall short of the responsibility that comes with that right. You say you wish you could share Campbell’s optimism. I believe you could both share it and promote it if you would use your column to build things up instead of consistently tearing them down.