Letter: School chaperone rebuked after voicing concerns about 'grinding'

January 27, 2013 

I'm an ordinary parent with teens. In the news again today is a report about another person's ongoing sexual abuse of minors -- British television personality Jimmy Savile.

I would like to share a recent experience with a local school district. I was voluntarily serving on a committee to address "grinding" at school dances.

A staff member at a dance committee meeting commented that parent chaperones attempting to enforce the school no-grinding policy had ruined the atmosphere of the recent dance and stated that the dance floor activities would be better handled by professionals.

When I expressed concerns about this attitude I was rebuked and removed from the committee. My message was this kind of attitude voiced in front of student committee members was uncomfortably Sanduskian to me as a parent.

Parent chaperones are appropriate, and replacing parents with professionals is a red-flag to me. I appealed my removal to the superintendent and the principal and apologized for the hyperbole.

The appeal was denied as I was seen as being slanderous and a threat to the safety of the staff member. This causes me to question: Is it better to be hypervigilant for kids' safety or hypervigilant to protect adult reputations? When a concern cannot be expressed without immediate sanction, these kinds of situations will continue to occur.

SHELLY HANSEN, West Richland

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