Our Voice: To the parent grumblers - give Chief Jo a chance

April 21, 2013 

The term "middle school drama" has taken on a whole new meaning in Richland.

Here's three little nuggets of our wisdom on the matter:

-- School boundary changes are difficult to make.

-- Reputations, deserved or otherwise, are nearly impossible to change.

-- Reporters do not make up news.

First, let's deal with the proposed boundary changes. Kids are amazingly resilient and resourceful. They are not affected by which school they go to as they are by the attitudes they pick up from their parents about that school.

Students bloom where they're planted, and they actually can thrive just about anywhere when they come with a positive attitude.

Perhaps the biggest disservice parents from Enterprise and Carmichael middle schools can do for their children who may be transferred to a new school is to trash talk Chief Jo.

We call on the adults to be bigger than that.

If the school board goes through with the changes, your kids will be fine. Or not. That will depend on you and your children, not the district's boundary lines.

Middle school is a time of transition. You see some of the kids from elementary school when you go to middle school, but mostly it's a whole sea of new faces. The same thing happens again when you go to high school. And college. And work.

It's hard for students to learn, fit in and make new friends at an overcrowded school. Children have more opportunities when they are not stacked on top of one another.

Now for the reputation. Really? Who gets to decide which is a good school and which is a bad school? Especially when the "facts" don't pan out. Let's grow up.

Why do we reinforce negative images and stereotypes -- earned or unearned? Does it make us feel good about ourselves to put someone else down? Or do we just love bad news?

Anyone who has survived high school should have some insight into the disconnect between reputations and reality. Especially anyone who has gone back to a reunion.

We have had the insiders' privilege of reading letters to the editor this week written by students, staff and parents from Chief Jo. We're running as many as we can on Page C3 today. We are impressed by these letters. Kind of makes you wish you were a kid again just so you could go to Chief Jo.

Regarding the news coverage of this story, some readers are unhappy about the article that appeared in the Herald on April 12.

Because negatives comments were made at the meeting and then published in the paper, some parents want the newspaper to apologize.

The editorials you read on this page are filled with opinion. The stories on the news pages are just that -- news. When someone makes public comments, positive or negative, that's news.

We will acknowledge that reporters can make mistakes, all of us are guilty of that. But repeating what the public said at a school board meeting? Well, that's the job of a reporter.

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