Our editorial pages will be dominated by election recommendations for another week, but we’re starting to think about other topics.
The principal at South Albany High School in Oregon has launched a crusade against profanity, attracting a flurry of media attention. Most schools have similar prohibitions. Kennewick High School’s rules of conduct, for example, includes this clause: “Lewd Conduct: A student shall not use or exhibit obscene or vulgar language, in writing, pictures, signs, or acts.” South Albany High is making news because its ban on cursing is actually enforced. We’ve visited enough schools to know that’s not the norm. We doubt one school can stop the decline of civility in America, but it’s nice to see someone trying.
Another idea from Oregon that’s worth a look — Multnomah County is experimenting with GPS systems to track gang members. The tracking bracelets are put on youths who are under the criminal justice system’s jurisdiction. The program raises some legitimate concerns about civil rights, but with the proper safeguards the ability to track the movements of known criminals ought to be a deterrent to crime.
Kennewick City Councilman Bob Parks wants the city to stop illegal aliens from obtaining Washington state drivers licenses. He’s entitled to his opinion, but not to the use of tax dollars to promote his cause. Ample arguments exist on both sides, and it’s clearly a topic worthy of debate. Just as clearly, Kennewick shouldn’t be spending tax money on a lobbyist to promote any side of this issue. Kennewick’s lobbyist needs to concentrate on issue with direct, local benefits. Rare tours of Rattlesnake Mountain were postponed at the last minute under pressure from Mid-Columbia Indian tribes. The issue may eventually end up in court or spur some changes in federal law, It would be better to find middle road instead — one that respects tribal culture and tradition while allowing others to visit the mountain’s summit. The tribes and federal officials would first have to agree a compromise is in everyone’s best interest. But if both sides are willing to negotiate in good faith, there’s nothing to prevent an arrangement that satisfies everyone’s needs.
Pasco School District officials are investigating why a 4-year-old boy was accidentally left asleep on an empty bus instead of being dropped off at home. This particular act of negligence happens with alarming frequency in the Mid-Columbia. It has to stop before some child gets hurt. We don’t usually prescribe precise remedies, since no matter what the issue, the people closest to the problem are most likely to produce the best answers. But the answer here is obvious — drivers can’t leave their buses until a thorough search for any tiny stragglers. School must invent a foolproof protocol that ensure it happens.