Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bates deserves thanks, respect

    I am writing this letter in regards to the events surrounding the resignation of Paul Bates as chairman of the board of trustees of the Blaine County School District.
    First, Mr. Bates must be thanked for his years of voluntary service to the community as a school board member. As a parent of two public school-attending children, I am always grateful for the great schooling that occurs in the Blaine County School District. It seems to me that the art of raising offspring is largely a “learn as you go” affair. Parenting happens, and sometimes the immediate outcomes are wonderful, sometimes not. Regardless of initial outcomes, the long-term results of our actions as parents are impossible to measure in our children in any concrete way. We are all trying to raise quality human beings.
    Underage attendance at adult parties also happens. Did Mr. Bates condone such activity as alleged by Lonnie Barber, former superintendent of the district? The Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines “condone” as: “to pardon, forgive or overlook (an offense).” The activity was certainly overlooked, and with time it may be pardoned or forgiven, but it is a huge stretch of reason, as Mr. Barber asserts, to equate what happened with promoting such activity.
    Perhaps more to the point, what gives Mr. Barber the right to pass judgment from on high and call out Mr. Bates by name in public? That’s just plain rude. Did measurable harm result from the party incident? I have heard of none, whereas one can readily quantify the monetary damage done by Mr. Barber’s abrupt departure from employment with the district. Could this vindictive audacity of the former superintendent’s be the famous “difference of philosophy” about which we’ve heard so often and learned so little? That is the $600,000 question.
Chris Harding

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