The true motivation of the tragic act may never be uncovered. However since the media has indicated a possibility of racial motivation and the School Psychologist recognized a need to open a dialogue regarding `bullying,’ we may be provided a partial blueprint. Additionally, we must consider that a lack of willingness to implement consequences in effect encourages undisciplined behavior.
On the surface, it appears that CCS promotes tolerance. Substantial portions of history classes are devoted to discussing the ills of past racism as well as the torments of the holocaust.
Yet at the same time, mixed messages are delivered through the administration and BOE’s inconsistent enforcement of governing policy.
Moving on to the bullying ... Three years ago, I publicly identified `physical bullying acts’ carried out by two CCS teachers and one administrator. While one of the personnel has completely moved on, the acts continue as our students watch, are victimized, and learn. Our administration and BOE look away.
Lastly, in an effort to create the appearance of a shining school, our faculty and administration strive to manipulate normal academic policy.
Students fail classes and are rewarded with National Honor Society nominations. Others have not attained the ability to verbally communicate at an average level and are then recognized as top ten students. Some lack the skills to spell fifth grade vocabulary yet are identified with a top 25 percent senior class standing.
Essentially, there are no consequences for lack of effort.
In light of this and the fact that school is the most significant public institution connected to most teens, are we foolish enough to think that a sixteen year old would instantaneously rationalize that true consequences exist for anything? This is a sad day for Cooperstown. Families are heartbroken. A community is shaken. Questions remain - A partial blueprint or unrelated considerations?
Hope alone will not bring a brighter future. It is time that the community and legal system hold the BOE, Administration and Faculty accountable.