Letters to the Editor — March 20, 2015

We must do our best for IR students


University of Oklahoma President David Boren said in a statement the two students were dismissed for creating a “hostile learning environment for others.”

What happens when you are expelled? How far will this expulsion follow those expelled? Will these expulsions block them from acceptance at any other institutions of higher learning and follow them into the employment world? Probably. Are the students within the Indian River School District prepared for the choices that they will encounter in colleges, universities and employment? I think not.

When Board of Education Member Shaun Fink can refer to students, educators, administrators or members of our communities who have other sexual orientations as an “abomination,” “their blood is upon them” and “they shall be put to death,” and nothing happens to Shaun Fink for making such horrific references.

When Board of Education Member Dr. Donald Hattier publicly objected to those illegal immigrants being “forced” into our school district, who spoke up against his demeaning of children coming to our educational care? Who advocated for the many students whose first language is Spanish in our schools and the impact of his words when they crashed into their ears?

Students in IRHS are trying to get students to end the “word.” Some agreed. Others, I was told, refused, as it was their right of free speech. The word was “retarded.” If our students do not understand the harm caused to the self-esteem of fellow students with this word, what can they possibly understand what has happened at the University of Oklahoma?

What are our children learning from our school district, our communities and our county? What will happen to our graduates who participate in a “racist chant”? What will happen to our graduates when they see others as of less value to them and they join the chorus of racism? Will they come home to cheers and an automatic job opportunity? Will they blame the victims of racist chants and words? Will they feel remorse? Will they change and become mature, tolerant and respectful of all?

Our students must have formal studies with the legal issues and the harm to others racism causes. They must be knowledgeable and sensitized to the world they are going to start their independent lives. We want the best for all our graduates. We want them to be seen in the most positive light. We want them skilled in working with all people. We do not want our students to be creating or be subjected to a hostile learning or work environment.

Lloyd Elling
Ocean View