Letters to the editor from this week's Chronicle:

Dear Editor, 
As a Prairie High School graduate, I am not only appalled, but I am also disgusted with the way our community is handling this situation. Prairie High School not only has staff members that greeted us every day with a smile, but more than just that, they actually cared about us. Prairie High School also has had the pleasure of having the greatest coaching staff we will probably ever see. Not only are they coaches, but these are people you know in your everyday life, people that care about you and are your friends. Yes, and finally yet Prairie High School has students that are indeed still in high school, still maturing, and yes “kids will be kids”.  I am not saying that what happened on the boy’s basketball bus was right in any way. I am sickened by the fact that another student thinks it is a joke and okay to put his genitals in another boys face. Is that what humor and entertainment is these days? The thing that really irritates me though is how judgmental our community is. Take a step back and look at the people’s names that you all are slinging around in the mud. If you think for one minute Dr. Teel Bruner, or any other coach on the staff, would EVER try to hush up a situation, which indeed is sexual harassment, then you do not know these men enough to be able to have any opinion. These men should have the upmost respect from this town. They have tried teaching the students at Prairie respect, dignity, and especially teamwork. One incident that they had no idea about should not be enough for people to forget all the good things they have done for our community. Did they not build up Prairie athletics from absolutely nothing in just a few short years? How many of you at any of those football and basketball games, where these same coaches carried those boys through win or loss, supporting them, and helping them get better to win who knows how many STATE championships? There is no “I” in “Team”, and it takes some outstanding coaches to build back the once hopeless athletic system at Prairie High School. These coaches installed hope in our community again, and for that we should be forever thankful to them.  Those boys should be ashamed of their behavior because our coaches take pride in coaching them. Most of all the people in our community should be ashamed of their immature behavior, their incorrect accusations, and most of all slinging a person’s name in the mud that had no idea what was happening. I will forever respect, take pride, and continue to support Dr. Teel Bruner, because he has given so much to a town that apparently does not care.  To any of you that do support Teel Bruner, and the coaching staff, please attend the school board meeting on March 19 to show your support to those who have supported you. 
Kendra Dinning 

To the Editor;
Although I agree with Sharon Key’s letter to a point, I think a few points are being overlooked. Any high school age students, even though not bright, knows the difference between right and wrong. This “boys will be boys” attitude is a lot of garbage, although I understand it to a point, this action was not just some prank. It was a case of extreme bullying, a practice that needs to be dealt with.
We were all outraged when this came to light, because it reflects badly on the school and the community as a whole, especially when everyone was celebrating the victory of the Girls Basketball Team at State. Then we listen to KLEW TV news and hear our dirty laundry being aired. Who’s idea was this anyway? People didn’t even know the facts, and the rumors were flying. This incident should not be allowed to go unpunished and I don’t mean just suspending the offenders, the persons being held responsible should be the chaperones. Unless they are deaf and blind, they had to know something was going on and should have stopped it. School Administrators and school board, stand tough and do what you need to do.
Claudia Gehring

To All Community Taxpayer Members and Others,
First off I would like to say as a Taxpayer, parent and community member, I am outraged by the recent turn of events. I am not upset with our school, administration, or coaches, rather the adults that have voiced their opinion with a lack of firsthand knowledge. Only the last two years have I taken a less involved role in our community. For three years I coached basketball, for approximately seven years coached wrestling,  approximately six years coached summer softball. I have volunteered in the classroom for many years, chaperoned many extracurricular activities such as: jazz choir, junior high band, mars rover, and many more high school and lower grade field trips to fish hatchery, stream study, Winchester Park, and many many more. I have questioned teachers throughout the years about my children’s behavior, rules in the classroom/school, discipline, and grades. My point is, I have taken an active role in knowing where my children go to school, what the school policies are, and how classroom and bus responsibilities are established. I have firsthand knowledge of policies and actions. I do not go by hearsay, gossip, or rumors; I am involved.
I will let all know that our school is a fantastic place for our children to learn and feel important by staff/administrators, and coaches. The incident that took place was a bad choice/mistake made by teenage students. These are teenagers who in their own home, do not need a 24/7 babysitter. All people expect proper/appropriate behavior because at this age they know what is expected; why, because they all have student handbooks and have been told. If so many community members knew of prior rumors or similar acts, why is it that concerned community members didn’t involve themselves earlier? Why didn’t patrons go to their administrators and ask how to help improve policies or monitoring? Why didn’t they voice their opinion in the past in a more productive, positive manner? Instead, many have now chosen to voice concerns in a very public, negative way.  If members of the community expect teachers and coaches to watch personal behavior every second, then that’s all they will get paid for, because they will not have time to educate or conference with other coaches about strategies, techniques, etc.
If you are so concerned, maybe more parents and community members should volunteer their time to monitor personal behaviors of students. Chaperone the busses, chaperone the field trips, and volunteer your time in the classroom. I would also like to say, as a taxpayer, I do not believe you have the right to stand up and be judge and jury. If you, as an active parent that is well involved in our school, have concerns, then by all means voice them to the teachers, principals, or superintendent. I do not believe it to be newsworthy or “public appropriate.” Many incidents, especially with minor children, should be kept PRIVATE and confidential. You, as a taxpayer, parent, or community member do not have the right to dictate how my children are disciplined and their consequences. Nor should you think it is okay to parade young children/minors in the public eye. The only people who should ever be involved are the children in question, their parents, and any needed authority figures. There are many incidents with other children and ADULTS in this community, I may add, that I do not feel appropriate consequences have been made. But, I do not go to their home and reprimand them about disciplines or consequences. Why, because it really is not my personal business unless it directly reflects on my children or family.
Communities as a whole will never agree 100% on actions taken but we must trust that our school board and administrators took the best plan of action. Whether you are 6, 16 or 36, you will, at times, make bad choices; this is a fact of human nature.  There are no fingers to point, no one to blame besides the child. Things just happen. If you think there is a lack of supervision, then volunteer your time. Just because kids are in school or have extracurricular activities does not mean your role as a parent stops or is on-hold until 3 o’clock or later after practice or games. Community members with no children in our school district have the same choice to make. To have a knowledge-based voice, volunteer your time and see how things truly are. Let a lesson be learned and put this to rest before more damage is done.
Jennifer Heitman
Taxpayer, Parent, and Supportive Community Member

Dear Editor Cottonwood Chronicle;
I want to commend Mckenzie Candalot for her courage to bring the light of day to a sensitive subject, school bullying, that is prevalent in schools in America today, even here in Idaho County.  It is occurring far more often than you would imagine.  Yet next to nothing is being done. Bullying is paid platitudes and a few words at an assembly and a poster on the wall here and there, but, nothing substantial is being done.  I heard about the incident that Mckenzie mentioned.  I don’t claim to know all the details of this event, but even the bits and pieces that I heard sent chills down my spine.  I have personally seen the effects of what a similar situation has done to a student victim.
Bullying is deplorable and illegal.  Yes, bullying, hazing, and battery are criminal acts (Idaho Code sections 18-917, 18-917a, 18-903). These acts are being committed by students victimizing other students.  It is happening in schools within close proximity of the adults that are charged with protecting them. Deny it if you choose, but it is.  School districts have shown little or no interest in prosecuting or punishing the offenders for a variety of reasons.  Ignoring the issue, or school district funding, administrator’s egos, protecting employees children, denial or rationalizations are all excuses used to fail to appropriately deal with the situation.  The excuses are all lame and reprehensible. I know firsthand, my child was a victim of school bullying.   The school, Grangeville High School, completely failed my child.  They failed to follow their own policies even when confronted with admissions from the bullies and a founded investigation by law enforcement.  I complained to the principal, the school superintendent, and the school board.  They were absolutely useless and refused to even follow their own written policies.  I wrote the state superintendent of public instruction’s office and the governors’ office.   Both told me to sue the school district, that due to how school districts are set up they had no authority to intervene to insure that the school district followed their own policies.  My point is parents protect your children. Don’t assume anything and get involved.  Make a determined effort to know what is going on with your child and their friends. Don’t guess and don’t assume. Bullying and Hazing is not “kid’s being kids”, its not “OK”, its not “having a bad day,” it is criminal victimization and it is WRONG. Having been through this myself as a parent, I recommend, if an incident occurs report it, call the police, insist a report is taken and demand prosecution.  Demand the school district follow its policy, know what the policy is, and hold them accountable.  If you don’t take immediate affirmative action on your child’s behalf you are telling your child that their victimization does not matter.  You are telling them that you tacitly approve of them being in fear, or being hurt or being emotionally scarred by a classmate.  If you don’t deal with it your child is labeled as an easy victim and they will likely be bullied again.  If it has happened to your child it has likely happened to others, numerous others, by the same bully or the bully’s friends.  You are either part of the problem or part of the solution, you choose, your child’s safety and emotional well being are hanging in the balance.
Rick Thanstrom

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


Classified Ads

503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
or cotchron@qwestoffice.net
Fax 208-962-7131
Template Design by: