September 12, 2023
Two instances have popped up on social media concerning Rutherford County students this week. The one at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy made WLOS write an article about it (click here) and the other concerning RS Central has not made news yet as the parties were told not to say anything about it to anyone by the school administrators.
Charges may be pending on the RS Central situation. We are waiting to hear on that one. The mother of the student at TJCA is very upset at how the school has handled the situation and has pulled her child out.
This is not a column to necessarily place blame on anyone but for years we have embraced a “zero tolerance” policy in Rutherford County concerning touching students or placing them in uncomfortable potentially sexual situations.
The TJCA incident seems to have involved very young students aged six (6) on the bus. According to the mother’s statements the school did not seem to believe her son or his sister who witnessed the event but dismissed the incident as “boys being boys” and that they were just “playing around”. They told the mother they would move the boys seat assignments on the bus.
Is that really settling an example for the children involved or the other children watching this? They are very young and must learn, but the lesson should be deep and meaningful. If in fact they have a zero tolerance policy then it must be enforced.
Take them off the bus for a week. Parents must bring them to school. Have counseling sessions as to why this is not tolerated. Have a “no touching” message addressed to all students. Do Not punish the “victim” for telling.
Yes, they are young children. No, law enforcement does not need to be brought into this but all the parents need to be counseled along with the children. Use this as a teaching example to all.
Now the incident at RS Central seems to be quite a bit more serious but it does seem as if school officials are leaning more towards tolerance than zero in this case. It has not been that long since the ROTC scandal happened and that too was swept under the rug. If charges are pressed it remains to be seen if DA Bell will take them seriously.
Regardless of what happens with law enforcement or the court system in these incidents the administrators of the school systems in Rutherford County need to decide what their stance is on these things and then stand by it. Our children deserve to know about accountability and responsibility not only for themselves but also for the adults that govern their lives.