TERRE HAUTE —
Voices of reason may get drowned out in the heat of a moment, but in the long run they stand out.
Two situations involving Wabash Valley schools drew intense public attention last week. Some of the responses were understandable questions about school policies. Other reactions — especially comments posted anonymously on online message boards and through social-media sites — turned mean. Both cases needed rational discussion.
In time, these will be seen as teachable moments for the community.
One stemmed from a plan by organizers unaffiliated with Sullivan High School to conduct a “traditional” prom for heterosexual couples only, separate from the annual school-sponsored prom in the SHS gym. The alternative prom idea arose after two girls wanted to participate in the school’s annual “grand march” — the introduction of couples at the prom with friends and family gathered around. A few churches and “concerned citizens” backing the heterosexual-only prom said they opposed the inclusion of same-sex couples on a biblical basis. Sullivan High School officials said its prom would not exclude anyone.
After national news outlets mentioned the name of a church where those concerned citizens gathered for a meeting, the church got flooded with more than 3,200 emails, as well as phone calls and faxes. The minister at the church, who emphasized its neutrality on the issue, said those incoming messages included porn images and “hateful” words.
Another Sullivan pastor admirably supported the rights of the girls, and any students, to participate in the prom, saying it is “not a theological issue for the church to wrestle with. This is an issue of civil rights.” That voice of reason was needed.
An unrelated situation occurred on Feb. 8 at Dixie Bee Elementary School. A Muslim couple and their three young daughters — who are students at the school — were allowed to walk from classroom to classroom, distributing gifts and quotations from the Muslim prophet Mohammed to the teachers. The family was participating in a national event organized by Muslims called “Mohammed is a Prophet of Mercy — Sharing the Language of Peace and Love.” The family also video-recorded the gift-giving to preserve memories of their time in Terre Haute before moving back to Saudi Arabia in a year.
The access granted the family to hand out the gifts, room to room, apparently boiled down to a misunderstanding between the principal — who was away from the school at the time — and office staff members. The family’s advance request was approved after Vigo County School Corp. officials sought the opinion of a Indiana School Boards Association attorney, but the idea was for the family to leave the materials at the office. Afterward, once the family learned they were not supposed to go door to door or video-record, they were very apologetic and returned to Dixie Bee to allow the principal to erase the video.
Like the Sullivan prom, the anonymous reactions in online forums went beyond relevant questions of school access and safety policies, and instead reflected stereotypes and bigotry aimed at the family’s religious faith. As VCSC director of student services Ray Azar said, “It’s very difficult to read some of the nasty comments made. Some of the things out there are really disturbing, and I hope it will stop.” That dose of reason was needed, too.
The discourse over these issues is important. It should be respectful of others’ rights, too.
Let’s hope reason will win the day
TERRE HAUTE —
Voices of reason may get drowned out in the heat of a moment, but in the long run they stand out.
Editorial: Community support crucial for workers facing layoffs
The loss of 150 jobs impacts people — the employees themselves, their families and the community. They need the support of loved ones, friends, neighbors, churches, schools, clubs and local service groups in the search for new work and clarity amid the uncertainty.
Ronn Mott: Gaza 2014 — hatred lives on
The rockets’ red glares have turned Gaza, part of the Palestinian authority, into a battleground with Hamas, a legislative terrorist organization that has been stockpiling armaments to use against Israel for years.
EDITORIAL: Work program needs industry buy-in
Good help is hard to find. That’s essentially what Indiana companies have insisted for several years. The state struggles with a “skills gap,” the firms explain. They need employees, but can’t find enough — or in some cases, any — qualified Hoosiers. Businesses say too few applicants possess the “soft skills,” such as showing up for work on time or being able to effectively communicate with co-workers.
EDITORIAL: Vigo Jail study essential to determine strategy
It comes as encouraging news that the Vigo County Council might include in its 2015 budget significant funding for an expert and neutral study of what can be done to replace or enhance the existing county jail.
Editorial: Continuing the standard
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett has raised the profile of his federally appointed position more than any individual to hold the job in decades. From the start, he was a man on a mission, and often that mission was focused on rooting out corruption, maintaining integrity in government and pursuing those who violated the public trust.
EDITORIAL: Legal marriages should be honored
An eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.
EDITORIAL: Dysfunctional relationship with schools chief doesn’t bode well for potential Pence presidency
A window to the future may be unfolding in Indiana.
Editorial: The Bennett ‘settlement’
It takes a special kind of arrogance to flout ethics laws in the manner which former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has violated them. Even when he finally admitted his transgressions, he claimed he could have avoided the matter altogether had he just changed the department’s ethics policy before engaging in the troublesome conduct.
In essence, this was the old “mistakes were made” acknowledgment of wrongdoing. And the real mistake to which Bennett admits was apparently not changing the rules before he violated them. This is a truly Nixonian moment.
EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing
It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.
EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible
The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.
Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion
Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.
EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.
Editorial: Texting law serves safety
July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.
EDITORIAL: For kids, an immediate need
If you agree that not much is sadder — and potentially more unsettling to our society — than a child torn from his or her home, here is a way you can make a difference, one kid at a time.
Editorial: A center for the future
The Monday morning “groundbreaking” at the site of the new Vigo Schools Aquatic Center in Voorhees Park was largely ceremonial. It will still be a few weeks before work on the $9.8 million facility actually begins. But that didn’t stop the highly anticipated event from taking place, and it was clear from remarks made by a host of VIPs who took turns at the podium that this project is destined to produce great things.
EDITORIAL: A proud moment for Vigo County
Most people, regardless of their personal opinions or beliefs on the matter, will admit that they knew the day was coming when Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriages would be overturned by a federal judge. It has happened in other states that have encountered the issue.
EDITORIAL: Getting smart about fighting crime
When those “CSI” TV shows began to burst on the scene in 2000, viewers were mesmerized by the flashy scientific and technological methods police labs were using to build cases against criminals.
EDITORIAL: Forging ahead
Life in the digital world has changed drastically for many community institutions. But the Vigo County Public Library, which has navigated various minefields of change in recent years, has shown it can adapt, even improve.
EDITORIAL: More needed from Speaker
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma did what most people expected he would do in the wake of Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner’s ethics probe.
EDITORIAL: A woman in the House
The twists and turns of politics can produce unpredictable results. Just ask Bionca Gambill.
EDITORIAL: Enticing more students back to campus a worthwhile initiative
Of all of the educational initiatives paraded before Indiana residents in recent years — some ideas worthy, others flops — none seems more timely or more on point than one approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education last week.
EDITORIAL: Celebrating local success
It’s always an uplifting occasion when good things happen to good people. And so we join in the celebration of three people who this week achieved a new level of success and recognition for their professional and personal contributions to life in Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley.
EDITORIAL: Shoring up the VA
How America cares for its veterans is indicative of its values as a nation. We’re confident the vast majority of citizens agree that health care for military vets through the country’s network of VA hospitals should meet or exceed common-sense expectations.
Editorial: Playing the Nazi card
There was good news to report from the Indiana Republican Party Convention conducted last weekend in Fort Wayne. The GOP nominated three women to top its general election ballot in November. There isn’t much gender equity in Hoosier politics, so seeing these three rise to the top of the Republican ballot this year is refreshing. But perhaps the best news is that Richard Mourdock, two-term state treasurer and unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, will no longer hold public office at the end of this year.
EDITORIAL: Cleaner environment will help boost city’s image
In Terre Haute, the difference is becoming apparent between responsible stewardship of the environment and a look-the-other-way attitude about dumping harmful materials.
EDITORIAL: Ernie Pyle’s words told a personal story
Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day when Allied Forces led by the United States military invaded France on the beaches at Normandy. It was the crucial turning point of World War II against Nazi Germany. To observe this somber anniversary, we have given this page’s editorial space the past three days to the columns written by Ernie Pyle in the invasion’s aftermath. Pyle filed three columns about D-Day that were circulated widely in American newspapers beginning June 12, 1944. The first appeared Wednesday. The second appeared Thursday. This is the final column.
EDITORIAL: Ernie Pyle walked the beaches of Normandy
NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 16, 1944 — I took a walk along the historic coast of Normandy in the country of France.
It was a lovely day for strolling along the seashore. Men were sleeping on the sand, some of them sleeping forever. Men were floating in the water, but they didn’t know they were in the water, for they were dead.
EDITORIAL: Remembering D-Day — in the words of Ernie Pyle
NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 12, 1944 — Due to a last-minute alteration in the arrangements, I didn’t arrive on the beachhead until the morning after D-day, after our first wave of assault troops had hit the shore. By the time we got here the beaches had been taken and the fighting had moved a couple of miles inland. All that remained on the beach was some sniping and artillery fire, and the occasional startling blast of a mine geysering brown sand into the air. That plus a gigantic and pitiful litter of wreckage along miles of shoreline.
EDITORIAL: Rape, sexual assault demand greater attention
When the facts, figures, commentary and analysis about the devastating impact of rape in our society have been consumed, the daunting, even haunting, question is: What can we do to stop it?
Editorial: GOP takes up marriage battle — again
All eyes will focus on Indiana’s dominant political party next week as it meets to nominate candidates to statewide office for the fall election. But nominating candidates won’t be the item on the Indiana GOP convention’s agenda that garners the most attention. Rather, the public will be watching how delegates handle a proposal to reintroduce the concept of supporting the state’s same-sex marriage ban, which was deleted from the party’s platform during a previous convention.
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