Beware of gossip
March 26, 2002
While we are fighting terrorism everywhere, there is an insidious and deadly part of this disease that is growing unchecked and it is directed at our children.
The plan is to discredit any individual who has a positive influence upon our youngsters. Did someone try to discredit Tom Farrell, superintendent of the Aspen School District? I am so pleased the Aspen School Board gave Tom Farrell a vote of confidence and renewed his contract.
Please allow me to explain: When President Nixon was having trouble with Watergate he sent persons representing himself to Bible study and prayer groups in this country, asking us to pray for Our Nation and to warn us about this conspiracy.
Regardless of what anyone may think about President Nixon’s credibility, we would be very foolish to ignore this warning.
Because gossip is the vehicle used to discredit a person and ruin their life, and because some individuals are afraid of retaliation (imagined or not) when they express their opinions to an official body.
I respectfully proposed the following:
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A civilian board be set up, composed of dedicated volunteers that would take an oath of confidentiality not to judge but to verify the identity of persons making complaints or giving suggestions. This information would be correlated and presented to the school board without identification as to the source of the information.
The school board would release the report to the press, thus encouraging community input. After a specified length of time the school board would issue another press release regarding how they handled these situations.
In the case of a really serious complaint, the school board should instruct the civilian board to make every effort to bring the persons involved together, perhaps to a Board of Conflict resolution, to see if they can produce a win-win solution or not.
The outcome would be reported to the school board for any action they deem necessary. The school board would also release this information to the press.