Providing the very best education to our children and preparing them to lead our nation and community in the years to come needs to be a top priority of the citizens and current leaders of Newton County.
With this goal in mind, this newspaper is disappointed with the filing of a civil lawsuit by Alcovy High School Principal Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter and has a strong disdain for those that hurl criticism from the shadows of anonymity. Neither of these actions will achieve the above stated goal of educating the citizens and leaders for tomorrow.
By filing a lawsuit, Dr. Carpenter has brought further attention to both herself as well as the comments that are made, and has taken valuable time and energy away for the job of educating students. The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1995 in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission that anonymous posting has historically been important to our society and is a protected form of speech. With this ruling on the books, we would be surprised if Newton County Superior Court Judge Ken Wynne finds in favor of Dr. Carpenter, and thus compels the Newton Citizen to reveal the identity of those that are blogging behind pseudonyms.
Dr. Carpenter, as principal of Alcovy High School, has standards that have to be met and is held accountable by the superintendent and ultimately the school board, which is elected by the citizens of this community. In reviewing the filed lawsuit, the comments appear to be mostly rooted in opinion and void of fact. Fully understanding the circumstances and getting the facts before engaging in dialogue gives the speaker credibility and enables the type of dialogue that will bring about the change that will raise the level of the organization.
This newspaper strongly believes one of the critical bedrocks of a community is a forum for constructive community dialogue, and we believe those lodging criticism should have the courage to do so openly. Free speech is guaranteed to all citizens under the First Amendment of the constitution. This is a freedom and a right that sets our country apart from more oppressive regimes. Like all rights and freedoms it comes with responsibilities, and we believe people should speak with an understanding of the facts and circumstances and not just from a position of opinion.
We should all strive to gain a level of understanding as to the roots of mediocrity and try our very best to strive for excellence and greatness. There are avenues and channels that will allow for parental and stakeholder involvement and commenting; for example at each Board of Education meeting the public is invited to comment and present. Come prepared with the facts so you can understand where we are and with that knowledge be able to set a goal for future excellence.
Great leaders are never born, they are taught.