Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; ‘tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
Othello Act 3, Scene 3, 155-161
William Shakespeare himself could not have written, with a straight face, the drama that has played out on the Newton County stage over the last few months.
The drama began with a classic finger-pointing, who did what to whom plot, where anonymous attack after attack have been flung at a sitting school principal and a high ranking school official who are married. The accusers, hiding behind pseudonyms, caused so much headache that a suit was brought by the principal.
Here, another can of worms was opened, as the suit was brought against a local paper who refused to share the real names of the accusers; wrapping itself in the First Amendment, to keep names used by cowards hidden from the accusatory.
A court date was set to quash the request of the offended party, and a motion was filed to expose some of the names of those involved in the attacks on the offended party's character. Then a bomb of sorts was dropped when the offended ones amended the suit and named Jeff Meadors, a sitting Board of Education member.
Those who have accused the principal of wrong-doing, include a mother of children who used to attend other schools in the county (who doesn't live here) and, according to the suit, the school board member who is accused of orchestrating the whole sad affair. All of the above would make a great play that the old Bard himself would be proud of.
Tragically this play is real, and it reflects childish games by grown adults who in some cases are responsible for the education of our county's most precious resource - its children. While some may find this sporting, this type of gamesmanship hurts the possibility of future growth in our county.
On June 19, a local judge will hear the motions. We hope the judge has the wisdom to determine who the real players are in this drama, and that they are exposed to the point where they will be shamed enough to end this mockery of tragic proportions.