Many self-identifying SPASH students supported letter-writer; others rail against sophomore with vulgarity in public comment forum
City Times Staff
It was the simplest of all messages.
A young reader sent the City Times an open letter outlining her concerns with fellow students allegedly smoking cigarettes and marijuana off the SPASH campus but still near the school.
In her letter, she also described what she perceived as taunting from the student-smokers. She said she was angry more wasn’t being done to prevent the problem, and that it distracted her and others from feeling comfortable in their learning environment.
The reaction to the letter was a mix of good and bad, and prompted some deep conversation in our public comment forum regarding the allegations, the duties of the SPASH police liaison officers, the law and the author herself. That’s a good thing, because that’s what our comment section is designed for.
Many readers- though not all- overlooked the bravery employed by this young lady for speaking out at all. Some publicly berated her using (ostensibly) their real identities via Facebook; some made borderline threats and others pointed out she had just placed a target on her back. But all were seemingly unaware their words were visible to their parents and other family members, school administrators and future employers.
While these posts have since been removed from our website, and those making the posts have been banned from ever again commenting on these pages due to their threatening nature or level of vulgarity, We’d like to share some of them with you because they were made publicly. At least some of these commentators need to make an apology just as publicly as they berated the letter’s author:
Syntax and grammatical errors notwithstanding, comments like these create an air of fear and an environment of bullying, and there’s no room for it in this publication, our schools or our city.
To Ms. Madeleine Burch, author of the letter in question, we applaud your courage. We don’t see nearly enough young adults stepping forward in our Open Letters section. We encourage you and every one of your classmates to submit an open letter at any time.
Someone who stands on their laurels will always be the target of small words from small people. We encourage you to work within the school district, and with your school administrators and educators, to help combat your concerns.
Never mind about those who talk behind your back- they’re behind you for a reason.