Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Confused and concerned

As as mandated reporter (one of the joys of being a mental health chick), I've followed Darrell Moore's apparent vendetta against people he feels should have made a call pretty closely. Neither he nor the Christian County prosecutor's office have made charges stick against the three women they've prosecuted.

Most recently, the Rountree Elementary School's principal was sent to trial for failure to report child abuse after some children, who'd just participated in a "good touch bad touch" lesson, reported that their gym teacher had touch them inappropriately. Instead of hotlining, the principal apparently followed the public school's policy regarding such allegations. The school system did not discipline her, however Moore's hench-people did.

In the end, though, the principal was found not guilty. And once again the mandated reported law is being scrutinized as arcane and ambiguous.

The gym teacher in question was placed on administrative leave, and the prosecutor's office filed charges (9 counts) against him.

I assumed that if they would go so far as to put not only the teacher but also the principal through the horrors of public trials and humiliation, something very serious must have happened. If so many children were inappropriately touched, molested or abused, it would be right for the criminal justice system take this case and prosecute it to the fullest extent.

Yesterday, though, the Greene County Prosecutor dropped the charges against the gym teacher. They've told him he has to see a professional counselor for an evaluation, and follow any recommendations made, and that's it. They claim the parents of the children involved are "fine" with this decision, and wanted to protect their kids from having to testify in court.

These weren't little bitty kids--they were upper elementary age and clearly able to talk about what they allege happened.

Here's my confusion: If, as a parent, I thought my child had been molested by a teacher I would insist that he be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I would not back down because my child had to appear in court. I would be furious if charges were dropped. I would do anything in my power to see that the perpetrator was punished.

It would seem, then, that there must be no evidence to support the claims, or that the kids recanted, or some significant information appeared that exonerated the teacher. Why else would they drop charges? I just don't buy it that the only reason was that the kids didn't want to testify. I've helped kids much younger than these get ready for court. I've testified in cases where all kinds of supports were put in place to lessen the stress of a court appearance for young children, and even for teenagers. Why are these kids different?

What is really going on here? It just doesn't make sense. At all. Why would they so vigorously prosecute the principal for not calling the child abuse hotline, but drop charges on the man they claim abused the children?

These priorities just don't jive for me.

Lives were changed, careers were ruined, parents had to deal with the possibility that their kids were put at risk in their own school, children were put through rehashing the stories repeatedly, and for what?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Busted

I've been busted for Misdemeanor Boredom. Outed as Boring. Accused of dullness worthy of zzzzz's. Just check the comments at Chatter for the sad truth.

Gee. I kinda hate that. I mean, I only bore myself some of the time. I suppose I bore the Young One most of the time. I hate to think how often I bore the Other Half. Thankfully, he's too nice to tell me. When their eyes glaze over, or when Anderson Cooper is more intriguing than my stories of meth babies and trailers with holes in the floor, I typically know to stop--mid-sentence sometimes, and curiously enough, sometimes they don't even notice.

I should be grateful to the anonymous comment-maker at Chatter. Maybe I'll write less, or spend less time belaboring each word I type for this blog. I'll be more cognizant of how long I yammer on, and pay more attention to how much detail I spew for folks who really don't care about poverty, or kids, or mental health issues. When I teach classes or speak to groups, I'll work to keep folks focused.

At least for a while. Admittedly, the sting of being called boring will wear off, and then I may go back to old habits.

At least we've all got options. That's the beauty of free will--you can change a channel, turn a page, click a "next blog" button, push the forward arrow on the ipod, jump to the next chapter on your DVD, the options are endless.

This channel-changing freedom may be one of the last vestiges of personal control we've got left. Before you know it, we'll have telescreens on our walls, a la Orwell's 1984 so the Thought Police can make certain we're participating in the 2 Minute Hate, or pretending to pay attention to the boring stuff.

Ouch.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match...

Props to Fat Jack for his link to the Select a Candidate Quiz. My top three included John Edwards, who curiously was a very close second to Christopher Dodd. Hmmm.

At this point Edwards has got himself an uphill battle, but it isn't a total impossibility (I keep telling myself that); Dodd's basically (as John Wilson once told me when I was discussing a run for City Council) got a "snowball's chance in hell." Same for Dennis Kucinich, a close third on my quiz results, who in spite of his seriously gorgeous wife, has an even worse chance.

According to the quiz, ol' John-boy and I disagree on the Death Penalty and Line Item Veto. But he's got the right ideas -- and the best solutions -- about poverty and the direction we're going as a nation. So my pitiful little $10 donations will continue to go to his campaign for now.

Take the quiz and 'fess up, inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Such a deal

With a $2.00 rebate through City Utilities and the sale price ($2.99) at Weslake Hardware on South Campbell in Springfield, CU customers pay 99 cents for GE Compact Florescent Bulbs. CFLs are typically more than $5 for an individual bulb, so this is an incredible deal. Other utility companies probably offer a similar rebate, so if you're not in Springfield you still may be able to get this deal.

Switching to CFLs is an easy way to save money and lessen your impact on the environment. What are you waiting for?