Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2006

Letter to the editor

February 9, 2006

To the editor:

I am one of the parents in FireTree Estates that is concerned about what has been going on in our neighborhood recently and would like to share a little bit of the information that others might not be aware of.

The "candy incident" of a couple of weeks ago merely implied that teenage boys were offering candy to grade school children for harmless fun. There was no mention of the fact that there were harassing comments made to some of the children and no mention of them stopping their car to "stare down" any of the children in their driveways playing. I spoke with Police Chief Mike McKenna regarding this incident and he compared it to being no different than a child coming to my house on Halloween asking for candy. Children that come to my door trick-or-treating have their parents' permission and most all of them had a parent with them. My children did not approach these teenage boys and ask them for candy, nor do I walk or drive around town offering candy to any children.

Shortly after this there was the "videotaping incident." When I first went to the police department I was told that this was a school project and that the student had permission from the school. I asked if this had been verified with the school and I was told "yes." Upon leaving there, I went to the administrators at Baldwin High School and was told that this was not an authorized school project. The first contact the administrators had regarding this was not with the police department. They received e-mails and the first contact face to face was with me. It wasn't until I went back to the police department that I was told the officer would be questioning the student further because I presented the contradicting stories.

It did not matter who I spoke with regarding these events, I was given the attitude that I was making a big deal out of nothing.

Now there has been another incident in FireTree involving some of the teenagers that were involved before. The Chief of Police felt that parental discipline would suffice the first time around. Obviously not. How high will these incidents escalate before they are taken seriously? There are severe patterns with some of those involved. How serious will it be taken when one of the children in FireTree is injured, abducted or, worse yet, killed by "stupid mistakes?" When do we decide not to turn our backs any longer?

Susan England

Baldwin City

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