Parents right to raise questions

Sometimes it takes parents to bring an issue to light when local school officials are quiet.

That’s what happened Monday night in the Central Cambria School District when a mother representing several concerned parents asked about allegations of sexual abuse involving a sixth-grade boy and other middle-school students.

While district leaders offered assurance that disciplinary policies were being followed, the parents said they understood the accused student was still riding a school bus and that he was serving an in-school suspension, in a room that permitted him a view of his alleged victims.

In a case like this, when district administrators provided only minimal comment, the parents were right to ask the questions and expect answers.

In any community where these kind of allegations can spread fast and wide – especially in the unfiltered age of social media – school leaders can instill confidence by being the first to publicly acknowledge what’s going on, the actions being taken or not taken and the reasons why.

With that kind of presentation, parents and others will have an understanding – rather than a bunch of questions – as to how a school district is handling a controversial issue, now in the hands of Cambria Township police who have filed charges that will be handled through juvenile court proceedings.

In another student-safety issue at Central Cambria, we question the district’s decision to accept donations that parents collected to pay an off-duty police officer on school grounds through the rest of the school year.

The district initially hired the officer in response to a written threat of a school shooting on the day before the prom. But that day, and the prom, passed without incident.

While still-worried parents came up with the idea of collecting the donations, at $2 per family, it almost seems contradictory for the district to accept the parents’ money while simultaneously claiming a safe environment for students.

This is not a bake sale.

Perhaps the better option would have been for the district to comb through its accounts and find enough money for the expense.

That’s why the parents and communities pay taxes.

-The Altoona Mirror