Ashamed afterbias attack

To the editor

   I am writing to lend my support to Scott Lipich. It is a mandate that students should feel safe in schools regardless of color, creed, class or sexual orientation.
   By the same token if educators only give lip service to tolerance programs, and their actions and policies have no bite, it is exactly that — "lip service."
   The culture of schools should be of such that each student knows that there are consequences for ugly and offensive words and for uglier actions. The Board of Education needs to establish strong zero tolerance policies that will guarantee that the civil rights of students are protected.
   Students who cannot respect the civil rights of others need to be removed from the school environment.
   I do not know Scott, but as a parent of children in the school system I want to ensure that they are not preyed upon because they are too tall, or too short or too fat. Similarly, as a community we need to take a hard look at this ugly incident, and voice our outrage. We need to send a strong message to people who prey on others that they will not be tolerated in our schools and to the administrators that their duty is to protect our children.
   Equally saddening is Scott’s suspension for 10 days, twice the punishment of the perpetrators. This is like being victimized twice. If Mr. Poye is so offended by Scott’s walking out of his office, can he then take the proverbial walk in Scott’s shoes and multiply what this young man has endured for a long period? What message is he sending to the school body?
   If administrators, teachers and guidance councilors and teachers take complaints from students who are victimized seriously, then I would not be writing this letter nor would Hillsborough High School be featured on Channel 7 news.
   Let us as a community decry this incident, not because we are made uncomfortable by the media blitz, which has descended on our bucolic suburb, but because we are truly outraged, and show that we would never let incidents like this happen again. When I read about this incident on April 30th I was ashamed of my community.

June Beckford-Smith
Francis Drive