Vitriol does little to further dialogue

  • Saturday, January 17, 2015 1:31pm
  • Opinion

What’s the point of lecturing children on cyber-bulling if parents cannot be bothered to extend the same courtesy to each other?

During a recent debate over a faculty-led assembly at Nikiski Middle-High School, the nasty tone of the digital debate took over what could have been a reasonable discussion over what is appropriate for the school’s sixth- through 12th-grade students to see from their role models.

The parents who complained were called “crazed,” “uptight,” “overly-sensitive,” and told to pull their children out of the school as they were lacking a sense of humor.

The complaints and fallout stemmed from the Jan. 5 revelation that the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District suspended two administrators and two teachers, with pay, as the school district investigated allegations of inappropriate behavior. The teachers have since been reinstated and the school district is refusing to release the results of the investigation — so it’s difficult to know whether any corrective action will be taking place, or if staff received sensitivity training, rebukes, congratulations on a job well done or any feedback at all for the assembly.

When the story came out, many seemed to think that in order to defend the schools and its teachers, they needed to go into attack mode — ignoring the fact that any parent whose child expresses discomfort about something they learned or saw at school, from an administrator no less, has the right to investigate.

Some seemed to believe that bashing those with dissenting opinions was the only way to validate their own.

It’s alright to disagree with the thoughts or opinions expressed by others. But that doesn’t give you the right to villify someone just because you dislike what they’re saying.

We lost the opportunity to have a community-wide discussion about an excellent school that has had a somewhat difficult year. The backbiting and infighting on line, we’re sure, were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to the vitriol that was expressed on both sides, in person.

Unfortunately, some parents said their children had been treated badly at the school after being linked to people who complained about the assembly — proving once again that children will imitate their parents and in this situation a lot of parents ignored decorum and attacked their neighbors.

Adults should model the same behavior that we’d like to see in our children.

The next time you come across a link or article you disagree with, take a deep breath and count to ten before you respond. Attempt to persuade your friends, neighbors, and Facebook followers, with logic and avoid inflaming mob-justice situations and fighting on the internet — you can’t reason someone out of an opinion that they didn’t reason themselves into.

More in Opinion

This July 16, 2019, file photo shows the Capitol Dome in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Opinion: The Respect for Marriage Act represents a balanced approach

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported a “fairness for all” approach

Deven Mitchell greets his fellow members of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s Board of Trustees at the start of his interview to be the APFC’s new executive director on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: It’s an honor to now lead Alaska’s largest renewable resource

As a lifelong Alaskan, leading APFC is my childhood dream come true

Opinion: Freedom in the classroom sets precedence for the future

We advocate for the adoption of legislation to protect students’ First Amendment rights…

A roll of “I Voted” stickers await voters on Election Day in Alaska. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the prospect of a state constitutional convention. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Election winners, losers and poor losers

Tshibaka and Palin misread Alaskans by thinking Trump’s endorsement all but guaranteed they’d win.

This 1981 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an electron micrograph of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV. Children’s hospitals in parts of the country are seeing a distressing surge in RSV, a common respiratory illness that can cause severe breathing problems for babies. Cases fell dramatically two years ago as the pandemic shut down schools, day cares and businesses. Then, with restrictions easing, the summer of 2021 brought an alarming increase in what is normally a fall and winter virus. (CDC via AP)
Alaska Voices: What Alaskans need to know about RSV

By learning more about respiratory illnesses and taking helpful actions, we can all take steps to improve the situation

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Multiplying the power of every local dollar given

Each community foundation is a public charity that focuses on supporting a geographic area by pooling donations to meet community needs

The Homer Public Library as seen on Aug. 18, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. (File photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Point of View: Banning books corrodes diversity and inclusion in our community

Recently, a community member requested that a long list of books be removed from the children’s collection

Peninsula Oilers fans display encouragin signs for Oilers’ pitcher Bryan Woo, Friday, June 28, 2019, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Judging judges — balancing the judicial selection process

Alaska’s method of selecting judges can be and should be improved.

Sarah Palin speaks at a July 11 Save America Rally featuring former President Donald Trump at Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The realities of Palin’s political demise

Palin wouldn’t be running for the seat if Rep. Don Young was still alive

Former Democratic state Rep. Beth Kerttula holds up a sign reading “Vote No Con Con,” during a recent rally at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza in Juneau. Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: What can a liberal and conservative agree on? Voting against a constitutional convention

“We disagree on many issues. But we… urge Alaskans to vote against Proposition 1.”