- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A full week has passed since voters went to the polls and cast their vote. As we reported last week, two new citizens will be sworn in as members of the Calvert County Board of Education: Joe Chenelly and Kelly McConkey. Chenelly will replace Bill Chambers, who decided not to run for re-election, while McConkey will replace Rose Crunkleton, the current president of the board.
Chambers and Crunkleton served well on the board. Both were seen as level-headed leaders, never causing any controversy on the board. While we will most certainly miss what Chambers and Crunkleton brought to the table, we, of course, will give the new members their opportunity to bring new ideas to the school system.
But there was talk about one particular issue by both new candidates during the campaign that received far too much attention and was seemingly discussed with every single other issue. And we know why.
Over the past several years, particularly with the widespread use of social media, a lot of attention has been brought to the issue of bullying. Itís the topic of talk shows. Reports about kids being bullied or a viral Internet video makes the news nowadays. Celebrities are coming out against it. People are talking about it happening where they work. The president has addressed it. Itís everywhere.
But bullying is one of many things that occupy the time and attention of the board of education. School systems around the country are trying to find creative ways of funding education initiatives in a lousy economy. School systems are changing from the Bush-era No Child Left Behind debacle to the Obama-devised Race to the Top Act. School success often means finding and retaining the best teachers, and in order for school systems to remain competitive, those valuable teachers need to be well compensated and have the materials to do their job effectively.
While bullying is an important issue, the board of educationís main job is inherent in its name — to provide education. While providing a safe environment to learn is important, many children are still struggling with their studies; bullying is not the only challenge students face. While the school system has taken some steps to raise awareness and deal with the issue of bullying, it should not be its primary focus. Parents need to take an active role in preventing bullying. Parents should talk to their children about what is going on at school outside of what students are being taught in the classroom, as well as what happens on their way to school and at the bus stop. Parents should monitor activity on their childrenís Facebook pages and on their cellphones. Parents whose children are victims of bullying should discuss the issue with the parents of the child who is doing the bullying. Hopefully the parents of the bully will take measures to put an end to it. The school system is not always the best avenue to solve the differences between children.
We welcome Mr. Chenelly and Mr. McConkey to the board. We hope they address all of the important issues facing educators and students, including bullying.