KAITE ZERR: People need to start paying attention

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Sometimes it is confounding how, despite years of discussion, weeks and months of advertising, and daily news reports on local radio, there are still people who are unaware of what is happening in their towns.

Events of recent weeks show how important it is to keep up with what is happening at city and school levels.

On Monday, Nov. 12, the Mobridge-Pollock School District administrators reported on steps they had taken in their schools to fight a blossoming bullying situation. Their plans are precise, involve students and parents and have disciplinary actions for those who refuse to adhere to the rules.

Some people in the community are reacting as if this is the first time the district has paid any attention to bullying.

That is not true at all.  The district has been addressing this issue on a yearly basis. They have been proactive in their handling of the situation. A real problem has come to light recently and more action is needed to handle the situation.

Bullying has been around for years, but we don’t live in Mayberry anymore. With the advent of so many facets of social media, a bully who never has to show his or her face has become emboldened. Threats against people and their families happen all the time. Even death threats are occurring here.

The press report from the Mobridge Police Department shows people reporting they have been threatened on a weekly basis. It is not shocking to see two or three reports of people being harassed in a threatening manner via texting or on the Internet each week.

We all had bullies in our neighborhoods or schools, but there are many differences today. Our generation took matters into our own hands and dealt with the problem in a manner of ways that didn’t involve police or lawyers.

It is very different now. Because of what is happening in our society across the nation, when someone threatens to kill another person it is taken very seriously.

We used to retort, “Yeah, I dare you to try it” to those who threatened our lives. That would never be uttered today in fear the bully might just do it.

The administrators and board of Mobridge-Pollock Schools are aware of problems and have been working to prevent these situations from happening for a number of years.

As far back as 2001, the district was addressing the issue in the schools. In the beginning these efforts were all but ignored outside of the schools.

Now with students, teachers, parents, and administrators firmly involved in dealing with the problem, it can be handled through proper methods.

But the situation points to a more serious problem of people not taking the time to be informed about situations in this community.

At the city level, an issue about front-footage fee increases brought a blistering criticism of the money spent on the railroad crossing from a speaker who owned multiple properties in the community.

Had that individual paid attention to what was really happening and not listened to rumor and coffee shop talk, she would have known most of the funding for the crossing came from grants for that specific project and not the taxpayers.

In recent events, a last minute effort to impact the decision to demolish the Mobridge Swimming Pool and replace it with a new facility did not receive the attention it was thought to deserve.

The Mobridge City Council has been dealing with the swimming pool issue for years. Committees have been formed over the past six years to study the situation and research options. It has been discussed multiple times at the council and committee meetings.

The decision to demolish the pool and move-on to a new facility was not one that was taken lightly. It was made during many years of discussions and hand-wringing on the part of city and community leaders.

Those who say it was done in a hurried and underhanded manner are just not paying attention.

– Katie Zerr –

 

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