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Guest Commentary: Don’t let vandalism detract from schools’ positive message

POSTED: October 5, 2008 5:01 a.m.

The Gainesville and Hall County school districts have much to be proud of. Day in and day out, their 31,000 students and 6,000 staff members win awards, bandage scraped knees, complete assignments, ease the pain of others and accomplish incredible tasks that prepare the next generation for the 21st century.

The vast majority of these everyday routines go unnoticed. With this in mind, it seems prudent to put a handful of poor decisions this past week into perspective.

First, I apologize on behalf of the system I represent for any damage done to the physical property of Gainesville City Schools. Like a family, actions of any within our organization represent us all. I also appreciate the quick response and reciprocal nature the leadership at Gainesville City Schools has shown.

Now I would ask that you please indulge me as I move on to a more important subject. In case you missed it, countless great things happened Friday night in our community. Skillful bands and color guards performed at numerous venues; cheerleaders performed stunts that hurt my back to watch; thousands of fans attended local events, fellowshipping, cheering, and often praying together when the last whistle sounded.

Thousands traveled hundreds of miles, enjoyed meals out, spent time with family and friends before returning to their homes safely. Funds were raised for worthy causes.

Athletes and musicians showcased their abilities after months and sometimes years of preparation. Teammates encouraged each other when mistakes were made and celebrated together when plays were executed with precision. Staff members wearing the colors of their home schools exchanged well wishes and provided the necessary support to visitors as needed.

All in all, when viewed with the proper perspective, any Friday night in our community is a representation of what is the best in people.

I do not desire to minimize vandalism and disrespect for the reputation and property of others. It will be dealt with to the full extent of the law. However, my prayer is that we live out and remember the words of the old Bing Crosby song, "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and latch on to the affirmative ..."

Our young people deserve the respect and support the vast majority of them earn everyday. It is my generation's honor to support their efforts.

Will Schofield is superintendent of the Hall County school district.



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