December 2015 Editorial Winner

Our town has never been silent

Barb Walter, The Hennessey Clipper

Hennessey isn’t what you’d call a quiet town.
We’re loud at sporting events, we honk our horns a lot, and yell across the streets at friends.
We’re also loud on the action peddle when we feel our children are being mistreated and hurt.
We speak out. Loud!
Our children speak out, too.
That’s why our last three out of four high school girls basketball coaches are in deep fecal matter right now.
The third and most recent coach could lose his teaching certification this week, just as the coach before him did. The coach before that pled guilty to two felony counts of second degree rape.
Is our town just attracting these men, or what?
That’s a question asked by many.
We’re not attracting them. We’re doing something about them when we find out who and what they are.
They are coming here because they were passed on to us by other schools who probably gave them stellar recommendations. That’s what happens in the school business, we’ve found.
Now, two basketball coaches in two consecutive years and you’ve got to think those coaches are just stupid, stupid, stupid to come here.
We believe it’s equally stupid for an Enid sports editor to think he knows anything about our community and our school board.
After 37 years of covering governing boards I’ve got to say that our school board is on the ball, though I have not always agreed with our administrators.
Board members are not withholding information unless they’ve been advised by their attorney to do so.
That’s just smart.
I know it’s my job to ask them questions, and it’s their job to tell me they have nothing to say when they know it could be costly to our school.
Hennessey is not quiet.
We’re not in the dark.
We’re not silent.
We’re loud.
We’re the ones who do what others should do.
We’re exposing those who attempt to take advantage of our children.
We’re making sure these coaches lose their ability to hurt other children by seeing that their teaching certifications are taken from them.
A new law (effective Nov. 1) now requires schools to report to the state Dept. of Education if a teacher is being dismissed (even if they resign) on grounds that would be considered criminal. Now schools can find out if teachers are listed on the state registry.
That should mean other schools will ferret out more coaches and teachers who need to go. That is if they have a school attorney and board as forceful as ours.
I suggest the Enid sports editor do something that he might know something about instead of writing about what Hennessey school board and citizens should do. Surely the guy knows something about writing sports.
We know Hennessey.
We’re proud that we have strong and loud students, parents and citizens.

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