Sometimes silence is not golden

Published 5:54pm Saturday, January 11, 2014

I can distinctly remember some of the best lectures in my life. Those moments when you get chewed out seem to leave a lasting impression on your life. I know they did mine.

There was the moment when I came home after curfew — again — and found the contents of my bedroom thrown into the front yard. That also happened to be the last time I came home past curfew.

There was the moment when I failed to do what I was supposed to do during one grading period in my senior English course. My parents were very strong in their opinion of my study habits once the grades came out. That then kicked off three straight grading periods of top scores.

I could go on at length at the many times during Marine Corps recruit training that my decision-making abilities were seriously questioned. To this day I can still hear Drill Instructor Sgt. Gomez’s voice if I am quiet long enough.

But, through all of those “learning experiences,” never did I get in trouble more than when I said nothing when asked, the moments where I was asked why I did or did not do something, those moments where I was asked to explain myself.

In many ways, not only was my silence a defacto confession of guilt, it was also a sign of disrespect. It showed that my parents, my teacher, my Drill Instructor, or my girlfriend, didn’t warrant a response. They weren’t worthy of such was the take away someone could have taken from my silence.

That’s the same feeling I get when I see elected leaders — or people in positions of authority — say no comment, or simply don’t return the call, message, email or text message.

I, more than anyone, understands someone who is busy, but being ignored is something that is hard to understand and even harder to accept.

Imagine how the parents of the Selma City School System must feel.

For months they have asked questions, demanded responses of their superintendent of education and some school board members only to hear nothing.

They ask these members and people of authority to defend their decisions, only to hear nothing.

At some level, I can understand a school board member telling me — or one of our reporters — no comment, because they might feel contempt for us, the things we have written or the positions we have taken. But, to not respond to a member of the community, a constituent, a parent is a new low. That’s something no one can accept, nor should then.

The news surrounding our school system, the Selma City School System, is anything but good these days. Instead of talking about the success of students or the exciting work of our teachers, we instead are hearing stories of state takeovers and sex scandals.

These school board members and other school leaders might have a good reason to remain quiet, but to simply ignore the public, the media and the parents is simply inexcusable.

Remember, we all learned early on, it’s the times when you don’t say anything all that you often times get in the most trouble.

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