Rock Hill disputes must center on facts

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 2, 2006

This may sound familiar: A group of citizens is upset with officials in the Rock Hill School District and wants answers.

While this in and of itself is not surprising or even that concerning since factions within the district are constantly bickering and lobbing allegations, one concern is that residents who live in other districts are apparently getting involved in the battle.

Disputes about school officials need to be based on facts and we urge all residents to only get involved in issues when they know the whole story.

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A group of nearly 70 citizens has signed a petition asking the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education to investigate the district and its leadership, citing a host of allegations, many of which are part of three pending legal cases.

U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland has even joined in on the request.

Backers of the petition may have good intentions — to do what is right for the kids — but a few details raise some concerns.

First, many of the 69 signatures are from individuals who do not live within the district. These individuals do have a right to express their views but it seems curious that petition circulators had to go outside the district to get signatures.

Another major problem is that the petition letter sent to the DOJ and the accompanying press release sent from the Columbus attorney representing the families in the three pending cases contains a host of inaccurate information or downright non-provable allegations.

The documents recount conversations between individuals, speak for school officials and give only partial details of the issues. Many of the claims target Superintendent Lloyd Evans.

We hope the Rock Hill School District can start to come together and work as a united board. It is understandable that all sides will not agree, but disputes must be based on facts and evidence, not hearsay and unsubstantiated allegations.

We support any investigation of alleged wrongdoing but we just hope that this and any future disputes will center on provable information rather than opinions and personal agendas.

The students of Rock Hill deserve the best education possible and that is nothing that anyone should fight about.