Tests must be focus for right now

Published 4:33 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Every coin has two faces and every story has two sides.

Students and supporters of Robert Lewis Middle School Interim Principal Larry Hooper have made their story known.

They believe Hooper was unfairly suspended for three days after allegedly passing along a word of encouragement to students during an earlier state writing test. Others close to the school have said privately Hooper may have interfered with the tests, a big “no-no” for state testing officials.

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But for Superintendent Anthony Morris bearing his side of the coin isn’t that easy. Thick books of policy and law must guide Morris’ public comments, or lack thereof. Releasing personnel information about an employee could open the door for a lawsuit against the school district, which could hurt the children of the school further.

So, for now, the public is left with only one side of the story.

One side shouldn’t be enough information to fuel the protests, accusations and angry opinions we’ve seen so far.

RLMS students have 15 more class days before the biggest test of the year. These young people need calm brains, level emotions and friendly surroundings if they are going to perform well on the Mississippi Curriculum Test.

The problems at RLMS need attention, but years of problems cannot be solved in 15 days.

As the folks in attendance at Monday night’s community meeting said, for now, everyone must focus his or her attention on the tests. Test results will guide the school for years to come. Allowing our students to put their best foot forward on something so vital to their future is simply too important to fight over. The issues over Hooper and his suspension can be resolved when the pencils are put away and the tests are completed.

Continuing the chaos helps nothing and only stands to create more harm and confusion in the already developing young minds at the school.