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When something is wrong, someone must speak out

I'd like to offer some illustration of the importance of freedom of speech in America.

My wife and I were both school teachers for over 30 years. One thing I learned over that length of time was that a school district is like a ship at sea. The unwritten rules were: Don't make waves; don't rock the boat; and don't ever question the decisions of the administration or the school board. If you see something wrong, just blink three or four times, swallow hard, keep your head down and keep your mouth shut. Do that and no matter how good you are as a teacher, your contract will be renewed next year. On the other hand, even if you are recognized as one of the brightest bulbs on campus, if you have some ideas that are not in line with the administration or the board you may be looking for another job in June. Some of the best teachers are removed from the profession because they refuse to be silenced.

Back many years ago when I was the director of the Arkansas Christian Educators Association, I had a teacher tell me she had just returned from visiting her friend in New York City during her summer break. She said they were shopping and walking down the sidewalk when they came upon a dead man lying in the middle of the sidewalk. People were walking nonchalantly around the body and doing nothing. My Arkansas teacher grabbed her friend's arm as they passed the dead man and the Arkansas teacher said, "That man is dead. Shouldn't we call 911 and attempt to give mouth to mouth until an ambulance comes or do something?" The New Yorker said, "Keep walking, keep walking. Don't look back." Later my teacher member asked her New York friend, "Why did you want me to keep walking and not look back?" The friend said, "Because in New York you don't want to get involved. If you got identified as a witness you might get called to the police station for questioning or worse subpoenaed to the court to testify as to what you saw. All of this takes time and you don't want to lose some of your vacation time do you? It's best to just not see something and then you won't have to say something."

With this kind of philosophy, it's no wonder the crime rate in the inner cities is so high. I hope this submission illustrates the need for citizens to take responsibility for standing up and reporting to the authorities anything that seems to be out of the ordinary. If we as citizens don't report corporate corruption when we see it, it will only encourage the wrongdoers to expand their illegal activities.

The final message of this letter: "If we don't have the courage to stand up, then we deserve to fall."

Jim Parsons

Bella Vista

Want to make difference?

Try a few of these ideas

One person can make a difference. Consider these ideas:

  1. Smile more often.

  2. Be kind when driving.

  3. Give up plastic.

  4. Become an informed voter and then vote.

  5. Know your neighbors.

  6. Donate to a charity.

  7. Volunteer.

  8. Really listen.

  9. Read a book.

  10. Have a quiet time.

  11. Go phoneless awhile.

  12. Write a letter.

CHARLES JANZEN

Bella Vista

Commentary on 10/16/2019

Print Headline: NWA Letters to the Editor

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