Sun Herald | Editorial: Openness would help clear the air at Biloxi schools

Thousands of caring parents send their children off to school on the Coast every day, hoping that they'll be met at the schoolhouse door by staff and teachers just as caring.

And when those caring people are there waiting, a bond of trust develops between parent and school that is necessary for children to flourish. But that bond is tested daily, and, if not nurtured with rapport and openness, it can quickly fray.

Such is the case at the Biloxi School District, which is under investigation by the state Department of Education after complaints by the parents of an autistic child.

Every child who walks into a public school presents a unique challenge. Some are so ill-prepared to begin school only swift intervention will save them. Some are so prepared, so willing and able to learn, that the problem is keeping them challenged and not bored.

And there is every child in between. Students who come to school hungry. Student who are abused at home. Students who are spoiled. The apathetic. The hyperactive. The creative. The analytic.

Their care and education require energy, compassion, knowledge, passion and courage.

And when the student is a child with special needs, the teachers and support personnel will need all those qualities in abundance. So we give Biloxi schools the benefit of the doubt. If mistakes were made, if there are better ways of dealing with the complex issues of autism, we are confident Biloxi will correct the mistakes and find a better way forward.

But it is up to state and local officials to keep the people informed about and engaged in the investigation.

An open and honest look at the allegations, regardless of the outcome, can only serve to strengthen the bond of trust between parent and school.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.