Don’t waste teachable moment

January 20, 2013

I have never written a letter to a newspaper before, but the Wednesday editorial and the three letters to the editor concerning the Oct. 3 automobile crash in Greene County could not be ignored.

I offer my prayers to those families personally involved in the accident, and I am not sure how I would react if my son were ever involved in such an accident. However, as the father of an eighth-grade student at Margaret Bell Miller Middle School, and a person who works with a lot of kids in Greene, Washington and Fayette counties, I am very glad the article appeared in the Observer-Reporter.

If any reader who also is the parent of a school child hasn’t taken this chance to talk about the crash, its cause and the aftermath, shame on you. There are very few truly �teachable moments� we have as parents to get through to our kids. This is one of them. My wife and I did that with our son. Do your friends or kids at school ever talk about huffing? Is it something that you think is prevalent around the county? Do you really understand what �huffing� is and what it can do? These are just a few of the questions we asked. Hopefully, such a conversation happened in many homes last week.

If anything, I’m concerned that not enough has been discussed or reported on this issue. I also am concerned that the �huffing� part of the story wasn’t reported in the days following the accident. Issues such as this get pushed under the rug and forgotten if not talked about when they happen.

One of the people who wrote the critical letters said, “What does this piece hope to accomplish, besides lecturing dead teenagers?”� My hope is that it kicks a few school administrators, public officials and parents in the rump and gets the community addressing important subjects such as this. As I said earlier, very few times in our life does a truly teachable moment present itself. We have been presented such a moment. Let’s not waste it.

Walt Bumgarner



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