Editorial: Alert, courageous students the heroes of Boyle Middle case

June 06, 2004

The indictment of former Boyle County Middle School teacher Mark Starr has shown once again that nothing is more important in ensuring safe schools than the vigilance of the students themselves.

The importance of students being aware of their surroundings and reporting their suspicions to school authorities is usually discussed in the context of the dangers of violent incidents such as the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

But the indictment of Starr shows that students also can protect their classmates against other types of improper conduct. In that context, the two students who reported Starr's alleged activities should be seen as heroes.

If they had not noticed that a video camera in a school changing room was running and had the ingenuity and courage - remember, this was a teacher whose behavior was in question - to pull a videotape from the machine and take it home, there would have been no investigation.


As it turned out, Kentucky State Police investigators have uncovered evidence of an even more serious offense that didn't involve the two students who turned in the videotape, and authorities are still probing the hard drives of the three computers confiscated from Starr's home.

If there's any silver lining to this cloud, it is that it is a good example of how students and school authorities can work together to make schools safe.

The students acted quickly to obtain evidence of an offense they suspected was occurring, and then brought that evidence to school authorities.

Once presented with the evidence, Boyle County school officials didn't hesitate. They called in the police to investigate and removed the alleged offender from the school system.

This is the way the system is supposed to work. Over and over in recent years, we have read stories of school incidents where students and school officials were aware of a potential problem and did not act to remedy it.

In this case, the system worked because two brave students were alert to danger and school officials listened to and acted upon their concerns.

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