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March 30, 2017

The Challenge of School Days

Harry M. Covert

It is almost impossible to honestly discuss the constant disturbing troubles facing students, teachers and administrators in today's school systems. This is a dramatic time of widespread care and concern.


How disheartening it must be to face physical dangers on campuses in bucolic, rustic and beautiful Thurmont, Maryland. Almost one thousand students at Catoctin High School along with teachers are the centers of attention.


The same holds true for all of the schools in the county and state.


One of their own students at CHS allegedly was planning a devastating massacre and murder of herself.


The incredible investigation by the Frederick County Sheriff's deputy uncovered the plot with assistance of the coed's family.


This event followed the vicious alleged rape two weeks ago of a 14-year-girl by two illegal immigrants, one 18 and the other 17 in Montgomery County's Rockville High School.


An attorney for the adult student attacker audaciously suggested the incident was consensual. No minor in Maryland can give consent. It's statutory rape. Period.


Back to the March 23 Catoctin High School matter. The deputy sheriff is the school resource officer and was joined by his investigator colleagues. Their determined probe was nothing short of heroic.


Sheriff Chuck Jenkins was quick to praise the investigators. He acknowledged today's youth, juveniles, this way:


"This is a different world with juveniles capable of anything. This was somewhat sensitive because this shocked the community and the school. Nothing should shock the conscious anymore. That is the real shame."


The 18-year-old CHS student has been suffering from mental and emotional issues. She was hospitalized for examination and evaluation.


She will be charged with felonies and prosecuted by the Frederick County State's Attorney: possession of explosive and incendiary material with intent to create a destructive device. The criminal penalty is a maximum of 25 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.


Sheriff Jenkins commended the student's parents for efforts that averted what could have been the biggest disaster in Frederick County. Serious business; certainly a parent's nightmare of incredible proportions everywhere.


Purposely here I'm not mentioning the student's or family name. They have already been identified. It is a family tragedy.


The issue is the challenge modern public schools face daily. Private schools face similar problems.


These incidents assuredly take away the normal joys of the school experience, the maturing days. Classes should be fun, learning exhilarating and achievement without fear.


Catoctin High School offers a wonderful experience.


No parent or educator is exempt from the worries and challenges their offspring face.


Today's schools may not be majestic, except perhaps in our hopes and minds. I wish they were. I suspect the vast majority are great and the faculties do the job of preparing their wards for matriculating to higher learning and adult lives of good parenting and good citizenship.


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