I beg your pardon!

To the Editor:

Like many concerned residents in Guilderland and especially those with children in the school district, I have been following the cyberbullying story, telling of how four Guilderland high school teens have been arrested.

The legal authorities have decided to deal with the students as youthful offenders, which apparently allows for closed-door negotiations and resolution.

Then, The Altamont Enterprise reported last week that the school board was shown a previously made video of a presentation by high school Principal Thomas Lutsic. The article goes on: “In the video, Lutsic faces the camera, with a backdrop of the Albany skyline behind him, and says Guilderland is the best school he has been at.” He then goes on to quote his grandmother on the importance of little things.

Superintendent Marie Wiles adds that the video was “a message the community needed.”

I beg your pardon!

After many years of the school district claiming that bullying will not be tolerated, the district is now delivering just the opposite message, namely, that students need not be concerned. Whatever their behavior, the authorities will ameliorate any significant consequences.

Gerard Houser

Editor’s note: The school district is pursuing discipline of the four students under its code of conduct; they have been suspended from school although the superintendent would not comment further on the disciplinary measures the district negotiated with the students’ lawyers after they waived their right to a superintendent’s hearing.

Separate from the school, the Guilderland Police arrested the four young men — two are 16 and two are 17 — for misdemeanors under the county’s cyberbullying law. The Guilderland town judge granted youthful offender status to the four, which is allowed under state law for a suspect who is at least 16 and less than 19.

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