The Boilerplate

How often newspapers pose the important question about governmental authorities who might have done wrong based on a single citizen’s spurious and often dubious assertion. Here’s one such story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Questions arise after girl’s day out of school:

As Milwaukee Public Schools spokeswoman Roseann St. Aubin puts it, “A 12-year-old girl, it’s not appropriate that she’s out without the family knowing where she is.”

As the mother of this particular girl and MPS officials agree, the sixth-grader was out of Burroughs Middle School, 6700 N. 80th St., for a day last week without her family knowing about it.

Whose fault was that? The school’s or the girl’s?

According to St. Aubin, the girl was suspended from school April 22 for misbehaving in class. The mother said the suspension was a result of a verbal argument between the girl and another girl during a class.

St. Aubin said the girl was told of the suspension and given a letter to take home to her parents, and she was not supposed to come to school the next day. A voice mail message explaining that was left for the girl’s mother, St. Aubin said.

The mother says the girl was not told she was suspended and the mother didn’t get the letter or a voice mail.

The girl went to school the next day.

The mother said her daughter told her that shortly after she got to school, she was told by an assistant principal that she had to leave and was given a dismissal pass and a bus ticket to go home. Administrators ordered her to go out the door, the mother said. She said her daughter did not know how to take a bus home and went to Noyes Park, several blocks north of the school, where she spent the day without food or shelter.

The mother showed reporters the girl’s suspension notice, an early dismissal slip from the school with a time of 9:20 a.m. that day written on it, and a bus ticket she said was the one given her daughter. [Emphasis added.]

Good on the paper for bringing to light this story of a suspended girl who apparently told her mother she didn’t know that she was suspended. Mysteriously, the notice that she was suspended appears as evidence that the school did wrong.

As a government entity, the paper holds the school up as an example of government incompetence or malfeasance. At least until the time comes to raise taxes to give more money to those incompetents or miscreants, in which case it will become a moral imperative to support the bureaucracy against the individual tax payers.

You know, that should be only one word, tax payers. Breaking it out into two somehow seems to add a certain emphasis that is lost when it’s classified through single word usage.