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The Milton Measure

[Editorial] Spotlight Article Forces Administrative Response

by on Friday, May 13th, 2016

It seems Milton is never far from controversy. After years of attempting to dispel the dark cloud that that scandal left hanging over this school, two instances of racially-targeting letters brought Milton back into the media’s cross hairs. Our school prides itself on its diversity and its acceptance of others, yet time and time again, we have a sombre Monday morning assembly during which our community is told to “come together” and “prove the doubters wrong.” Also during these assemblies, the administration lays down promises of justice that, by no fault of their own, are often unattainable. In these situations, the administration reiterates available resources (i.e the health center, ISS, etc…) and requests that the student body relay any questions from the media to the Communications Office. But what The Boston Globe reported on May 8th, 2016 is altogether a different matter.

The Globe’s Spotlight Team reported on a wide array of stories of sexual misconduct in 67 private schools, including Milton. Past Milton scandals involving destructive teenage behavior and cowardly, anonymous racist comments were replaced with a name, former Middle School Athletic Director Glenn Edwards, and a crime, online solicitation of sex from a 14 year old boy.

Naysayers will cynically add that this issue happens in public schools too, and that the media would rather highlight the failures of the privileged; however, sexual misconduct and sexual abuse thrive in the intimate confines of a boarding school. This issue is not unique to Milton, nor do we as a board mean to suggest that some hidden evil resides within these centuries-old walls, but the fact is that sexual abuse by people of authority – teachers, faculty, and staff – is a pandemic in the private school community that has lasted over 50 years.

In a letter to parents, Mr. Bland assures that Milton has “strict protocols” for potential incidents, and notes that teachers must pass “criminal background and FBI fingerprint checks” before being hired. Mr. Ball echoed this sentiment in his morning assembly, repeatedly stating the series of “assurances” he had for the community. Both of their attempts to affirm the safety of this community, while certainly genuine, carry a banal quality to them, as if ripped from a template. To students, these promises seem to be simply formalities, thus making them feel largely obligatory.

Milton’s administration generally relies on reactionary policies, but is it reasonable for students to expect anything more? A school can put as many regulations in place as they want as preventative measures; however, a school’s administration can never completely guarantee the safety of its students. Since these policies are naturally limited due to individuals’ ultimately acting of their own volition, it is our job, as a student body, to create and maintain a safe environment for all members of the community.

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Posted by on May 13 2016. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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