The Banks County News
May 17, 2000
The door is open
or the door is shut
Few sights are more distressing to some
public officials than the citizen (or newspaper reporter) who
comes into a public meeting, takes out a pad and pencil and takes
notes-particularly notes about "controversial" matters.
If the discussion gets particularly hot and heavy, the chairman
may exercise a great deal of ingenuity and stop the discussion.
Something else that may happen at a meeting is that a public
official will say something is "off the record" and
look at the reporter. These officials need to remember that they
can't turn information off and on during a public meeting.
Boards also may decide to go into what officials refer to as
an "executive session." What this means is that the
public officials will go behind closed doors to discuss business
that impacts all citizens. State laws are tougher now, with fines
in place for those who violate the requirements that only specific
personnel, legal and real estate matters be discussed in these
Another thing that occasionally pops up at public meetings is
a suggestion from a member of the board to hold a "work
session" or "committee meeting" later on a hot
topic. If a majority of the elected officials are present, these
work sessions and committee meetings must still be open to the
There's no doubt about it: Newspapers cause problems for public
officials. It's been that way ever since the English newspaper
publisher, John Wilkes, in 1771 won his battle for the right
for printers to carry full proceedings of the House of Commons.
It was cantankerous printers in the Colonies, such as Benjamin
Harris and James Franklin, who went ahead and printed the truth,
insisting that they had a right to do this without "clearing"
it with government censors. Indeed, the American Revolution was
largely brought about by talented and outspoken printers and
Some politicians seem to wonder where citizens get the idea that
they have the right to attend a public meeting. It comes straight
from the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees
a free press. In many states, including Georgia, the right also
comes from the open meeting and open record laws.
The Banks County News
May 17, 2000
says rules are necessary in school
I would like to respond to a column published during the week
of May 8-12. I am a teacher at Banks County High School, and
a parent of children in our school system. I must say that I
was less than impressed with the careless article mentioned above.
Perhaps, I am just confused about who the actual "we"
mentioned in the article is supposed to be. It is my understanding
that there is currently only one society in our world, of which
all of us, as humans, are members. I do not understand the two
societies mentioned in Mr. Fouche's article.
In addition, I understand that our Constitution protects the
right to freedom of speech and of the press, along with other
rights. Personally, I feel that each individual is entitled to
his/her own personal opinion. In my classroom, I encourage students
to think for themselves. I also encourage them to express their
opinions at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.
However, I must say I have definite problems with the opinions
expressed in the column mentioned above. The idea of comparing
something as inconsequential as a dress code to Nazi Germany
is appalling to me. I would think, and after an in-depth study
of World War II students in my class would probably agree, that
the atrocities suffered by the oppressed victims of Nazi Germany
outweigh by far the enforcement of rules in schools.
First and foremost is the issue of respect for authority. Contrary
to popular opinion, the school board and administrators do have
the authority to set certain guidelines or rules to be observed
by students, as well as faculty and staff. This is similar to
the idea of congressmen, senators and the president making laws
to keep our society safe and organized. While not every person
agrees with each and every one of these laws, one must obey these
laws until they are changed-using the proper procedure. After
all, in the democracy in which we live, the American people do
have a voice and a right to choose. If someone chooses not to
obey one of these laws just because he/she does not agree with
it, then he/she must expect to suffer the consequences of his/her
actions and take responsibility for those actions. After all,
without laws, our society would be anarchy; full of chaos and
disorder. Society would cease being a functional and progressive
In the same way, schools must enforce certain rules in order
for the main function - education - to commence. These rules
must include some guidelines concerning student and faculty dress.
Students have enough distractions in their hectic lives; dress
should not be an issue. For example, a beautiful female student
who decides to come to school topless would be a bit much for
any other student to ignore. I imagine even Mr. Fouche would
be a bit distracted. At any rate, the learning process would
be interrupted, leading to a misfunction of classes and school.
Again, someone has to be in charge - someone has to set the guidelines.
In our society, this means the school board and administration.
It is my understanding that at least in the Banks County school
system input from parents and students is welcomed and considered
by those in authority before decisions concernig dress are made.
Integrity is defined by Webster's as "honor; adherance to
a code of ethics or morals; soundness." Perhaps it would
behoove the "we" referred to by Mr. Fouche to look
again at the ideas of honor and integrity. The idea that a dress
code, or any other rule for that matter, is intended to stifle
the individuality of students is extremely uninformed and predictably
immature. As a teenager, my mother complained about the dress
code at her high school because the female students were not
allowed to wear pants. As a teenager, I complained about my high
school's dress code because students were not allowed to wear
shorts. Today, in the most unrestricted situation in the history
of our society, teenagers complain because there is a dress code
Rules for student safety and the sake of education are necessary.
Without them, "we" could be headed to a lawless and
chaotic society begun by people who, according to Mr.Fouche,
are trying to "...show them that you don't always know what
Sincerely, Cara Bray
Language Arts Department, Banks County High School
The Banks County News
May 17, 2000
My only son will soon be leaving home
I have tried to write this column several
times today. I write a few lines and decide not to use them.
So I start over. It's a difficult column to write. You see, like
many other parents, I have a child who is graduating this week.
Actually, I have two.
Aly is graduating from kindergarten and although it is a milestone
in her life and I am very proud of her, her brother is graduating
from high school the same day. As I reflect on the past 18 years,
memories flood from my mind and heart, and inevitably the tears
begin to flow.
Jason is my only son and although he now stands 6'6" tall,
he will always be my "little boy." I have often heard
that daddies have a special bond with their little girls. I believe
moms have the same special bond with their sons. My relationship
with Jason is, and always will be, something I cherish and am
His life has taken me to places I never dreamed of. From Little
League baseball and traveling all over the northeastern United
States and Canada for hockey to being baptized at Galilee Christian
Church and graduating at the top of his class, Jason has always
made me proud to be his mother. I can only hope I have made him
as proud to be my son.
As with any parent/child relationship, we've had our share of
conflicts during those 18 years, but that's not what I remember
when I think of Jason. The good times, which have been much more
numerous and so much more important, are what I remember when
I see the confident young man he is today. He makes me laugh
and fills me with such admiration for the person he has become.
He set high goals for himself and worked hard to achieve those
Now it's time to set new goals, to look to the future. In Jason's
case, those goals include going to Georgia Tech and moving away
from home. In my case, those goals include letting go of my little
boy and getting through graduation without crying uncontrollably.
I know I am not the only parent who thinks their son or daughter
is special. Just look around. You can see it in the eyes and
hear it in the voice of every parent who will proudly sit at
commencement exercises this week and in weeks to come. You can
see the pride and happiness on each face mingled with just a
tinge of sadness that this chapter is coming to a close.
As our "children" graduate from high school and go
on to college or begin new careers, we can only pray that we
have prepared them emotionally, intellectually and spiritually
for what life will bring their way. They are strong enough to
endure and humble enough to remember where that strength comes
To the parents of the graduating Class of 2000, I offer my congratulations.
The road may not have always been easy, but the final destination
was worth the effort and is certainly something to be proud of.
To the graduates of the Class of 2000, I offer my hope that each
of you fulfills your dreams for the future, that you are successful
in your endeavors, faithful to your beliefs and, most of all,
happy with the life you choose.
And to my son, I offer my heartfelt prayer that God will continue
to guide you and bless your life as you begin this new chapter
and reach for new goals. I love you, Jason.
Mary Ann Robinson is a columnist for
The Banks County News
May 17, 2000
Mobile support group appreciates
The Banks County Mobile Support Group would like to take this
opportunity to thank each and every one that has helped us with
the first two official fund-raising events: the Easter basket
giveaway, and the hot dog supper and cake walk.
Fun and fellowship was had by all at the cake walk and hot dog
supper that was held at the Grady Fire Station #410 on April
29. We wish to thank you for every cake, pie, fruit basket, and
the other thinks that were donated for the walk.
A special thank you goes out to all of the local businesses for
their donations. Thanks to everyone that came out and supported
our cause that night. Without you, we wouldn't have had a successful
Please continue to give us the support that we need, as we try
to support our firefighters on the scene. For those who don't
know about our group, we are called to help with replenishing
water, Gatorade, etc. for the firefighters who have an unfortunate
call to a structure fire or any call that they are at for a long
period of time.
For more information about our group, please call the Fire Administration
Office at 677-1812.
Again, thank you for your continued support.
Sincerely, Anita Bonds
Vice President and Publicity Coordinator