A controversy over racially based allegations has recently visited Regional School Unit 21 (Arundel, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport).

Blame was quickly heaped on the school district for mishandling the racial intimidation issues. Demands were made for the district to immediately issue a written apology concerning the allegations and also to re-educate RSU 21’s approximately 2,500 youth.

Understandably, many board members seemed fearful of being labeled as racists and bigots or worse by their antagonists.

Since when did parents abdicate responsibility for creating and establishing their own children’s moral and ethical standards? What laws transferred that job to our schools and relieved parents of that responsibility? Might it be that some students come to school steeped in whatever biases they see, hear and learn from within their own homes? Firsthand knowledge as a former RSU 21 board member convinced me that our schools, for years, have been working very hard daily and successfully to teach tolerance and good behavior. However, they work with the kids they are given.

Don’t be so quick to blame this past student misbehavior on the schools. Kids spend six hours a day in school. Where are the other 18 hours spent and what are they learning and from whom?

An RSU-initiated independent investigation will soon be held. Once the facts come out, many in our communities who quickly climbed aboard this identity politics-driven, guilty-until-proven-innocent, racially charged bandwagon will likely be thoroughly surprised. In the meantime, please keep your minds open.

RSU 21 is one of the highest-performing school districts in Maine. Its elementary schools are consistently in the top 5 percent. The middle and high schools are not far behind.

Our educators teach our kids to define the problem, do the research, come to conclusions and from them develop any needed action plans. As adults, we all need to take a deep breath and do the same.

Jack Reetz

Arundel