To the Editor:
Regarding the Mount Desert Island High School student who thought it was okay to post a deadly threat in another student’s name, to gun down members of their community, apparently in order to ridicule the Parkland shooting victims and to abuse the classmate and the parents who said they think the incident showed only “extreme insensitivity, carelessness and poor judgment,” I can only say, “What is wrong with this picture and where to begin?”
I do not think expulsion is the answer. It would leave this young person isolated and perhaps resentful, which would benefit no one.
To me, this seems a case for a restorative justice process in which the offending student and the parents fully participate in order to gain a more wholesome perspective.
As part of the process, a fitting action of restoration could be decided on to acknowledge the injury to the abused and slandered student and to the school community as a whole. The process also could provide better evidence of whether the bad behavior is characteristic of the guilty student and whether it is likely to recur.
A restorative justice process puts a greater burden on the victim and on the school as a whole, as well as taking time and resources from other essential educational activities, but it could have long-lasting benefits for the entire community.