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Daily News editorial

Thumbs down: Don’t be caught off guard

Late last year, a Toutle Lake High School basketball player complained to his parents about harassment from his teammates. His complaint started a chain of events that eventually wound its way from a coach suspending players and the school hiring an attorney, to questions about the thoroughness of the inquiry and angry, emotional responses at school board meetings. Although the attorney has yet to produce a final report, the school has already asked her to critique its procedures as well as dig into this case.

While the last chapter of this story is yet to be written, there are signs Toutle Lake was not well-prepared to handle these accusations decisively. At the most recent board meeting, one player’s mother asked the school board why her son was interviewed for over an hour. An employee asked whether the school followed its own policy. Neither question received a useful answer from the board, and that is troubling.

As government agencies with a responsibility for children, schools are no stranger to safety inspections, emergency plans, drills — all the nuts and bolts of preparedness. Accusations of harassment firmly belong on the list of problems schools should prepare for. All parties deserve for the school to take action that is strong, but fair. There is nothing uniquely bad about Toutle Lake High School. If its leaders respond by raising more questions than they answer, it’s likely many other local schools have an equal need to prepare for these kinds of accusations.

Thumbs down: Ideas, not geography

Carolyn Long, a longtime political-science professor at Washington State University Vancouver, is among the Democrats competing for the right to challenge 3rd Congressional District Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. Long moved from Salem to Vancouver last summer and will have lived in the 3rd District for about 16 months by the time of the November election, long enough to satisfy legal residency requirements.

But both Democrats and Republicans are counting Long’s relatively recent arrival as a strike against her. Democratic foe Dorothy Gasque said she was “essentially carpetbagging.” Herrera Beutler’s campaign referenced Long with a mention of “political opportunists from Salem.”

While Long has lived in Vancouver for less than two years, she has been teaching there for 22 years. It would be unfair to disqualify her at this early stage based solely on the notion that her Oregon background makes her unworthy.

Long has held a number of town halls. She even is visiting Longview for a campaign event today. The decision to vote for Long or any other candidate should be based on that candidate’s policy ideas, trust in that person to fight for Southwest Washington.

If we were in her position, would want to stand or fall on our beliefs, not the nature of our commute to work.

Thumbs up: Willow Grove success story

When the Port of Longview took control of Willow Grove Park from Cowlitz County in 2015, many were skeptical and with good reason. The port had never operated a park, and its mission statement did not reflect that it had any interest in operating a park. Some people felt the port was much more interested in dredge-spoils space than recreation.

The grants announced this year are the latest evidence showing those fears were unfounded. The state will provide $600,000 for an overhaul of the boat launch and $356,000 toward a perimeter trail. This is in addition to a long series of improvements to almost every aspect of Willow Grove — opening the park to horses and dogs, adding better playground and picnic equipment, and upgrading restrooms and boating facilities.

This arrangement has worked just about as well for outdoor enthusiasts as we ever could have hoped.

Thumbs up: Students in Need

The Daily News launched its annual Students in Need fundraiser just about two weeks ago, with a goal of raising $50,000. Students in Need is a fundraising effort aimed at preventing students from dropping out of Lower Columbia College.

We appreciate those who have already donated to Students in Need. If you haven’t donated yet, we hope you will.

Every dollar you give will be donated to LCC students through its Student Success Fund. TDN pays for all transaction, banking and other fees, so all the donations go toward helping someone. Students in Need is a registered 501c3 charitable entity, which means donations can qualify as tax-deductible.

Donations can be made online at TDN.com/students, or look for the mail-in form printed on the Area News cover in each day’s print edition.

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