Short takes for April 11

JFK Spring Show

THUMBS UP:

We encourage anyone in and around Marshall who is not doing something Sunday to stop by Marshall High School at 3:30 p.m. and check out the Just For Kix Spring Show. The performers who will be entertaining that day have worked hard for months on their routines and deserve our acknowledgement.

Anti-bullying law

SIDEWAYS THUMBS:

Calling recent legislation passed by the Minnesota House and Senate and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton an “anti-bullying” law is somewhat misleading. Yes, its purpose is to crack down on bullying in our schools, but having a more extensive law on the books is only one step to stamping out bullying. We like parts of the bill but are concerned, not that schools don’t have local control as they do now, but that the relationship schools have with parents after an issue arises doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore. The bill requires school districts to keep track of and investigate cases of bullying and mandates that schools better train staff and teachers on how to prevent it. Fine. But the buck shouldn’t stop there. The bill should’ve also made schools responsible for opening up a dialogue with parents. The school-parent communication stream in all of our school districts should not be shut off, it should flow as freely as possible. Having a new law on the books is nice in theory, but it won’t prevent bullying – this is a battle both the schools and the parents should be fighting.

Think before you burn this spring

THUMBS DOWN:

We know the weather has started to turn with temperatures climbing into the 60s and 70s this week. And we know there is a lot of rural yard work to be done, which results in myriad things to throw in the ol’ burn pit. But before you light that match, stop. Check out the conditions around your feet. Does it seem dry? Check out the wind, too. Is it gusting? Because if it is, put the matches away. Let’s do our part this spring and summer to give our local fire departments a break by using better judgement when it comes to burning. This part of the state is already considered a “very high” risk area by the DNR in terms of fires spreading, and burning restrictions will soon be in place in central Minnesota. There’s no reason you can’t wait to burn until after a nice rain comes along to lessen the probability of your burn spreading. You might think your burn is “controlled,” but around these parts in the last few years there have been enough grass fires to teach us that we can lose control pretty quickly.

On the lookout for ‘drexters’

THUMBS UP:

A 10-day statewide Minnesota Department of Public Safety campaign kicks off today and anyone who has the bad habit of texting while behind the wheel better watch out. You know who you are – you’re a “drexter,” someone who texts while driving. It’s already illegal in Minnesota for drivers to read, compose or send texts or emails while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. This includes if you are stopped at a stop sign or traffic light. It is also illegal for anyone under 18 to use a cell phone at any time in a vehicle. Distracted driving has become a very serious issue all over the country, and we hope the state’s crackdown during the next week-plus does some good.