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Buses, rulings and lunch visits

2013-08-30T00:00:00Z Buses, rulings and lunch visitsIR Editorial Helena Independent Record
August 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

People around the state and the country are shocked by a ruling this week from Yellowstone County District Court Judge G. Tom Baugh.

On Monday, Baugh sentenced former Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold to 30 days in jail after Rambold had plead guilty to raping one of his 14-year-old students. Baugh explained the sentencing in part by saying the victim was “older than her chronological age” and had some control over her relationship with Rambold.

That explanation and further excuses Baugh has offered have failed to satisfy many of those who are calling for him to resign.

The ruling is certainly mild for such a heinous act by a teacher trusted with the education and care of students in Billings. Frankly, the logic Baugh has offered doesn’t resonate with us either. It’s far too light of sentence for the crime Rambold admitted to.

Thumbs up to Gov. Steve Bullock for the back to school tour he’s currently undertaking. Bullock is traveling to schools around the state to visit with students and teachers. On Wednesday, he was at C.R. Anderson Middle School in Helena and on Thursday he visited schools in Great Falls and Poplar.

Though it would be easy to pass this tour off as just a chance for good press, it’s not hard to see from the photos in Thursday’s IR that Bullock is enjoying himself.

A chance to meet the governor and have lunch with him is a chance of a lifetime for many kids, even in a state like Montana where the governor seems more like a regular citizen than a high-powered politician. The kids he visits on this tour will remember the experience the rest of their lives. Who knows, it could be the trigger for some of them to dream of being governor themselves some day.

Also this week, Helena and Montana welcomed a special guest to share her experience with historic preservation in Havana, Cuba, and to learn about our similar efforts here.

Magda Resik Aguirre’s visit was sponsored by the University of Montana’s Global Leadership Initiative, Carroll College, the Montana Historical Society and Artemis Common Ground. She is the director of communication for Havana’s city historian.

Havana roots go all the way back to the early 16th Century and the historic preservation and restoration efforts there employ about 10,000 people.

Some of what Resik shared with Helenans was the philosophy of Eusebio Leal, Havana’s historian, of restoration work that not only honors the past but serves current residents.

“My boss feels that if historic preservation doesn’t take care of the original inhabitants, it loses its meaning for being,” Resik told IR reporter Marga Lincoln.

As buildings and neighborhoods age in Helena and other parts of Montana, that’s a message worth remembering.

Wednesday was the first day of school in Helena and seemingly the only hitch in the day came at the end as some of the buses ran late, leaving parents and district staff frustrated and concerned.

It’s not uncommon to have hiccups in operations on the first day of school, but the things the district should get right are getting kids to school and back home again safe and sound.

The situation for parents waiting at Central School for their kids to get bused over from Lincoln School must have been particularly frustrating and worrisome. First, they’re not used to busing their kids across town and, second, they waited for more than an hour for them to arrive back to the bus stop. And imagine their feelings when the bus finally did arrive and some of the kids who were expected to be on the bus weren’t. Those kids were on the bus that arrived 10 minutes later.

District transportation manager Tom Cohn recognizes the late buses are unacceptable. On Wednesday evening he told IR reporter Derek Brouwer: “That time is, of course, unacceptable.”

We agree and count on the district fixing the problem immediately.

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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