What Happens Next Is Most Important

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On the front page of today's Roundup we have a story about three junior high students at Pine-Strawberry School who face serious disciplinary action for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl at their school.

Such incidents are appalling, even unexpected at a small school like Pine's, but not entirely surprising. When you put a bunch of youngsters together in a school or a church or a summer camp, many good things happen over the years. But sometimes bad things happen too.

The real measure of whether this will be a continuing tragedy is how the school deals with it. School officials should be commended for how they have acted so far.

Rather than trying to bury the incident -- or incidents, as it may be -- school officials promptly scheduled a session with students to discuss improper behavior. When a fair portion of the girls in attendance didn't seem to get the message, a second session was held.

Rather than trying to shield the school from publicity, school officials have cooperated with us at the Roundup, as much as they can in light of privacy laws, to set the record straight for the public. The alternative is unchecked rumor-mongering that can result in no good. One early rumor had it that the boys were in trouble for smoking pot in the school cafeteria.

Pine-Strawberry School is not a bad place for having this situation occur. But it is a better place for facing up to the situation openly and taking quick action to try to lessen the chances that it will happen again.

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