Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

May 24, 2018 Letter: Trent Yoder has done his penance
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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Pursuant to the May 14 school board meeting, I offer several thoughts for consideration.

First, is there anyone among us who has never done something, or said something, or made a thoughtless rash decision that has hurt someone else? If there is such a person out there, I’d like to meet you.

Fact is, none of us, even the most righteous among us, can claim perfection. Which is why, for those of us who pray the Lord’s Prayer we say, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

Second, making our community 100 percent safe for ourselves or our children is simply not possible, and to think that we can do so is an illusion. But we do our best, which is why we have policies, laws, law enforcement and a court system.

Trent has experienced first hand all of the above. He has paid his dues, he’s done his penance, he will have to live with the consequences of his action – 20 years ago – for the rest of his life, a harsh punishment in itself.

Justice has been done; the requirements of the law have been met. To continue to “punish” Trent and Mark for the decisions that have been made in the past achieves no useful purpose. It is time to extend mercy. This will do more to show the world what kind of community we really are than anything else we might say.

Policies, rules, laws and courts serve a good purpose, but go only so far to ensure safety and keep evil at bay. Furthermore, when applied indiscriminately without nuance and forethought, and without considering the specific context of their application, greater evils sometimes ensue.

We can spend many hours and much energy developing policies, but no policy is going to apply to every single situation which may possibly arise. In any organization or community, policies and laws are also sometimes used by those in power to seek revenge, bully or discriminate against persons deemed to be of lesser status or holding other viewpoints.

Emphasis is placed on adhering to the letter of the law; meanwhile, the original purpose/spirit is lost. Legalism can be a cruel taskmaster.

I like to think that we in the Mid-Prairie district can do better. Let’s say “no” to the fear-mongers and “yes” to the collaborative creative thinkers among us.

Verna Zook

Iowa City

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