Editorial: Darien Place

This week, Darien Chief of Police Ray Osborne, weighed in on the weekly emails sent to numerous media and town officials making allegations against the school district.

The allegations leveled by RTM member Jay Hardison range from violations of education law, to violations of student privacy laws, to violations of the Freedom of Information Act, to what prompted the police investigation — criminal charges including sexual assault of children.

Certainly, such charges would raise community concern. And should.

Some community members accuse Mr. Hardison of anger and hate. He’s entitled to his feelings.. Some dispute the amount of taxpayer money, in excess of tens of thousands of dollars, spent addressing Freedom of Information requests.

This newspaper will never decry the use of the law that entitles public access to government info. It does question whether the repeated use of the act can be interpreted as a form of bullying. But again, we are all entitled to our positions..

Some people might not think Mr. Hardison is kind and productive individual. He’s entitled to be whoever he wants to be.

However, these emailed accusations are about real people. They are about real families. Real children. Real long-time school district employees. Real town volunteers.

This newspaper has been accused of withholding information related to Hardison’s accusations. Unlike him, we are beholden to principles of protecting sources and printing provable accusations that are corroborated by evidence.

Mr. Hardison questions whether the Darien police did their job in investigating these accusations. Last time we checked, the Darien Police Department’s policy is not to turn a blind eye to possible crimes against children or cut corners.

But again, he is entitled to his opinions. He’s entitled to file FOI filings. He’s entitled to be frustrated with the school district.

What Mr. Hardison is not entitled to do is treat these serious allegations as the next episode of an Aaron Spelling nighttime drama, dangling his next reveal at the end of each email. At each turn, Mr. Hardison has threatened to release more damaging documents and records.

The question becomes, shouldn’t someone who is ultimately concerned with the welfare of children and the cleaning up of the district simply releases all of his information at once?

If one’s motivations are truly selfless, wouldn’t the quickest course to justice be to share all information rather than script a personal miniseries?

We implore Mr. Hardison to get to the point, release all of what he has to share, and let the process take its course.

WIthholding that information and and threatening the next big reveal is simply a bullying and power tripping tactic that undermines any legitimacy his missives might hold.
This isn’t a game of high stakes poker, but hearts are certainly involved. It is time to stop treating them like you’re bluffing with a winning hand.

In the meantime, the credits roll and we must wait for the next episode of Darien Place.