Opinion | Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons: Summit school district press release was prejudicial
Summit County sheriff
I am a Democrat, I am a sheriff, and I am a member of this community. This community graciously welcomed my family and me into the warmth and fellowship so visible within Summit County. I ran for sheriff and won that election to serve all of the community and to serve without reference to color or nationality or status of position. I serve in that capacity as do my deputies and staff.
Yes, we enforce the law but with compassion and understanding. We police to protect, not to punish. Yet we understand that as Justice Felix Frankfurter (U.S. Supreme Court 1939-1962) once said, “If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny. Legal process is an essential part of the democratic process.”
Today, we see increasing chaos on the streets of American cities as organizations such as Black Lives Matter clamor for attention to what they claim is widespread systemic racial injustice within law enforcement. Summit School District recently released a public statement regarding its new guidelines in reference to racial justice and equity of literacy. The press release, titled “Summit School District Committed to Racial Justice & Equity Literacy Professional Learning,” can be found at Bit.ly/340P2kJ, and each of us should read it and consider if its philosophy and ramifications is correct for our children, law enforcement and the community as a whole.
I believe I can speak for many residents who have called and written me who believe in the rule of law and order. In his public statement, Summit School District Superintendent Marion Smith Jr. remarked, “It is not only the life and injustice of the killing of Breonna Taylor but also the devastating racial bias of the U.S. justice system for not charging the two officers responsible for her murder that we are mourning right now.”
The tragedy of Taylor’s loss does not make it acceptable to ignore the facts of the case as presented to a grand jury by a properly authorized authority or to ignore the outcome of that case. Moreover, it is not grounds upon which to build a far-left indoctrination of our children on unfounded facts.
The charges in this case were determined by a grand jury and have yet to be adjudicated as to the innocence or guilt of the parties. This is how our system works; this is how equal justice protection is provided to us all. It is of concern to many that our school system, while preaching tolerance, is so intolerant of the rights of the men and women within law enforcement who must stand daily to protect the whole of the community.
It is important that we settle each legal issue correctly; however, there are many variables and situations within the actions of man that create controversy as to a particular outcome of a case. But by necessity, an educator cannot determine for himself or herself ones’ guilt beyond our legal system. Nor should these prejudicial ideas and statements be a part of the Summit School District curriculum.
We live in times of clouds and darkness, but there is a light of love that has always shone over our community. One needs but be here for a time to understand the solid soil on which we stand. That light, that love, needs to be kindled with the timbers of fairness and justice and not the bias of hate and predetermination.
Jaime FitzSimons is the sheriff of Summit County.
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