April 06, 2001 11:00 pm

Student commended

for blowing whistle

The incident in Union this week, involving a girl who was suspended from school for allegedly threatening to take a firearm to school, shows that educators, parents and the media are doing a good job of getting this message through: students suspicious that a classmate might act violently must blow the whistle on that student.

The girl, not identified by Union authorities, reportedly told another student Monday that she was planning to take a gun to school apparently to seek revenge against several students.

The friend, and its appropriate to call her that here given the circumstances, passed the information on to Union High School Principal Jim Taylor.

School administrators and police discussed the report and the suspect was taken into custody Monday evening. The girl denied making the alleged threat, but mental health professionals from the Center for Human Development in La Grande evaluated the girl. She was suspended from school Tuesday morning.

The Observer joins Union Superintendent Mike Wood in praising the student for stepping forward to identify an allegedly troubled student. As Wood said, students have an incredible pipeline of information about each other.

But it does no good if that pipeline keeps information hidden, especially if the lives or safety of students, the schools staff, the student himself or his family are possibly at risk.

The Observer wonders how many young people regularly turn to the opinion page and read from its columns. We hope many of them by chance have found this editorial today and will heed this advice: If you hear about any student who is threatening to act violently toward himself or someone else, report that student to school officials immediately. Young people, of course, have a responsibility to not make up stories or spread rumors that would accuse someone falsely.

Students must make sure their pipeline sends critical information to the adults who are in a position to take a report seriously and do something to keep a tragedy from unfolding.

Not all serious stuff

The placement of The Observers opinion page in the B section, and sometimes opposite the comics page, prompted a reader to comment how appropriate he felt it was for the pages to be together.

The underlying message of his tongue-in-cheek remark was that the opinion page, and sometimes its editorials, are good for a laugh.

While editorials, columns and letters from readers usually are of a serious nature, theres nothing wrong with something funny appearing on this page. We encourage readers to continue contributing letters and columns. And if somebody has a witty comment to make, they should share it. Were not joking about this, either.