Local events breed divisive public discussion

This week, as per News on 6 (KOTV) out of Tulsa, OK, a substitute teach with Pryor Public Schools, John Autry, 57 was found to have allegedly accidentally displayed porn on a classroom smart-board in front of a group of teenage students under the age of 15. Autry admitted to watching porn throughout the course of the day, prior to the smart-board incident, as per local news outlet, Fox 23 News (KOKI) out of Tulsa, OK.

I will be the first to admit that this is bad. In fact, it is really, really bad. There is no excusing the incident -- whatsoever.

However, while he may have provided a slight heebie-jeebie factor to generations of students in the Pryor community, this does not (exclusively or inclusively) determine if he is a bad person.

People make mistakes. That is an unfortunate characteristic of this thing we call being human. Sometimes, they are very, very big mistakes -- like what Autry has unfortunately perpetrated this week, and it is easy to condemn someone for said mistakes. We have to be careful as a community to not do this without having all the facts before us.

More questions than answers

I know there are a lot of questions regarding this situation. Has he done this before? Is there a pattern? Has he done worse and we just don't know?

Is he a possible threat to the students, himself, or society? Having been with the Pryor school system for as long as he has, there are generations of parents and students who are crying out for answers that we just do not have as of yet. This series of events will leave enough of a mark on his life. We do not need to add to the potential damage without further information.

Hopefully we will know more as the investigation continues.

I hope he learns from this mistake and uses the information to avoid further problems like this. If there is a pattern or further concern, then I hope he can get the help that he needs. But until we know one way or another, I urge the public community of Pryor to tread carefully in the meantime.