There are a lot of days when it would behoove everyone to “unfriend” social media, and the days after a Collinsville High freshman died seemed like one of those times.
Outpourings of compassion for hurting family and friends are the plus side of social media. Its ability to quickly organize fundraisers and shows of support are another. Yet the dark side is the speculation or inside information that too often turns out to be wrong.
Tray Turner’s life ended at age 14 in a stairwell at Collinsville High School. Collinsville Police have labeled it a “tragic accident,” yet they are still investigating and dealing in their reports with “juvenile offenders.”
It takes time to process the details and get to the truth. An impatient, hyper-connected society wants the instant gratification of instant information, regardless of whether it is true or not.
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So the rumor mill grinds and there are fingers pointed and blame is assessed. The problem is, there are a certain percentage of folks who will never get the corrected info.
There are 2,000 students at Collinsville High School. They potentially have 4,000 parents and 8,000 grandparents. Add in the other friends and concerned adults in their lives, and the same groups of folks surrounding students who once attended or will attend the high school, and we could be talking about 50,000 people with a keen interest in the safety of students at Collinsville High School.
The details of what happened to Tray Turner are important. They are so important that it is worth the wait for the authorities to get them right.
But once they do, the public expects transparency so everyone understands whether this was just a tragic accident, or something that was caused, or something that can be prevented in the future.