Robin Smith: What Hamilton County Schools got wrong about Ooltewah

Lessons from Ooltewah: credibility doesn't come with a refill

Hamilton County School Board Chairman Jonathan Welch, center, reads a prepared statement to an overflow crowd Wednesday night as Schools Superintendent Rick Smith, left, listens.
People are pretty good at discerning hypocrisy and inconsistency, especially in elected officials, which cultivates their distrust and cynicism. The bungled handling of the Ooltewah High School basketball rape investigation - and the vehement public reaction to it - has provided a textbook lesson on what not to do.

To his credit, on Sunday, Jonathan Welch, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Education, acknowledged, appropriately, the missteps that have plagued the board and administration since three Ooltewah High basketball players were charged with aggravated rape and aggravated assault in connection with a Dec. 22 brutal attack against a freshman teammate in Gatlinburg.

"I came up short and I apologize. I will do better," Welch wrote in a statement.

Welch