Sohn: Finally, school officials choose to lead

Superintendent of Schools Rick Smith continues a statement Monday following comments by Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, near left, about the Ooltewah basketball team assault just before Christmas.

Board of Education Chairman Jonathan Welch made a tough but smart call Sunday when he released a statement apologizing for Wednesday's no-answers meeting that left parents, teachers and students throughout the county aghast at officials' apparent lack of empathy and accountability following the tragic news of an Ooltewah basketball player's aggravated rape with a pool cue by other players. The victim has undergone surgery for the rupture of his colon and bladder.

Welch adjourned the meeting last week in under four minutes after reading a short statement that basically said officials would answer no questions. He said he was acting at the time under the advice of the board's attorney and the Hamilton County District Attorney, but Welch on Sunday said it is the board's responsibility to keep parents and the community informed.