It comes down to this: In this day and age, even if some girls are breaking the rules by skipping class, if you’re the male principal of Crookston High School and you’ve been told that the three misbehaving girls are laying low in the girls’ locker room, it’s probably best that you summon an adult female to go in there and find them.

    “In this day and age...”

    How many conversations these days seem to start with that phrase? Too many, some would argue. Not enough, others might counter. The thinking here, though, is that it’s a lot, as the push to be as politically correct as possible, to not offend and to not violate anyone or even give one iota of an impression that you’re violating anyone is so intense that we find ourselves constantly checking our own behavior and/or advising others on their behavior. In the process, we often note that “in this day and age” it would be best for all of us to err on the side of extreme caution.

    CHS Principal Eric Bubna earlier this month learned that three girls were skipping class and were holed up in the girls’ locker room. He went to investigate. He told the media that he shouted his presence several times before entering the locker room and shouted again as he entered. He yelled out multiple times, he said, asking if anyone was in there. He heard silence, he said, so he started to look around in the locker room and found the girls. Bubna said he told them to get to class. One girl did as she was told, he said, while the other two became agitated and argumentative.

    The encounter found its way to social media, and in the status update thread it was communicated that Bubna walked in and saw at least one girl partially undressed. Soon, Bubna was under siege from irate parents and others, some who were borderline threatening, and he found himself defending his actions in the media, actions that he told the Times were vastly different that any of the girls might have been claiming. When the Times’ story was published online, in what the newsroom determined to be a surprising turn of events, most who posted comments rallied to Bubna’s defense, saying if the girls hadn’t been skipping in the first place, the whole thing would be a non-story.

    Bubna told the Times that whether it’s him entering a locker room for whatever reason or a custodian entering a locker room or bathroom to do some cleaning, adults at the school know to shout out their presence and ask loudly if anyone is inside. It’s just “basic common sense,” Bubna said, when the Times asked if staff were specifically trained to implement such behaviors in such circumstances, or if there was a policy on the books indicating as such.

    Well, in this day and age, there should probably be some specific training conducted, or a specific policy in writing to fall back on in case similar situations arise in the future and a he said/she said debate ensues.

    But, again, in this day and age, that training and that policy regarding such scenarios should involve female adult staff entering the girls’ locker room, and male adult staff entering the boys’ locker room. Or bathrooms.

    Such a policy would protect the kids, it would protect the adults, and it would prevent a repeat of what transpired earlier this month when Bubna arrived at the girls’ locker room in search of girls cutting class. Maybe best of all, it would prevent another round of the often embarrassing and inappropriate reactions that commenced once the altercation in the locker room that day ended up on Facebook.