Letter: ‘You are judging her too harshly’

I would like to ask everyone a question. How can we, as parents, teach our children about the negative effects of bullying when we don’t practice what we preach? As many of you know, the local gossip has been on Amy Dodson, local resident of Rappahannock County. You all have read of the mistake that Amy made that has affected your trust and our local school’s trust in her.

She has admitted her fault and is currently working very hard to make things right. However, I feel most of you are judging her too harshly before actually knowing who she is. I have known Amy since grade school and we have been great friends since. Although Amy’s mistake lies right in the heart of our schools, there is more to know than what we have heard about.

Amy has spent countless hours in our schools for the last two years as a substitute, assistant cheerleading coach, concession manager, fundraiser director and mentor. This also meant lots of hours away from her own family. She has always stepped in to take charge of and assume responsibility for any situation that involved the children of RCES and RCHS. As the assistant cheerleading coach, she would stay an extra 45 minutes after most practices to wait with the girls whose parents couldn’t make it on time, although I believe it is the head coach’s job to ensure the safety of the squad. When no one could work the concession stand at the school functions, she volunteered. As I said, Amy always stepped up. She provided transportation on more than one occasion for kids whose parents could not make it happen. I don’t have enough paper to tell you all the wonderful things about her.

I am not trying to put her on the cross. I simply ask you give her the chance to rectify this mistake; only she and her family have to deal with the consequences emotionally and mentally. We are all human beings. God gave us all the blessing of “choice” – to forgive or hold the grudge in your heart. Which will you do? My children attend RCES and RCHS, and I forgive her. I know she will make this right for the children. Amy may never gain your trust again, but she could use a little less gossip than what continues to plague her family. Please, give Amy and her family the chance to live a normal life again.

Lisa Baker

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  1. The handling and conclusion of the Dodson case reflects a community that is highly functional and most important, humane. Gives me hope that head and heart are working together in this county.

  2. Well with all this being said I would like to say that I only knew her for a short time, and thought she was a wonderful person! But when things like this come out it kinda makes you wonder, I work hard for my kids to be able to play sports, and get them what they need, then to find out that someone was stealing it is kinda of a smack in the face cause I trust everyone in the school system, which I should be able to do. As far as Amy’s kids no it’s not right how you are saying they are being treated it isn’t there fault, they didn’t make her do it! But I do wonder didn’t her husband notice that she was spending money that they didn’t have? My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family with this tough time!

  3. It is bullying when the certain parents and employees of the school spread gossip of untrue facts. Saying things that Amy and her spouse are hooked on drugs and telling more money was taken than what actually was — that is bullying. I believe anyone that commits a crime should be punished but the family of the person should not have to suffer the gossiping that emotionally hurts them. Just because Amy made ONE mistake that doesn’t mean that is the person she is. For you to say you didn’t really know her character is wrong. And you know Amy is a wonderful person. We all grew up together in the same school and county. I remember certain people that really don’t deserve the time of day from anyone because of their character. Amy has always been a true and honest person that knows how everyone feels about her now. Do you feel this way about people in your own family? Do you think you actually know the people you grew up with in the same house when they commit crimes? I’m not throwing stones at glass houses, I am trying to get everyone to realize that gossip does nothing but kill. There are two children that have been hurt deeply by this and not so much by their mother. They are being treated like outsiders at school and having to listen to rude comments by others about their mother. Could you imagine how that would affect YOU knowing your children were having to bear that? You would blame yourself, yes, however you wouldn’t want your children being bullied. That’s what I meant and I truly hope before anyone passes anymore judgment on Amy they will get their facts straight first. Not everything is as it seems and there are always two sides to every story.

  4. I am not sure of the alleged “bullying” that you are referring to in your comments. My personal opinion is that I have also grown up with Amy since she originally came to Rappahannock in 1991-92. With that being said I guess you really don’t know the true character or intentions of someone even if you grow up with them.
    As you know our community is very small and tight knit. We do know a lot of information about what goes on within others lives being in a small community. So for someone to betray the trust of the parents that the “noble” deeds are being done for is disgusting. As we (adults) all know and were taught “together” coming from the same community…..For every action there is a reaction. So how can you not expect the community to react to someone they trusted violate that.
    When you break it down a person is ONLY as good as the words they speak and the actions they take. Clearly both have been displayed in the actions that Amy took when she felt it was ok to steal from the community, school, parents, and children, and then UNTIL another citizen of the community who has also been the topic of a lot of “gossip” took it upon herself to look out for the community, school, parents, and children and report this situation to the authorities.
    I honestly don’t believe if someone had not stepped in that Amy would have seen the error of her ways on her own….How much money do you think would have continued to have been misused and unaccounted for?
    I am not perfect in any way, however I do think about the ramifications of my own actions prior to doing or saying anything. Especially when I know that it will have an immediate impact on me, my family, and my community. Having sympathy for someone who knew what they were doing was wrong is not an option. Doing what is right is the ONLY option!

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