The side benefits of advanced technology are pleasant. I'm very glad I don't have to spend my entire day trying to hit a squirrel in the head with a rock, or digging up roots so I can have something to eat.
But my personal comfort is, at best, secondary to the primary mission of taking care of kids, which also means preparing them for the day when they will take up the mission, and allow me to croak without feeling guilty. And that means education.
Admittedly, I am not an impartial observer. Not only am I a parent and grandparent, the bulk of my career was as an educator, first in public and private college administration, then providing direct services to public middle school students. It's one of our family traditions; in addition to being a representative of the third generation of four generations of US Army veterans, I am also a representative of the third generation of four generations of educators. It matters. My family has invested blood and sweat in military service on three foreign continents, and followed that up with years in classrooms across the state of Georgia. That's how we roll; it's a mission, see?
So, it aggravates me when I find that other people; those who share the mission; those who have also devoted their lives to educating kids; have to spend their time apologizing for, and fixing problems caused by, a momentously idiotic high school math teacher.
This stuff is all over the internet now; I'm not breaking any confidences. So far, by Sunday afternoon, 764,488 people have viewed the August 31st classroom incident, which took place inside a school building I can see when I look out of my bedroom window. Thanks to a camera-phone-quality video, we can see and hear the teacher making two students leave a classroom for wearing a shirt saying "Make America Great Again." And she compounds her error by saying that just as you can't wear a swastika to school, you can't wear that shirt. Because neo-Nazis.
Now, I routinely ignore this kind of kerfluffle; I can't, THIS TIME, because just after noon today, I got an email from the school district (sent to all Cherokee County parents) which detailed the response of the school and the district, and warning us:
As people across the country are being encouraged by some social media sites to contact the school, we anticipate a potentially high call volume over the next week. If possible, please avoid calling the front office during this time, and instead email the person you are trying to reach; emails are published on the school website
Okay, THIS is one of those times that I regret my blog isn't read by 100 million people every day, because what I have to say is important:
DON'T CALL THE SCHOOL.
They have this covered. If you need to express your outrage, please feel free to do so on your own public forum, or make a comment on one of the Youtube posts of the video.
But leave the school alone. They have this covered.
As it happens, I know the school superintendent, Brian Hightower, and the school principal, Darryl Herring, from my days as a school counselor. Ain't neither of them a wuss; I would happily stand as a guarantee that they will deal with this stuff appropriately.
Now, what I'm gonna say next is both personal and painful for me, so, cut me some slack, okay? And believe me, because I paid a price to say this.
The reason that I KNOW that they will deal with this stuff appropriately is because I have worked for both of them; they both have chewed my butt when they felt it was appropriate, and it was under Darryl Herring's leadership that I accepted the fact that I was no longer able to do my job, and took medical retirement, when the option was to be fired for cause.
It wasn't because I was sleeping with cheerleaders, or anything like that; it was because the pain meds I was on back then had taken away my ability to make good decisions, mostly by taking away my ability to sleep. I never was able to go an entire week without missing at least one night's sleep, and missed as many as three in a row. I was making a bad mistake in trying to keep showing up and doing the job. Herring made the right decision to push me into retirement, and he made it for the right reason: to keep me from making mistakes with the kids.
No, I don't LIKE the guy. That has nothing to do with the fact that he made the right decision; it has everything to do with the fact that he never had a chance to get to know me when I was functional; and so to him, all I represented was a liability. He was tough, and he made the right call.
He's going to make the right call on this thing, too. Hopefully, there is a redemptive path out of this thing for the momentously idiotic math teacher, but that's not going to be the PRIMARY concern for the administration. I KNOW these people; they have ALWAYS been all about the kids, and they are going to CONTINUE to be all about the kids.
So, to all who have wisdom: leave them alone. Let them do their jobs. Express your concerns elsewhere. That's the best path to taking care of our kids, and that's the only reason we are here.
Peace be on your household.