If you’ve visited this blog lately, live in my community, or if you follow me on Facebook, you are well aware that we are facing a bit of a difficulty related to our band director. People in the community have created a website to support him, they’ve written letters, attended meetings and written blog posts; all to no avail. Our elected officials only response is let it go. I made my feelings about our director, school district and kids painfully clear in my last post, but I feel like I need to say a few more things.
We live in a world in which people are destroyed instead of reprimanded, a world in which you will lose every single material possession you own if you insult (and the bar for insults has been lowered significantly) the wrong person or hurt the feelings of the wrong person, or disagree with the wrong person. We live in a country where we are taught from birth that if you are wrongly accused of something, you shouldn’t worry, because you can’t be punished if you are in the right. We live in a society where we are told all those beautiful things and more, but basically, they are not true. If the wrong person gets upset with you for any reason, they can and will ever so slightly twist something you’ve done, or take something you’ve said completely out of context and hang you out to dry and there seems to be nothing you can do about it, it’s bullying. We elect politicians from Presidents to school board members who make certain promises about what they will do and how they will behave and then, after they get ensconced in their positions of power, they forget who works for who and they disappoint us; over and over and over.
Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been disappointed yet again by people who work for us but have forgotten that. Personal personnel papers were released to the public, but then when the public wants to discuss it, they are told that the matter is confidential and cannot be discussed and should be dropped. People who are responsible for miscarriages of justice are by all reports wringing hands and feeling nervous, but they seem to enjoy the sensation, because they won’t do anything to right the wrong. People who are elected and paid by the people, will not respond to the people they work for. They won’t capitulate because they don’t want the parents to think they can tell them what to do. That is patently absurd, because they absolutely SHOULD be doing what the parents want them to do. We really ARE the boss of them, but they’ve forgotten that. We don’t work for them. They work for us. Can you imagine going in to a meeting with YOUR boss and telling him to let his concerns go, that you won’t do what he wants because then he’ll think he can boss you around? Really?
I have been in hopes that our school board members would respond positively to input by the parents they work for, but I have been disappointed again. As we are struggling with this issue in our community, reports show a father in another part of the country being hauled out of a school board meeting by a policeman because he went over his two minute limit to speak about a book with a pornographic scene in it that he wanted his 14 year old daughter to have the opportunity to opt out of reading; he wasn’t just hauled out, he was arrested. The police officer is shown in the photographs to be looking at the floor and reportedly said that he didn’t want to do it, but he had to follow orders. Really? orders from the school board? Hmmm… where have we heard of that kind of behavior before. Why do we wonder that people are afraid to speak out?
I was genuinely in hopes that by then end of this week, I’d be writing a post about how our elected officials listened to us, took a second look at some of the legal issues brought up by supporters of the director, listened to their constituents and did something to right a grievous wrong; alas, they have disappointed me yet again.
These are people I voted for, people I trusted to run our huge school district in a fair, competent, HONORABLE manner. I have been disappointed. These are people I depend on to protect the kids and keep their best interests at heart. I have been disappointed. Our school board should be protecting the people who take on the liability to be in classrooms with hundreds of kids every day. That is one of the reasons I have stopped subbing, it dawned on me that the personal liability I was taking on each and every day that I went into a classroom alone with thirty plus kids was not worth what I was being paid, and subs don’t have a union to protect them. It seems that regular classroom teachers don’t get much help from the union either despite the hefty dues they pay. Disappointment. I truly thought that with a bit of time for reflection, these people that we are supposed to be able to trust with the well being of what is most precious to us, our kids, are more interested in protecting their political selves than they are in doing what is RIGHT for our kids and our teachers. This incident should send a shiver down the spine of every classroom teacher in the district, and maybe the country. If you anger a parent, if you don’t fill out every single piece of paper you have to fill out, you won’t be merely reprimanded and given the chance to fix it, you will be censured; hard, and in a publicly humiliating fashion, and when that happens, the parents CAN’T help you, and the union apparently WON’T help you. Sooo disappointing.
With all of that said, I am going to do for our administrators and board what our school board won’t do for our director. I am going to forgive you. You’ve had the chance to listen to the people who put you where you are, and you’ve chosen to ignore and hide. You’ve had the chance to show our children that if they have legitimate objections to an issue, they can fight for what’s right and win, and you’ve chosen to ignore and hide. You’ve had the chance to admit your mistakes, apologize, make the wrong right, show your strength, take the high road, be the people that we thought you were, but you’ve chosen to ignore and hide and hope and pray that by the time you run for office again, or want more of our money again, we will have forgotten your behavior. You have gone from being our friends and neighbors to being politicians. I forgive you. You’ve taken a wonderful opportunity to remind voters that not all politicians get their jobs and turn into the very thing they vowed to fight. I forgive you. You are afraid. I forgive you. You are bullies. I forgive you. I pray that God will forgive each and every one of you for ruining the reputation of a band program that the kids love, the reputation and legacy of the director that they love, and for attracting such negative attention and energy to our lovely district and community. I wonder how the network people will announce our kids in the Rose Parade in January? Since this “confidential personnel matter” was made public by the person responsible for it, you know that the press will know; I have to wonder if they’ll mention it as our kids march on to the screen. Disappointing.
I think that the can of worms you’ve cranked open is much larger and full of worms than you thought. This isn’t going away. People are not going to forget. At last check, my previous post was viewed by almost 1,700 people. If only half of them agree, and from what I can tell, it’s way more than that, in this community, there are enough disappointed people to change elections, including levy votes. I know you thought it would die down and go away, but honestly I think people are getting sick of lying down and going away. These are our kids. This is the future of our community and our country. I’m disappointed and sad, but I forgive you.
Pretty sure I won’t forget, but I forgive you.