When a fourth-grade girl got nabbed by her school on “Zero Tolerance” grounds, her parents didn’t lie back and take it. Here’s the story, from my 26 May 2005 issue:
Taking Back the Schools
Principal Dan Doerhoff of East Lynne School in Kansas City, Mo., decided a fitting punishment for an unnamed fourth-grade girl in lieu of suspension was to make her pick up rocks along the road in front of the school for three days. Alone. Teachers thought the girl’s punishment was too harsh and dangerous, and during their free periods several went out to help her and watch after her. The mini revolt was led by teacher Christa Price, so Doerhoff not only ordered Price fired for “failing to support the administration,” he refused to do the final sign-off on her teaching credential, which she needs to get another teaching job. Seven other teachers quit to show support for Price, leaving only two teachers at the school. Parents are fighting back too: they gathered 177 signatures on a petition demanding Doerhoff’s resignation, and are campaigning to vote out any school board members who support him. Meanwhile, district officials say they’ll sign Price’s certificate so she can get a new job. (Kansas City Star) …No matter how old you get, it can still be satisfying to say “nyah nyah nyah” to the principal.
When I run ridiculous school-based stories in True, especially zero tolerance items, readers often ask “What can we DO about these things? How do we fix it?”
The answer: emulate the parents of East Lynne School in Kansas City, Mo. They’re doing just that: taking back the schools. They’re demanding that the principal resign in very loud terms. They’ve put the school board on notice that they’ll vote out anyone who backs stupidity. They’re backing the teachers who put their careers on the line to say “Enough!” They demanded common sense.
And if they keep it up, they will win their battle.
Saying “ain’t in awful?” when we see such stories isn’t enough. We must stand up to such stupidity, and stand firmly. Or else we are allowing the idiocrats to walk over us.
It’s going to take more than just one group of parents, one school-full of teachers. But it can be done if we demand better of the people we pay to educate our children. That so many teachers supported their colleague in the face of something truly wrong just shows there are great teachers out there who really care. So be sure to also make your voice heard when your kid’s teachers are good!
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