Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Absurd Question Posted on "Waiting for Superman" Facebook Page

There was no greater expert on witches.
Cotton Mather said witches existed.
In the end, he was wrong;
but it was too late to help the victims.
Okay, I get it.  Most people who go to the Facebook page for Davis Guggenheim's movie already believe public school teachers are scum.  They've seen Waiting for Superman, which focuses on five kids, desperate to flee to charter schools--to get away from bad teachers and failing regular public schools. 

And they think:  Now I've SEEN the truth.

Now the Superman page drops the veil and carries a link to a story in the Los Angeles Times.  In case you missed it, two teachers at Miramonte Elementary School (see the link itself) have been accused of sexual abuse and very correctly removed from the classrooms, and I hope will face the full power of the law if guilty.  That's hardly the end, however, as the district has removed all 150 teachers in the building from their duties, at least temporarily. 

So the page poses this question:  "Was it right for Miramonte Elementary School to remove all staff during investigations of sexual abuse?"

Let me see if I can parse an answer.  First, if a teacher down one floor, around the corner, and at the end of a long hall, is taking lewd pictures of students, I almost certainly don't know anything about it, because:

A) I am too busy working with my own students.
B) I do not have the same kids in class.
C) I cannot see through floors.
D) I cannot see through walls.
E) Children being abused often remain silent about any abuse.  And I, your humble teacher, cannot read minds. 

I'm sorry.  I apologize.

L. A. School District Superintendent John Deasy explains to reporters that he wants to find out how a "culture of silence...where someone could have known something and then chose not to act," could possibly exist.

The most likely answer:  because it DID NOT exist.

If ever you wondered why teachers prefer to be protected by unions, this story offers perfect insight.  My god, if your neighbor, Josh Powell, ten houses down, is arrested on child pornography and voyeurism charges, are you responsible for his crimes, if they happened in your neighborhood?  No, of course not.  You don't know anything about it, because those who commit crimes rarely broadcast the fact that they do so.  If your co-worker abuses his own son or daughter at home, should you be in trouble?

Again, of course not.

It's sad too look at most of the comments, offered by those who visit the Superman page.  Almost without exception, they agree, yes, get rid of everyone. 

It's the spirit of lynching you see in their words--no matter how well those words might be intended.  It's the Salem Witch Trials, before calmer, more rational heads prevailed.  By then it was too late and twenty innocent victims dangled from scaffolds.

Protect our children by all means. Absolutely.

Remember, also, that the our legal system also exists to protect the rights of the innocent, including those 148 teachers. (Click link, right, to see additional post on same topic.)

A fairly typical comment, from a woman named Jackie Schneider, captures the flavor of the current line of thinking:  "Agreed [they should all be suspended], I'm sure the parents are just shaken up. I would NOT be sending my child back, even though the staff has been changed. Another pedophile could be in the new group. After all the lemon dance just keeps on happening."

Martha A. Sanchez-Maldonado agreed--except that she didn't think the lemons had been squeezed hard enough:  "No, because this is still not addressing the real problem. These teachers are not all being terminated, from what I hear, they are all being shuffled around to other schools. Yes, I agree that the safety of the students is the most important thing, but passing the buck or doing the "dance of the lemons" does not solve the issue at heart...which is that there needs to be accountability and transparency in the educational system. Otherwise, this will be a never-ending problem!"

Yep, all teachers are lemons.


  1. I agree with your outrage. I am concerned this case will cause a "witch hunt" mentality.

    My understanding of why the school chose to temporarily relieve the entire staff was that ALL of them would have to be questioned, grilled and so on and so forth and they didn't want an atmosphere of disruption at the school after everything that occurred. (this was simply how I read the article from MSN)

    It has got to be completely heartbreaking/horrifying for the parents, the kids, the teachers and the staff to find out this was happening.

    Lori Chisman Barber

  2. I wish I could edit the above: If my child were in that school- I would rather my child be with his regular teacher throughout the crisis for stability.

  3. I hope they catch the SOB and make him/her pay. It is sad when you can't send your own children to school because of being afraid what will happen to them. I'm so outraged of how things could go on and no one says anything.

  4. Timierra Lawrence, an elementary teacher in Ohio sent me this message via Facebook;

    "This is crazy! I hardly have time to use the restroom, eat lunch, or know if a colleague of mine was even at school on any given day. I tend to my duties and responsibilities and that is pretty much all I have time to do. There is no down time to converse with others. We're busy! I can understand questioning and protecting our kids but my goodness this is drastic! I appreciate the comment about keeping a child with his/her "regular" teacher. I totally agree! Stability is what is needed in a stressful situation."

  5. As we continue to gut public education and devalue critical thinking skills (and teachers), this kind of warped and absurd "reasoning" will, no doubt, be on the rise. Get used to it...

  6. This sounds like overkill but I think this probably has something to do with the Penn State scandal.