I generally talk to my mom daily, and last night she broke some infuriating and disturbing news. It seems the principal of the high school from which I graduated is being investigated for the excessive use of force on a student whom he paddled for a dress code violation. The school district allows corporal punishment with a guardian's permission, but there is a great deal of awkward circumstance surrounding this particular incident. The bottom line is that the 15-year-old on the receiving end of the principal's paddle walked away (barely) with visible injury that is documented.
I have to tell you, I'm furious on a number of levels. First, I hate that this could happen to any kid in a place that should be considered a safe, protected environment. Second, as an alumna of the high school, it's a shame that the principal (whom I think should lose his job and perhaps his teaching license) is bringing such horrible press to an otherwise upstanding district. Finally, as an educator, I get angry when someone doesn't take his or her professional responsibility as seriously as I do. There were some major breaches in policy and procedure, despite the school system's claims, and no educator should ever hurt someone under their charge. Use some common sense.
I know all of the educators and administrators involved in this incident (the current principal was my government teacher and a colleague of mine in the community college system, and the current superintendent was my elementary school P.E. teacher), and I can only say that it's the most serious incident in a long line of ill-made decisions. I can only hope the school board sits up, takes notice, and cleans house.
I would post links to several of the major Dallas papers carrying the story so you could get a full understanding of the seriousness of this situation, but I do try to maintain a particularl level of privacy for myself here as far as my location goes, etc.
However, I can assure you, as a well respected alumna, long-time resident, and concerned citizen who still holds residence, I will be writing a stern letter of expectation to the school board to remind them that they have an important decision on their hands and even those of us who have moved on are watching and waiting for suitable action. In reality, I may not be able to make a damn bit of difference, but I cannot and will not allow something so serious to float by without making myself heard. I can only hope others will do the same.