"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Our H.S. principal to depart, leaving questions

I've never met this man.
It's hard to grasp the whole story behind our high school principal leaving. Oh, few people are surprised he's leaving, I'm sure. He had an incident that seriously impaired his ability to be effective and to carry the kind of sterling reputation we want in our school leaders.
Criminal charges were dropped. Was law enforcement to be faulted in that process? One might suggest that kind of analysis. It's not a slam-dunk. Little is crystal clear from the kind of circumstances that presented themselves on that fateful night when that - ahem - thorny situation developed.
Allegations of acquaintance rape can be painfully confounding. Guilty or not, charged or not, such suggestions in connection with a professional school administrator are toxic for him/her. It's apparent we're seeing the fallout from that now. It appears the Morris Area school district is buying out the principal, ensuring that he'll mosey on down the road.
What are his prospects for the future? It's possible he won't extricate himself from the fallout of that fateful night which began with apparently agreeable contact between him and the female in question. Maybe he could be put in some sort of witness protection program, beginning his life anew. Remember the movie "A History of Violence?" The hero has a new life established but finds his past returning to haunt him. I liked the movie but the title is misleading because it suggests a documentary. It's a riveting story about "beginning anew."
There is the school of thought that our principal should have been dismissed at the time the criminal charges were announced. We're talking first degree criminal sexual conduct. Once headlines about that jump out at you, it becomes unpalatable to think the principal can simply stay. Call it common sense or seat of the pants judgment.
Perhaps the school board entertained such thoughts of a prompt dismissal. If they didn't, a pox on them. Regardless of the final disposition of the matter, a foul odor is in the air, so to speak.
One could argue for dismissal just based on what was known about the basic pattern of conduct of the two individuals. This would be a moral judgment. It doesn't take a Phyllis Schlafly type to offer such a judgment.
I'm a boomer and typical of my generation, I saw almost nonstop immoral behavior and poor judgment among my peers back in the early and mid 1970s. But we're older and wiser now. We're more inclined to believe in clean and healthy living, and we needn't be called "prudes" because of this.
We proved nothing with our earlier recklessness. We only proved our naivete and ignorance. We lived for the moment. Today we want school leaders who are more reflective of our parents' values. Don't seek your personal entertainment in bar establishments. Dismiss the "hookup culture." Not only is it unhealthy, it's dangerous for men in this new world in which law enforcement is encouraged to always believe the woman's story when we hear accusations of sexual assault.
Charges against our principal were dismissed for reasons that were never spelled out (in truly satisfactory terms) by the law enforcement establishment. In this "broken windows" world of law enforcement today, it might be best to never leave your house. "Broken windows" is the philosophy of law enforcement to accost the public over every minor infraction. Yes, you'll get pulled over for no seat belt. It happened to me.
Why wasn't the principal dismissed immediately? We can easily guess: some lawyer whispered into the ears of the stooge school board members. So the principal goes on leave. Eventually we buy him out. Doesn't sound like his tenure would survive any sort of cost/benefit analysis.
And who pays the price for this? The taxpayers of course. The taxpayers had no fault in any of this but we're asked to foot the bill, as is always the case. Government can clean up these messes by just extracting more funds from the citizenry. Private business cannot do that. I can understand the philosophy of extreme conservatives when it comes to these matters - they'll say you can never totally trust the people who run the public sector. The public sector doesn't operate by the same rules.
I am a Democrat and feel it's vital that our public institutions be operated with discipline and accountability, as much as possible, so we can have a reasonable amount of faith in them. When public institutions break down, it only hurts the ability of progressive thinkers to sell programs to help people. And, we really need those programs.
Our school district is reportedly in a serious deficit situation. How do we reconcile that with having put our principal on paid leave and now paying him to leave? It cannot be reconciled. Perhaps the lawyer or lawyers should be disregarded. Do what you feel is right and let the chips fall where they may.
You can read more about the principal and his dilemma on the "Lion News" (Nemmers) website which you ought to take a look at.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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