Friday, August 01, 2008

Do School Districts Foster Drama?

I received an update on Guilderland from an Associate Asshole. (Don't worry, that's a term of respect 'round these here parts.)

Anyway, Guilderland High School principal Michael Paolino may be losing his job. Right now he's on administrative leave and still earning his big bucks. It seems Paolino is guilty of the same things that Ann-Marie McManus and Matt Nelligan are getting transferred to the middle school for doing: making racist and homophobic comments.

My Associate Asshole says she figures he'll just get transferred, which seems to be the Guilderland way. These accusations, assuming they are true, could explain how the history department got away with their "locker room mentality" of which they were accused. If the accusations are correct, and considering my source has previously told me, "he was the biggest sexist and would make comments about high school girls," I'm inclined to think it is, then he should be fired.

So it makes me wonder...Do school districts breed drama? Do adults working in school districts get infected with teenage immaturity?

I ask these questions because my own district is far from drama free. Not only did we have the High School principal announce his resignation for the end of this next school year over a gay-lesbian club in his school, another high school principal is under attack, this time from the public. He's being accused of putting portables near the main road to try and garner support for a bond referendum for money after last year's attempt failed. Meanwhile, today it was announced that our superintendent resigned. There is no official word on why, but there is one major rumor which seems to fit. I'm not going to share, because it would be improper to spread rumors, but let's just say it's high drama stuff.

Sometimes it makes sense...Mascoutah, Illinois had controversy this year over a middle school girl putting her arm around the shoulders of another student violating the district's "No Touchy Rule" (My term, not theirs), over the cheerleading team not being allowed to compete in the state cheerleading competition because it violated the "7th Day Rule" which said there could be no activities on Sunday, and finally for keeping schools open during a "debilitating winter storm" when every other district in the area shut down for safety reasons. I guess God didn't allow the weather to keep Jesus out of school...

Marysville, Washington may have a problem with its African-American superintendent.

And don't forget John Freshwater of Mount Vernon Middle School in Columbua, Ohio who refused to remove a Bible from his desk and branded crosses onto students skin.

Clark County in Nevada had a sex scandal possibly covered up where a hall monitor received a blow job from a senior who refused comment until threatened that if she didn't speak up, she wouldn't graduate. So she shared details, but when she didn't pass everything the principal changed the grades.

And in Texas did McKinney North High School principal give preferential treatment to 5 cheerleaders who had MySpace pictures showing them drinking, showing off panties, and playing with penis-shaped candles and condoms? The damning detail is that one of the "Fab Five" is the principal's daughter!

So what's with all the drama? Too many cooks in the kitchen. That's all I can figure. Well, too many cooks and politicians. Ok, here's how it goes. Students are answerable to teachers, teachers to principals, principals to district officers, district officers to the superintendent, the superintendent to the school board, the school board to the public. But then if the public doesn't like what is happening in the schools with their children, then that makes the students the key in an insane ouroborous. Students become a skeleton key to be manipulated. They know this. They complain to the right people and enough, then they can exert influence where normally they would be at the bottom of the totem pole. So, who's in charge? Which head is in charge of the many-headed Hydra? How does the Pushmi-pullyu know which way to go?

One of my principals had teachers running to the district office because they didn't like his decisions. He didn't do anything wrong. He just lost the popularity vote. Some teachers left our school this year and told a prospective new employee she shouldn't take the job because they didn't like the new principal either. They want to be in charge, the principal answerable to them, but some of what they wanted didn't mesh with what the district was asking of the principal. Too many (dick)heads in the kitchen...

And then politics which keep those with real power from making decisions for the good of the children and making decisions based on how the appearance looks. You must keep up appearances, after all.

But I those who get involved in education tend to be trapped at the age they teach? Or do they revert to that maturity level? Is that why there are so many tantrums when we don't get our way? Why those who do wrong get a time out? Why so many seem to make stupic teen mistakes involving sex and bullying like so many teens?

Whatever the answer, this is not a condemnation of the public school system, because it happens in private schools as well. My former principal who got fired because of my coworkers didn't like his policies went on to a private school where it was discovered one of the teachers was supplying students with alcohol.

If you have some school drama you'd like to share, let me know. In the mean time, I'm going to buy some more chewing gum, because there's a coworker whose hair I want to spit it into, and put Icey-Hot in the PE teacher's jockstrap.


New Guilderland story


Clark County

McKinney North High School


At 4:44 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I hear about these things and it horrifies me.

The thing is, I'm CERTAIN that there are politics and dumbassery in EVERY workplace. I've been the victim of political infighting and popularity contests at my job at the health club, for crying out loud.

I'm not sure that there's a cure for it, really; I think it takes a strong leader with a bunch of people under her or him who don't truck with bullshit. Buy-in is the key, and if you can get a critical mass of no-nonsense ass-kickers, you've got at least a chance at beating the drama queens. Beyond that, though, I think it's really just a matter of keeping one's head down and hoping to not get caught in the crossfire.

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy was this a great article. It IS all about teachers getting what they want or being made to do their job. Teachers who play solitare during class while the students take notes from a book, teachers who arrive late to class EVERY DAY, teachers who do not show up for class at all and say they were somewhere else... Then the Principal becomes no longer "in the circle" and if they have a new SUperintendent, then they fear for their job and fire the Principal. It happens all the time. Peoples lives and careers are being destroyed long with their families. You can no longer do whatis right for children, it is all about letting teachers do what they want.


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