Tag Archives: principals

The Duty To Confront, Part Two: A Teacher Takes A Stand


Here is the tale of a teacher who understands the duty to confront-–and not to consent to being a victim from Washington Post local columnist Jay Mathews latest:

Linda Johnson, a retired California teacher, told me what happened…

“About 10 years ago, my student teacher and I were walking my first-graders to the computer lab,” she said. “One little boy started to yell and jump around, so I asked him to go back to the room with the student teacher. In a few minutes, the boy’s father came along to check his son out for a dental appointment. When he saw the boy crying, he went ballistic and came running after me. He cornered me at the entrance to the computer room and screamed at me in a menacing way in front of my students. He waved his arm at me in a threatening way.”

He warned her never to do it again. It looked like the man was going to hit her. “I was very frightened for my students and was careful not to provoke him further,” Johnson said.

Fifteen minutes later, after school was dismissed, she went to the principal’s office and found the father reporting her to the vice principal. [Johnson] screamed at the man: “If you ever threaten me in front of my class again, I’ll go to the police.”

…The next day, as Johnson expected, she was called into the principal’s office. The vice principal also was there. They told her that they were putting a letter in her file for screaming at the man. “Excuse me,” she said. “I am the victim, and I will write the letter. I am also going to file a report with the police.” When the principal, not expecting this, tried to retract what he said, she walked out of the office and went straight to police headquarters. She signed a complaint against the father, accusing him of “disturbing school.”

She sent a letter of complaint about the way she was treated to the superintendent, the teachers union president, the principal, the vice principal and every member of the school board. She asked for letters of apology within 30 days. By the time the police case came up, she thought she might have been too hard on the father and told the court that she didn’t think he realized he was committing a misdemeanor.

 “Don’t worry about that,” the court commissioner said. “He knows his felonies from his misdemeanors.” The father was indeed a felon. …The school district banned the father from the school and transferred his children to another campus…

Teachers who have had such experiences will understand how good Johnson felt when the two administrators gave her their letters of apology.

As in Part One, this reminds me of another personal experience, this one from the weekend, and not yet finished. Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Education, Government & Politics

Most Unethical Principal Of The Year? Maybe. Dumbest Unethical Principal Of The Year? Definitely

Principle Stenner giving David McCullough's speech. You can't see that his pants are on fire from this angle...

Principle Stenner giving David McCullough’s speech. You can’t see that his pants are on fire from this angle…

[NOTE: the original post’s headline ended with the creative word, “defeinitely,” I know not why. My demon proofer caught it yesterday, but I just read his alert. I’m sorry.]

Principal Mark Stenner delivered the commencement address for the May 22 graduation ceremonies for West Boca High School. It may have sounded faintly familiar to some of the those in the audience; after all,  Massachusetts’ English teacher David McCullough, gave virtually the same speech to the class of 2012 at Wellesley High School.  That speech went viral on YouTube with more than 2.5 million views. Known as the “You Are Not Special” speech, it got McCullough, the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, a book deal. Principal Stenner repeated this famous, extensively circulated speech almost word for word,  never mentioning McCullough. He did make slight word changes and altered locations examples when necessary, but it was the same speech, and the plagiarism was noticed almost immediately.

Stenner has insisted that he didn’t  plagiarize the address from the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough. “I liked his idea. I should have said this was in part taken from him, ” he said. “In part,” in this case, means cutting some of the original, but including  details like referencing  ‘batty Aunt Sylvia” and the “maternal caped crusader,” and citing the same philosophers as McCullough, like Sophocles and Thoreau, but not crediting the man who wrote almost every word of the speech.
Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Jumbo, Professions

The Ultimate Pazuzu At TNT Academy


Frequent readers here will be familiar with the Pazuzu Excuse. Pazuzu was the demon that made Linda Blair say such awful things in “The Exorcist”—he also made her head swivel around 180 degrees. Pazuzu is the presumptive miscreant whenever someone tried to beg forgiveness for a particularly vile, and often career-threatening remark by arguing that the statement “didn’t reflect my true beliefs,” as if someone else had suddenly grabbed the controls. Michael Richards (“Kramer” on “Seinfeld”) was, therefore, mystified about why he suddenly started screaming “Nigger!” at a stand-up comedy performance. Mel Gibson swore that all the anti-Semitic slurs he uttered on a fateful night were of mysterious origin, since he isn’t the kind of guy who would act like that. (Later events proved this to be mistaken.) There are many examples from the famous, momentarily famous and not famous at all.

The Full Pazuzu is reached when someone implies that what was said or written suggests a different identity. Sony executive Amy Pascal, to cite a recent example, explained her hacked e-mails (which really weren’t that bad) by writing,

“The content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am…”

Whoever or whatever those e-mails were an accurate reflection of, they fired him/her/it.

Now, however, by way of Stone Mountain, Georgia, comes a rare Ultimate Pazuzu, where the individual under fire really blamed the devil. [NOTE: Pazuzu isn’t the devil, but he works for him, so under the principle of agency, it’s a distinction without a difference.] Continue reading


Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Race

Now THIS Is An Unethical Principal…Ridiculous Too

The principal and her gym

The principal

Principal Jazmine Santiago heads PS 269 in Flatbush, New York, a troubled elementary school where last year only 16 percent of the students passed state English exams and only 12 percent passed math. Yet she used scarce school funds to install her own private gym on the third floor, complete with a bench press, pull-up bar, treadmill, elliptical machine and thigh exerciser.

Questioned about the gym by her staff, Santiago claimed she allowed older students to use the equipment. That would be the K through 5 school’s eleven-year-olds, most of whom are under five feet tall. The adult-sized exercise gear in the principal’s work-out palace would be almost impossible, not to mention dangerous, for children to use.

Santiago has had her job for four years and now makes $124,319 annually. Jonathan Turley notes that since the gym is technically a school improvement and not personal enrichment, she has avoided criminal liability. Well, that’s nice. She is still spectacularly unethical: selfish, irresponsible, incompetent, unfair, wasteful, untrustworthy.

State Department of Education spokesman Harry Hartfield said the matter of the principal and her private gym will be investigated. It shouldn’t take long: the photo above should tell them everything they need to know.


Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur

Facts: New York Post


Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Workplace

Ethics Dunce….And Hoping That A Jury Lets Everyone Know How BIG A Dunce: Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, Colorado.

hostage-negotiationA typical set up for “Scare Tactics”—the unethical hidden camera cable show that terrifies its victims for laughs  by placing them in fake but real-appearing horror movie or action movie scenarios—would be to stage an armed hostage situation that everyone but the butt of the joke knows is a sham. I keep waiting for one of the hapless innocents in these vicious stunts who think they are about to die to pull out a concealed weapon and blast an actor or five to oblivion. That might teach the producers that creating fake life and death situations for any reason is cruel, irresponsible, and stupid.

In the alternative, a victim could just sue the pants off the producers and the production company; that would work too. If there is any justice, that is what will happen to the Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, Colorado for  getting local police to pretend to play armed thugs taking over the facility and threatening the employees…in a drill that none of them knew was a drill.

Former employee Michelle Meeker has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver alleging that  an armed man confronted her last October at the  Center as  Meeker, a registered nurse, was tending to one of her long-term patients.  Another employee told her to investigate  a suspicious man sitting in the Center’s day room. When she did, the man then showed her a handgun he had in his waistband and ordered her into an another room. He told her in hushed tones that he was really a police officer, but Meeker, quite reasonably, was unsure that he was telling her the truth. Hysterical, she pleaded for her life.

At least she didn’t pull out a concealed but licensed Glock and blow him away.

Robert Baker, the executive director of the Center and one of the named defendants, explained that the facility routinely conducts safety, fire, and natural disaster drills for its residents. “Unfortunately, the training exercise alarmed some at our facility,” Baker said.

Yeah, imagine that. Continue reading


Filed under Ethics Dunces, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, Workplace

Apology Not Accepted: This Principal Needs To Be Fired


There are so many things ethically offensive about this story that I hardly know where to begin.

From NBC:

In a statement released Wednesday, Roosevelt High School principal Stephen Strachan said that an unedited draft of the message had been published in the yearbook, rather than the final version he intended to appear. The message borrowed heavily from one penned by a principal in Albany, California, to his school’s class of 2013. Strachan’s message even includes the sentence, “Congratulations to the Albany High School Class of 2013.”

“I sincerely apologize to the Roosevelt community and to the class of 2014 for the inadvertent clerical error causing mistakes to be printed in the 2014 yearbook,” he said. Strachan said that a new version of the yearbook with the correct message and will be given out to students on Friday. The new yearbooks will cost about $800 and will be paid for with funds from the principal’s discretionary fund, Newsday reports.

“I take full responsibility for this oversight,” Strachan said.

According to Newsday, the first and third paragraphs were nearly identical to the California principal’s, with only the second paragraph differing. Strachan told Newsday that he received permission to quote one of his colleagues.

Wait…WHAT?? Continue reading


Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee

Ethics Quiz: “Ick!” Or Unethical—The Arabic Pledge Of Allegiance

"I pledge allegiance to the flag...that the terrorists who speak this language want to tear down..."

“I pledge allegiance to the flag…that the terrorists who speak this language want to tear down…”

In the latest smoking gun example of how the administrators of public schools are widely recruited from the Homes For The Bewildered, we learn of Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colorado, where the principal, Tom Lopez, and his staff agreed to let the school’s “Cultural Arms Club” lead the student body in an Arabic version of the Pledge of Allegiance, one that replaced  “under God,” the ill-advised addendum to the Pledge added by Congress when the U.S. felt under siege from “godless Communism” with  “under Allah.”

As further proof that they should be managing a street corner balloon establishment, the school’s administration professes amazement that parents and citizens are upset with this, and as more evidence yet, places the blame on the students. After all it was their idea, and if they voted to have their fellow students recite the pledge in duck voices, or Pig Latin, or punctuated with “Heil Hitler!” salutes and “der Fuhrer” in place of “God,” I’m sure that would be okey-dokey too. Continue reading


Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Education, Government & Politics, History, Professions, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society