Signature Significance For A Ruined U.S. Education System: The Tasteless School Drama Awards Ceremony

high_school ruin

How could this happen? I’ll tell you…but first, let’s be horrified together, shall we?

In Bellingham, Washington, the High School’s drama club held an evening awards ceremony.  A parent who attended the ceremony in the school auditorium with her 17-year-old daughter,  who was nominated for an award, reported to a local TV station that the ceremony was, to understate the case, “inappropriate.” In an email to KOMO News, the mother said the teacher, Teri Grimes, a 30 year veteran who is retiring after this year, repeatedly used profanity and told a vulgar joke.  Sex toys were given for one of the awards; the category was “Horniest Stud.” She  wrote:

“I sat there with my mouth open in shock and the final straw was when a joke was told on stage about a teacher, a lawyer and a priest on a plane. The plane was going down and the teacher says we have to save the children. The attorney says ‘Fuck the children!’ and the priest says “Ooooh..Do we have time for that???”

She left after that.

Following the TV station’s report, Grimes issued this hilarious apology:

“I deeply apologize for some very inappropriate comments and actions made during our drama students’ end-of-the-year awards ceremony. This is not representative of our students who take such great pride in their school and respect one another. Much of the evening was a great celebration of their work. However, as a teacher and the club’s leader, I take full responsibility and am extremely sorry.”

What? If this is not representative of the students, why did they represent themselves that way?  If they take pride in the school, why did they disgrace the school with such conduct? If they respect others, why did they insult parents and others in the audience with such an obviously boorish and rude performance?  She’s sorry? Sorry about what? Sorry someone complained? Sorry her abjectly irresponsible supervision has been flagged? Sorry not enough people laughed at a child-rape joke at high school awards program? Apologies here are completely inadequate. Why did this happen? How could it happen, if the club was properly supervised, and the students were being taught basic values and Civilized Conduct 101, not just by her but by the school itself?

It couldn’t. This is signature significance. If such a debacle can occur even once, the educators are negligent and incompetent, and obviously unprofessional.

The rest of KOMO’s report is not encouraging:

“The district says the school principal held a meeting with drama students and Grimes that was very productive. A spokesperson says everybody involved expressed sincere apologies and regret. Neither Grimes nor the students face any discipline at this time. However, district officials are still evaluating the incident. The mother who brought the complaint says she’s satisfied with how the district has dealt with the matter. She believes it will help ensure student award ceremonies never go down that road again.”

The poor, deluded mother doesn’t get it, does she? The problem is not student award ceremonies.The problem is that the school, the school system, the teachers like Grimes—imagine the harm she has done in three decades—are not creating an environment and culture that nurtures character and values, because if they did, such conduct at a school program would have been unthinkable, unimaginable—impossible.

This is our school system, and all the public relations efforts, nostalgia, excuses—and let’s not forget apologies—can disguise the fact that it is  causing more harm to our children than good.


Pointer: The Blaze

Facts: KOMO

5 thoughts on “Signature Significance For A Ruined U.S. Education System: The Tasteless School Drama Awards Ceremony

  1. I can’t quite see why the students had to suffer through a PC/HR seminar or even the possibility of ‘discipline.’ She was the one who was inappropriate and a bad example. If she was slapped down immediately fired and the reason very public, the lessons in expected respect will be clear. I doubt the students would make off color remarks as, by definition, parents will be there and will issue reprimands, regardless of an idiot teacher. (if it’s any consolation, the timing implies the retiring teacher came of age in the early 70s and the next generation were in the Alex Keaton cohort who will be more senior.)

    While its clear that many schools have serious problems, there are still good pockets and individuals. What must be done somehow is empowering them and pruning the ones like Grimes. It’s not a problem solved by money alone, but I hate that the arts and experience/leadership activities like clubs are heavily under the ax lately. Good teachers should be honored more.

    • The profession has no standards and no integrity. It doesn’t matter if there are good teachers, if the system as a whole doesn’t insist on standards. If a school employs a teacher like this woman for 30 years, she is not the only problem in the school. And no single teacher could have persuaded me to tell a joke like that in public if I hadn’t been mal-trained by many others…including my parents.

  2. Thirty years a teacher… with that outlook and attitude. If someone like this can thrive for all that time in the school environment, how many others of his ilk (and worse) are also to be found in the Bellingham faculty lounges? When you see one cockroach on the floor, you know there are more in the woodwork.

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