Tag Archives: principals

In Kansas, A High School Ethics Train Wreck: An Unqualified Principal, Unethical Students, And A False And Dangerous Lesson About Consequentialism

Why are these students smiling sweetly? Because they sent the message to their teachers to be wary; after all, there’s a lot of dirt on the internet…

Ugh.

Seemingly every one is cheering the Pittsburg High School (Kansas) students on the school paper who investigated their newly hired principal, found her credentials to be dubious, and forced her to resigned from her $93,000-a-year job. You can read the story here and here.

For the purposes of Ethics Alarms, I’m not interested in the principal at all. What matters here is that journalists, teachers, TV talking heads and everyone else commenting on the story are proving themselves ignorant of basic ethical principles, like the fact that conduct that happens to result in something desirable doesn’t make the conduct appropriate if it wasn’t ethical at the outset, aka “consequentialism leads to bad lessons and bad ethics,” and “the ends justifies the means.”

From the article:

“Pittsburg journalism adviser Emily Smith said she is “very proud” of her students. “They were not out to get anyone to resign or to get anyone fired. They worked very hard to uncover the truth.”

Emily Smith is too incompetent and ethically confused to advise aspiring student journalists or any other students. The students “wanted be assured that she was qualified and had the proper credentials,” according to the student editor of the paper. That’s not their job, their duty, or their business. They aren’t journalists; they are students learning about journalism. Determining if the new principal was qualified was entirely the responsibility of the the Pittsburg Board of Education, which botched its job and approved hiring the principal at its meeting March 6. That the students did the due diligence the Board failed to do is being used as cover by the Board: Everything worked out because of these great students, who we have educated so well!

Wrong. Unbelievably wrong. Dangerously wrong.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Journalism & Media

If You Were Wondering How Our College Students Got This Way, Here’s A Clue…Meet The Cretinous Joe Crachiolo

The Horror.

The Horror.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, a first-grader at Our Lady of Lourdes school,  just six-years old, was  pretending to be a Power Ranger during recess, and “shot” another student with an imaginary bow and arrow. Principal Joe Crachiolo suspended the 6-year-old student for three days.

Denying the parents’ pleas to reconsider, Crachiolo sent a letter home to parents stating in part:

“I have no tolerance for any real, pretend, or imitated violence. The punishment is an out of school suspension.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Religion and Philosophy

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

confrontation

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

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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 still insisted that he didn’t  plagiarize the address . “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

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

The Ultimate Pazuzu At TNT Academy

pazuzzu

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

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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

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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

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