Sometimes I have to try really, really hard to censure my opinions. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes I am not. I have had to learn some very valuable lessons about speaking my mind, but I am proud to say that at least I am a person that stands up for my convictions. There are very few things in life that make me fuming mad-most of the time I am a pretty laid-back type of person. Well...not today ladies and gentlemen! Not today....
I have said it on here before, but I loved growing up in Kinston, AL. I loved the small town atmosphere and the security I felt there. Kinston High School was not only my alma mater, but my father's and grandfather's as well. My grandmother and her best friend STILL go to volleyball games even though none of their immediate family members play anymore. My mother even got to teach Kindergarten there for a while.
Today, however, I was let down immensely. Some of you might say it's none of my business cause I don't live there anymore, but my blood runs orange and blue (but the navy blue, not that God-awful, tacky royal crap they changed it to). I am not perfect, and I have never once claimed to be. I enjoy a good time just as much as the next guy, but I also believe that there is a time and a place for everything.
Let me preface this by saying I don't know the whole story. I am pretty far removed from the gossip mill around those parts, but thanks to Facebook I get the general idea of what's been going on-the football coach allegedly gets a DUI with some underage minors in his car during Bama Jam. I don't have a problem with the football coach drinking a beer and having a good time--beer is NOT illegal and even teachers deserve to let their hair down sometimes. But, with that being said, teachers are held to a higher standard than most other professionals. Their main job is to mold the minds of children and inspire them to do great things. In a rural town like Kinston the students look up to their teachers even more, so I believe the teachers there have to be even more exceptional than normal. In my experience, most of them were.
My mom was greater than normal. She was energetic and creative. She was compassionate, understanding, and committed to the students in her class. She was usually the last one or one of the last ones to leave the school each day. She had pool parties at our house and would spend hours preparing for it. My dad would grill food and she would sing and play games with the kids. She didn't get paid extra for those things, and she didn't really want anything in return. She was fulfilling her dreams and giving back to a community that had given so much to us. She even spent her own money (not your tax dollars) to make sure each child felt special on his or her birthday-complete with a cake or cupcakes and a little gift. Her last year there she had a little girl who didn't even know it was her birthday. Five years on this planet and her piece of crap parents had never even acknowledged her birthday. THAT was why my mom was a great teacher! She did everything in her power to make her students love school and feel important and loved while there. She never once had a parent complain about her. She got along with other teachers (and I remember some of them personally--especially some of the raging idiots in the elementary school that said stuff like "why come?"--but I'm not naming names) By this time, she had even graduated with honors and earned her masters degree. Which, by the way, she achieved while holding down a full-time job.
But, in the end, the administration at Kinston and the Coffee County Board of Education made a huge error in judgement. On the last full day of school in 2009, Principal Weeks walked in and unceremoniously handed her a pink slip. ON THE LAST FULL DAY OF SCHOOL! Most schools do their hiring and interviewing in the Spring, but the BOE made sure she was good and screwed there. She was so upset--especially when she knew about some of the other things that other unnamed teachers and staff were participating in. (Apparently you see a LOT of, ahem....interesting things when you work late in your classroom) To say her heart was broken was an understatement. Mr. Weeks wouldn't give her any reasons as to why she was let go and neither would the BOE. Even Dr. Ingram was too busy, although she was probably too busy giving some more money to Zion Chapel so they could build a basket-weaving warehouse or something equally as stupid.
In my opinion, the Coffee County Board of Education is the biggest joke I've heard lately. And that is saying a lot consider I live in Mobile where we have judges spanking inmates and a County Commissioner who is awaiting trial for murder. I am a pretty smart gal, but even I can't understand their most current actions. Why in the world would they reinstate a teacher who got a DUI while driving around drunk, underage kids!?!?! Please remember this is not some immature, still wet-behind-the-ears graduate just learning the ropes in our public school system. This man is in his thirties and has no business being drunk with some 19 year old girls, no matter how much fun Bama Jam was! What kind of example is he going to set for his students? If my friends and I were in his bobo class (cause that's pretty much the only thing a coach can teach anyway) we would have laughed in his face if he tried to lecture us on drinking and driving! That is just what kids do--in order to be effective, you have to practice what you preach or be prepared to face the ridicule.
Maybe I'm a little bitter because of what they put my mom through. Maybe I'm just so shocked and appalled that this man isn't on the next bus to Slocomb. Maybe I'm pissed off because the town will rally around a dude that so blatantly disregarded the rules and codes of conduct befitting a teacher. I'm even upset that the church my parents have grown to love so much would be in support of this movement to rehire him. I too believe we should "love the sinner, hate the sin" but I also believe God wants us to learn from our mistakes. And the church is no place to hold a support rally of this nature--it leads nonbelievers to think the church is hypocritical and self righteous. If some members wish to support him personally, that is wonderful, and I hope I would be so lucky as to have friends stand by me like that should I ever find myself in a similar situation. But honestly, how can he learn from this when he isn't having to deal with any consequences?!
He isn't perfect and I don't expect him to be. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone deserves to be forgiven. But how far is too far? Apparently THIS isn't too far for them. I worry about the type of example they are setting for other teachers within Coffee County. In my opinion, this Dr. Ingram character doesn't know her butt from a hole in the ground if she is letting this type of behavior go on in her schools. She is only looking at the big picture: Who can help bring in revenue to Kinston? Who is revitalizing the football program? Who will drive the bus if I fire him?
It is so sad that my fellow Kinstonians are putting football before education. Sports do play a very important role in a child's life, but I believe a good role model who stresses character and accountability is far more crucial. A true man would have resigned, pulled himself up by his boot straps, moved on to a different school, and learned something from his mistakes. Maybe he could have returned in later years, when he is more settled and not really interested in hanging out with teenagers. I'm not saying we should crucify the dude--but we should let him lick his wounds in private. Trust me, I made a pretty terrible mistake in my professional life, too. But I had to face the consequences of my actions, and I've thankfully learned a good hard lesson from it.
My mom learned a hard lesson last year. And she learned an even harder one today. Sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you work or how smart you are, sometimes the idiots in charge just screw you over. Apparently she should have just gotten her B.S. in something like Kinesiology and learned to drive a bus because it seems THOSE are really the only attributes the Coffee County BOE is looking for in a good teacher.
DISCLAIMER: This is only my opinion, not the opinion of anyone else I know or love. I'm not even sure how much of what I've heard is true and what is a rumor. But no matter the minute details, I know how I feel about this whole thing in general.