I am not generally the kind of person who gets outraged by the morning news. Though an idealist in the sense that I think people are generally good and that both individuals and societies are improveable, I am a cynic in the sense that I think our culture contains a critical minority of outrageously stupid people working in ridiculously corrupt institutions, so when I read, as I did recently, that under the workings of our government bureaucracy, frozen cheese pizza and frozen pepperoni pizza are regulated by different agencies, I am not surprised enough to be outraged.
But this morning, I am outraged. My morning paper, the Lansing State Journal, ran a story on page B1 called "Student was taped to a chair." It tells of a teacher in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about an hour from here, who has been suspended from her job because she duct-taped a third-grader to his chair.
Now, because she is tenured, the worst punishment she can receive without triggering a lengthy firing process is a three-day suspension. School officials don't think this is worth firing over--or they don't think they could get her fired for it--but they don't want her in the classroom, either. So, after she serves her 3-day suspension, she will spend the rest of the school year on paid leave.
What a punishment! If I were a tenured teacher in a public school, you can bet I'd forget the grading this weekend in favor of making sure I had a big roll of duct tape in the old bookbag. Or maybe I'd wait until, say, just after the next school year starts, in order to maximize my suffering. If four months of paid time off is the punishment for incompetence and cruelty, I'm going to have to start seriously re-thinking my life-long commitment to kindness and capability.Posted by Su Penn at February 8, 2003 12:36 PM | TrackBack