An incident came to light recently at a nearby school that I think is instructive.
Just good clean fun, blowing steam after a year of dealing with other people’s kids!
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP — A police report that details an evening of troubling incidents among a group of Haslett Public Schools teachers involving drug use and “drunk shaming” is prompting questions about the teachers’ behavior and institutional accountability in this suburban community near East Lansing.
The police report addresses a number of incidents that took place at an end-of-year party hosted in 2007 by a Haslett teacher and attended by several other teachers from the district. The police report was provided to Michigan Messenger by one of those teachers, Veronica Piechotte, who says she was victimized by her colleagues that evening and that neither the Haslett school administration nor the legal system had acted on her complaints until Michigan Messenger began its inquiry.
According to the account Piechotte gave police the day after the incident, on the last day of school in 2007, Piechotte and five other Haslett school teachers, Lauri Etheridge, Timothy Beebe, Brian Town, Daniel McKinney and Heather Woodworth, joined their colleagues at an East Lansing bar to celebrate the beginning of summer vacation. As the party moved from the bar to McKinney’s house, things took a turn for the worse. The people involved dispute some of what happened during the evening, but each of them spoke with police at the time, providing a contemporaneous, first-hand account.
According to the police report, Etheridge, Town, Piechotte and Woodworth stopped at Town’s home on the way to McKinney’s house, which is a short distance from the school. There, according to the report, they decided to smoke marijuana and Town produced and provided the drug for the three women, who went to the garage to smoke it. The teachers then continued on to McKinney’s house.
Later that night, after more alcohol consumption by all involved, Piechotte crawled between a coffee table and a sofa in McKinney’s living room. There she passed out
According to the report, Town and Beebe decided it would be “funny” to draw on Piechotte’s unconscious body. …Much of the writing was sexual and crude. McKinney and his wife, as well as Etheridge and staff member Phil Rutkowski, watched the drawing. McKinney took pictures with his digital camera, and at least one person took pictures with a cell phone.
(Please note that the article cited contains a number of graphic depictions, so read the whole thing at your discretion.)
As you might expect, the school district sprang into action when they found out that they had pot smoking teachers engaged in this sort of activity. Or not…
While criminal charges were never filed in this case, Haslett school officials — according to police records, emails and other documents provided by Piechotte and an interview with Superintendent Mike Duda — were aware of the incident and took little if any action in response to it until Michigan Messenger started examining the case.
Sure it is off campus and outside of the school year and perhaps legally there is not much they could do about it. Nevertheless, this is another example among the many of the mixed bag of people you get in the public schools. That is true of every industry. There are bad people in banking, in veterinarians offices, in garbage companies. The difference is that you don’t turn your kids over to those people to raise for most of the day. You do turn them over to the public schools and I guess you are left with hoping your kid makes it through school without being taught by drug users and imbeciles.
You might raise your hand here and say, not in my school! We have a “good” school. Really?
According to Wikipedia (and I have no reason to doubt these stats), Haslett has a median family income of $69,806. Not exactly an impoverished area. Also from Wikipedia:
Haslett was named 42nd best place to raise your kids in America by BusinessWeek in 2007. It was rated this based on five factors: math and reading test scores; cost of living; recreational and cultural activities; number of schools; and risk of crime.
In other words, this is a “good” school. Kids aren’t getting shot. Lots of kids go to college. You could do far worse than to send your kids here. Haslett is a very nice community with excellent schools. Yet in this school, five teachers decided to “celebrate” the end of the school year by getting drunk, stoned, one to the point of passing out followed by juvenile antics.
Now I recognize that there are tons of great people teaching in public schools. There are Christians who devoutly believe in our Savior. There are plenty of teachers who celebrate the end of the school year in ways that don’t involve marijuana. On the other hand, there are apparently many that do. I don’t think this is normal or accepted among teachers but how many of us really know? My point is not that all public school teachers, or even most, are drug users and sophomoric.
Here is the thing. You really don’t know. You might get the fine, upstanding perhaps even Christian teacher. Or you might get one of these knuckleheads. You have virtually no say in the matter. You don’t interview and hire or even get a chance to talk to most teachers before they are hired by your school system.
Are you sure you want to roll the dice with your kids? Maybe they get the good teacher. Maybe the get the one who just happens to have some weed at his house in case of a party emergency. Maybe you have no idea from a five minute teachers conference which one is which?
Think about it.