Friday, April 14, 2006

From Our Darwin Files: You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

A group of Texan elementary school teachers in the town of Tyler got together and produced a skit mocking the students and teachers of another campus. The resulting scandal has cost several their jobs:
The skit was performed at Bell Elementary last month, where a majority of the school faculty was in attendance watching, but not everyone was laughing.

TISD administration obtained home video of the skit. "My personal observation was that it was not well received by the audience," says TISD Superintendent Dr. David Simmons.

It mocked students and faculty from Ramey Elementary, another TISD school made up of minorities and low-income students.

"It portrayed students as unruly and unmotivated," says Dr. Simmons.

KLTV 7 Reporter Christine Nelson asks, "A weave was involved, people were speaking in hip hop lingo, was that all case?"

Dr. Simmons replies, "I think that's fairly accurate... I can tell you that some of the language and dialect that was used was culturally insensitive and inappropriate."

TISD would not release the teachers' names, but did confirm four of the five who resigned are the second grade teachers.

We've learned they are Wendie Short, who was last year named "Elementary School Teacher of the Year", Melissa Peveto, Angela Nunley and Melissa Steddum. The fifth teacher was ultimately fired, the school district saying "it was in the best interest of the district to terminate Christina Jontra, who's contract ends at the end of this school year."

What do parents think? Katrina Temple has a daughter in Wendie Short's class. "[The school] hadn't told me anything. I didn't know anything about it."

A grandparent of three kids who attend Bell Elementary tells us, "I don't think that's fair. If you do something wrong you get sent home without pay. That's the way I feel."

he teachers will remain on the job until the end of the school year, taking with them a costly lesson learned.

KLTV 7 is told no students were present during the skit. Dr. Simmons said the teachers' terminations and resignation are final.
The teachers should have known better, though losing their jobs strikes me as a little harsh.

Interestingly, nothing seems to have been done to the principal of Bell Elementary, on whose watch this was allowed to take place.

In my opinion, the school's administration also bears some responsibility for this incident.
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