Stolen Innocence Part 4
Loss of Trust
The Next Big Issue
The teacher in our community who was convicted of being a pedophile requested a $10,000 severance pay from the school.
First, the school offered those who met certain qualifications $10,000 if they retired or resigned from the district in 2013. The teacher in question did qualify, however he resigned so he would not be fired once he had confessed to the crime.
The school superintendent reviewed everything, spoke to the president of the school board and refused the severance pay for this teacher.
It should have ended right then and there.
The Union Gets Involved
The local education association of which the imprisoned teacher and his wife both belong were approached to file a grievance on the teacher's behalf. The temporary president of the union filed the grievance and then stepped down from the position.
After months it goes to the Michigan Education Association. Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook repeatedly told a reporter from the O'Reilly Factor 'no comment." Bill O'Reilly was furious. He took it upon himself to involve the Michigan Attorney General,
Meanwhile back in small town America, the whole mess is being stirred up again. By not disciplining the teachers who wrote letters, the district already in financial problems lost 110 ten students this year. That's a total of $781,000 the district lost in state aid. They lost another six in the mid-year count. So, if they were hurting before, yes, $10,000 makes a difference.
The Final Chapter?
A couple weeks ago the father of the victim was arrested for embezzlement of under $2000. I am still trying to figure out how as he was not in a position to handle money. I am waiting to see what the court says. I have no opinion on this.
Then last week the Michigan Education Association withdrew the grievance. No real reason was given. But the $10,000 will stay with the district. The victim's mother posted the article on Facebook with the comment: The money stays where it belongs, with our kids.
Some of the teachers who wrote letters are retiring this year. I don't know if it will make a difference. They brought in Rachel's Challenge against bullying but are not seeing the widespread change they had hoped for. They did do something on pedophiles. It was open to the community, but no widely publicized so many missed it. Giving the school the opportunity to say: Where were you?
There is a wide gap in trust between the community and the schools. The community remains divided. The teachers who wrote letters still feel ostrasized. They are rarely seen in the community and yet have always been big community supporters.
I personally wish the whole thing had never happened. That a young boy had never had his childhood destroyed. That a family was not torn apart and that a community was not divided. Those who have good memories of school should be allowed to say so without the community jumping down their throats. Those teachers who were defending a friend are good teachers and assets to the community. But I cannot turn back the hands of time. I cannot see then what I see now. I will be forever sorry this happened on my watch.