I have been writing this column for well over a year. I’ve written on topics as mundane as grocery shopping and as critical as the state education budget. I’ve written about highly emotional topics such as Amendment One. Following the posting of some of these, I’ve heard from a few of you. But after my last post, on the transfer of Chapel Hill High School teacher Anne Thompson, I heard from an enormous number of people very upset by her situation.
The notes I received were not cut-and-pasted bits of a coordinated campaign either. They were heartfelt pleas for a closer look at what could have led to the decision and to ask for accountability from school leadership. Some notes were from parents and some were from within the school system and all were determined to battle an injustice.
When I wrote of Mrs. Thompson last week, only her appeal to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board had been denied. I wrote of what I saw as a perfect opportunity for compassion to be shown to a- by all accounts- fabulous teacher who wanted to teach one more year before retiring in the school that had been her home for 26 years, including during the year she recently lost her husband.
Since then, you may have heard, another teacher’s appeal was denied. Bert Wartski is also being transferred involuntarily and with the second denied appeal, I started to wonder if the school board has any history at all of granting an appeal? Anyone know? Is the process just for show? Does anyone ever convince board members that a first pass at a decision was wrong?
There are always at least two sides to every story and thus far personnel issues have been the reason little has been said from school administration and the board. I wonder if the teachers are allowed to waive confidentiality specific to the details of the transfers and as to what led to the denial of their appeals.
As I wrote last week, I don’t know these teachers, nor do I have a child in any of the schools being discussed for their futures. I write only about what I hear and what I read: a major public outcry that’s not being answered. People tend to like to know they’ve been heard in general and in this community, when it comes to education, that’s even more true. And with both teachers being moved to teach new subjects, education itself does not seem to be behind the strategy.
The teachers say they plan to appeal beyond the school board now, to the Superior Court. The teachers don’t plan to stop fighting, nor do those I heard from. As I write this it’s August 1st. The school year is now weeks, not months, away. It would certainly be swell if someone found a way to retire the rancor before the kids showed up.
Have any ideas? Leave a comment below or write to me at Donnabeth@Chapelboro.com