I have a few questions that I believe the School Board and Mr. Weissenfels should answer regarding the failed management of the middle school.
How did former Principal Bill Lawson administer the same school for many years with none of the same problems? Did he succeed by using a team concept, accepting input and suggestions from teachers and staff and treating them like the professionals they are?
Mr. Larby was given a veteran, professional and motivated staff to work with. He apparently has run staff morale into the ground in just a few years by creating a hostile environment where legitimate criticism is perceived as "personal attacks."
Is it a coincidence that Mr. Larby has targeted senior, experienced teachers who are all 20-year plus veterans? If these individuals were terminated they could be replaced with rookies who could be paid much less and would, due to inexperience, be much more pliable. Of course, they would also be much less effective teachers.
Is it a coincidence that the teachers Mr. Larby has targeted have been active in the teacher's union throughout their careers?
This is a "union," for all of you anti-union types out there, that is basically powerless except to file grievances over unfair or hostile working conditions. The school board and administration generally refuses to even negotiate contracts with them. Is this then just blatant union busting, making examples of the leaders to intimidate the rest?
It might interest people to know that while discussing this issue with an upset and saddened former teacher, the principal of one of our elementary schools stated, "Those teachers should have retired years ago anyway."
It would seem to me that the best interests of the students would be served by keeping these teachers on the job for as long as they want to work. I'm sure many others in their 40s and 50s have experienced the same treatment in their professions. It is nothing more than age discrimination.
Finally, what country are we living in? Has so much changed in this country that employees are now disciplined for any legitimate criticism or input that might be construed by insecure managers as a personal attack?
It is time for the public to get involved and speak out. It is clearly time for a change in the administration of the middle school.
After evaluating the decisions made by the district superintendent and the school board in this matter, we might want to consider some additional changes.
The next school board election is in November.
Ronald J. Weeks, Payson