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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When Scary Stories Go Bad

***This is an update on the fake gunmen story in Murfreesboro***

It was a scary story run amuck that got the whole fake gunmen incident going. Apparently the teacher who thought up the story was a pretty good story teller.

Sitting out at a camping trip and telling stories is a tradition that goes back who knows how long? Kids getting scared by ghost stories and evil of all kinds is part of the tradition. Stories of these kinds give the sense of ambivolent fear that says, "that could never happen, but I am not going back to my cabin alone."

Had there been no Virginia Tech story, there would be no Fall Creek Falls camping trip story. period. The national zeitgeist was such that people really do kill people with guns. Columbine, Jonesboro, and Red lake had all worn off - but Virginia Tech had not.

When you are in the situation like this, there is a point when the situation crosses the line and then there is the point when you recognize that it is crossing the line. The teacher took it too far. True to his character, Bartch is being truthful and is not hanging anyone out to dry.

I hope that the two week suspension is the extent of the punishment (too much in my opinion). If the one or two parents who are out for blood demand his head on a platter and they get it, then the school district administration is gutless and no place anyone would want to work for.

I think that if they ask for Bartch's resignation, the enrtire faculty ought to join Bartch with their resignations as well. Yes, I think that he is that important to the school. If they fire him, then good luck trying to get someone in that position with half the character of Bartch.

All a firing would do is satisfy (or not) a few gripers and appease the ignorant outcries in the media. It would be a short term fix. But then finding a new assistant principal in a school district that makes scapegoats of their best people is no place anyone with any self-resepct would want to work. In short, a firing will shut people up for now, but will be bad for children.

The school distrcit should stand by the assistant principal in the same way the assistant princiapal is standing by the teacher.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

it's Murfreesboro...

Greg Brooks said...

Fajita, I seem to remember having a conversation about this principle (not principal): when does being good trump being right? Not in this case, it seems. As a parent I want my school administration to be paying careful attention to both and reacting appropriately when someone right is bad and when someone good is wrong.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME BLOG, THANK YOU FOR FINALLY SHARING SOMETHING TRUTHFUL!

Fajita said...

Greg, you make the point well. And I think that is exactly what happened. When the situation became bad, it ended. Something bad did happen, but the response was appropriate. The prank was not allowed to continue when it as realized it was not being interpretted as a prank. Pranks are a tradition at this camping outing and not out of the ordinary. The kids would have been disappointed and frustrated had there not been a prank.

The media response, however, was not appropriate. The extent to which they capped on lingering Virginia Tech fears in order to sell copy at the expense of people is egregious. This as a case of heartless exploitation for profit.

I made e-mail contact with Don Batch and he said that what is being reported in the news does not resemble the real situation.

MDAMAN said...

I haven't seen much coverage of this event, but the newspaper article you link to in the prior post certainly does not support your point that the media is out to get Bartch or even that parents are demanding blood.

In fact, the article is a well-written, objective account of the incident. I was not surprised to read that some parents were "outraged" "shocked" or wanted a meeting with Bartch as set forth in the article. There was absolutely no mention of any parent demanding a resignation, etc. and the article's author certainly didn't call for it.

I'm also not upset by the punishment. The Don Bartch I knew in college was a good, decent guy and I don't expect that has changed, but sometimes even good, decent guys make errors in judgment and there has to be some consequence. Even if it wasn't his error, but another teacher's, he is the assistant principal present on the trip and as such bears some responsibility.

I believe most people want to forgive good, decent guys for errors in judgment that involve no serious consequences. Bartch's reputation is probably why I haven't seen an article where a parent of a kid involved in the incident (as opposed to some internet loony) is demanding his resignation. Most people, parents, school boards know a good thing when they have it.

Just my 2 cents!

Anonymous said...

I love Don as well and feel awful about what happened and what his family is going thru...however it was STILL poor judgement. Before I even knew Don was involved I was referring to the teachers as idiots to pull such a prank. It doesn't matter that pranks are pulled at camp all the time (as Don's Dad pointed out). This kind of prank, in the world today, it just very poor judgment.

Anonymous said...

http://southernsassoncrime.com/?p=733

Anonymous said...

I love Don as well and feel awful about what happened and what his family is going thru...however it was STILL poor judgement. Before I even knew Don was involved I was referring to the teachers as idiots to pull such a prank. It doesn't matter that pranks are pulled at camp all the time (as Don's Dad pointed out). This kind of prank, in the world today, it just very poor judgment.