Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Local Foolishness, Part 2

"Part 2" looks strange above "Part 1," doesn't it? Bad planning on my part; if part 2 is posted after part 1, it shows up first. I should've remembered.

Speaking of remembering: life is strange; every play that's cast in this county draws from the same short list of actors; and do you remember Ms. Amy Sorrell? The Official First Amendment Martyr? If you live here, you probably do; she's the high-school journalism teacher who, as all right-thinking folk know, was cruelly harassed by the Neanderthals of East Allen County Schools over a small difference in opinion about how a school newspaper should be run, and whether a teacher should be required to teach what she was hired to teach. As it turned out, EACS didn't fire her, as I suspect they should have; instead, they reassigned her to a different high school and a different subject area, for a while at least.

To my surprise, though, Ms. Sorrell will indeed be teaching journalism this school year -- for a different employer: Keystone Schools, which is the former Fort Wayne Christian School. The reason that it's the "former" is that Fort Wayne Christian School, sick with debt, was taken over in what amounted to bankruptcy by a Mr. Don Willis, who is one of Mr. Kelty's two wealthy friends from the post below which should have been the post above, which is where we came in. See? Different play ... same players. Mostly, anyway.

Based on her quote from the news story, Ms. Sorrell may have a brief but intense career at Keystone. Still, as the late Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "It's a full life, and a merry one." I think he was being a little bit sarcastic ... as am I.


Jeff Pruitt said...

Ah yes, teach those automatons. And don't even consider letting them publish the most non-offensive piece on tolerance lest us learned (and tolerant) folks might get angry.

In my skool, there's only one type of learnin - my way. Step outside that box and you're finished ya hear?

Why I want every kid to be a stand up guy just like me. The only way to do that is to act, think, and emulate my every move. Don't you know?

Bartleby said...

Your comment reads as though you think my reason for writing that she (probably) should have been fired by EACS was the student piece on the cuddly sodomites. If so, you're mistaken. The principal's response to the piece was, in my opinion, wrongheaded, or at least, disproportionate. My guess is that Ms. Sorrell could have conferred with the superintendent and might well have gotten her principal's policy reversed; or maybe not, but the very worst outcome she might have gotten would have been Dr. Novotny saying that her administrator is within his prerogatives and she's backing him up. Her job would never have been in jeopardy.

That said, when the journalism students' response to their first encounter with an irascible, unreasonable publisher is to throw a little tantrum, saying, fine, we just won't publish the paper any more, that'll show you, the teacher owes those students a little talking-to, followed -- if necessary -- by bad grades. Instead, this teacher said yeah, that's right, no paper, and journalism class has just become law class. Even if St. Amy hadn't clapped on her kid hat and joined the inmates in pretending to run the asylum -- even if she'd behaved like a grownup -- a teacher's unilateral decision to teach a different subject instead of the one for which she was hired (and is presumably qualified) should be an essentially automatic cause for prompt dismissal.

Or don't you sophisticates think so?

Jeff Pruitt said...

I don't believe she taught "law". I think she was teaching the class about first amendment rights and how it relates to journalists. Since when did this become outside the bounds of journalism class? Evidently when the topic (tolerance) is offensive to the administration.

I wrote for my school newspaper and I specifically remember lessons about 1st amendment issues being taught in class. I also remember our principal being outraged at one of our editorials that was harsh towards one of his decisions. He came and spoke to us (the editorial board) about why he was disappointed and how he thought the editorial was unfair. He didn't immediately try to become editor-in-chief and declare no story could be published w/o his say so. I also remmber my journalism teacher basically telling us that he had no right to censor our paper and that we shouldn't worry about any retribution.

I suppose I learned a lot from that class and that experience in particular...