Parents nowadays. We are so demanding! Take the moms and dads in the small hamlet of Morton, Wash., who made the news yesterday when they protested the return of a teacher to the local junior/senior high who had been convicted of assaulting several of his female students. What will it be next — demanding salmonella-free chicken nuggets?
Sure, this case is anomalous. Thank heavens we don’t have the school system overrun with convicted lechers. Still, the story epitomizes the systematized ludicrosity parents must deal with when attempting to make serious changes at a school — to oust an abusive teacher, say, or remove a terrible principal. The system seems tailor-made to protect adult careers at the cost of kids’ welfare.
This particular case is so egregious it made me groan such that coworkers three rows away inquired about my welfare. During the 18 months of administrative and criminal investigations that led to the sentencing of history teacher Michael Mouton to 15 days in prison, the school district took one modest disciplinary measure: 12 days' suspension without pay (the rest of the time he was being paid in full, though not working). And this is after the State Office of Public Instruction uncovered an 11-year history of Mouton’s inappropriate interactions with female students! Then when the school district tried to fire him, Mouton fought it under the "double jeopardy" rule — which holds you can't punish a public employee twice for the same offense. Sorry parents, our hands are tied.
The parents of Morton do have some recourse: They’re appealing to the state superintendent of public instruction to revoke Mouton’s teaching certificate. But check out the video below and tell me is this really democracy at work? Should it really come to this — kids making posters asking a teacher not to molest them?