year was… oh, wow… was it 1984 or 1985? It was over twenty years
ago is the point that matters. I was in high school at the time,
and sitting in a history class. The teacher had asked us what
we would do if we had a million dollars. What I would consider
the usual answers came up from people in our class…
the teacher wasn’t impressed. He thought we lacked vision. He
had gone to a big-time college. And he suggested investing it
back in the school… making a donation and possibly even having
a building named after him.
that’s when I made a mistake by being a smartass. Bear in mind,
all of us in this class had just begun the hunt for colleges and
making our future plans. (I’m going from memory, but it is burned
into my mind so this is really, really close…)
it, fill-in-the-blank-with-his-name Hall at Major University,”
the teacher said.
goes Major University,” I replied in a loud whisper, eliciting
a huge laugh from the class.
got sent to the office.
thing happened after that. Even though I apologized profusely
and fully understood my comment was disrespectful, the teacher
started picking on me. And I mean picking on me. To the point
that I was convinced it was personal and that he was deliberately
trying to fail me. My parents joined me in a meeting with my guidance
counselor, but he thought I was imagining things.
my mid-term exams.
history exam was divided into two parts that semester, a multiple
choice test and an essay. These were administered in separate
sessions. I scored a 90 on the test portion and thought I was
doing alright… and then I got the essay back.
was graded a 39.
39 on an essay.
numerical grade on a high school mid-term essay.
mean really… numerically grading an essay aside... how do you
arrive at a 39 when grading an essay?
I’ll tell you how…
averaging two grades together, 90 and 39 add up to 129 and a total
score of 64.5. The score on the essay was exactly the score needed
to make my average a failing grade.
this point I won’t bother you with the rest of the story that
involved giving the essay to other teachers, having it evaluated,
and basically proving my point that the teacher was a jerk. I
rose above it, went to college, got married and went on with my
life. It’s just another example of why I don’t look back at high
school with fond memories that often.
reason I mention this whole story here though is this… an article
about the teacher in Pennsylvania that was supposedly trying to
teach a student a valuable lesson when he wore a Denver jersey
to school one day.
the story funny? Yeah… I suppose it’s worthy of a chuckle. But
check out these two quotes, one of which scare me:
“If he felt uncomfortable, then that’s a lesson; that’s what
(the class) is designed to do. It was silly fun. I can’t believe
he was upset.” This is the scary one. That’s the teacher,
John Kelly, being quoted in The Denver Post (cited
in the article). Now, after seeing those words… does anyone
believe an apology from him is going to carry much significance?
- “We’ll take whatever
action we need to in order for the student to feel comfortable.”
That’s Donna Nugent, the district superintendent. So in direct
conflict with what Kelly said, the school offices seem to
think that the student might need some help and considerations.
I saying this is a major issue? No… I’m not. Joshua Vannoy should
recover from this and move on with his life. If he doesn’t get
into the college he wants to go to… if he doesn’t get the job
of his dreams… if he can’t get into a loving relationship… whatever…
that’s his fault, not Kelly’s. Enough people are aware of what
happened and are working on it that Vannoy shouldn’t have any
troubles sorting out his education and his future. So let’s see
him and his family take some responsibility here.
what the heck was Kelly thinking? It’s tough enough being a teenager
without getting other kids to join in on the… ahem… fun.
is a very discouraging story, and I do feel sorry for Vannoy.
Because while it should be something he can overcome, he is going
to have to do work to get past it that he shouldn’t be faced with.
the article I linked to was found on the Sports Illustrated
web site. For the From the Backpack posting, that page no longer
existed. As such, I looked and found
this one from ESPN. Even has the same quotes.