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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another day where I do not post photos of corn but rant about issues that no one reading my blog cares about

A few of my dedicated followers know that someone close to me was a teacher at a private Christian school, until the last hour of the last day before she left on a month long vacation.
That month has passed and it is interesting to note at how little the life of an individual is valued by the Church bureaucracy . Thirteen years of dedication to the school is gone in a second and very few people really seam to really care. The board and administration are all now congratulating each other on making through another really tough challenge. The board member at my soon to be former church encourages me not be be bitter.
It is almost laughable.
Here is the story as I see it. (My views don't really reflect the views of my wife and so if she reads this an objects I will instantly take it down. She has a much better attitude than I and is more sad and hurt than angry and cynical.)
Now lets keep in mind that this is a Mennonite school and I have been born and raised in the Mennonite Church.
Mennonites are the ones that used to get burned at the stake a lot for not bowing to kings and for rebaptizing people and for refusing to go to war and kill people. They take the Sermon on the Mount pretty much at face value and would in fact give you the shirt off their back, if you asked.
Much of that has changed in the 21st century.
Now the liberal ones are more about supporting Palestine and Gay Love and many ways to God and the feminine aspects of god and holding hands a lot, women pastors-(a bonus if you are a lesbian woman pastor) and of course making money.
The conservatives are pretty much anti-gay love, a 6,000 year earth, keeping women out of leadership roles, and making money.
Now, there are a few true believers here and there, I met some really good folks in Florida and I know some pretty admirable folks in this state, which are in no way connected to school of which I have been speaking, I'm making kind of rough and kind of rude generalizations to just to get everyone annoyed.
I aspire to be more like the exceptions, the Sermon on the Mount folks, I've met a few and I respect them, but I'm pretty much a failure. So, I keep my mouth shut and do what is asked of me and don't talk about it much and I try to do the right thing but it doesn't always work out so well for me. You folks have read this blog, you know the truth.
However, I'm sort of annoyed and seriously offended by people who are supposed to be better than I. Who are in positions of leadership and who I think have failed, and so I'll just rant a bit.
First of all, It really annoys me to be forced to apologize for something that is not wrong.
The aforementioned person got fired for grabbing a kid and getting his attention and telling him to stop acting like a idiot in woodshop class.
It is an absolute outrage that she got fired for that. (Well, we think that was what she got fired for, they were pretty closed mouth what specific charges were brought. The fund-raiser auctioneer/head administrator said he had "sought much council" and that was about it.)
To add insult to injury, when I complained to the board member who i thought was my friend, he compared it to elder abuse at his rest home. Apparently it is a slippery slope, first you tap a kid on the head and tell him to wake up, next you are beating Altzheimer's patients and giving them atomic wedgies with their adult depends.
AND...to give even more insult to injury I know good and well these same people that fired her are probably saying in private how much they would like to "deck" a few insubordinate obnoxious kids themselves. But they didn't have the balls to stand up for her, OR they wanted her gone.
Of course earlier, this same board member intimated to me in a private conversation that he would not mind if all the teachers at the school got concealed carry permits for school use.
In the early days of this country there were Mennonites who watched their families die and were then tortured themselves rather than kill the semi-naked Savages who were burning down their house.
I can go from that historical perspective to saying that I guess it is all right to carry a .45 in case of School violence but not ok to restrain a kid in wood shop?
Speaking of restraining a kid... Back in the day, I got swats, keys thrown at me, erasers thrown at me, my recess privileges suspended for a year and quite a few laps in the gym and it was an excellent lesson. I learned not to get caught! (Note: This did not happen all in the course of one day, it was more like a year.)
But, I digress...
I had an interesting conversation today with my dentist. I have an awesome dentist. She is conversant on all sort of fascinating topics from C.S. Lewis and Post Modernism to the virtues of the free market economy vs socialism. It helps me forget Dustin Hoffman and Marathon Man whilst setting in the dentist chair trying not to gag.
She pointed out that since Oregon is a free-will employment state (or what ever it is called, I could google it but I want to go to bed, you could google it, you obviously have a computer) it is a common technique to reveal as little information as possible to the terminated employee and thus give less opportunity for a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Later the light bulb flickered on. My metaphorical lightbulb is still an incandescent, suppose that is now a thought crime?
But, I digress...
I thought about a previous meeting in the Auctioneer-Fundraiser/Administrator's office. He was talking about their plan to get back to the basic Mennonite beliefs. I got all excited and started quoting from the 1967 (or whatever) confession of faith, He had no idea what I was talking about. So there was a little bit of dead air...
Ooops, off subject again. I've got a lot of pent up frustration with these people!
At the meeting he was stating how the most theologically sound person there was not Mennonite and thus could not be utilized as a Bible teacher.
I now find this quite ironic.
So they are so concerned about Mennonite values and traditions that they must hire a Mennonite Bible teacher, but yet they don't consider that the teacher they just fired without any attempt at traditional Mennonite Conflict resolution, who they assume will sue them if given the chance, might actually have real Mennonite beliefs. That teacher whose husband has the most traditionally Mennonite background seen at the school in 30 years, a teacher who attends a church which did not allow musical instruments in the sanctuary until two years ago, will NOT SUE them. (unless completely humiliated and egged on by her extremely annoyed husband)
So all they really had to say is, "look, we have a problem." Especially, when she reported herself.
Also, for all this talk about returning to basic Mennonite values, they just got rid of the most traditional Mennonite people at the school, their natural allies! Pretty funny eh?
In the end there is little to say.
I hate to see them getting away with making a mockery out of the Mennonite faith but I have to realize that it is a cultural thing. They don't really believe in any of the hard to do Mennonite beliefs that would have a direct impact on their egos or their need to make money or their love of dapper outfits, sporting events, and conceal carry permits. Just as long as no one tells those Asian exchange students they are going to make it into heaven without saying one of two key phrases and we certainly don't need no alternative lifestyle teachers, although students doing little experimentation in the dorms is ok as long as everyone feels really bad afterwards.
Speaking of that, since they just lust let her go and didn't buy out her contract or tie up any loose ends with a little cash tied to another confidentiality agreement, I can say what ever I want.
I think I'll wait till my daughter is out of school there but I do have some pretty funny scandals to relate.


11 comments:

  1. The kid, administration and parents should all thank this unnamed person for stopping him acting like an idiot in shop class thus preventing potential injury to himself and others.
    Bring on the corn pictures/pretty funny scandals.

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  2. Speaking as a former idiot school kid, I think the world might be a better place if kids were told to stop acting that way. As many times as it takes to get the message through.

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  3. Survival of the fittest rears it's ugly head within the church. Kind of ironic. To the 'powers that be' of which you speak, turning the other cheek doesn't apply to friends or children I guess. Only to one's enemies. Best to consider a friend an enemy if the need arises and avoid the whole issue. In your case, I would suggest you turn the lower cheek and offer it up. There will be no reasoning with them.
    Lets hear the scandals! Isn't that what the internet is for?
    That and corny jokes.

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  4. Just wanted to say keep the faith. Have followed your blog for about a year and like your random frame of mind. but in your current situation (regardless of what others do) you have to keep the faith.

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  5. i'm with Muddy - whats the scoop! nah.. not really. i didnt see the whole enchilada earlier. i'm very sorry for this situation. nothing disappoints like church folk, huh? we left one church because they didnt have sunday morning service because of... Christmas. i cried. then we found another church and its all worked out very nicely. give that person close to you a hug from me.

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  6. Having spent a lot of time in dentist chairs and not really ever having had a dentist I liked or enjoyed, I too am always aware of Marathon Man and a crazy person drilling through my front teeth.

    My son is good friends with a Mennonite woman and I know her parents (the father is a minister) and that's as close as I've come to a Mennonite church or person of said faith. That doesn't really matter except I have some vague notion of Mennonites. The issue with the child is always a problem. Teachers need to have some level of control and certainly in some venues, like a Mennonite school, you would expect that to happen naturally, just like it would not happen in an inner city public school. I also would like to punch a few teachers who crossed the like physically with me about fifty years ago. It sounds like the woman teacher did the right thing in the class and in self-reporting and that the admin people followed that standard CYA approach. If she was a good teacher other than that incident and the incident did not result in physical injury or lifetime psychological damage there should have been some sort of mediation of the event...especially in a Mennonite school. Ranting is good.

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  7. To all the various comments the one answer is, it is just depressing to see that nonprofits are really a business. To see that people will not choose belief over threat of a lawsuit and that you are way less important than you think you are.
    I don't know if it effects my faith as much as it just reminds me that we are alone. We being the sort of people who read and comment on this blog. Kind of an odd bunch, we are...
    Also, the Mennonite thing gives specific issues to complain about but you could substitute almost any denomination or belief system. People are not good in and of themselves...
    I have spoken....

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    1. Also, it was not so much the event. The event was important as it shows how times have changed and the depressing effects of political correctness, but the response to a self reported minor infraction and the mean spiritedness in which it was handled is the real issue.

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  8. Politics and the temptation or incentives to be of service to money (i.e. lawsuits, profit, loss, etc.) beat on us like hail on a pole building roof whether it be non-profits or profit focused organizations of high ethics and standards. It is disappointing. It takes courage to do the right thing.

    Yes, we can substitute denomination or belief system but sometimes the soup is watered down.

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  9. Well, in all likelihood the school doesn't have liability insurance and the school board is terribly afraid of getting sued by the parents of kids at the school, for fear that having to hire a defense lawyer will itself bankrupt the school. The board members are probably all afraid of personal liability, and that self-interest likely informs every decision they make on maters such as this.

    Now what probably didn't immediately occur to them is that your wife could also sue, for wrongful termination, damage to reputation, or worse could cooperate in a suit by the parents. But it will occur to them.

    Quote possibly what they told you or the kid's parents or other parents or other employees could be considered libel or slander. If your daughter is still going to that school and anything happens to her that can be described as bullying, retaliation, or child abuse, they are completely exposed.

    In other words, you now own them. And if anything happens over the next few months at the school that could be attributed to a failure to support the school teachers in instilling discipline, all their worst fears may be realized without you or your wife having to do much of anything.

    That's all very unchristian of me to say. In penance, I plan to spend MLK weekend reading the Sermon on the Mount.

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    Replies
    1. Actually there is of course more to this story. She quit last year after a meeting with the administrator got a little crazy. She asked the wrong questions which she thought she was supposed to do as a faculty representative to a committee. She was asked to return and got an apology but it was a little difficult since then. I think I have it fairly well documented. It is just a question of if I believe in lawsuits against people.

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