2002-02-23 / Letters

Wants The Facts

Wants The Facts

I just arrived home from the EMERGENCY PTA meeting held this evening at Beach Channel HS where my child is a student.

I was told by many students and parents that Mr. Gassaway has informed them that he will be resigning if a suspended teacher should return to the school.

The meeting was called due to this statement by the principal (who was not in attendance) and the PTA proceeded to present their case in support of the principal's decision against the reinstatement of the teacher who was suspended for using corporal punishment against a student.

The lawyer, parents and student were present at the meeting but refused to discuss the events that took place last year when the teacher (who was not in attendance) was suspended.

The PTA chose to inform the parents of students of events that took place a year ago without providing the circumstances.  The issue was presented was that "No teacher has the right to physically abuse our children". 

I do not justify or agree with ANYONE physically correcting a child.

However, the PTA or parents would not discuss the events of the confrontation. A lot of legal discussion was provided by the Board of Education and the Student's Lawyer, but the students who spoke their minds and questioned the circumstances that lend to the confrontation were silenced because they were not articulate or they were "with the teacher".

Parents were accused of making the student a victim again by requesting answers to inquiries of the events take took place.

I personally met this teacher last year when my child was in attendance in their class.   I listened to my child's opinions and thoughts on this teacher.  It was in this teacher's class that my child was able to focus, learn, participate and PASS the Regent's Exam.

I personally met this teacher on open school night and commended him on his approach to ensure that his students who want to learn all receive an education.

I am a graduate of BCHS, my child has experienced and expressed first hand the difficulty in focusing on learning in class due to disruptive students. There are children who are disruptive, rude and disrespectful to their teachers.  I was told by students in attendance on 2/14/02 a student in the lunch room was attacking a teacher. What I would like is answers in order to make a fair judgment. Do I want Mr. Gassaway to leave our school? No, but I want to make my decision based upon the facts, not what is spoon fed to me by the PTA. It took Karen Brown of the PTA over an hour provide any information on the circumstances that took place between the student and teacher. Which contradicted the statements made by the parents that their son was pushed repeatedly in the locker room. According to Ms. Brown the altercation took place in the Dean's Office in view of witnesses (not in attendance).

I think everyone agreed that as parents we have the right to inquire on the student's behavior as well as the teacher's.

Name Withheld

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