Letters to the Editor
Originally Published October 3, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate
Imagine a teacher expressing her desires to hit children. Actually, she publishes her feelings in an educational magazine. “Rude kids should be hit! Hit ’em when they step out of line,” she says. After parents hear of this, the principal places the teacher on paid leave. The principal meets with the school superintendent and concerned parents. The superintendent explains that the teacher will not be fired for fear of upsetting the teachers union. The teacher is reprimanded, writes a promise that she’ll never act, takes perfunctory sensitivity training and attends several “I’m-sorry-I-scared-you” meetings with teachers and one with students and parents. The principal states that the teacher would never act because “I’ve known her since I was a kid.”
The teacher is labelled “reformed”; she is placed back in school as a lunch room supervisor — with full pay and benefits. Additional information surfaces. A previous principal, the teacher’s former boss, emailed the superintendent saying: “I wouldn’t trust her with any kids, no matter what she says. It is a show.”
The community is concerned because the town said everything was okay. The parents attend a school board meeting when the superintendent is going to get an award for “doing a good job.” The citizens are told that they can’t speak about the teacher. “We’re here to praise our superintendent,” the board tells the people. “We’ve invested our reputations and egos into him” is the tacit message. “We want this problem to go away,” says the school board chair.
Undaunted, the parents address the board, protesting. New evidence is presented. The teacher frequented pro-hitting social media since being “reformed.” “It’s not our job to hear it,” the board says. “Go talk to our excellent superintendent about it.” The public tries to impress upon the board that a teacher advocating hitting children is not okay.
And the superintendent gets his award.
This is fiction, of course. However, with a few substitutions, this could be the real story of racism, Lt. Pedrini, our police department, the Town Manager, and the Select Board.
I am sure Richard Pedrini loves his family, country, colleagues and neighbors. Further, I am sure that he has done great good. How could he not in his chosen profession? However, he has expressed racist, xenophobic, sexist, bigoted, views. Given his convictions, he cannot provide for our public safety.