Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Progress Report

I have had contact with the Davis County School Board. They have been extremely respectful and demonstrated great concern for Mr. Smith and his cause.

I congratulate all of you who have acted with decision and courtesy to move Mr. Smith’s case forward in a positive way. I am absolutely confident we have been heard, and will receive a chance to present our arguments to those who can do something about them.

I am reminded of a line from the Declaration of Independence: “In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms.” At this stage of our efforts I am 100% certain that HUMBLE PETITION is our best course. The Board is on the side of right, and Justice will prevail. It will be easier to advance Mr. Smith’s return with their support.

Some statistics might be heartening. I have received close to 300 visits to the Agora over the last three days. If a good percentage of these visits have resulted in letters to our School Board, we are surely making an impact. I am aware of two “face book” groups that have also taken up our crusade, and they are growing by the day.

I have communicated with the Smiths. They are heartened and grateful for all of your efforts in their behalf. Mrs. Sandra Smith spoke to all when she wrote, “No matter what happens to us now we will never forget what you have done and these incredible letters that are showing up.”

Some reflections:

In any “fight” there will be opposition. I have discussed before the pernicious rumors and the angry claims made by some against Mr. Smith. This is to be expected. I am aware that there have even been petitions circulated against him. This is to be accepted as part of any disagreement. Four thoughts come to my mind.

First – one cannot act decisively in leadership without offending some. Even as a teacher, as many will attest, I have angered some students. I determined long ago that one cannot base their actions on the whim of the mob or any attempt to gain favor. As a young teacher I wanted all my students to like me best, I soon found that my efforts in their service would anger many and stirred real enmity in some. I realized that I did not have to have the approval of all; I needed only to worry about the attitudes of those whose opinions mattered to me. If the people I respected, respected me, if the people I served were improved by my service, then I was doing what is right. What parent, struggling to do what is best for a beloved child, has not heard, “I hate you!” from the child they love and sacrificed for. A good parent goes on to do what is best for the child. I choose to be judged by the good I did for my students. I would rather be “hated” at the moments I forced them to work and appreciated by them years later when they understand the benefit of what I had forced them to do, than to be their buddy in the classroom, and despised in years to come, when they realized that I taught them nothing. It is the same with all good teachers, the same with a great principal.

Second – we are not involved in building some kind of majority vote, we are not campaigning to sway as many supporters as we can to force by quantity or volume any course of action. We are fighting for what is right and just. This is not a popularity contest, it is an appeal to reason, in the end it must come down to those who have right, reason, and justice on their side.

Third - we may have to deal with many rules and policies along the way to justice, but in the end the right must prevail. Cicero speaks of small “l” law and big “L” Law; laws that are simply the statutes of men as opposed to the Laws of nature and of God. In the end it cannot be emotion, anger, or passion, that determines justice, it must be the truth. The wrong shall fail the right prevail.

Last – In the claims and recriminations that result in this debate, one must step back and place on the scales of justice all the actions of Mr. Smith’s service. Please picture with me Athena’s scales held high above her blindfolded face. Pile with me on the one pan any mistakes Mr. Smith may have made, on the other, place the great deeds of goodness that are the result of his 40 years of service to the teaching of students. This examination of facts is also a function of Justice. If we do this, there will be no question of the rectitude of our position.


Anonymous said...

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Lysis said...

Thank you for your comment.