Just a few hours after the broadcast below Stacy Schuler, the Mason teacher was sentenced to 4 years in prison for the 16 counts against her of sexual battery. Doc Thompson and I spoke about all things involving public education in a segment that turned to humor as we dealt with all the stress evident around the subject. In this conversation we talk about all the school levies in Cincinnati starting with Lakota, we talk about Stacy Schuler, we talk about the need for innovation in education, and we spoke about Issue 2 in Ohio as well as Issue 3. Then we came unglued when the subject moved to the antics of the Lakota School Board.
What all these school systems have in common, whether it be Lakota, Fairfield, Lebanon, or Mason is they all lack essential leadership in their school boards. The fault for that starts with us for electing the wrong people to school board. But many of those bright-eyed idealists who run for those boards find themselves crushed by consensus under the weight of the Delphi Technique taught by the OSBA (Ohio School Board Association) which seeks to unify a board to unification and looks down upon dissenters. School board members who exhibit dissent are pushed off the board. This is exactly what happened to a friend of mine in Mason by the name of Jennifer Miller.
Jennifer was on the school board of Mason during the years leading up to many of he events that created Stacy Schuler and I was thinking of those events as I watched Stacy calmly sit in front of a judge and await her fate. As I said in the broadcast, I thought Stacy Schuler was getting a raw deal. Her teachers union had abandoned her. Many of the school board members and administrators who knew about what was going on in Mason with Schuler had either quit and left for other jobs in other parts of the country or sat on their hands and let Stacy hang in the court of public opinion without offering to help her or speak on her behalf.
I think what Stacy did was wrong. She compromised her authority position and that dictates losing her job. But it does not dictate jail. The boys she had sex with will become celebrities, and the people who helped create the environment all escaped unharmed and that was the real crime.
The school board at Mason was exceptionally weak on this. They quietly dealt with George Coates, her boss, who had sent nude pictures of himself to Stacy because they were on her school computer. The case was much larger than Stacy Schuler having sex with 5 football players. It was a cultural failure which started in the school itself. (SEE CLIPS FROM WHEN THE INCIDENT BROKE AT THIS LINK! This will give you an idea of the scope of the story left uncovered. Kevin Bright, the superintendent was moved to Cleveland before the trail began).
The Stacy Schuler case not only showed how far down the rabbit hole we’ve all submitted to in social degradation, listening to the boys talk about sex with their teacher as though they were the stars of an American Pie movie, but it points to a much more epic problem which almost every one of us is guilty of, setting the social bar too low not only for ourselves, but for our kids. For the kids, it was clearly a joke. They smoked dope and had group sex with their teacher and were heroes for it. That is a social failure in itself. Stacy, coming out of a bad marriage and hitting the age of 30 decided, “What the hell. I feel like it so I’m doing it!” To me there is something to be admired in that proclamation even if it is against the law, because it’s honest. It may not be right morally, but she was clearly attempting to solve a puzzle deep inside her mind with acts of pornographic degradation and social rebellion.
But the real villains are still out there, and you know who you are. You are the apologists, the blamers, the people who think first how to push under the rug every item which might jeopardize the funding structure for which you administer. You’ll lie, you’ll cheat, and you’ll manipulate any fact to protect your own. But when one of your own actually gets caught, you quickly cut all your ties to them and leave them to hang without a lending hand of any kind and that makes you all cowards!
Everyone who knows me understands that I’m not a fan of teachers unions. But instead of standing around with signs protesting Issue 2 in Ohio, shouldn’t they have been protesting to help Stacy Schuler and her fall from grace? I heard nothing from the union about defending her behavior or even attacking some of the administrators who participated in this debacle. Instead, everyone went into cover-up mode and showed the world what cowards they truly are.
It is because of obvious evidence such as this, that I think public education is a complete failure and simply not worth the money. And it is about the money, otherwise there wouldn’t have been any cover-up. And this points back to the dysfunction of school boards in general, not just with the Stacy Schuler situation, but at all schools. They are not doing what they should be doing. They do not control their costs, and properly manage their resources. They function to build consensus not only among themselves, but with the community, and that is what they are taught first and foremost at the OSBA Conference. That is why Lakota’s school board is fighting. That is why Fairfield’s school board took a pay-off which was investigated by the FBI as recently as August of 2011. And that is why the Mason school board didn’t deal with Stacy Schuler before things got out of hand. They wanted deniability so they could say later, “we didn’t know.” But everyone knew, including George. Instead of helping the teacher, they took advantage of her, and that is pathetic!
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