Thursday, April 10, 2014

A lost opportunity...and a lost employee/teacher

An article in the Press Herald on line web site caught my attention Thursday morning.  Written by Steve Solloway, the article asked if the sudden resignation and message of the former Westbrook School Department Athletic director will be noticed by a cultural deficient Westbrook community, especially the school system.

The problem began last fall when then AD Marc Sawyer suspended several students for knowingly being at a party where alcohol beverages were served.  If this were true, the action violated a school system policy concerning the activity.  Some of those suspended were members of the football team which was about to play in a state playoff game.

Pressure from both the community and inside the school system itself caused the reinstatement of the players in time for the weekend game.  If I have correctly understood both Mr. Solloway's story and previous stories concerning this matter, a major contributor to the pressure was the mother of one of the players.  The part that makes the situation even much, much worse, in my humble opinion, if it is true, is that mother is on the Westbrook School Committee.

So Marc Sawyer, who had taken what he called "his dream job" only last year, resigned.  Mr. Sawyer was proud of the opportunity to return to his native Westbrook where he played sports and help direct the athletic program and form the future for its participants.  Mr. Solloway quotes from the resignation letter:  "He couldn’t continue in the position he once considered his dream job because of the 'incestuous culture of the community, individuals placing their own needs ahead of the overall group."'

When a similar situation happened later in the Boothbay Regional High School's basketball season and six players were suspended just before the championship playoffs began, the players didn't play in the championship games.  Boothbay was a high ranking team with a chance to win the state championship, but the players' actions caused new players to try to win.  They didn't. 

Those regional communities stood behind the suspensions and then drove a nail into coffin when asked about Westbrook's lifting of their suspension.  "We're not Westbrook," said the populace.

Our jobs as adults and teachers is to teach our kids about our culture, including what's right and wrong and the penalties and rewards of actions.  I feel badly for the young people from Westbrook who, apparently, aren't being taught their lessons.  As Mr. Solloway put it, "Westbrook fumbled its opportunity to teach."  I'd add that the city also lost a very capable teacher/AD.  I wonder how it will affect future hires.


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