Anderson 1 Teacher
By Alex Saitta
May 8, 2018
I’m sure most of you read about and saw the video of the Anderson 1 teacher, Lisa Houston, and the student falling asleep in class. See the video and audio inside this Greenville News article.
Clearly the teacher exercised bad judgement. As well intentioned as she was, putting your feet on anyone and tugging at their hair, even in a playful way, is not a good idea. However, I would not have fired her. Supporting that, is she had an excellent record for 28 years. If that was my child, falling asleep in the classroom, I would have came to the teacher's defense and argued she not be terminated (forced to retire).
You say to the teacher, we can see you were well intentioned, and you like to engage the students in a fun and playful way, and we love that about you, but this was a step too far. And I'm sure she sees that. The administration then writes up a warning, it goes in her file, and she is sent back to the classroom, and everyone is the wiser.
Likely she was told either retire or be terminated by the school board. The problem is, too many board members and district administrations are scared to death of parents who have lawyers and fussing in the media like this.
They are supportive of employees when it comes to things like pay and benefits, but when it comes to situations like this, their solution is usually a quick solution, and that often means the employee walks the plank. Seen in many times. And many times I was in the board minority, in executive session, saying wait a second, that coach in Easley, or that special ed teacher at Pickens or that first grade teacher in West End didn't get to tell his/ her story or the punishment being dished out is excessive. It didn't matter; the overall driver was to put it behind the district as soon as possible. True justice doesn't punch a time clock.
Why Did He Resign?
The Anderson 1 board member, Doug Atkins, resigning was a mistake. If I resigned every time I was on the losing end of a 8 to 1, 7 to 1 or 5 to 1 vote, I would’ve resigned the first year. Resigning in a huff improves nothing. He and his cause will be forgotten next week.
Instead, the next meeting you lay out why their decision (retire or you will be fired) was a bad decision. Then you push for a real grievance policy that gives employees a fair hearing when it comes to issues like this. That is missing too, throughout the state, and that needs to be put in place so employees get a fair and deliberate hearing.