TO THE EDITOR:
It’s hard to put into words what has happened to the Williamson County School system these last few years.
Like most of you, when we bought our house in Will Co, one of the reasons was because of the “stellar” schools. But if you look around today, there seems to be a spiraling out of control that has perhaps become irreparable.
In my opinion, the initial push over the cliff came with the “Take Your Technology To School” initiative. All of a sudden, kids had access to their devices, INSIDE the classrooms, all day long. I knew we were a goner when I was sitting at my desk at home and I got a notification on Words With Friends that it was my turn in the game I was playing with my son who was supposedly in Algebra II. “Why were you playing Words With Friends during class?” I asked him. “I finished my test early and I was bored.” You know, kids, when I was bored, I stared out the window, slept on my desk or doodled on my notebook.
Fast forward a couple of years, and my youngest kid is assigned an email address for middle school. Truth be told, she didn’t have an email address at home, didn’t have a personal device to bring to school and wasn’t very computer savvy so I was not that worried. The email was supposed to be used to send assignments and communicate easier with the teacher. And while all that sounds interesting what I DIDN’T know was that there are chat rooms associated with those email addresses. And that students can email each other, even while they’re in the classrooms. When I finally wised up and looked through my daughter’s email, there it was: the email from the 7th grade boy in her class asking if he could Skype with her so he could “see” her better. When I asked to have her email address changed so no students could contact her anymore, I was told that was not allowed. It’s a combination of their name and student number and they could not change it. I actually laughed and said that I would find 30 students in the hallway who could show them how to change a student’s email address and number. In the end, I left saying that if WCS could not protect my child INSIDE the classroom, then what was the point. WCS no longer has my business.
And now 4 years later it seems that WCS has gone from a school system that doesn’t want to protect their students to a system that is DEFINITELY not protecting it’s teachers. When good, smart and beloved teachers can go from tenure to fired over ONE homework assignment, you know they’ve gone mad. And it’s even sadder when the homework assignment in question came directly from a STATE MANDATED TEXTBOOK. When teachers have students RECORDING THEIR TEACHING INSIDE the classroom (which is illegal) and they get fired (or forced to resign), it’s an abomination. Instead of talking these situations through, they are approached by the principal and the police and asked for their school badge. The police? Really? What do you think they’re going to do? Scream about their Constitutional Rights (which were violated) in the hallway as they’re leaving?
Here’s the things about the current crisis at WCS: What are they going to do now? They’ve encouraged a culture that gives viral social media a bigger voice than the constituents in the community. They’ve double-talked and said that the N word is “horrible” and “racist” while at the same time are forcing kids to read “classic novels” that are LACED with the word. How are they going to find ANYONE to want to teach under those impossible conditions?
Teaching used to be a fantastic career for men and women that love teaching and love impacting children. And maybe it still is in other counties. But soon we’re going to see Williamson County Schools listing jobs for teachers as “Bring Your Own Attorney … Because You’re Gonna Need One.”