Applause for Worden …
Dear Mammoth Unified School District Board of Education:
I would like to second the comments and suggestions in Scotty Anderson’s commentary in The Sheet (“Former Student Weighs In,” March 24, pg. 7), and I’m writing this without Mammoth High School Drama Teacher Kevin Worden’s knowledge, or prompting from him in any way.
Like Scotty, I worked in network TV for several years as a comedy writer for many top stars. I’ve also worked with Kevin on several productions over the past 25 years. My opinion is that he should be considered a “community treasure.” He is not only talented, and talented people are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, but he is also a devoted teacher. That’s far less easy to come by.
One of the problems we face today is that so many administrative decisions are being driven by the fear of the ligitious nature of our present culture. Attorneys have done a very good job convincing us that we should base our judgment on what MIGHT happen and, if something does happen, that we absolutely need their help in resolving it. Both assumptions are flawed.
I remember a sign I saw on the wall of a police station a long time ago: “One or two ‘oh craps’ wipe out a bunch of ‘attaboys!’”
I don’t know the exact details of what transpired in the so-called incidents that led to Kevin’s chastisement, but having worked with adolescent kids myself in the past, there is one thing for sure: incidents will arise. The question then becomes what do you do AFTER the fact. If you are expecting a teacher to be able to prevent incidents such as what I’m told occurred, you are asking for the impossible. The question that should be asked is what did the teacher do after the incident occurred.
So, if the facts to be considered are what Kevin did after the “fake gun” incident and what he did after the “porn portrayal” incident, then that has some weight and merit. If you are suggesting that Kevin should have anticipated and prevented such incidents, that is setting a standard that no one, much less a teacher of adolescent kids, could rise to.
During Kevin’s 25 years working with kids, did anyone keep a record of how many incidents he either handled without fanfare or prevented by his anticipation of what MIGHT happen had he not acted judiciously? Would the person or persons who will make this decision be willing to be held to same standard, for instance, with their own few children in their family? Have your kids ever done dumb things that were outside the scope of your anticipation and control? If your answer is, “No,” then perhaps you should consider taking over Kevin’s job if he is ultimately dismissed. We need infallible people such as you!
I strongly suggest that you reconsider your decision to dismiss any teacher based on the idea of whether he might “step into the same hole again.”
If I had my life to live over, I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again … I’d make a whole bunch of new ones!
Thank you in advance for taking my opinion into consideration.
NOTE: The MUSD Board of Education met in closed session last Thursday and deliberated Worden’s dismissal, but took no action. The Board will next meet and take up the issue again in April.