Having read much on the story out of Ohio regarding the teacher who duct-taped a few of her students’ mouths closed, I wrote a letter to the school where this young lady teaches. Whether or not anyone actually reads it or even gives a shit, I decided to send it. Melissa Cairns was put on unpaid leave while the matter is investigated by the school board. One might argue that, even while not on leave, working teachers are practically on “unpaid stay.”
The story is everywhere. I felt compelled to chime in because, at least to me, this has been blown way out of proportion. Feel free to let me know your thoughts as well. The letter:
My name is Rob Gardner of Plymouth Meeting, PA. I have heard and read much of what is being reported on Melissa Cairns and the duct-taping of students. In response, I ask you to please not allow this dedicated teacher to be fired. Suspended without pay? That’s harsh. Too harsh, considering the cost of living and the fact that teachers do not make much to begin with. 10 years teaching. She may well become a lifer and retire having helped develop the awareness of tens of thousands. That is too high a cost for the current and potential future students. An example need not be made of Ms. Cairns. With the heightened state of paranoia about all things child-related, a teacher who jokingly tapes children’s mouths closed is far from a “credible threat” to their well-being. In effect, something that some of these students might have forgotten or barely remember–though I’ll admit that some may have remembered it a longtime, for good or bad. Now, however, it will be burned into their memories as the time that mean teacher duct-taped our mouths shut.
As for the posting on Facebook, surely anyone who’d have seen it, knowing Ms. Cairns, would know it was a joke. Ten years as a teacher, she must talk fondly of her students to anyone who’ll listen. Kudos to the “Akron public schools worker” who saw the photo on Facebook and reported it. I feel she may have been a bit overzealous in this case. Regarding privacy concerns, Ms. Cairns, knowing that she would occasionally post pictures of students online, might have sent home a waiver of some sort. Every school has them.
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