Amid the outcry against the administration's to push-back against ’s at least one former teacher says he agrees with the punishment.
Like many others around the nation, Paul Guerino of Elmhurst, IL read the stories about high school senior James Tate having his over a creative date proposal deemed violation.
But while tens of thousands of people joined Facebook groups in support of Tate and hundreds more commented on, emailed and called Patch to express their disappointment in Shelton High Headmaster Dr. Beth Smith, a different opinion that Smith had done the right thing came from Guerino.
Guerino is a retired teacher. He taught in the Chicago area for 45 years and is currently vying for a seat on the local public school board. Over the years, he said he has seen many accidents and injuries in schools where the blame wrongly falls on administration.
“Several of my friends were sued because children have been injured when they’ve been theoretically under the supervision of a teacher,” Guerino said.
He recalls one incident where a student slipped on grass while running during physical education class, landed on broken glass and suffered minor cuts. The child’s parents took legal action and won.
“Why these parents support these kids when they sue if the kid got hurt on no one’s fault absolutely blows my mind,” Guerino said.
In Tate’s case, Guerino feels the no-prom punishment is warranted because the student’s actions were “very dangerous” and posed a risk the school could be held accountable for, even if no teachers were involved.
“I figured he was at least 20 – 30 feet off the ground,” Guerino said. “If he fell he could have been seriously injured, had head trauma or even died. The teacher’s punishment sets a good example because she is looking to protect students. And all these people are saying she’s evil and in the wrong? I don’t get it.”
Guerino said it is hard to be an administrator in a public school, because oftentimes officials worry about appeasing taxpayers at the expense of student safety.
“When that happens there becomes no consequences – kids do stuff and experience no repercussions,” he said.
Dr. Smith has yet to comment on James Tate’s situation, and Guerino expressed that he “feels sorry” for her. However, he applauds her for being no shrinking violet, even as other students prepare to create for Tate himself.
“What this principal did was right. Not popular, but right. She’s got a backbone and that’s rare for administrators these days,” he said.