The next day I received a letter from Harold Ferret informing me that he was recommending a suspension without pay. This meant from March 4th on I would receive no salary. It felt like retaliation. I’d been studying a law book written by a college professor, David Aronofsky the co-author of Montana Educational Law Handbook for Administrators, Teachers, School Board Members and Parents. The same Aronofsky in the book, Missoula by Jon Krakauer. The difference, I would learn about the cover up in public education well before Krakauer published, Missoula. I decided to call Aronofsky and ask his opinion.
I introduced myself, and described some of the problems I was having with the administration. I told him that student reports I hadn’t created or recorded had been sent out by the district under my signature via U.S. mail. He told me that such practice was falsification of records—a criminal offense. The district did this four times, even after I was terminated.
Three days later I e-mailed Victor Baird (fictitious name). I informed him that I’d been fielding calls and e-mails from parents who were concerned that their children’s work had disappeared. I had searched everywhere I could think of but couldn’t locate the missing materials.
Arriving home that night I picked up the newspaper and read that a parent had issued a complaint against an anonymous middle school teacher for using undo force on a student. The article didn’t name the teacher and made it sound as if there were no grounds for charges, but I knew the story leak was meant to throw further suspicion on me.
For the next several days people would stop me and ask questions or whisper about the incident just loud enough for me to hear. Sadly, I knew the exact details of the incident because it had happened in my classroom.
A female student and her friend came into my classroom asking to use the phone. It was apparent that she’d been assaulted and the poor girl was so upset that she couldn’t speak. Her friend had to call and tell the mother what had happened. Then the mother asked to speak to me.“Please keep my daughter there in your classroom. I don’t want her anywhere else until either her father or I get there.”
…to be continued