One time, not so long ago, I was fired…

Apr 4, 2024 | 0 comments

Oysterville Schoolhouse 2008

I’ve spent the last hour or so reading all the “school news” in the Chinook Observer — way more than I really care about and even more that I don’t fully understand.  For one thing, back in the dark ages (from 1961 to 2001) I don’t think either of the School Districts I worked for — Hayward Unified in California and Ocean Beach here — had a Human Resources Department or even a Human Resources Person.   I’m not entirely sure what that is — someone who deals with homo sapiens rather than with bots?  In any case, the word “fired” wasn’t really used in the paper,  but I’m thinking that an enforced resignation comes close to the same thing. and since it sounded as if both sides were in agreement, I was left wondering what all the consternation was about.

I couldn’t help but think back a few years when — during the time that we were slowly recovering from the pandemic —  I was “fired.”  Yep.  Right there in black and white on an email because I had been too outspoken.  Never mind that I refused follow an “order” that I felt would put people in jeopardy — the circumstances really aren’t germane.  What is to the point, I was a volunteer, and as I replied to the email from person-in-charge, ‘it’s hard to fire a volunteer.’  Plus I was here at Ground Zero and knew what we were up against; I have no idea where the firing squad was. It’s difficult to know with emails.

Anyway, the articles in the paper saddened me.  You would think that “educators” of all people, could sit down together and rationally decide how to solve a problem.  And, if the problem has been going on for some time, as the articles indicate, why hasn’t it been dealt with before?  Another case of Oh let’s not air our dirty laundry in public?  Or fear of a messy lawsuit?  Or a desire by school leadership to save face in our small community?

Oysterville Schoolhouse circa 1880

But, it seems that even our schools have gone corporate. (Says the web:  When it comes to business, going corporate means to create a body of systems: policies, models, frameworks, procedures. Going corporate means being organized, knowing how things work, and intentionally choosing to operate in a way that gets results. )  Here in the Ocean Beach School District, of all places, we are small enough that we should be able to deal with one another as human beings, not as appropriate paragraphs in a procedural manual.

I hope this situation will be a wake-up call to us all.  We need to hold our administrators, educators (and our students!) to high standards and. as community members. we need to stay well informed about what is going on in our schools.  Our responsibilities don’t end with passing bond issues.  Besides paying taxes, we need to pay attention.  Most of us aren’t in danger of being fired or having to face a Human Resources guru.  We are actually volunteers and we can’t be fired.  So let’s get more involved and speak out when it seems important.


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