Why did MDJ fuel witch hunt against teacher?
December 20, 2013 12:19 AM | 2041 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Your article “New band director at Lassiter spurs ire from parents, pupils” struck quite a chord with me. I teach high school band in Fairfax County, Virginia and have always known the Lassiter program for its stellar musical reputation.

I am baffled as to how you could publish an article with nothing more substantial than vague complaints from a minority of parents and students. You cite no specific examples of grievances. You dismiss director Ginny Markham’s phenomenal pedigree and experiences as circumstantial — did you even realize you were reporting that she attended top music schools in the country with a prestigious resume of activities?

The article mentions but passes over winning BOA Regionals. Do you understand the weight of such an achievement? The article certainly doesn’t reflect this.

As a teacher, I’m insulted that you would quote high school seniors on the qualifications of any teacher. “Pietsch said she had watched Markham all semester, and felt she was unable to work with every section of the band.” Maybe the reporter who wrote your story should have some of these teenagers let you know if she was qualified to be a reporter. Or would that be insulting?

“Students said they brought a list of concerns to Markham in September, but their teacher had not yet responded to their input.” I wonder — how would the students of these parents respond to teenagers giving “input” about how to do their jobs? Or is teaching not a real job?

I am sure that Marietta has more going on than spiteful, gossiping parents meeting for a chili dinner to bash a teacher. I appreciate the follow up article, but the first one never had any business getting published in the first place. Please don’t use your newspaper to stage a witch hunt.

Kathleen Jacoby

Fairfax, Va.
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December 20, 2013
@Kathleen Jacoby: The duty of any fine, repeat fine, nespaper - in this case the Marietta Daily Journal - is to report the news...in this case a very unpleasant story regarding (unproven) complaints made against a Lassiter High School Teacher by disgruntled students and their parents.

This said, and as a direct result of the Marietta Daily Journal's reporting, the Lassiter High School Teacher in question has had an overwhelming show of personal support...via phone calls, letters and in our general community.

I've found that sometimes it is necessary to report, and "expose" if you will, the dark side of the news and human behavior in order to resolve problems...especially in this case of spoiled teens and their weak, enabling parents.

And I thank, along with countless others, the Marietta Daily Journal for doing just that!
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