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I write in response to the overwhelmingly condemning reaction to Debbie Hayes, the teacher involved in the incident at Bowers Elementary.
I don’t defend or agree with the tactic used, but find myself compelled to offer some words of support due to the one-sided public expression that I am hearing.
My daughter had Mrs. Hayes as a teacher and loved her. She was well-prepared and enthusiastic about school.
Mrs. Hayes had a lot to do with that.
Mrs. Hayes has a good record of serving our children for many years. I disagree with the previous letter that called her a “bad apple.” She is a good apple that may have made a mistake.
She is “old school,” as we often say. The “old school” views authority as clear, expectations as firm, and discipline is to be decisive.
The “new school” people think of the one in charge as a guide, expectations are negotiable, and discipline considers self-esteem.
BOTH sides want children to learn what is right; they differ in how to accomplish it.
I believe that Mrs. Hayes intended good for the child. If she did not, she would have done nothing.
We don’t know what efforts were made in the previous eight months to help the child. I think she should have sought a different method, but her intention was to help him in an “old school” way.
Our children are special, and it upsets us when we think they are vulnerable. But our teachers are important, too.
I would call on our community to be careful about quick condemnation.
Let our school system deal with incidents. I believe they and Mrs. Hayes will learn from this. If anyone fears their child being in her class in the future, give me a call. I and many more can calm your fears.
There is no such thing as a perfect teacher — or parent. I think I am a good parent, but I am glad some of the things I have done have never come under this kind of public scrutiny.
I bet some of you feel the same way.
The Rev. Jeff Jenkins