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Jerry Davich: In defense of ‘allegedly’ dangerous teachers

Jerry Davich.

Jerry Davich.

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Updated: March 29, 2013 4:04PM



Reasons number 513 and 514 illustrating why I wouldn’t want to be a teacher took place recently at Northwest Indiana schools. Maybe you agree.

Last week, a Union Township Middle School teacher was accused of battering a student in a restroom, allegedly grabbing the boy by both arms and pushing him backward. The boy allegedly fell and the teacher caught hell for the incident.

Do we know exactly what happened? No. Does it matter? Not to me.

Earlier this month, a long-time Edison Jr./Sr. High School teacher was suspended after allegedly writing a threatening message on his chalkboard for students. As you know by now, the chalk-scrawled message stated, “Period G (only). A. You are idiots!! B. The guns are loaded!!! C. Care to try me???????”

Both incidents spread like viral wildfire. Both incidents prompted internal investigations at both schools, filed under “personnel matters.” And both incidents reminded me yet again why being a teacher (or educator) can be such a thankless job in our society.

After the Edison teacher was suspended, I heard from a handful of his former students, many who are now adults in their 20s or 30s. Each one defended the teacher while not condoning his deed, saying he must have “snapped.”

“He’s a great teacher and those (expletive) kids must have really pushed his buttons over and over,” one former student told me.

I tried to arrange an interview with him, but it never materialized. The invitation is still on the table, though.

Next to being a cop or a firefighter, being a teacher is one job I could never do, and would never want. I’ve pretended to be a teacher for past columns, thanks to friends who are teachers. Each time I left the school with a sense of relief: “Thank God I don’t have to do this every day,” I told myself.

I understand the rewards, the appreciation by some parents, the adoration by some kids. But as the old adage goes, “one bad apple” is all it takes to spoil things. Or, in many cases these days, several bad apples whose parents also are to blame, I say.

We may never know the truth behind those two incidents, or similar incidents at other schools which take place without similar attention or bold-faced headlines. But I give the benefit of the doubt to those teachers, who may have made a mistake after thousands of good deeds, valuable lessons, and memorable classes for previous students.

Unfortunately, their educational legacy may forever have an asterisk next to it.

Dept. of Corrections

Last Friday’s column on Michael “the chicken man” Bessigano contained the misspelling of the last name for the police detective who’s working on his case. My apologies to Lake County Sheriff’s Police Detective Michelle Dvorscak, whose professional dedication to this case, among others, truly goes above and beyond.

Observations
from the edge

For many readers, my newspaper columns are the only perspectives you see from me. But my work here is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg in our vast social media sea.

For more of my daily writings, ramblings, and observations from the edge, connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, or my blog, jerrydavich.wordpress.com. Here are recent examples of what I’m talking about, and writing about.

“I just saw a truck for Batesville Casket company With a tagline that said, ‘Please drive carefully,’ although I was expecting it to say, ‘Drive as recklessly as you want... we will make more.’”

“I don’t want to go all Jinxy McSuperstitious on you, but I am formally declaring (hoping, praying, whatever) that we will not get any more significant snow until next winter. Take that, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter, you two ol’ farts.”

“Sports talk is the cheapest currency of language for most men, just barely ahead of the weather, their vehicles, and their sex-capades (both real and imagined).”

“It’s almost 7 p.m. and there is still a glimmer of daylight outside, offering us a harbinger of hope for warmer, longer, and more memorable days. Amen.”

“This just in: A definite white plume of smoke has been spotted - and confirmed - over Mittal Steel. I am still waiting on what this means from religious scholars.”

21st century
corner bar?

Then again, I shared with a relative of mine a sampling of my aforementioned posts because he refuses to jump on the social-media bandwagon. After reading them, he replies: “Hell, social media to me is the corner tavern.”

That is so funny, and so true, though at the corner tavern you have to listen face to face to everyone’s similar ramblings while tolerating drunks, smelling like an ashtray, and yelling to make a point. Plus, you can’t simply delete someone with a mouse click.

But otherwise, yeah, I agree.

Pope in the pizza?

Last week, I was intrigued by the collective fascination revolving around the election of the new Pope. Not only by curious and devoted Catholics, which is a given. But by the rest of us, from Lutherans and Baptists to atheists and agnostics.

Choosing the next Pope turned into a global spectacle, a pop-culture phenomenon, and daily water-cooler conversation, even in our ever-increasingly secular world. And, of course, there were countless jokes about the Pope, the process, and the Conclave (which would make for a great rock-group name). You see, that’s what I mean.

We can’t resist to joke about the Pope, regardless of who serves in the highly coveted and revered position.

I remember watching “Father Guido Sarducci” on “Saturday Night Live” back in the show’s early days, and his “Find the Popes in the Pizza” bit. It was hilarious. It killed. And it made “Father Guido” aka Don Novello, a household name.

But was it offensive to Catholics? And is it still, as well as all the other jokes, quips, and remarks? Let me know and I will explain why to readers in a future column.



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