Part of the Bay Area News Group

Open invitation to coffee, for all who want to talk

By epearlman
Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 10:50 am in Island Life, Schools.

Morning, Alameda! Anyone out there want to discuss, face to face, eye to eye, any heated topics like, say, Measure H? Want to talk about our moral/ethical obligations to our fellow citizens? Want to discuss how, despite, say, an ideological commitment to ‘liberty,’ we all at some point in our lives, as infants or elders, or when injured or sick, require the help/support/even money of others. And while we might, on a good day, be able to keep up the charade that our ‘liberty’ is not contingent on others, at some time that notion will be faced with the cold, hard reality of its impracticality. Coffee anyone?

[A note: Tom Pavletic, who has not contacted me personally, has posted on Don Roberts’ site a complaint* that he's unhappy with my characterization of his anti-parcel tax position. But why? A review of his published opinions on the issue confirms that while he most often blames teacher salaries and benefits for budget woes, he also has announced in multiple public forums that he thinks district principals are paid too much, that employee salaries and benefits are too high, and that AUSD's per pupil costs for administering schools compare unfavorably with area private schools. You are welcome to comment here, Tom. Or even join me for coffee. For it is clear by your public positions that you care very much about the issue.]

*I do not link to Don Roberts’ site, because those posts disappear after a few days and are not archived. Plus, Lauren Do parses Tom’s complaint about my earlier post quite well.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • David McCarver

    I am appalled by the slanted smear of the “Otis School Custodian Investigated” article written by Peter Hagarty, and published on the front page of the Alameda Journal on Friday, May 2nd.

    As far as I can tell – The Custodian (referred to from here on as T.C.) gave a girl a doll. Yet this article does a wonderful job of painting T.C. as a predator of young girls. To state that “prosecutors could still end up charging the man with “annoying or molesting” a minor if investigators can substantiate the allegations, which include playing games with the girls on the playground and offering them inappropriate gifts.”

    “Annoying or molesting”? Wow – that’s a pretty a big jump isn’t it? It states in the paragraph just before “that no one has accused the custodian of sexually assaulting a child” – so where does “molesting” come from?

    “Playing games with girls on the playground”? Does it matter that he also played with the boys on the schoolyard? My goodness – a school employee that actually enjoys kids? The article does not say that he played with “kids” on the schoolyard – just “girls”.

    What inappropriate gifts? Who deemed them inappropriate? Simply cause they are from the “custodian”. What if the music teacher gave a boy a harmonica – is that inappropriate? Those kids love T.C. because he is who he is and not some cynical old has been, who ended up a “custodian”. T.C. really liked being a custodian at Otis. He wore it on his sleeve with pride.

    This article makes it sound as if T.C only played with the girls, which is not true. T.C. is like a pied piper around the school. I volunteered in the lunch room for 3 years – there are kids who want and choose to help T.C. clean-up. Kids who get self-esteem from their efforts. I worked at the Boys Club for 10 years – kids who helped clean-up often got Youth of The Month awards. Now it’s a crime?

    T.C.’s efforts around the school go far beyond his job description. This is a man who commutes from Brentwood for his job and still he comes for the special event days on weekends. He’s not some faceless custodian who never engages the students or staff. I’ve always felt that T.C. was a tremendous asset to the school because of his inter-action with the kids.

    My point is – if there is more to the story, then it should come out, otherwise – the Journal has ruined this man’s life.

    If we had a woman custodian who had dolls in the closet – would it have been an issue? Does it matter that T.C. didn’t only have “dolls” in the closet – but “toys” also? Aren’t dolls – toys?

    Was T.C. going to get suspended the next time he played 4-square?

    I’ve seen T.C. address kids who are maybe having a bad day, or are not being engaged by their peers – and he let’s them stay and help – or heaven forbid, play with a toy that he keeps for such occasions.

    So I’m really torn up here. There is a part of me that fights having to believe T.C. has to have done more then what was reported– and then there is the part of me that feels if he didn’t do anything more then give a girl a doll, T.C. being who he is, then the harm done to him through the suggestion of this article is reprehensible and irreconcilable and the writer ought to be made to apologize and then suspended from the paper.

    “female students”, “sexually assaulting a child”, “molesting”, “allegations”, “fullest extent of the law”. Put enough of this stuff in an article – it’s like Bush saying “Iraq & Terrorism” together. It sticks.

    If T.C. is in anyway guilty of sexual misbehavior, then I have no pity for him. But I don’t see any suggestion of that fact at all and if in fact there has been no such misbehavior, then for the paper to have printed that article was grossly negligent and terribly damaging to a man who never really did anything more then be a kid friendly person.

    David McCarver
    Concerned Otis Parent

  • Betty Fenn

    Thank you, Mr. McCarver! I am so glad that I’m not the only one who feels this way! Imagine, indeed, someone who doesn’t mind having kids around who belong to someone else. I personally wouldn’t want them. Those parents involved should be grateful that someone cares.

    Betty
    Concerned but not a parent