Sunday, August 5, 2018
The Most Precious Thing
I have not led a perfect life. I didn’t do particularly well in school. My first marriage crumbled. I had extreme difficulty making ends meet during my years as a single parent. My house is not ready for visitors at all times, shall we say. I’m not the best at going out and socializing.
But I have my good name.
People who know me from blogging, or teaching, or my work in the community have heard generally positive things about what I stand for. I feel good about that. I have worked hard in my career and in the community to be helpful, honest, supportive, trustworthy. I’m constantly trying to improve, but at my core I feel good about what I do and why I do it.
What happens when someone steals your good name?
Imagine that you woke up to discover that you were falsely accused, those accusations were leaked to the press, and everyone in town was reading about them. Imagine that these accusations negated everything you had worked for years to stand for. Imagine that there was no way to refute the claims without violating the terms of legal agreements and confidentiality concerns.
Got that? Do you feel that hot shame of seeing horrible and untrue things about yourself in the newspaper? Do you feel the sense of helplessness at being unable to defend yourself?
Probably not. If we are lucky this will never happen to us. But, thanks to whomever leaked a confidential (and highly unprofessional) report to the Baltimore Sun, and to the reporter who shared it without adequate research, Board of Education members Cindy Vaillancourt and Christina Delmont-Small are doing just that. Everything about this smacks of careful direction from a former disgruntled employee whose hallmark was bullying and spreading falsehoods about perceived adversaries. Anyone who has done their homework and put this into the context of the much bigger picture sees this.
The stories that ought to be all over the pages of the newspaper are about misappropriation of funds, bullying of staff, mistreatment of special education parents, coverup of mold in schools that was causing chronic illness for students and staff. Now that would be real news based on actual facts. The reason you aren’t reading about it is that 1) the Board of Education entered into a non-disparagement agreement with the former superintendent, and 2) their priority is doing their actual job taking care of the school system.
Keeping your word and doing your job aren’t front page news, apparently.
I have to believe that the truth will come out and that Ms. Vaillancourt and Ms. Delmont-Small will be thoroughly vindicated.
But where do they go to repair the damage to their good names?