The ongoing effort by and students to retain their music teacher and mentor, Mr. Scott Sutherland, reminds us that as a community, we need to guard against adult arrogance and acknowledge that our students have much to teach us. As the school year came to a close, parents with students instructed by Mr. Sutherland were more than amazed by the very palpable and erudite response of our students who are asking to be heard. They are pleading for continuity in the quality of teaching and level of inspiration they have been fortunate to be given by Mr. Sutherland.
This kind of maturity doesn’t come just from the home front. It’s the result of parents, teachers and our school administrators working together—hammering out rational solutions to problems and conflict, and investing in the ongoing professional development of our best teachers rather than throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. This approach provides our students with quality education that motivates them to move from good to great. It is the environment that we have built jointly that is encouraging them to think for themselves and voice their opinions. They have proven that they indeed have a mature grasp on issues such as these and that they do not like being discounted.
The response of our students—delivering letters to the school district last Monday, their responses on and postings on the Parras Middle School Band Facebook page—is an inspiration for us all. With students like this, one should feel good about our futures.
This issue goes beyond being a “personnel issue” to be handled clinically and without full consideration of those whose future perceptions of our governing organizations' behaviors are at stake. We hope that the Board members of the will make a sincere and concerted effort to thoroughly review the facts—from both sides—and listen to the voices of our students. It is, after all, about them and not adult egos and mechanical processes.