News-Leader editorial reopens wounds for two teachers who cleared their names

Dec 21st, 2009 | By | Category: Editorials, Opinions, Springfield News

The Springfield News-Leader published an unsigned editorial Sunday urging the public to push for more transparency from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in its handling of investigations of teacher misconduct for certification purposes.

The overarching theme of the editorial is of sound logic in suggesting greater transparency; however, the author decided to frame the article around two now-resolved cases involving accused Springfield school teachers.

These men and their families already had to go through hell battling these accusations over a several year time frame. One man was acquitted by a jury on charges of inappropriate touching of grade school children. The other had charges of common assault against a teenage student dismissed on the condition that he be clinically evaluated by a psychologist. Statue_of_Themis

Justice was served and both men were cleared, yet here comes the News-Leader publishing their names and pictures once more, dragging them back into the mud just in time for the Christmas season.

Apparently, the News-Leader knows the men are guilty, despite whatever the courts say. “Don’t let accused teachers’ cases slide off public radar.” That headlines says it all. Where the criminal courts failed in their eyes, the News-Leader now wants these men tried under a disciplinary hearing under DESE. Of course, that entity already decided not to pursue action. One man is currently teaching again in the district. The other is actively trying to regain his license.

These men are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives, yet the News-Leader is calling for their heads (and for no logical reason except to create resentment, they included the active teacher’s current salary).

Under our system of government, each man is entitled to due process under the law. These men were cleared under that system of wrongdoing and they and their families should be allowed to return to whatever normalcy they can.

Regurgitating old news like this is not only irresponsible but also destructive to the community. Let sleeping dogs lie.

Zach Becker

For the Editorial Board

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