Thursday, October 30, 2008

Parkway West Middle School

For the record:

"It is horrible that 6th graders are capable of doling out such inappropriate behavior towards fellow classmates, horrible that faith and/or ethnicity was the label that lead to intolerant and what some consider discriminatory actions. However, I am also perplexed by the efforts of Edward Weinhaus".

I suppose I can't go on without some form of commentary on this issue, for more reasons than the obvious tragedy of events leading up to a student being slapped in my daughters former school simply because he was Jewish. It really is sad folks. There are few people, not even including my mother who lives in LA, who have not heard about this. And I am nervous to even write about it for fear there be retribution. There, I said it. I say it for obvious reasons as well: for fear of being considered intolerant myself, minimizing the issue, and/or at worst case, being considered anti-Semitic by, according to the Edward Weinhaus's site, 242 very pissed off people.

While I too share the emotion of what happened, (and do not in anyway condone such behavior), the bottom line is, I don't trust Edward Weinhaus to represent my communities concern, he who's agenda is obviously more centered upon "attention getting" rather than working cohesively to resolve the issue. Weinhaus, a concerned parent who's children do not even attend Parkway West Middle School, headed up the site, calling for resignations and investigations. I do somewhat admire his fervor. I have to admit that.

I take issue with his spin on the issue: deliberate, hidden, attempting to find fault, portraying a lack of concern by teachers and administrators, community. The big one--the cattle call for significant media attention--that which portrayed our district and our community as intolerant. There is implication that our entire community is intolerent, because of the media attention given.

"Hey Weinhaus, bravo dude. But I think you missed the mark".

I found this quote while doing some research on this topic:

"If you walk in the room and say, nobody likes me, everybody looks for the reason. Perhaps it has to do with being the center of attention?"

I don't think this community is intolerant nor incapable of handling sensitive issues. I live in the Parkway School District and trust who manages things. I feel I am a part of the community and my child was indeed a student of Parkway West Middle School in the Parkway School District; an imperfect and evolving institution moving towards being a better place to educate our children. But a knee-jerk call for resignation of our administrators for whom we as a community elect and trust to resolve issues is shallow. You see, it is not just Mr. Weinhaus and his constituency saddened by the unfortunate incident. It is all of us together.

Just because you are Jewish, Mr. Weinhaus, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are any more disgusted or appalled than I, or others (of all faith) making up our community. Did your approach glean the results you wanted? --or did it quite possibly alienate those who might have embraced the need for change--those parents whose values need influence and adjustment--those who might have embraced the school systems reaction to the seriousness without media fodder. Will this happen the way it should if things were given the opportunity to play out through school districts policy? You see, it is the parents who are ultimately responsible. It is the school district who provides influence.

I can't help but think that there is a better story to be told here: Who is Edward Weinhaus and what is his agenda?

I haven't found too many blog posts on the issue speaking up for the school district and the administrators at Parkway Middle School, though I have heard that many people showed last night at the Board meeting in support of the district moving on, letting them do their jobs and not to seek more investigation. I (and many parents who were appalled with the behaviour of the students) am confident that specific policies, procedures and guidelines will soon be in place to avert this happening again, a learning process achieved by students, teachers, administrator and the community.


Anonymous said...

I know Mr. Weinhaus from high school and worked with him at the J for 4 years. Not sure what to think about it. He has certainly aged since high school.

Here is what I do remember about him - he was some kind of math wizard and very outspoken. Not sure he seeks attention so much as just garners it based on what he is willing to do. Probably the kind of kid who could have and should have got beat up a lot more.

I have seen him around the J - I think because he ran the Tour De Fun for the J last year and saw him coaching J sports teams.

Ralph Pfremmer said...

Bravo to him for leading and setting an example for active lifestyle, especially with the kids. His values are intact, I would presume, by his ability to show passion for such things. As I said, I admire his fervor as I would anyone who takes action for what they believe. I disagree with the tactics.

Craig said...

a la Don Fontaine... "In a world gone mad with political correctness..."

Oh man, this is a good one. I couldn't agree with you more, Ralph. But I probably could not have tempered my disdain for the glory-grabbing "look at me" opportunism Mr. Weinhaus has perpetrated

I believe his kids do not even attend this school, right?

Yes, the concept of "hit a Jew" day is loathsome, and it's shocking to think kids the same age as my oldest son are capable of concocting such an abominable act.

But what is it with calling for the heads to roll of administrators who did absolutely nothing wrong by either commision or omission? The kids acted unilaterally, twisting what was to be a spirit-building exercise into something so totally unrelated it would have been inconceivable for administrators to prevent.

I say look to the parents of the kids. Where does the influence of Antisemitism and intolerance originate?

a la John Stossel: "Gimme a Break!"

FrancieG said...

I think that young man deserves a big thanks. What if he weren't Jewish - then what would you call him? A righteous gentile is what my family would call him if they were still here. Someone needs to say something. Give the guy a break.

Ralph Pfremmer said...

I don't believe anyone is calling anybody anything, simply stating opinion on his efforts. In short, my perception is that his efforts were more damaging to the community than good. The "tax payer entitlement" to demand action was lacking merit, considering the fact that he was so quick to judge the competency of the administrators. Now he blames the outcome on the community, for favoring the elected administrators, teachers and staff. The community of which he is a part of, the community that is not really all that focused on retaliation, rather a solution to what has been an unfortunate judgement call on behalf of our communities youth.

jumpingmags said...

can a nonjew PSP pipe in? The one thing I know for sure, "Hit a Jew Day" going international was not Weinstein's fault and sure wasnt the parents of the attackers' fault. It either was the parent at West who decided to spill the beans to the press or the idiotic principal who told the press that all the kids were involved. Do principals typically destroy their school and cause international media sensations? people in the area are still pretty angry about it and have been since the day it broke in the press. What was the leaker thinking? that poor leaker's kid is a walking enemy of all kids at the school. What was the principal thinking? I think the only thing she did dumber than that was comparing "Hit a Jew Day" with, heavens, "Hit a Principal Day". that was offensive even to my Muslim and Chinese naibors. Dang i think if anything would make people angry is that. and I am not even Jewish.its just stupid stupid stupid. I am not saying she needs to be fired and its not her fault somebody leaked to the media. Heck, ya cant make all folks happy. And the Jewish parent who told the media must feel awful. The person with the most to gain is that parent's kid who must be getting some nasty looks. and not because he is jewish but because the kids parents dragged everybody through the mud. I would want this to go away fast fast fast. Backing off these current kids is one choice instead of thinking of the next ones. an interesting debate to be sure but i am not the one to solve it.

do you think the principal or the leaker may have made the flame go from kids' game to international embarrassment?

sorry for being so long just munching on my leftover candy and facebooking

PSP = Parkway South Parent

Ralph Pfremmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.