I was alarmed to read about the suspension of Cascade High School English teacher Kay Powers. (Saturday article, “Student, teacher publish, then pay.”) I know nothing about the legal considerations that prompted this decision, but I do know about the outstanding teaching job Ms. Powers does and her mentoring of students.
I am a substitute high school teacher in the Everett School District so I have a first-hand appreciation of the way teachers conduct their classes, as well as the relationships teachers have with their students. It was always a pleasure to be assigned to Kay Powers’ classes. Her class topics are stimulating and her students animated. She provides a safe yet evocative environment where otherwise shy students express their thoughts and defend their ideas. Kay’s rebellious spirit may sometimes unnerve a litigiously conscious administration, but it is that same spirit that connects with the adolescent who is trying to shape his or her personality, to define his or her place in society.
I believe the student involved in the infraction characterizes Kay’s teaching. He knew he was violating the rules and he believes he “pretty much got what (he) deserves.” Students leaving Ms. Powers’ classes likely will take chances to support passionate positions, such as free speech or certain political positions, and, at the same time, be prepared to take the consequences. Are not these the traits we want from our leaders of the 21st century – to seek, to dare, to endure?
Again, I don’t challenge the school district’s decision or the violation of mandates. But when all is said and done, don’t deny future Cascade High School students the benefits of Kay Powers’ instruction and encouragement.