While I have volunteered a lot at Snooty School over the years, I have given no time to the Zone Public Schools (ZPS). I wasn’t interested and was disappointed, frankly, with ZPS until the beginning of this school year.
About 11 weeks ago, the Gifted Coordinator for our ZPS region called a meeting regarding Wizard’s gifted educational plan. WineGuy, Wizard, and I met Mrs. O, the coordinator, early in the school year. We all found her to be an interested, enthusiastic cheerleader for our son, who genuinely likes her, too. Finally, after years of erroneously begging guidance counselors for help, we found an ally to motivate Wizard towards his potential. I am grateful for Mrs. O and told her so.
Mrs. O’s dedication to my son motivated me to ask myself what I could now do to give back to ZPS. The answer was Scholar Bowl and A-Team. These are middle school and high school academic teams, respectively, in
which both Wizard and Wild Thing have participated. (Moose anxiously awaits his turn.) Wizard had great success with Scholar Bowl in middle school; he is poised to be an important part of his high school’s JV and varsity A-teams this year.
A couple of weeks ago, I called ZPS’s Coordinator of Academic Competitions, Mrs. K, and offered my services. Mrs. K, who works is the same department as Mrs. O, was thrilled to have me. I filled out a volunteer application and regrettably had to disclose a “no contest” plea in court from 9 years ago. (I feared that plea, for a series of false burglar alarms at home, could derail my plans.) Not to worry: last week ZPS Human Resources approved my application. Phew — not a scofflaw! However, I might be a terrorist: I had to be fingerprinted today. ZPS sends the prints to DC for comparison (probably FBI). If all goes well, I should be a full-fledged volunteer next week. I hope to read competition questions or serve as a judge, if needed.
This epistle brings me around to the controversy at Penn State. A lowly public school volunteer has to be cross-examined and fingerprinted. Why isn’t a college football coach subject to the same scrutiny? How could the venerated Joe Paterno, when notified of his assistant coach’s reprehensible acts, not have fired Jerry Sandusky on the spot? Paterno, Svengali to his players, should have reported Sandusky to the police, but he had a moral obligation to disclose the reported abuse to Penn State’s athletic director and president and to dismiss the assistant coach immediately.
Where does loyalty lay? Why aren’t universities monitoring their staff as closely as my local school system appears to do?