Letters to the Editor

Family cringes over ad aimed at kids | Federal Way letters

Our entire family cringed to see Bill Pirkle’s ad in The Mirror (Nov. 10) asking Federal Way School District children to use their cell phones to take videos of their teachers so he could edit them, make a movie, and post the finished product on the Internet.

And why would Mr. Pirkle ask students to disobey school district rules and not pay attention in class in order to fiddle with their cell phones and take surreptitious videos of their teachers? To “help you get a better education,” of course. We just don’t understand how encouraging children to disregard district policy and not pay attention in class can help the learning process.

This scheme violates the privacy of teachers and students. Working within the educational system, however flawed it may be, teachers are not allowed to publish student work or pictures of students without first obtaining parent approval. Mr. Pirkle displays a blatant lack of regard for privacy.

This ad appeared in the same edition with The Mirror promoting Mr. Pirkle as an educational expert from his column byline “The Pirkle Report.” He criticizes the fact that he wasn’t elected to the school board because “he would be a disruptive force in a school board that otherwise got along very well and worked together very well.” I guess he failed at disrupting the school board. Now he wants to disrupt our children’s classes. He is entitled to his opinion, but why does The Mirror convey an elevated status on him by publishing his thoughts under a special section complete with his picture and a title for the byline?

My children can testify as to his lack of credible teaching expertise. They both graduated (Decatur class of 2005 and 2009) from the school district and both experienced his substitute teaching skills. Both found him unable to connect with students and lacking classroom management stills. One daughter reported that when he subbed for her band class, one of the crash symbols came up missing. The next day when the regular teacher got back he declared, “We are never having Mr. Pirkle back as a sub.”

The Pirkle Report has always been an annoyance to our family because he does not have credentials or credibility for what he writes. This last edition, where he has an ad encouraging children to break school rules and violate personal privacy, makes it sound like The Mirror supports and endorses this type of behavior. The Mirror needs to screen its paid ads. Ads promoting school disruption and invasion of privacy should be rejected. Opinion pieces worthy of a separate byline should only be allowed from credible, competent sources. If we have to be subjected to Mr. Pirkle’s ravings about public education, let him air his opinions in the letters to the editor section like the rest of us.

Gary and Susan Hundrup, Federal Way

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