Letters to the Editor

Resident's paid ad goes too far | Federal Way letters

This past week I read with great dismay the "call to action" advertisement placed by Bill Pirkle. Over the years, Mr. Pirkle has used The Mirror as his forum to express his opinion over the state of our education system (see his recent editorial in the Nov. 10 edition). I may not agree with anything he says, but the very essence of our constitution gives him the right to do so. However, his paid ad goes too far.

First, the Federal Way School District leaves it up to each school to determine its own cell phone usage policy. While I cannot guarantee that each school has such a policy, my guess is that they do and they probably read something similar to the one found in the Decatur High School student handbook, which says: “All cell phones are to be turned off and stored during the school day, with the exception of the student’s lunch time, so that there is no disruption or interference.”

When was the last time that Pirkle spent any measurable time in the classroom? Or when was the last time he actually talked to an educator about what issues they face daily in the classroom? You would think that for someone who has no trouble pointing out the district’s warts, that he has done a lot of both, but by posting his ad, he obviously has not. Get in the game, Bill. The policy is in place because cell phones have been and will continue to be a problem in classrooms all over the country. At what point did you decide that it was OK to give Federal Way students a “hall pass” to use theirs?

Second, what is the point of your project? Are you trying to identify and embarrass all teachers or just those that don’t fit your image of a perfect teacher? Are you trying to be part of the solution or just another hindrance that further distracts our teachers and administrators from what they were truly hired to do? Regardless, I would like for you to explain to all of us how embarrassing and humiliating these people will in the end make them better teachers — or how this kind of Internet publicity will make our school district a better one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about making people accountable, and that includes our local teachers and administrators. But encouraging students to violate a school policy, adding your own soundtrack and posting these clips on the Internet does nothing to help improve the quality of education in Federal Way.

Third, how would you like it if an individual or group of people invaded your work and personal space and made a video out of a day in the life of Bill Pirkle? Yes, these are public schools and parents should know what is going on in their children’s classrooms, but last time I checked, that was what parent conferences, PTA and volunteering accomplished.

And finally, Mr. Pirkle, you could do more for education by taking what you paid for that ad and donating it to one of our local schools.

Brent Mason, Federal Way

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