Whose Interests Are We Looking After, Anyway?

I’ve always been one who has attempted to stay up-to-date on current events.  It’s not at all unusual for me to come across a news story or a report that causes me to mumble to myself, “I find that hard to believe.

I often wonder if this propensity toward disbelief is simply the result of my advancing age and with it an increasing tendency toward curmudgeon-like behavior and attitudes; or if, on the other hand, these events really are justifiably hard to believe.

Here’s a news story that I’m confident most people will agree has totally blown itself off of anyone’s Believability Scale!

Back in 1997, Bay City, Michigan instituted a new agreement with the union which represents the teachers working in its public school system.

If you’re like me, you probably think that its commonplace for all modern school systems to practice a Zero Tolerance approach to the use and/or distribution of drugs and alcohol on their premises and grounds. That just seems to be a fundamental principle, does it not?

Well, apparently not in Bay City, Michigan.

It turns out that under the 1997 master agreement with their union, Bay City teachers could be found to be under the influence or in the possession of illegal drugs in their classrooms up to three times before they could be terminated from their jobs.  If they were found to be alcoholically intoxicated, they were allowed five chances before similar action could be taken!

Apparently knocking back a stiff drink before tackling the Geography lesson is a more acceptable practice than taking a quick toke on one’s pipe or doobie.

Amazed?  Don’t be, it gets worse.

Under the agreement, a teacher caught selling drugs in their classroom would be suspended for three days and have to undergo counseling. But they were not in jeopardy of having their employment terminated until they were caught selling drugs a second time!  (Hold on, I’ve got to read this paragraph again.)

Students in the Bay City system, aren’t quite so lucky.  Middle and high school students who are found to be under the influence of illegal drugs are immediately given either a five day suspension or a three day suspension accompanied with mandatory counseling.

I guess the school system’s administrators believe that five days away from school is sufficient to make any drug counseling unnecessary.  Go figure?

I’ve heard of cases in other school systems in which students were immediately expelled for having a bottle of Advil or a prescription inhaler in their backpacks.  I’ve always found that to be an extreme case of over reaction.  But now the other end of this nonsensical continuum has clearly been found to be located in Bay City, Michigan.

I have to ask, who’s minding the store, or in this case, the public schools.

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