PITTSTON AREA School District teacher union vice president Rocco D'Angelo should do two things quickly:
• Issue an apology to district parents and students.
• Step down as vice president.
Well, there is a third action he should consider: Learn the definition of "irony."
D'Angelo penned a letter to union members following the justified disciplining of a teacher who had berated a student. The missive starts out well-intentioned, urging teachers "to conduct ourselves in a professional manner."
"We must all be on our ‘A' game and ride this one out as a group proudly showing our unity," D'Angelo wrote. "Since we all seem to get painted with the same brush by the public, let's try giving them nothing negative to paint with."
Good advice any time, not only after a public embarrassment. But then D'Angelo wrote the sort of thing that gives the public something "negative to paint with" – thus the irony.
The teacher's verbal abuse of a student had been recorded on a cellphone, which is why the discipline was swift once the evidence was provided. D'Angelo's response: Strictly stick to a policy of no personal electronic devices in school.
Forget the utter impossibility of enforcing such a rule with today's inconspicuous cellphones and cameras. And forget the notion of actually using such devices to engage students in a lesson. D'Angelo is fundamentally saying teachers should have the right to misbehave without fear of being caught on camera.
Here's a thought: A teacher always should behave as though on camera. It's called "being professional."
D'Angelo then went from petty to demeaning: "I fear that students and parents will now, more than ever, try to implicate us in their misplaced blame for their own inadequacies as parents."
There are people who look for any opportunity to bash teachers, and parents who blame their children's failures on teachers. But as surely as all teachers do not bully students, all parents and students do not use teachers as scapegoats.
It's that "broad brush," and D'Angelo's use of it insults every taxpayer in Pittston Area, and every teacher in his union.
He proved himself undeserving to be a union officer; if he doesn't voluntarily step down, members should compel him to.
A teacher always should behave as though on camera. It's called "being professional."