A teaching certificate doesn’t guarantee integrity

It is really hard for our children to stay in school. The intensity of issues they deal with can be overwhelming. When I was in school I didn’t questioned why I had to be there. Most of the time school was fun for me. I enjoyed learning. Of course, every student has their difficult days and I remember those days very well. I also remember the good days which were fun. Times are different now for our children.


I recall the time in the middle school as being the most difficult. It hasn’t really changed much as I believe our middle school students are the ones who have the hardest time with peer pressure, bullying and the other students they call their haters. And when I look at the family of the student who is mean or a bully, I can see why the student turned out the way they did. When adult bullies have children, they usually raise those children to be just as mean as they are. Parents are the first teachers so it makes sense that if you are mean you are likely to have cruel children.


I also remember the principals, teachers and coaches in my elementary, middle and high schools. While in elementary school I recall my teachers/coaches and principals being adults with high expectations, they wanted us to succeed so they made us work hard. We were encouraged to be high achievers.


I had an elementary teacher who pushed me hard to become a good reader. I believe it was her efforts which helped me develop my reading skills. I remember the speed reading exercises she would put me through. It was a challenge but it didn’t seem like it back then because I loved to read!


When I got to high school, the social issues I faced were more of a challenge. Still, they were not as difficult as they are for our students today. There were bullies to deal with but I think I only saw one fist fight while I was in high school. Today you can watch fights on YouTube featuring our local high school girls.


I had two excellent teachers in high school who were determined to teach me Algebra. I also had two amazing teachers who pushed us to learn all we could about science. Still another teacher influenced me to perfect my typing skills. These outstanding teachers helped me develop my academic skills so I could be the person I am today.


Today I hear a lot of negative things about the mission schools and how they abused our people. I know many of my classmates had issues with our teachers. Still, I have to say that the best teachers I had were some of the priests, brothers and sisters of St. Francis Mission. Even though I realize that many of my peers would disagree with me, I have to say that my experience with them was good. For the most part, the ones I encountered were ethical people with integrity who had our best interests at heart.


Furthermore, I had mature coaches in school. Sometimes they would get emotional but I never did hear them cuss us out. They never called us derogatory names either. They possessed an admirable amount of self-control. Their behavior was always appropriate.


Nowadays we have all kinds. There are teachers, coaches, administrators and even school board members who do not have the level of integrity which the people who held these positions had when I attended school. In my opinion, it is dangerous to have unscrupulous people in the same schools as our children.


A teaching certificate does not guarantee ethics or integrity or appropriate behavior. School boards should be looking more closely at the character of the teachers they hire, right? But sometimes we elect people to school boards who do not act in the best interest of our children. They often act in the best interest of the adults.


On January 30, 2013, a teacher who is employed with the Todd County School District was publicly reprimanded by the South Dakota Professional Teachers Practices and Standards Commission. Last week, someone provided me with the document and asked me how they could get it published in a local newspaper. For those of you who have not seen the document signed by Chairman Aaron Weaver, the contents of the Public Reprimand issued against a local teacher are provided here:


“A hearing was held before the South Dakota Professional Teachers Practices and Standards Commission regarding allegations that Robert D. Boyd Jr., a teacher, violated the South Dakota Code of Professional Ethics for Teachers. The Commission has determined that Robert D. Boyd Jr. violated the following provisions of the South Dakota Code of Professional Ethics for Teachers: ARSD 24:08:03:01. Obligations to students. In fulfilling their obligations to the students, educators shall act as follows: (5) Conduct professional business in such a way that they do not expose the students to unnecessary intimidation, embarrassment, or disparagement; (7) Maintain professional relationships with students without exploitation of a student for personal gain or advantage; As a result of these violations of the Code of Professional Ethics for Teachers, the Commission hereby issues this PUBLIC REPRIMAND against Robert D. Boyd Jr.”


I’m not sure about you but I am now extremely apprehensive about Robert D. Boyd Jr. being anywhere near my Takoja when they enter the grade levels where he teaches or coaches. There must have been enough evidence to warrant a Public Reprimand to be issued by a State Commission. So why didn’t the local school board reprimand, sanction, fine or even terminated Boyd? Isn’t it the job of the adults to look after the best interest of the students?


The system failed in this instance. This concerns our children. Our students deserve the best, do they not? If Boyd acted unethically or unprofessionally with students before, how do I know that he will not do something inappropriate

Published by Vi Waln


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