SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Allegations of Misconduct
By Debra Azure


March 02, 2006
Thursday PM

I am a parent of a K-Hi senior who is also on the varsity basketball team. On Tuesday, February 28, my son along with his teammates received a letter signed by several of the teachers at Ketchikan High School. This letter referred to the drinking incident that took place in Anchorage on Saturday, February 18, and the subsequent denial that more than one player was responsible. It further stated that, "We do not accept the story that only one player was involved."

The letter went on to say, "As college deadlines approach, many of you will request letters of recommendation. We need to be able to compose those letters with confidence and honesty." The letter also referred to Southeast Tournament beginning in eight days and that the teachers will be hospitable to incoming teams, "because we owe them that," and "We'll do our jobs as faculty."

Regrettably, I believe they have abandoned their jobs as faculty in favor of joining in a lynch mob. The instigators of the above mentioned letter knew that the process dictated by policy was in motion with Mr. Ecklund investigating the issue. Like a lynch mob they decided to usurp rightful authority and take matters into their own hands. To be fair, I believe that many of the teachers signed the letter after being misled by false information. One of the rumors going around was that there were empty alcoholic beverage bottles found in the trash at the hotel. Since I had previously heard a different version, I called the hotel. I spoke to the desk clerk and she told me there were no bottles found in the rooms and no evidence of any drinking.

Later my husband, Tony, called again to get the desk clerk's name. She told Tony that she was the desk clerk on duty that night and that after I had called she had called her General Manager to make sure there was nothing that had happened that she was unaware of. She told him that their maid staff is under orders to always contact management if evidence of drinking is found in a minor's room. She also told him that the players were very well behaved.

This was an administrative issue, not something to be handled by a handful of teachers who wouldn't be deterred by lack of evidence or proof. Two students have admitted to drinking. The boys' basketball team had their games with Metlakatla cancelled and senior night has been cancelled for basketball, drill team, cheerleaders, pep band and pep club. Some of these students have been involved in these activities for four years and now will have senior night cancelled because a few teachers THINK something more went on. The pep club, band, cheerleaders and drill team were not even in Anchorage! Is this what we teach our students, that we punish the innocent in hopes of including anyone who might be guilty?

I want to be very clear that I am absolutely against any student drinking, but I don't believe in convicting without some semblance of proof. These teachers have tried and convicted these athletes on hearsay and gossip and that is wrong! They have threatened them with refusal to write letters of recommendation for college and scholarships and have called them all liars with no evidence.

Most importantly, in writing this letter they have violated their own code of ethics.
Under 20 AAC 10.020(b) In fulfilling obligations to students, an educator: (subsection 5) may not expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement; (Subsection 6) may not harass, discriminate against, or grant a discriminatory advantage to a student on the grounds of race, color,[ ] family, social, or cultural background, [ ]; shall make reasonable effort to assure that a student is protected from harassment or discrimination on these grounds; and may not engage in a course of conduct that would encourage a reasonable student to develop a prejudice on these grounds.

I believe the essence here is that educators are to protect students from harassment and that applies even to athletes. Some of the students have reported receiving a cold shoulder from their teachers since these rumors began circulating. Some have suffered harassment in class.

Under 20 AAC 10.020(c) In fulfilling obligations to the public, an educator: (subsection 2) shall take reasonable precautions to distinguish between the educator s personal views and those of any educational institution or organization with which the educator is affiliated.

Under 20 AAC 10.030 MORAL TURPITUDE: For the purpose of AS 14.20.030(a)(2),
(2) a crime involving moral turpitude includes:
(K) coercion;

Threatening to withhold letters of recommendation for colleges and scholarships unless these students either claim to have used alcohol or accuse a teammate of using alcohol is coercion and cannot be allowed.

As citizens of the United States aren't we innocent until proven guilty?

Debra Azure
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Debra Azure has lived and worked in Ketchikan for 32 years. Married 32 yrs. Raised 3 children all of whom attended K'Hi.


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