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School system's tepid response to Mary Kay scandal

The Baltimore City School System has clammed up about its response to a high school principal's efforts to recruit Filipino teachers in her school to sell Mary Kay cosmetics -- efforts they were in no position to refuse, given that their continued presence in this country requires a good evaluation from their supervisor. Despite this obviously outrageous abuse of power, the most we've heard from the system is school board President Neil E. Duke's assurance that administrators investigated the matter and made an "appropriate response." More he would not say, citing the old dodge that the issue is a personnel matter.

But even without knowing what sanctions, if any, were meted out against the principal, Janice Williams of the Institute of Business and Entrepreneurship, it's pretty obvious that the district has failed to make an appropriate response in at least one respect: They have made no clear and unambiguous statement that what Ms. Williams did was wrong.

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Someone needs to come out and say that the system will not abide by those in positions of authority using their power for financial gain, and that in this case, the offense was particularly egregious because the principal targeted a particular group of teachers in her school, teachers who were in even less of a position to resist than any other subordinate would be.

Baltimore depends on Filipino education school graduates to fill its teaching ranks. But what would a new recruit think after learning of this incident, hearing no strong rebuke from the district, and seeing the principal keep her job?

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