Thursday, May 8, 2003
The Two-Way-Street of Character Assassination
Dear Hockey Saga Diary,
A former Duluth City Councilor has been among the more persistant people contacting board members on Mike Randolph's behalf. I have, of course been sympathetic as I always am with School Board petitioners but have made no promises. I'm afraid that the Councilor has tuned into my sympathy and tuned out my refusal to make a promise. Of course, after yesterday's meeting I was already softened up.
That said I'm also more sensitive to the abuse that has been heaped on our school administrators. Mr. Randolph has said that his reputation has been undermined but on the District's side the allegations are running like this.
Principal Knapp did not talk to Randolph to express her concerns until at the last minute she sent a curt demanding email message which he was given no time to respond to. Without having said it this inevitably leads to the charge that Laurie Knapp is a bitch. Would a curt letter from a male principal be as objectionable.
She has been faulted for bringing in her personal prejudices on her son's behalf for an incident which took place six years earlier. Traschel and others have been repeating the story that East's former principal warned Randolph that the new coach was out to get him.
The possibility that there was good reason to changing coaching is turned back on Knapp by saying that if so then she had an obligation to give Mike a chance to clean up his act.
Bruce Watkins has been excoriated for attempting to buy off MIke with the promise of a celebration of his past glories. This, of course, backfired badly. When pressed to explain why the decision was made he kept in mind the legal prohibition against the District's iterating "causes." and implied that there was a cause by telling the media that the decision was made for the good of kids. Of course, the District could say that every decision that it makes is for this reason but in stating this specifically in this case it does seem to be an invitation to incredulity.
Connie Carter has been lambasted for making the outrageous demand that kids who didn't make the team be given their money back from wreath sales. Critics point out quite rightly that if contributors discover that the kids are pocketing the money then the whole fundraiser becomes suspect. What they haven't been willing to conceed is that the School District can't be in the business of forcing kids to raise money for an activity they are denied from participating in. The solution is, to say the least, inelegant but short of some other suggested method at least it deals with the problem. Of course, the critics come back and trump this by shouting "fraud." Which is also against the law.
Although Bob Mars is not part of the Administration he too has come in for a serious drubbing. His long association with the Marshall (private) high school and its hockey rink and hockey program make him particularly suspect.
For the past couple years Mike has called me up and complained about Bob. All I could say is that Bob was an eligible candidate and he won and that I believe he cares a lot about kids. On the other hand I've hears unsavory details about St. Scholastica college being suckered into paying for the Marshall hockey rink with its contributor's donations. Bob has shown an unseemly interest in the use of his eponomoyus arena. When the East team refused to play Marshall and later when it played in Superior to avoid the Mars Arena Bruce Watkins felt he had to go to Stowe School to get Mike's explanation where one was not necessary.
Such a man as Bob must be secretly delighted to topple his East High Hockey nemesis, or so the theory goes. I too have wondered if Bob Mars's divided loyalties might have been a challenge to overcome but in my Monday meeting he seemed desperate to be sure that the Administrtion had documented problems should a court case be necessary. This was not the reaction of a person eager to have a fight. In fact, as long as I've known Bob he's struck me as the kind of person to avoid unneccesary fights. And this is such a fight. He went to coach that day.
Skepticism about MR from Board member from 2 Questions. Changing the subject
Did any administrator ever caution you?
two way street. Deep Throat. beating up carter, watkins, Knapp et all