Friday, November 05, 2004


Good news: Another stellar fiscal conservative, Rich Hansen, was reelected handily to the board of the Blair (Neb.) Community Schools. He was the top vote-getter in a field of 10 candidates for five board slots. That’s an awesome mandate, and we look for more good news out of Blair from this able leader.

Bad news: It looks like longtime educator Rich Pahls has squeaked out a victory in Legislative District 31 in the Millard area of southwest Omaha over Ben Thompson. Pahls was the grade-school principal who looked the other way several years ago when a teacher whipped up her pupils into a frenzy and got them to write nasty political letters to state senators pleading for them not to put a spending lid on schools, or they’d lose their playgrounds, would have to use corncobs in the restrooms, and have green speckled mush for lunch, etc. etc. Of course I’m exaggerating, but not much. Pahls has been with the Millard Public Schools for 30 years and his wife is a teacher there. Even though he had a lot of Republican support, I don’t look for him to be anything but a drag in the Unicam on efforts to improve our schools and especially their fiscal accountability.

And ugly news: The Lincoln Journal Star put a story on Page 1 Sunday about a longtime substitute teacher in the Lincoln Public Schools who’s charged with first-degree sexual assault of a minor. (Find it by searching for Kaela Down on www.journalstar.com) Kaela is a 15-year-old who ‘’felt creepy’’ around the teacher two years ago because he was putting his hands on the girls in the class and other objectionable behavior. She took an ‘’F’’ rather than dressing out for gym and participating in his class. But nothing happened to the teacher . . . at least, then. It’s good that the guy got caught on down the road, if indeed he’s found guilty and is indeed a pedophile, and it’s good that the paper put this story on Page 1. But it’s really, really ugly that the real, honest concerns of students and their families two years ago didn’t prevent the inevitable from happening, again, if the man is eventually found guilty. It’s just another example of the attitude change we hope and demand in our schools . . . to put the kids first, for heaven’s sake.

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