Thursday, December 9, 2010

Allwine Resigns

My first post about Rebecca Allwine appeared on November 3, and was titled What are they thinking?

Between then and now, I've given this a lot of thought:  I might be a curmudgeon were a curmudgeon young, lithe, lighthearted and not pegged "a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas."

I'd also like a little latitude to play with alternate spellings.  I'm thinking something along the lines of "kermudjin."   
Curmudgeon that I am not, then, I still doubt that Rebecca Allwine has made what amounts to the right decision by virtue of... well, by virtue of her own virtue.
Speak plainly?
Now, there's a notion.

[One of my Brother-Units is a patient educator of 18-22+ year olds at a state university, and as such, has had occasion to offer a good many composition tips over the years.  He has, he says, "seen it all." Although he marvels at my writing, he offers me the same boring critique, year in, year out:  Too many words.] 
When elementary school teacher Rebecca Allwine graced these hallowed manor halls a few weeks back,  she had been arrested for attempting to kill her husband by poisoning his drink with a lethal dose of Ambien.  As the newspaper put it, succinct to a fault, "he survived."
[With my luck, on one of my more suicidal nights, the only thing that would likely happen after such a dosing?  A little zombie refrigerator raiding, unrecalled the next morning, as I puzzle my way through a farewell note smeared with chocolate sauce.] 
What she did is what ought to have been remarkable enough as news fodder, but you know, and I know, that it was not.  So she poisoned her husband: Well,  meh.

What moved me to mention the endearing educator in this blog was the fact that she was allowed to continue teaching there, in Coweta County, Georgia,.  Why?  Because, we are told, she had always been "a good teacher." 
Oops.  Sorry.  That's a ridiculously erroneous quote.
She was "a very good teacher."
Back in November, I did verbal gymnastics over the word turpid, as found in turpitude -- the moral sort of which the governing standards commission for teachers in Georgia determined her to be free of.  Or, at least, unconvicted.  Of. 
My grammar is dangling all over the place tonight!
Okay, so there is breaking news in Coweta County. 

Rebecca Allwine voluntarily resigned.  I think any reasoning reasonable adult would recognize that as the proper course -- that a teacher charged with such a crime not remain in the classroom (until the facts of the case are elucidated), that a teacher determined to have committed such acts never again grace the classroom.

Unfortunately, what remains a puzzlement to this kermudjin is the insistance of her school colleagues on the excellence of her character and job performance.  I suppose there is a throw-away phrase or two to which newspaper readers are not exposed -- something like "given that it was a crime of passion" or "she just must not have been in her right mind, momentarily..." There are probably even a few versions of "he had it coming..."

Well, Dear Apologists -- you are just wrong and, in your wrongness, manage to beg so many disturbing questions that we have issued writs and warnings throughout the realm of Tête de Hergé (très décédé, d'ailleurs) about the dangers of sending one's children to a school in Coweta County, Georgia. 

The fear, though, is far less about the moral fiber of Rebecca Allwine than it is about the lack of common sense of school and state education officials in that otherwise fine region.

Teacher in domestic dispute resigns
By Jeff Bishop

The Times-Herald

Facing continued questions from concerned parents and even national publicity, teacher Rebecca Allwine has resigned from her position at Willis Road Elementary School.

"We have accepted her resignation, and it was a voluntary resignation," said Coweta County School System spokesman Dean Jackson. He said he could not comment further because the matter is a personnel issue.

Allwine's last day of employment was last Friday.

The second grade Coweta County teacher allegedly attempted to poison her husband last winter. But she kept teaching at Willis Road Elementary School, even after she was arrested for the crime and later indicted by a Coweta County grand jury.

The controversial move to support Allwine made national news, with popular Headline News Channel host Nancy Grace expressing outrage and asking her viewers, "How can she not be a threat?"

"A second grade school teacher has been discovered poisoning her husband -- she's not in jail. In fact, she's back in the classroom?" said Grace on her nationally-televised cable show.

"Someone explain. She's back in the classroom with second graders. How could she not be a threat?"

As late as two weeks ago, Coweta school officials said the school system had not changed its position of support for the teacher. But parents in the meantime continued to meet with Superintendent Blake Bass and others, expressing their concern.

Newly-elected Coweta Board of Education member Amy Dees said she had problems with the school system's decision.

"I absolutely feel that she should not have been placed back in the classroom," said Dees soon after her election. "She was obviously having some emotional issues and our children were exposed to that. Whatever rules protected her need to be changed." Times-Herald reader comments also tended to be critical of the decision. One Sound Off contributor asked, "Would you let your child be in a classroom with this woman?" Another stated, "I have children at Willis Road Elementary. While I'm sorry for Allwine's personal problems, I resent the school board's attitude on this matter. She's demonstrated that she's unstable. She should not be teaching small children. She will never teach mine."

"I have a student at Willis Road Elementary School in first grade," said Sharpsburg resident Brad Gaines in a Letter to the Editor of The Times-Herald. "I am appalled the teacher accused of such a serious crime is allowed to continue to teach our kids.

"Call it what you want, but she was originally charged with attempting to murder her husband by putting something in his drink.

"I believe as parents in our community we should not just stand by quietly and allow the school board to make such a stupid decision. She has obviously proven by her actions that she is an unstable person."

Allwine so far has not responded to requests for comment.

Allwine pleaded guilty earlier this fall to disorderly conduct. A Coweta County grand jury meeting for Coweta Superior Court indicted Allwine in September for aggravated assault and battery, alleging that Allwine had attempted to poison her husband, Joshua Allwine, with Ambien and melatonin pills, court records show.

The charges arose from an incident that occurred on Jan. 31, 2010, at 2:01 a.m., following a domestic dispute, according to testimony given by Coweta County Sheriff's Office officer Trent Hastings, who arrested Allwine, according to court records.

Hastings said Mrs. Allwine did "intentionally cause physical harm to her husband" when she "struck him with her hands numerous times" in the head, "resulting in multiple lacerations," according to court records.

Allwine also "intentionally put approximately 18 melatonin and 10 Ambien in the victim's drink that he prepared for himself, and that she knew he would be consuming," said the officer. "The victim did consume the drink, resulting in a likely chance for bodily harm or death."

"The school system does not feel that she is a danger in any way, not in the least," said Jackson, speaking on behalf of the school board, after the incident became public. "If we did, we would have taken action from the beginning.

"We were made aware of the details of this incident from the start, and the school, the school system and the Professional Standards Commission were all involved. If at any time the school system has a question about whether or not a teacher should be in the classroom, that teacher is not going to be there, but there were no such concerns in this case."

The school system took the position that this was a private, domestic dispute. Mrs. Allwine filed for divorce and a temporary protective order shortly after the altercation.

The Professional Standards Commission stated that because the assault charge did not result in a conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude, Allwine's employment status was left up to the school district.

"We were continuously informed of the legal proceedings, and the issue was reviewed by the Professional Standards Commission," said Jackson. "The charges were resolved.... She has continued teaching throughout, and is a good teacher and employee."


Indifference; to be used when one simply does not care.

A: What do you want for dinner?
B: Meh.

Used in the greatest tv show of all time, The Simpsons. In the episode Hungry, Hungry Homer, Bart and Lisa respond to a Homer inquiry with "meh."

Homer: Kids, how would you like to go... to Blockoland!
Bart & Lisa: Meh.
Homer: But the TV. gave the impression that--
Bart: We said "meh".
Lisa: M-E-H. Meh.
-- The Urban Dictionary

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