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Roseburg High School teacher Micki Hall speaks to a class in 2014.

As parents, we often find ourselves in situations where the ideas of rules and principles become the focus of family discussions when children’s choices conflict with our expectations.

We tell our children it is important to follow the rules and act accordingly. We say the rules are there for a reason. We connect actions and principles to the concepts of character and integrity. We tell them words matter and actions have consequences. We point to role models, respected leaders and friends. We pray the lessons resonate.

Then we pick up the newspaper to discover words do not always matter and actions do not always render appropriate consequences. Which brings me to two issues of concern.

From Oct. 27 to Jan. 29, The News-Review ran a series of six articles regarding the Roseburg High School volleyball coaches and Superintendent Gerry Washburn. This story, it seems, is not over, and if one pays attention to letters and online comments, it has piqued the interest of a great many people, including me.

Without going into the reported details, it appeared the coaches had been exonerated (News Review, Jan. 13, 2018). The superintendent found the complaints against the coaches were unfounded, and an independent investigation concluded the superintendent was guilty of disregarding the complaint policy and process.

But only 12 days after The News-Review reported this, another article appeared, wherein the superintendent announced he would not recommend renewal of Danielle Haskett’s coaching contract. In spite of investigations dismissing the alleged wrong-doing, and in spite of the findings of the independent investigation that he had violated the process which was “more than adequate” to address the original incident, Mr. Washburn would not recommend the renewal of Haskett’s contract.

The words of administrators, investigators, players and coaches did not matter to Mr. Washburn; he ignored them. He has since ignored the pleas of dozens of district coaches. It seems the words and the actions this incident presented were sacrificed when Mr. Washburn took it upon himself to ignore both.

Mr. Washburn disregarded the words of those appointed to instead ferret out accusations of bullying by making an individual decision based upon what appears to be personal whim. The consequences of this action were immediate and sadly disappointing for coaches, athletes and the public, who failed to understand why a coach could be treated unfairly.

The consequences of his actions have sent a chilling effect throughout the coaching community in Roseburg, and will have a chilling effect on the staff of the district if a new policy is written to address the nebulous concept of “perceived bias” to save the image of the superintendent.

Washburn’s independent decision becomes a red flag for future behavior, and it represents an ethical dilemma for those under the leadership of Mr. Washburn, furthering a lack of trust among the stakeholders in the district.

Not just as parents, but as regular people, we often find ourselves in situations where rules and principles become the focus of discussion as our leaders’ choices conflict with our expectations. In these discussions, we could all do better for our children and their futures.

Micki Hall is a retired teacher from Roseburg.

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(7) comments

Shyster

Without beating a dead horse I would just like to point out my response to the article posted the previous day re "Policy Ruling not related to Contentious Volleyball Program" (or some similar title). Again, our dear retired teacher, Mrs Hall, misstates the real record; a record that the school administration initiated and paid for with public funds but refuses to turn over to either opposing counsel or the News Review itself. I speak of the investigative report prepared by Mr. Keeley, I believe his name is. If you missed it, read and/or reread the article referenced above and published on March 14th. Why is the school administration refusing to turn over this investigative report? I mean, really? Something stinks. And, of course, the Principal and Athletic Director are in a "tight spot" because if they did their job(s), the position for Volleyball Coach" would have been posted long ago with the District. It's always hard to separate friendship from employment responsibilities; which goes back to one of the original complaints (i.e friendship amongst the accused, the Principal and the Athletic Director has created a clear conflict of interest). I believe this bias is also evident in Micki Hall's article. I would bet she is a great friend of Danielle Haskett In fact, she most likely taught her daughter as well. Anyhow, let's get a copy of the Investigative Report out in the open and move forward from there because the truth is attracted to the light and mostly corrupt and/or evil things dwell in the darkness. If there's nothing to hide let them release the report tomorrow!

Baulderdash52

I have reported the facts as I know them, and have done so with great care. I have taught thousands of students over the course of 30 years, and have hopefully modeled and emphasized the characteristics of integrity, honesty , and courage. While all of us make mistakes, none of us should stop seeking the truth. I taught both Haskett children, but am not personal friends with Danielle. I am, however, quite invested in this case as it has implications for every coach and teacher in the District, a District I dedicated my professional life to, and would do it again in a heartbeat!

Shyster

Dear Mrs Hall, I most certainly admire and applaud your statement that "...none of us should stop seeking the truth." I agree wholeheartedly. But if your statement were to ring true then you, too, would be seeking the release of the investigator's file in this case. Don't you question, just a little, in the back of your mind why the school district is fighting so hard to keep it out of the public's eye? Just a little? And I, like yourself, also respect "the characteristics of integrity, honesty, and courage." (Your quote). So why do you continue to bash the superintendent concerning this matter? I would think he feels that he has conducted his career under those very same principles. He did what he felt was right. I'm sure he doesn't have a secret agenda to "Get Haskett." The "implications" you speak of baffle me. What implications? So if you don't agree, vote him out. But until then, if it should happen, you can continue seeking the truth by writing letters demanding that the investigative report be made public; the very same report paid for by public funds. Until then, the "implications" you speak of ring silent.

Baulderdash52

The investigator’s file seems rather immaterial given his summary. He was paid to investigate the process and policy, not the incident itself.
I have not bashed anyone, just restated the facts and asked some questions.
There are implications through the incident and possible new policy proposal that change the relationship between the teacher, coach, or any staff member. The complaint policy is not aimed at coaches, but at all personnel. Perceived blas is an empty term, not easily defined, but very easily misapplied.
The superintendent is technically not voted out as it is a school board decision to hire/fire.
Nothing I’ve said rings silent, and by the reality of it, my writings seem to garner much more support than yours have. The same could be said of the school board meetings, the strong support from the public letter writing, support from coaches, teachers, and prominent community members.

Thomas Hall

It is not the superintendent's job to evaluate individual teachers or coaches. That
job is given to the principal w/ possible guidance through Human Relations Dept.
The principal involved has backed the coaches as has the athletic director
(who also is involved in the evaluation process).
For the super. to leap-frog the people directly involved with the coaches,
and those who work with those coaches daily is simply bad policy. He has
left both the principal and athletic director out on a limb, totally disregarding
their recommendation.
This fellow has lost his credibility in the community.
The school board can intervene. We need their assistance to
right a wrong.

Caila

correction; is= 'his' ex., [allowing HIS ego to rule the day]

Caila

AKA futility... When one person welds that much power as to avoid all common sense and instead becomes so self inclusive that he and he alone has the answers. (Where have I heard this before?) Washburn needs to go if he is allowing is ego to rule the day rather than entrusting constituents and those involved the solution.

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