My Turn: I don’t want my child exposed to Truckee principal’s philosophies | SierraSun.com

My Turn: I don’t want my child exposed to Truckee principal’s philosophies

Tom Ballister
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Last Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, I spoke during the public comments segment of the TTUSD Board Meeting. In the subsequent Sierra Sun article reporting on the meeting “Truckee Football, parents speak out…” the only mention of the specific points I made was with regard to “philosophy.” Further I was represented as requesting investigation into a scheduling change related to a 4th period weight class.

I never mentioned weight class once, and the other points I made were never reported. The summation of all the words I did say, into a set of words I didn’t say, was very disappointing. However, I am grateful to the Sierra Sun for the opportunity to clarify via this forum. The following are the comments I made, as verbatim as I can recall them.

“I have several concerns regarding the leadership presently in place at Truckee High School. The first of these is the propensity of the principal to insist that others address him as “Doctor.” This may seem trite, but it is both revealing and concerning to me. While I don’t know about anyone else, I know that I neither request nor grant respect on the basis of it being asked for. Rather I come to respect others by way of their actions, deeds, demeanor and character. To consider that the principal would expect such an instruction to elicit anything other than mistrust at best, and contempt at worst, is a little alarming and troubling.

Secondly, he injected himself onto the program of this year’s talent show. That show is about our children; it is a venue for students to demonstrate their talent in front of the community, and to be judged by a panel of their peers. By inserting himself into the talent lineup he put that panel in the awkward position of having to make a choice between possibly offending their principal, or taking one of three awards away from a student. What happened is that an award was kept from a student, and given to the principal. In my opinion, it was self-serving, insensitive and completely inappropriate.

Thirdly are recurring comments that indicate competition and competitive sports are somehow undesirable. That they are somehow unhealthy for our youth. I could not disagree more. Competition, and losing, and learning how to objectively assess what we did to prepare, or not, and how we performed in the arena, or not, and taking that assessment back into the arena and trying again, and learning that this iterative process can bring success, is a wonderful lesson. To know that someone considers this trial and error process to be somehow harmful suggests they do not recognize almost every advancement of the human species throughout history.

I don’t want my child exposed to these philosophies. If these are the philosophies that we are funding, we shouldn’t be.”

Tom Ballister is a Truckee resident.