Administrators: You must walk the talk

We want a principal who is open to working with the student body to effect change

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Administrators: You must walk the talk

Risa Cohen

Risa Cohen

Risa Cohen


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After the unexpected termination of science teacher Daniel Bobo-Jones Jan. 8, some students are coping with disorganized classes and the loss of a teacher, while others grieve a trusted, guiding figure.

But their concerns reflect a deeper distrust in the relationship between U-High’s administration and its students. Even though some information must be kept private, professionalism and sensitivity are not mutually exclusive.

The way Mr. Bobo-Jones was fired demonstrated a disregard toward true community by the administrators involved in this decision. That fact that these administrators would leave his classes teacherless and confused for days seems like a regrettable invalidation of his 14 years of hard work at U-High. His abrupt firing also created avoidable, harmful speculation.

It is essential that the administration consider the implications of the way they handle charged situations, especially when the resulting dialogue is damaging to respected contributors to our community. Students who saw Mr. Bobo-Jones as a supportive mentor felt abandoned. This should disturb the same leaders who created the student wellness survey, which revealed how few students at Lab feel they have a reliable, trusted adult.

Students and faculty need to be able to trust the administration — especially when they have been misinformed and may feel lost and kept in the dark. For years, some Lab community members have felt a strained, adverse relationship with the leaders of our school. With little transparency or understanding of what administrators do, we often see minimal follow-through and an unwillingness to connect meaningfully with students.

With a high turnover rate for director and principal positions, faculty and students alike may struggle to find common ground with their leaders. We are not voiceless, though. No matter how disconnected we may feel from our administration, our wellness and success is fundamentally connected to theirs.

Students must engage as we begin the search for a new principal. As individuals with shared interests, we must consider how to fortify what we have built. We need a principal that is caring and approachable, yet effective and attentive during times of change. We need an administration that can actively work together to foster close relationships with students and faculty. Above all, we need an administration for whom “community” is a clear plan, not a vague dream.