If you’ve been wondering what’s behind the big crowds at Perry school board meetings in support of or opposing the high school’s principal, Nick Weingart, you’re in good company.
He’s confused by it too.
“It appears there is some that have a beef with me, but I don’t know what it is,” Weingart said to a reporter for The Lima News on Tuesday afternoon.
There were an estimated 100 people at the July school board meeting to voice their support or opposition to keeping Weingart as the high school principal. Fifty showed up back in June to voice their concerns regarding Weingart, who remains under contract until the end of the 2016-17 school year.
Yet Weingart said he’s never talked to anyone about their concerns. He said he’s never been called into executive session to talk to the school board. He said he’s never been addressed by a school board member about what the concerns might be.
“I simply don’t know,” Weingart said, who did note he’s been asked to discuss possible concerns at the Oct. 18 school board meeting.
We don’t know either. School board members are hiding behind executive sessions. True, one of the exceptions of letting the public hear what’s happening in a meeting is to go over personnel, but it’s doesn’t stop a school board member from talking about why they’re considering action in the first place.
Schools teach a lot more than reading, writing and arithmetic. Right now, the school board members at Perry are teaching their young some bad lessons.
If you have a problem with someone, you should at least extend the courtesy of telling them what your problem is. You shouldn’t immediately escalate everything before giving someone a chance to explain himself.
Take the case of one former student who told our reporter about a bullying problem she faced. Weingart took a professional stance on that story, saying he couldn’t talk about it, but said sometimes bullying cases are more complicated than they appear at first.
We don’t know what the exact problems are. Weingart has been principal for nine years after previously working in the Columbus schools. He may have had some issues acclimating to the different types of school systems, but that change happened years ago.
It’s hard to ignore the results, though. The district has higher test scores and graduation rates than it did before he arrived. He says there are fewer reported incidents of problems too.
At a minimum, Weingart deserves a phone call from one of the school board members so he can share his perspective and so he can learn what the issues might be. After nine years at the school, he deserves at least that much.
If it’s just a personal issue, both sides need to move on. If it’s a situation that could change, Weingart deserves the opportunity to improve.
Whatever the situation, communication can only help it.