At this point it should be pretty clear that no school system is perfect. It's a group of older people trying to help younger people. And all people, young and old, make mistakes.
But there are mistakes and then there are Mistakes. Holding a casting call that only attracts understudies when everyone knows the curtain is coming down before the second act is a mistake. Letting an administrator get away with sexual harassment that would make the suits on Mad Men blush is the second kind.
Last week, Clarksville High principal Don Hassler (the most appropriately named man in Montgomery County) was demoted after he told a female employee that she was the embodiment of his sexual fantasy. Apparently, Hassler and his wife had taken a survey in a Cosmo-like women's mag and *ta-daa!* his co-worker was precisely the make-and-model he'd been dreaming of.
A subsequent investigation revealed that this kind of behavior--casual mentions of co-workers breasts and bragging about his own endowments--was par for the course for Hassler. Instead of being fired on the spot, however, he was merely reassigned, as an 11th grade English teacher at Northeast High. The same school that employed Bryan Dale Farmer, a former teacher convicted in June of statutory rape.
The obvious villain here is Mr. Hassler. Making one inappropriate mark is dumb, if forgivable. Making more than that is not. Especially when you're the top dog in your particular zip code and, as such, wield the kind of power that can get people fired for questioning your authority.
Less obvious is the role played by the Montgomery County school board and Director of Schools Mike Harris. They're the enablers. And in talks with various board members this week, including one who resigned his seat after the Hassler demotion, the administrators meant to police inappropriate behavior have been doing anything but.
So in honor of Mr. Hassler's new job, and the tactful way in which Montgomery County treats it's most lascivious school marms, here's a proposed reading list for his new English class (Please disregard any pattern you think you might have spotted in the subject matter; there's no implied double-meaning whatsoever):
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
KISS and Make-Up by Gene Simmons
Unseemly Man: My Life as a Pornographer, Pundit and Social Outcast by Larry Flynt
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
Got an appropriate addition to Mr. Hassler's reading list? Leave it below.