Teacher's Negligence Creates Dangerous Situation For John Adams Student Print
News - Opinion
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 23:51

MADERA - Sometimes I need to violate one of the first rules of journalism, "Don't be a part of the story or report from the first person perspective". After what happened last night at the Madera Unified Spring Concert at Lincoln Elementary, I again get to pull out my first person voice and tell you a story of a woman that does not belong in education and an administration that is worse than the previous administration the district sent back to the classroom.

First of all I must confess that I did not demonstrate model behavior. Sometimes an over-protective father takes over my brain and I want to stop the people that have hurt my kids. Last night was a good example of this.

Both of my daughters are part of the John Adams Choir directed by Irene Davis. My step-son was also a student of Mrs. Davis. The director and I do not see eye-to-eye on which is more important, music or baseball. Six years ago she forced my step-son to miss a Little League game to perform in her Spring Concert with threats of a four page paper if he missed it.

My thoughts are he had a commitment to his team first and his choir second. When my daughters signed up last year for the choir I made sure the principal knew baseball would win out over show-tunes and any paper she required could be shoved where the 'sun doesn't shine'.

Only this year there was no game on concert night. So I didn't get to argue baseball over "Kiss Me Kate" and my daughters' were up on the risers and this proud daddy was in the back with his video camera with all the other dads.

Did I mention that the Spring Concert was the year end performance of the Adams Choir along with the Alpha School and Lincoln School choirs. Three schools of kids, three schools of parents, all shoved into the cafegymatorium at Lincoln School. Hundreds of people in the middle of May in one room with no air conditioning?

Later that night I sat in the Madera Unified District board room and not only was the air conditioning on, but all the trustees had ice cold water in front of them. Some one at the district office knew how to operate the air conditioning units. I guess they don't explain that to school level administrators.

First the Alpha School Choir performed, next the Lincoln School Choir sang their two songs. Now Mrs. Davis was able to shine with her "Salute to Broadway". My daughters' choir performed a Cole Porter (no relations) song from "Kiss Me Kate". Then they performed "For Good" from the musical "Wicked".

About two minutes into the second song my youngest daughter started to show signs of distress (The EMT's words, not mine). At the two minute thirty seven second mark my daughter collapsed from the third level risers, falling forward straight down to the floor. Luckily the students below caught her and she did not hurt herself on her way down.

What did Mrs. Davis do? She screamed "Oh my God!" and backed away from my crumpled daughter on the floor. A parent in the audience that was an off duty EMT got to her before me and applied cold compresses until she came around.

At this point this daddy was a little pissed off. I saw Mrs. Davis NOT go to my daughters side. I saw her back away from the students seeking comfort in the arms of John Adams' new principal. How could she not see that her student was becoming ill? How could she allow her students to stand all that time in that hot building without getting the air conditioning turned on? How could she not provide water to her students in that hot building?

Did I mention that the other two choirs directed by Rebecca Vagim were allowed to sit when they were not performing but the John Adams Choir was forced to stand for the entire show?

I had many questions going through my head as my child lay unconscious on the floor. The EMT and my ex-wife's boyfriend (a nursing assistant) were dealing with my nine year old. I trusted they knew what they were doing. I wanted answers and I wanted them now. Ok I wanted heads on the chopping blocks but I would have settled for answers.

My daughter came to and of course was embarrassed. An ambulance was on its way, so we walked her out of the building. I joked with my daughter, "This wouldn't have happened if you had been at Little League", which was answered immediately by Irene Davis' husband, "This wouldn't have happened Mr. Porter had you fed your daughter before her performance."

I can't believe no one saw my head explode at that moment. I wanted to see how far my fist could go down this man's throat. But the EMT told him to knock it off and we went outside to get my daughter cooled off.

However Mrs. Davis' husband, Walter Davis a former choir director for Lincoln School, followed us out and kept getting close to me. So I gave him what for. Told him how little I thought of his wife as a teacher. Did he really need to be in my general area? Did he really need to keep following us? I think he got what he deserved.

To his defense were Mrs. Melissa Murray and Mr. Adalberto Hernandez, the principal and vice-principal of John Adams. Both tried to tell me we would talk about this later. I thought now was the best time.

A side-bar on Mr. Hernandez: the man owes his continued career at Madera Unified to my common sense. Last year during the first wrestling team meeting of the season he wanted to strip down thirty 9, 10 and 11 year old boys to their underwear in an open classroom and weigh them without parental permission. I had to stop him twice before he understood that would be a bad thing.

I find it funny how these two administrators at John Adams can give so many great teachers "unsatisfactory" and "needs improvement" reviews while the vice principal lacks simple common sense. I also wonder how the district can blame the teachers for lower test scores when it is the administrators that are forcing the teachers to change their proven teaching methods. The only thing that has changed since Adams was a distinguished school is the administration. For the most part the teachers are all the same.

Sorry, went on a little tangent. Where was I? Oh yes, Mrs. Davis' husband not being removed from my general area. I was by no means a "sleeping dog". You couldn't help but hear my bark. But is there anyone that doesn't know how dangerous it is to poke a bear?

Did you know a principal doesn't like to be told to F-off by a parent? "Mr. Porter you will need to leave the school grounds". This while my daughter is being treated by an EMT and waiting for an ambulance. Ok its the wrong thing to say, but the right time to say it.

Something needs to be done about the administration at John Adams. Mrs. Irene Davis needs to be reassigned. Or at the very least the district needs to audit her school days to make sure she isn't taking too many prep periods or too much travel time between John Adams Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Junior High were she is also the band director.

Common sense is lacking in our school district and more and more parents are getting pissed off. My daughter is fine, a little embarrassed by the fall, but fine. But this situation is not fine. If we can't count on our teachers and administrators to look out for the safety of our students, then we need to get rid of those people and hire new ones.

I never thought I would miss former MUSD superintendent Julie O'Kane and former Adams principal Art Davis, but I really do. For all their faults, they did practice common sense and when they were in charge Adams was a CALIFORNIA DISTINGUISHED SCHOOL.

Editorial by Jack Porter