I agree with this letter writer from Kenmore. Principals doing publicity stunts to get their students to read are about as cliche' as football coaches being drenched with Gatorade after a big victory.
We all know these staged events are not about the students at all. The principal wants everyone (including the news' cameras) to see how "caring" they are. Getting ketchup and mustard poured on you does not make you a good principal. It actually makes you look like a poser. Now, if they let the students pepper spray them, hit them with baseball bats, or shoot them with paint balls, that might be newsworthy...
Humiliating a principal teaches the wrong lesson
That was quite a picture on the front of the Nov. 29 City and Region section of The Buffalo News showing an elementary school principal being drenched with mustard, ketchup and relish after becoming a “human hot dog” to reward the children of the school for reading more than 71,000 minutes.
While I commend the principal for his commitment to reading and his willingness to sacrifice himself to this treatment, I have to say that the photo did get me thinking about children and motivation. Do we really want children to think that group humiliation of an authority figure is a jolly undertaking? I assume that the families of these children have taught them to always respect the principal, so for some of them, this might have been an uncomfortable display.
I wonder if instead we could set group reading goals that are more pro-social. Maybe, read 71,000 minutes and the entire school gets to play outside during the first big snow. Or, read 71,000 minutes and the PTA will donate 100 books to children who don’t have any books. It would be interesting to have the children brainstorm a list of possible rewards, ones that nurture the kind of adults we hope to help them grow up to be.Julie Henry
Here's one guy who never had to use staged publicity stunts to earn the students respect. Aloha, Mr. Hand...