I love teachers. My mom's a teacher. My cousins are teachers. My sister-in-law is a teacher. My aunts and uncles are teachers. My best friends are teachers. In a past life, my clients were textbook publishers — and teachers.
Education is serious business and I will wholeheartedly stand up and applaud each and every educator for what they do day in and day out.
I believe all schools should be palaces. I believe education is the silver bullet to improve our society. Teachers should make triple-digit salaries, hands down, no question.
Let it be established that I am a big fan of teachers.
Now comes Carrie Prosek. She is apparently a Minooka Community High School teacher who was arrested and charged with a DUI, illegal parking and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
To Ms. Prosek, I would extend my sympathy. She's obviously made a mistake — now, a very public one. I couldn't speculate whether or not this was a one-time event, or symptomatic of a larger, possibly ongoing problem in her life. We don't know. Maybe she doesn't either. Maybe she does.
The point is, we, as parents, have a right to know when teachers who are responsible for our children break the law. And fact of the matter is, the police say Prosek broke the law. Of course, the fact that she was charged doesn't mean that she is actually guilty. Either way, her credibility is being questioned.
As it should be! We as parents should always know the people who interact with our children — as often as humanly possible. Teachers beg parents to get more involved. Frankly, parents are not doing enough.
That responsibilty goes both ways. Just as parents should be involved with the day-to-day of our kids' schooling, so should teachers expect that when they act a fool, parents need to know about it.
When the article about Prosek broke on Patch, may people wrote in chastising the reporter. "Nadia" wrote that "non-violent misdemeanors do not qualify as 'parental concern.'"
My question to Nadia is, then what does? If a teacher gets arrested, then that's a flag.
"Kathy" called the story an invasion of privacy and asked the reporter if she enjoyed ruining people's lives. I will ask Kathy why she thinks Prosek didn't bring it on herself?
"Tanya" claims the story was inaccurate. I pulled the court records myself. According to the deputy's sworn statement, the arrest details mirror the story's account. That part was reported accurately.
There may have been an error in the subjects the teacher taught. The original story stated that Prosek taught driver's ed. That appears not to be true, although I have no confirmation either way.
From a parent's perspective, the class subject is almost irrelevant. Sorry, commenters, you can defend Ms. Prosek all day long. I believe that she is probably a good or even great teacher. She still can be.
The bottom line is that parents have every right to know. We need to know the teachers, coaches, clergy, friends and parents of other kids. This is not just a right, it is a responsibility.
I think it's great that students wrote in and stuck up for Prosek. It appears that a lot of people like this teacher. Let's hope and pray this is an isolated incident.
Yes, I think it is entirely possible for people to make mistakes — even getting behind the wheel when we have had too much to drink. I think that there must be few of us who haven't made that error at least once in our lives. Heck, with a name like Erin Gallagher, I am certain I'm related to a lot of them. Lord knows, I'm not in an ivory tower. Nor am I casting stones.
Even still, alcohol and vehicles do not mix. The consequences for such an action are dire. Lots of employers fire people over DUIs. People do get hurt. They do get killed. Drunk and buzzed driving is serious. It affects us all.
Teachers are not exempt from that. They need to be role models. They need to set themselves to a higher standard. Let's hope Prosek learns from this and uses this awful experience to continue being a quality role model for our students.
I had a friend in college who drove drunk once and killed a man. Since then, he was totally off the drink. In return, he regularly volunteered at schools to talk to kids about what happened to him. He expressed deep remorse and shame. He turned a heart-wrenching experience into a positive.
Ms. Prosek, I challenge you to do that. Show students how they can learn from your mistakes. If you can, I hope you keep teaching.
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