Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999


September 7, 1999


To the editor:

As a former student of Stan Roth and a near-lifetime resident of Lawrence, I am quite familiar with Mr. Roth's approach to the obligations of both education and citizenship. Although he was often lacking in tact and occasionally short on patience, he possessed (and certainly still possesses) a full complement of integrity and an undeniable zest for teaching.

When faced with the back-alley resolution of the school district administrators, he even resigned rather than drag the school system that he had served well and faithfully for 40 years through the mess of a (by all appearances) well-deserved challenge to its administrators' entirely dishonorable actions. I'm sure everything was scrupulously legal but that has no bearing on its honorableness, a distinction of which I can only hope they all are still aware of.

While I have been forced to accept the fact that integrity is worth far less than charm in our society (in spite of Mr. Roth's anachronistic lessons to the contrary), I am still shocked that someone whose major fault was an intolerance for falseness and laziness, and whose virtues included devoted service both in and out of the classroom (e.g., at the several decades' worth of LHS football games that he watched from the easternmost gate at Haskell Stadium), would be treated with the kind of respect I reserve for chewing gum that finds its way to my shoe.

The Lawrence school system should be ashamed of itself. Not for taking some kind of action against a teacher who had a long history of being a much-needed challenger to administrators' policy proposals, but for taking the kind of action it did. (For some reason, the phrase "twits and hooligans" keeps popping into my head.)

I'm sure the school district administrators' way of resolving this issue was much easier than a good old-fashioned negotiation (particularly after the grim issue of creation "science" had wormed its way into the situation). And I can only assume that they meant it as an example of how their current and former students should deal with the challenges we will encounter in life. However, as our education at the hands of USD 497 continues, I for one will do my best to unlearn this particular lesson.

David Slade,


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