Stan Roth has found a positive note since he was shoved from the classroom: The resulting hubbub has focused attention on the shortcomings of Lawrence public schools.
The former high school biology teacher said Tuesday that response to the announcement of his early retirement had been heartening.
"The reaction has been surprising and overwhelming," Roth said. "A lot of people in town suggest I should feel vindicated. I really don't."
He left the Lawrence district after a combined 40 years at Lawrence High School and Free State High School rather than accept reassignment to a nonteaching position.
After the story of Roth's retirement was published in the Journal-World, Roth received about 30 personal letters as well as dozens of e-mail messages and personal comments. The J-W has printed 37 letters to the editor on Roth's departure. A handful criticized Roth, but most were laudatory.
Roth said his ouster was prompted by denunciation of his teaching style by a few students, parents and administrators. District officials have declined to comment, citing confidentiality rules.
His friends offered to lead a petition drive to encourage the district to reconsider the decision to pull Roth out of Free State. While grateful for the sentiment, Roth said he urged them not to launch that effort.
"There is no intention on my part to ask for reinstatement," he said.
The 64-year-old Roth plans to volunteer at Prairie Park Nature Center and the Kansas Biological Survey.
But the most positive aspect of going public was that it focused attention on education in Lawrence.
"The most important outcome of this issue has been to open eyes and minds to the fact that there are some things we're not doing right ... in the public schools," he said.
-- Tim Carpenter's phone message number is 832-7155. His e-mail address is email@example.com.