Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Powell High Scandal

This is really only of interest to locals, though if you're interested the story is here:

Official at Powell High under investigation
female assistant principal at Powell High School has been suspended temporarily while Knox County school officials investigate allegations that she had a sexual relationship with a student athlete and tampered with students' grades last school year.
In a nutshell, the student athlete is a UT signee that's supposed to play for the Volunteers this fall on a full scholarship and is already enrolled in summer school. The asst. principal is married to the girl's basketball coach at my old school, Knoxville Central High. The student also used to go to Central but transferred a couple years ago. At this point there are only allegations:
[School District spokesman Russ] Oaks said supervisors in the district's human-resources department informally have been looking into all the allegations against [the asst. principal] for about a month, after receiving tips from "two or three different sources."
So we see again that all it takes to ruin one and maybe two people's careers are two or three allegations. I'm not saying things shouldn't be fully investigated, but the publicity is damaging even if both involved are innocent of the allegations. I'm not even going to use their names in this post.

Unfortunately, regardless of her guilt or innocence, the asst. principal has already lost her job:
Whatever the outcome of the investigation, Knox County Schools Superintendent Charles Lindsey has said [she] will not return to Powell High School.

"The superintendent has determined that, given the nature of the allegations and the nature of the atmosphere in the building, that it would be in the interest of everyone for [her] not to return to the building," Oaks said.
All it takes is for two or three people to submit a rumor, an allegation, something that might possibly put a higher power (in this case, the school system) in a bad light, and the only possible solution is to get rid of the problem. It's a shame.

There is one interesting tidbit of information I heard on the radio this morning driving to work: Mickey Dearstone and Jeff Jacoby do a morning drive-time sports call-in show on The Sports Animal 99.1, an affiliate of powerhouse WIVK-FM. Mickey reported that last fall, the morning crew of WIVK, Andy and Allison, did a continuing series called "Rocky Top Wakeup," where someone would call the station and summon a 6-piece band to someone else's house early in the morning, whereupon the band would play a stirring rendition of "Rocky Top" to get the person out of bed.

Apparently last year the student-athlete in question was the subject of said prank. The person that called in the prank? The asst. principal.

I don't know what that means, but it's interesting.

Still, I'm leaning toward believing the two of them that there was no sexual relationship, and no grade tampering. It sounds to me like a jealous girlfriend or rival, or even someone from another SEC school out to hurt UT sports. Who knows. I wish good luck to both the asst. principal and the student, and hope their names are cleared soon.

UPDATE: now has the prank call on audio clip. Not sure what it sounds like, because streaming audio is blocked here at work.

Just remember, though, you heard about it here first. Unless, of course, you heard it on the radio yesterday...

It's odd that an administrator would take enough of an interest in a student's home life to play a public prank on him - with or without his family's permission - but it's not unheard of. In relatively small towns and small schools, students and teachers form friendship bonds all the time, and rarely do they ever step over the bounds. I remember when I was in school I got to be friends with several of my teachers, and some of my classmates got to be very close to their teachers. It's unfortunate for the asst. principal that she did it (assuming it was all harmless) because it will make her defense more difficult, but there was no way to know back then all this would come up. Again, assuming everyone's innocent.

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