Principal’s Column Causes Shockwaves

OMG.  I missed this until today.

Rock Springs Elementary School Principal Stephen Lewis wrote a column for the Murfreesboro Post.  His attempt at comedy following the presidential election tanked in a big way.  Here’s the “Note from the Editor” along with the column he wrote.

The column was so shocking in its attempt at humor that readers from the area – and from across the country – jumped into the fray it’s become.  Today, Mr. Lewis will be meeting with his boss, Harry Gill according to the DNJHere’s another article about the fiasco.

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20 Responses

  1. This infuriates me! This guy is probably one of the best principals this county has!

    What he does or says outside of his job is none of our business! I went back and read the article he wrote and I found it funny. And I have only met this guy a few times.

    If people would worry more about themselves and less about what someone else is doing we would get more done.

    Those that complain about it being a “racist” are probably racist themselves.

    People get over yourselves!

  2. I feel very frustrated that a supposed to be leader in our community writes such racially motivated information in the local newspaper, and says its a joke. Now be mindful that this is the same person that is supposed to be the overseer of our kids, of all races, hard to trust that he can make fair decisions in the discipline of the children with a mindset of this caliber. Thanks for the humor Principal Stephen Lewis!

  3. Chip, I’m with you, it is supposed to be funny. What is offensive? If I move to France and run for office, should I be offended if they make fun of me for saying howdy? He complemented Saxena’s position!

    You can take half of the negative articles written about Bush, and if you replace “Bush” with “Obama” these people would label the article racist. Geez…

  4. I’ll say this… as a writer for numerous media sites, I wouldn’t have *touched* that subject with a ten-foot pole … even in humor. Even when I’ve written neutral columns about LaVergne for the DNJ, I’ve nearly swooned with worry. My caution is either a great strength or a great weakness, so all I can say is I’m grateful it’s not me in the spotlight.

  5. Chip, I’m with you 100%!! My daughter went to the elementary school during Mr. Lewis’ tenure and he was (and is) a wonderful principal.

    The article may have been a bit over the top, but it was clearly intended to be satirical . . . people are way too sensitive these days. My mom, who lives in South Carolina, for God’s sake, heard about it, recognized the name of the school and told me about it.

    Now how Harry Gill will handle this is another matter altogether. Lewis may very well lose his job over this fiasco, which would really be a shame.

  6. Ron, Im with you 100%. .

    I feel someone that has the responsiblility of 860 kids like Stephen Lewis should respect everyone of all races. There are judgement calls that one has to make and this was not a good one.

    There will be split feelings on this issue, no doubt, but the fact of the matter still remains, You have to responsilbe of all of your actions!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I have to agree with Chip, MichaelLV, and Sherry…this was satirical.

    If Chris Rock wrote this about Obama, people of all races would be laughing all day long about how funny it was. Heck if he wrote it about Bush, people would be laughing.

    I think I smell a double standard here.

  8. Whether or not he is guilty of racism, he is without question guilty of poor judgement…

  9. Ok, maybe I’m the problem. I guess I understand satire. Ever see the movie Men in Black? Will Smith says the dummy driver used to be black, but they had to make him white because the black guy was always pulled over. Should I as a white person have been offended that Smith implied white people are racist? I think that line is kinda funny.

    Try this statement to see how it compares to Lewis:

    “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,”

    A Black man who is clean and smart!?!?! Is that not a racist, bigoted statement? If you think so, keep in mind those words came from a man much more powerful than a small-town principal. Those words came from the next Vice President, Joe Biden. I assume based on Ron and M Johnsons responses they must have voted for McCain, can’t vote for a bigot like Biden right?

    It is truly scary how PC we have become in this country. Kathy’s right, it probably was a bad idea to broach the subject, but does that say more about Lewis, or more about us? Did he say anywhere that either candidate was a bad choice becuse of their race???

  10. I agree Michael. This country is absolutly going to explode in the next four years because anything that is said against the president will be perceived as racist. The Clinton’s did us all a world of good with their PCism!!!

  11. Tragically, I think Mr. Lewis was “trying” to be funny. Do I think he should be fired for poor judgement? No. Will his character be questioned? Sure. We’ve all heard someone say something offensive and counteract with “just kidding” or “just joking” to test the response. Was he really joking or is he a bit racist? Stereotyping Obama and Saxena didn’t work. Unfortunately, in the process, it stereotyped middle Tennesseans.

  12. The Jefferson’s theme song alone could be interpreted as purely satirical, I mean, it’s the Jefferson’s! 30 Rock even referenced it. However, when you couple it with the earlier remarks he made, in the same article, about Rishi Saxena,
    “What about this fellow who ran for state representative, Dr. Rishi Saxena? I’m not sure where he’s from but I’m pretty sure it’s not Rutherford County. From what I read about him he has some very good ideas. My advice to him would be to work on perfecting his southern accent. I’m not talking about southern Bangladesh either. And if he can’t sound southern, he could at least throw in a few y’alls and a couple fixin’ to’s every once in a while.

    As though simply because the man speaks with a different accent and has a foreign name, he is automatically disqualified? That’s starting to sound a bit racist to me. But who am I to judge?

    I don’t know how to take his comment about Microsoft fixing the spell check to not underline Obama’s name either. I mean hell, it’s always telling me my last name is misspelled anytime I am on a different computer than one I’ve used before. Does that mean he takes issue with my heritage?
    I guess Mr. Lewis doesn’t know he can add a word to the Microsoft spell check dictionary so that it won’t underline it in the future.

  13. I think you have to loo at the comments regarding Saxena in their entirety, including where Lewis said “he has some very good ideas.”

    The reason his comment about spell check for MS word was funny is because if you have the latest version of office (2007), it does not recognize Obama as correct spelling Instead suggests Osama as a replacement. Is Osama and Obama kinda like Ebony and Ivory!!?!?!

    Ok,I guess I’ll have to report to Harry Gill’s office folloing that comment :)

  14. I’m kinda like Kathy, I wouldn’t touch some of these comments with a 10 foot pole! But I do have an opinion, and I feel it is very moderate. Equal, you might even say.

    I personally think anyone should be able to make fun of anyone…black make fun of white, white make fun of black, ugly vs. cute, tall vs. short, women vs. men, and vice versa to it all. Unfortunately, there are double standards, and agencies like the ACLU give one group rights over the majority, while saying they are giving “equal rights”. I’m a total proponent of equal rights, I think it is great if everyone recieves equal treatment. However, these groups have limited the majority’s ability to live, in the name of protecting the few. If someone is limiting people from placing Koran excerpts beside the 10 commandments, then it is unfair. If you can post your beliefs as well, then there should be no problem. That is not what these agencies have been enabled to do, however. They prosecute and attack the majority if there is anything remotely off-color or can be construed to be offensive to any minority.

    South Park is offensive to my religious beliefs; but I can appreciate that it crosses all boundaries and makes fun of all groups, even Canadians :) If we can’t speak freely (with the exception of being slanderous), then what does the First Amendment mean??? On the ACLU website, it says “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. If they want to provide poor people with lawyers, that’s great. But they need to stay their big nose out of the friggin mess.

    I pick on the ACLU, but that isn’t the only interest group who takes away the rights of the majority and gives more rights to the minority. I don’t agree with that at all, and that is my point.

    Now, with that said, he writes this column on his own time. I don’t think he should be fired for that, but you also can’t punish other people (like students) for what they do on their own time. I think you can take that wherever you want, but I guess my main point here is that if kids or people are going to be drug or alchohol tested, they should be tested as they walk in the doors, and only for if they are impaired in any way. Suspend or fire them if so, but if they aren’t impaired, their right to privacy is being violated. Where is the ACLU here? I drink occasionally, but I am not impaired when I come to work the next day (with the exception of a few times in college at a minimum wage job). I could have been fired, and I know that. I know one of those times I probably should have been!

    Regardless, what I mean is that you should be able to say what you want, not slander, and whoever should be able to say whatever back. Now was his column very nice? No, and it is very bad manners. Shame on you, principal. But that is why our country is (supposed to be) free.

  15. The Code of Ethics of the
    Tennessee Education Association

    The educator, believing in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognizes the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, and the nurture of democratic principles. Essential to these goals is the protection of freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal educational opportunity for all. The educator accepts the responsibility to adhere to the highest ethical standards.

    The educator recognizes the magnitude of the responsibility inherent in the teaching process. The desire for the respect and confidence of one’s colleagues, of students, of parents and of the members of the community provides the incentive to attain and maintain the highest possible degree of ethical conduct.

    And so Mr. Lewis accepts the responsibility to not adhere to the highest standards, therefore once again disappointing the people he serves.

    And this also was done, in another educator’s own time

    A former teacher at Smyrna (Tennessee) High School was found guilty Wednesday in Davidson County Criminal Court on eight counts of sexual battery by an authority figure.

    The victim in the latest case was a 16-year-old student.

    Just because one can’t see the damage, he knowingly pursued to betray the trust of the children, parents & community members, we will never forget, nor trust again. My trust however was gone many years ago, along with several other’s that once attended Rock Springs Elementary, the hurt still remains, you may have not been caught then, however, those children still remember how you violated their rights, there were complaints.

    There were 39% minority, 2% English Language Learners & 9% Special Education that were tested in grade’s 3-5 at Rock Springs for the 2007, TCAP test, forever loosing the respect and confidence of the children, colleagues, parents & community members. No, you can’t see the damage know, the pain will continue to persist and eventually, once again, affect the educational setting, do to his conduct.

  16. To NCLB (No Child Left Behind? Does this mean you’re a teacher?): I am completely lost. Would you please explain the last two paragraphs of your post? I’ve read it several times and still can’t figure out what you mean.

    And by the way, even with the current controversy, I’d take Mr. Lewis over Renee Jackson (his predecessor) any day of the week. And I’m definitely NOT a racist, but I’m sure I’ll now be viewed as one by some of the people that post here. Let the backlash begin!! :)

  17. How were the 9% in special ed offended by his story?

    I’m sorry, but people who are “being offended” by this column are wasting their time and energy. There are plenty of real issues that should consumer your energies.

  18. This idiot should be replace immidiately. To be an educator doesn’t this idiot know what words mean or he simply thinks that we’re stupid. Such insensitivity should not be ignored. Remember this fool is the current principal of of our kids elementary school. What kind of a model he can be now, he has tarnished his image. He’ll always be viewed with a jondice eye. And what ever he says or do we will be looking and hearing and wondering what else this secret racist may have up his sleaves. Get rid of him, that’s how you get rid of this evil. We don’t care if he”s been there 100 years. The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

  19. Alfredo, good to hear that you are perfect and have never said or written anything you regretted. Using your logic, the first time you do make a mistake you will be fired from your job, kicked out of your house, tarred, and feathered.

    Perhaps your post on this blog says more about you than any article Principal Lewis has ever written. I’m sorry to hear you demand perfection; we are still working on devloping the robots that will take over all principals jobs to ensure these mistakes never ever happen.

  20. Well michaelinlv yes i’m not perfect i have made mistakes and
    said things but you must realize this was so out-of bounds for
    someone in such position to not consider. Maybe i said some
    hash things to Mr lewis but it’s so mind blowing that someone
    as the Principal of this school to make such reckless comments. He knows there is an audience out here and we the members of this community cannot and should not stand
    by and let such nonsense just go by. I’m sure by know Mr. lewis maybe sorry for those stupid comments but now maybe
    he’ll understand that we are the pulse of this community.

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