Schools Monday: When A Principal Grows Pot
One day you're leading a Just Say No to Drugs campaign at the elementary school where you're the assistant principal, and then you turn around and find yourself arrested and charged with growing and packaging marijuana in a closet in your house.
That's the predicament in which Leonard Marsh of Fairfax Station finds himself. Marsh, 50, was nabbed by Fairfax police last week and charged with manufacturing marijuana. His wife, Jinny, 56, was charged with possession. Within hours, his photo vanished from the web site of Cub Run Elementary School, the well-regarded Centreville school where he was the #2 official. The Fairfax school system placed Marsh on administrative leave.
Pardon me, but if this case involved a student in a Fairfax high school, wouldn't there be some rather more severe punishment--a whole lot more severe, such as expulsion? Under the county's zero tolerance policy--this is the county school system that expelled five kids for pulling a senior prank involving smearing baby oil on the floor of the school's main hall--it's not terribly likely that Mr. Marsh would find a whole lot of patience or understanding for his actions.
Yet we see again and again that what's considered an unredeemable act by a student is handled far more sensitively in the case of a teacher or administrator. The classic case of this brand of hypocrisy, of course, is the way in which the Alexandria school board handled the drunk driving episode involving Superintendent Rebecca Perry, who was punished not with immediate firing, but with a raise, an extended contract and some nice paid time off following her 2004 incident.
Zero tolerance is a brutal and just plain dumb approach to the behavior of adolescents, who by nature do stupid things and who, if not treated like mass murderers by impatient and vengeful adults, generally turn out pretty much ok. But at the other end of the spectrum, it does no one any good to sweep under the carpet misdeeds by grownups in a school. Kids are overly sensitive to fairness issues, and while adults who work in schools should not therefore be treated like children, there ought to be an effort to demonstrate to kids that adults face consequences for their crimes too.
If found guilty, Marsh is likely to be sacked. But the school could certainly take a stronger action than administrative leave even before the final resolution of his case. In the eyes of the law, of course, he's innocent until proven guilty. But in a school setting, a case as powerful and emotionally volatile as this deserves to be met with a far more clear and certain message.
What do you think?
By Marc Fisher |
November 5, 2007; 7:35 AM ET
Previous: The Identity Politics of "Poofter" | Next: "No One Thinks Big of You:" A Little Different Way to Attack Abusive Driving
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: SoMD | November 5, 2007 8:09 AM
Posted by: Due Process | November 5, 2007 9:19 AM
Posted by: Lester Burnham | November 5, 2007 9:27 AM
Posted by: Lindemann | November 5, 2007 9:44 AM
Posted by: A friend | November 5, 2007 9:45 AM
Posted by: LawMan | November 5, 2007 10:16 AM
Posted by: Obvious | November 5, 2007 10:34 AM
Posted by: Richard | November 5, 2007 10:58 AM
Posted by: Anonymous | November 5, 2007 10:59 AM
Posted by: NationOfFelons | November 5, 2007 11:23 AM
Posted by: Matt | November 5, 2007 11:25 AM
Posted by: Rocco | November 5, 2007 11:32 AM
Posted by: YourStrawberry23 | November 5, 2007 11:43 AM
Posted by: bd | November 5, 2007 11:47 AM
Posted by: Robert Marley | November 5, 2007 12:20 PM
Posted by: Stick | November 5, 2007 12:20 PM
Posted by: PQ | November 5, 2007 12:21 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | November 5, 2007 1:11 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | November 5, 2007 2:26 PM
Posted by: takebackourschools | November 5, 2007 2:40 PM
Posted by: Caldwell | November 5, 2007 3:31 PM
Posted by: ZT for ZT | November 5, 2007 3:35 PM
Posted by: Winthrop | November 5, 2007 4:16 PM
Posted by: FCPS parent | November 5, 2007 4:34 PM
Posted by: Plato | November 5, 2007 4:45 PM
Posted by: zeus | November 6, 2007 4:19 AM
Posted by: Joe Hill | November 6, 2007 7:23 AM
Posted by: LawMan | November 6, 2007 11:01 AM
Posted by: Greer | November 6, 2007 11:17 AM
Posted by: Mark | November 6, 2007 11:28 AM
Posted by: concerned parent | November 6, 2007 11:30 AM
Posted by: Lindy | November 6, 2007 11:39 AM
Posted by: Everyone gets due process | November 6, 2007 12:25 PM
Posted by: get the facts | November 6, 2007 12:40 PM
Posted by: California Native | November 6, 2007 2:18 PM
Posted by: no accountability | November 6, 2007 2:36 PM
Posted by: Scott Bradford | November 6, 2007 3:35 PM
Posted by: Robert Marley | November 6, 2007 6:35 PM
Posted by: ehf5 | November 12, 2007 5:39 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.