Is that all we are?

One of the subtexts of many of the comments regarding the ongoing brouhaha in the Lebanon Community School District is the fact that since it’s a small town, the same names – and relationships – keep appearing. For many, this is often seen as a sign of conspiracy.

I want to steal a point made by my friend Michael Faris (you’ll have to scroll down quite a bit to find it):

To focus solely on the instructor-student relationship serves to hide the various other ways that we are in relation to each other: residents of Corvallis, residents of Oregon, residents of the United States of America, members of various marginalized or non-marginalized groups. It also neglects that I am an alum of Oregon State University and have an investment as an alum and a former member of the student body. The claim that this could harm student-teacher relations also neglects that it could help student-teacher relations in some situations.


The context is different, but I think the underlying point is remarkably similar: We all have multiple aspects to our identity, to who we are. Furthermore, these multiple aspects can be mistakenly understood as being in conflict or being at odds, or illegitimate in some situations.

I raise this as a response to the commenter who made the point that Linda Darling is both the new business manager and has played a minor part in the ongoing recall effort.

My response: So what?

The reason I have that response? See Michael’s comment. In other words – and this is especially true in a small community – people’s jobs do not preclude them from having opinions or beliefs about their employer or the community. It is not shocking, or a conspiracy, that someone like Linda Darling (or Tre Kennedy) would hold the views they have. Their relationships with others or positions in the community don’t necessarily preclude their holding those views, or provide evidence of a conspiracy. As Michael makes clear (albeit by extension), the people that work in the LCSD, who may work for or with Jim Robinson, are also members of the community, and as such, have the right to be active in the community as members of the community, not just as school district employees or coworkers of others. We should not begrudge them that.

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8 Comments on “Is that all we are?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    But that fits part of the concerns of some of the teachers that I talked with. I know several teachers who would like to see Mr. Robinson go, but are afraid to speak out, for fear of losing their jobs or being “reassigned”. True or not, I can see their concerns. Sure, if you work for Mr Robinson and like how he does things, it is pretty easy to speak out. It is a different ballgame if you work in the district and oppose Mr.Robinson’s views. It is a little more challenging if you are afraid of going against the boss. Both groups should have the same ease to voice concerns, but clearly they don’t.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I am just as concerned at voicing my pro-law, pro-policy, opinions except on the blogs because of the majority on the School Board right now.
    I don’t have an opinion on (or a grudge about) Robinson’s staying or going. I don’t like wrong behavior by anyone–especially those in a position of leadership.
    That is not a popular view with some.
    If you are not anti-Robinson then you must be pro-Robinson in their concrete, black-and-white, thinking.
    I am pro upholding the law.
    I am pro upholding the School Board Policies.
    I am pro handling our District business in a professional manner.
    And when that doesn’t happen whoever is not doing that needs to be held accountable.
    There are policies and laws and procedures in place for that too.

    To say that, for example, Linda D. wouldn’t make a good business manager because she doesn’t agree with your particular stance on Robinson is nuts.
    Let her abilities, or lack of abilities, on the job speak for themselves.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    “I am pro upholding the law.
    I am pro upholding the School Board Policies.
    I am pro handling our District business in a professional manner.” — to quote the last anon poster…

    I agree with all of the above, and my own opinion is that Rick and Josh do this BETTER than the Robinson/Sprenger group! I am serious.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Why excuse Darling’s involvement as part of the territory when dealing with small towns yet lambast Shimmin when she votes on matters concerning Sand Ridge because her daughter works for PIE?

    I’m not sure you ever hammered Shimmin for for this Dennis, but you sure didn’t go to such lengths to defend her either.

  5. Dennis Says:

    I have not hammered Shimmin for this – nor have I defended her – but I think there is a rather large difference here: Shimmin was using her power as a board member to affect changes that might hurt or help her daughter and Darling is acting in her capacity as a private citizen to support a particular group.

    The equivalent here would be if Darling used her position to work for the recall. I see no indication that she has done so or will do so.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    It is amazing to me that some people STILL do not get the fact that Debi, Josh, and Rick have acted in illegal, against-School Board-policy, non-professional ways.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Actually Dennis the equivalent would be if Linda D. used her position at the DO to force people to go along with her personal opinions on public matters.
    If she used her position for personal (family) gain.
    If she used her position to get back at others for real, or perceived, wrongs.
    That is what Debi did/does.
    (Rick and Josh too.)

  8. Anonymous Says:

    anonymous @ June 13, 2008 5:25 PM said:
    I agree with all of the above (pro-law; pro-policy; pro-professional behavior), and my own opinion is that Rick and Josh do this BETTER than the Robinson/Sprenger group! I am serious.
    1) Could you PLEASE give concrete examples of WHEN Rick and Josh have behaved in these ways?
    2) HOW have they done it better?
    Seriously.


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