Here’s today’s chapter on “overzealous helicopter town parents are the antichrist,” from the Northampton Gazette:
City police paid a visit to former Northampton High School student teacher Kurt Ostrow this week after a parent complained about him contacting a child by email after he left as a freshman English teacher May 1.
The complaint came less than a week after Northampton School Superintendent John A. Provost issued a May 12 letter to parents and guardians alerting them to an email Ostrow sent to his former students using their school email accounts.
Ostrow had been a student teacher working with Northampton High teacher Anne Marie Osheyack this year and had been preparing to take over the class in May when Osheyack went on maternity leave. However, school officials changed course, with High School Principal Bryan Lombardi telling the Gazette in April that weeks earlier he “received information that brought doubt and concern” to the original plan to have Ostrow take over the class.
The decision prompted more than 75 students and parents to sign a petition calling for Ostrow to take the lead in the English class. The school ultimately brought in an experienced educator.
In a May 6 email obtained by the Gazette, Ostrow gave his impressions about a movie he had apparently just watched with some students as well as advice and thoughts he had on educational topics involving films, music and literature.
“I’m happy to get together again in the next few weeks, just let me know what you want to do,” Ostrow’s email stated. “One idea I have is watching/discussing Precious Knowledge, a 70-minute documentary that follows students and teachers in Arizona who fought to save their ethnic studies program (does anyone have a tv and a dvd player? I don’t!).”
In his letter to parents and guardians, Provost wrote that he was not “making any explicit or implicit judgement about the appropriateness or inappropriateness of these communications,” adding that, “I have determined the appropriate response is to support whatever level of communication each individual family finds acceptable.”
Provost said families could contact Lombardi if they no longer wanted to have their students receive future emails from Ostrow and school staff would adjust the email filters for their child.
Otherwise, Ostrow’s ability to contact students through school email would continue unrestricted, he wrote.
“I have not heard back from any parents after sending that out,” Provost said Friday. “It was just for parents’ information to let us know if they wanted us to do anything or not.”
Northampton Police Capt. Jody Kasper said police visited with Ostrow on Monday after another parent contacted them about Ostrow emailing her child, which made the parent uncomfortable. “She asked us to speak with Mr. Ostrow and for him to not contact her child specifically and that’s what we did,” Kasper said. “There’s no allegation of anything.”
So let me get this straight. This kid is a student-teacher, planning to take over this class for a month and a half while the teacher goes on maternity leave. The kids obviously seem to like him. Parents seem to like him. Everyone’s learning. And then the gutless superintendent gives in to ONE whiny parent who didn’t like the fact that the guy sent his students an email about learning.
We’re all so fucked.
This is yet another example of how useless these higher up administrators can be. You know what a real leader does in that situation? They tell the parent to pound sand. Schools are supposed to be about the kids, and clearly these kids in Northampton were learning. But we all know that gutless administrators give zero fucks about kids. They care about kissing the asses of the worst people in town.
First of all, the kid was no longer a student-teacher on May 1 when he sent the email in question. I’ll admit, it’s kind of weird that he’s still trying to communicate with these kids. I mean, he doesn’t work there any more. But whatever, he obviously just is enthusiastic about teaching and got a little carried away with boundaries. Plus it’s not like the email was baiting the kids to meet him at some shady Hadley motel for a groping to remember.
It would be shady if he sent the email to ONE student. But apparently he sent it to all of them. Newsflash – child molesters don’t send out group emails. Not really a smart move if you’re in the child molesting game.
Oh yea, and for what it’s worth, this kid was a perfect fit for Northampton. Like we’ve said before, Northampton is Cambridge with cow shit. The hippie nexus of Western MA. And the movie that this Smith College student was trying to show is clearly approved hippie viewing. It also explains why he’s so popular with the rest of the normal parents. Personally, I’d go nuts living amongst these people, but they’re in their own little world and clearly this student-teacher fit in there. Let him do his hippie thing.
But most importantly, this once again shows what can happen when one naniburger parent goes too far. She called the freaking police over an email about showing an educational movie. Sure, she could’ve sent an email directly to the student-teacher asking him not to email her kid anymore, but that would be the normal and rational thing to do. And there’s nothing rational about a suburban Northampton soccer Mom on a power trip.