Questions mount over popular Swain pr...

Questions mount over popular Swain principal's departure

There are 3 comments on the Smoky Mountain News story from Jun 3, 2009, titled Questions mount over popular Swain principal's departure. In it, Smoky Mountain News reports that:

Parents at West Elementary School in Swain County are questioning the circumstances surrounding the departure of a popular principal.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Smoky Mountain News.

Fairness in News

United States

#1 Jun 8, 2009
First of all, some bona fides. I am in a position to know some of the facts regarding the resignation of the principal. Mr Abel is a nice guy in person, and gives a good impression. However, he was NOT a good principal. He was inconsistent with discipline issues, he was inconsistent with how he treated fellow employees, he was indecisive when he needed to be forceful and forthright. He would say one thing to one teacher, then say the complete opposite to another. He exhibited favoritism to those teachers who supported him. Morale at West Elementary, which Mr. Sam Patillo left in wonderful shape, plummeted to unbelievably low levels. Several excellent teachers left, or are in the process of leaving, or are thinking of leaving.

Mr. Abel was given a job to do which involves strict adherence to NC Dept. of Public Instruction standards. He did not fulfill those requirements, and was given many chances to alter his actions to comply. He ignored his supervisor's directions, and his co-worker's suggestions. His supervisors gave him every chance to succeed.

The article as written was very one-sided. The schools cannot comment on personnel matters by law, or they can be sued. The Times chose to listen and report fully only to the "other" side of the issue, which was fueled by a couple of teachers and staff members who live for the havoc they can produce, and were favored by Mr. Abel. Innuendo and rumor is their stock in trade, and they chose to go to the West PTO members and stir things up. A mob is always wrong when led by people who don't know what they are talking about, or even worse, know what they are talking about, but mislead people merely because it satisfies some wicked streak they have. Unfortunately, it is the school board's integrity that suffers, when in fact, they are only doing their job. They cannot comment on the matter, while others are free to spread any lie or innuendo they wish.

Part of the blame lies with irresponsible journalism, or should I say, lack of journalism. The Times knows that slime generates interest. Hell of a way to run a "paper". They are stirring things up that are completely wrong, and the authorities' hands are tied. Sad.
Wylie Coyote

United States

#2 Jun 8, 2009
I think this story also appeared in the "Smoky Mountain News," or some other local paper. The way the story read, this principal was being forced out by a school board that apparently was "out to get him." After reading the post by "Fairness In News" above, it appears that the entire story has not come out. Of course there are legalities to consider. The school board says it is unable to comment on personnel matters, so their side is not able to be presented. The PTO president was quoted in the article in the other local paper, and she was very supportive of Mr. Abel, as were several other teachers and parents. So the question is: what is the media supposed to do when only one side of the story can be made public? The story as it now stands makes the school board look like a bunch of incompetent goofs who made a gross mistake by bringing Abel up from Florida and then firing him after a year "for no apparent reason." Too bad the school board cannot at least give its side of the issue. As it stands now, we'll never know what really happened, or why. And that is unfair, both to Mr. Abel and to the School Board.

Franklin, NC

#3 Jun 15, 2009
How exactly do you think news can be fair when the "official" sources cannot comment? Of course there is a side of the story that isn't being told here, and it is obvious from the stories. The school system knew the stories were going to be lopsided. With as many questions as there are behind Rick Abel's story, the newspapers cannot just let it go. If the administrators have done no wrong, then they will be fine. If they have done wrong, then they won't.

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