Monday, December 19, 2016

12.19.16 Bee-otch of the Day: Elk Rapids Schools

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Name: Elk Rapids Schools
Age: ~150
Occupation: school district
Last Seen: 15 miles north of Traverse City in northern Michigan
Bee-otched For: firing a leader


Right between Michigan's pinky and fourth finger sits the village of Elk Rapids, population 1,650.

This picturesque town surrounded by three lakes only has one traffic signal. It also only has one grocery store which has been locally owned by the same family for over 40 years. Elk Rapids also has four gas stations with one of them featuring a Subway, which is the only fast food joint in town. There's no Golden Arches that hang over this tight-knit community, but its downtown is loaded with restaurants that serve everything from fresh burgers to lobster. Plus, there's many shops that sell t-shirts, antiques and for those long summer months, ice cream. Oh, let's not forget the legendary Elk Rapids Cinema, which has shown movies for 77 years.

Last, but not least, Elk Rapids has the Short's Brewing Company, which is one of the fastest-growing brewers in the country. Elk Rapids is Michigan's Beer Capital.

Now, Elk Rapids hardly makes any news. The town rarely sees a murder or even a robbery. But the situation regarding the town's former high school football coach is definitely making headlines up north.

Ed Schindler had been the Elks' winningest football coach in 36 years, with a 60-57 record. However, he was fired last fall after two straight losing seasons including the 2015 season where they were forced to forfeit several games due to injuries. He wasn't given an explanation as to why he was canned and the community was infuriated. Because of outcry from the community, the school district was going to reinstate Schindler, but he declined stating that the situation put a lot of stress on him and his family. He's taken an assistant coaching job in Frankfort and his son, who will be a senior in high school next year will transfer to that town.

Folks, I spent my entire school career in Elk Rapids, though I never knew Mr. Schindler personally (I graduated in 2000, he was hired in 2006). However, it's sad when school politics override the interests of the community. I've even heard a rumor that Schindler was the type that would not allow all of his players to play in one game, but rather only his best.

The tragedy here is that I've seen this happen too many times in towns like Elk Rapids and others. Years ago, a popular school teacher was canned because of allegations of sexually harassing an aide. He even wrote a letter to the local newspaper stating that schools need to worry about the students instead of a silly allegation that was made against him. I even know of a well-loved bus driver who was promoted to special ed driver - one of the very few full-time bus driving jobs in the district - but was demoted back to being a regular bus driver. The reason being was because of a problematic kid on his bus who was cussing people out and so he allegedly yanked him off the bus and slammed him on the bus's side. He cried to his well-to-do father and he had the driver taken off the route.

Recently, I had a discussion with my aunt, who was a schoolteacher in Troy for over 30 years and is now retired. I asked her if she missed it, and she said no. Her response was that she got tired dealing with parents whose skills were different than others. In other words, my aunt was wrong but the parents were right. Bear in mind that Troy - unlike 97% white Elk Rapids - is quite the melting pot.

In the end, I think Elk Rapids will be wounded from all this for a long, long time. The people responsible for Coach Schindler's firing need to be fired. If this was the NFL, then yes, he would probably be canned, but we're dealing with teens here.

They are our future, you know.


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