Rest Peacefully, Mr. Ruelas. (Or, #NBCFail, Part II)
I could talk here about my frustration with being subjected to yet another hour of conversation dominated by the same people who hog the normal conversation about ed reform– Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada (in whom I’m sincerely disappointed as of late), and Randi Weingarten.
I could talk about my frustration over the irresponsible “journalism” NBC is practicing by creating a public forum just participatory enough to include rapid-fire snippets of a useful conversation, but not participatory enough to ensure proportionate representation of those whose futures depend on the outcome of this conversation.
I could talk about my frustration at watching a network
of greedy, ratings-hungry idiots (yes, I SAID IT!) wonder aloud about “why shouldn’t we use money to inspire teachers?”. (ETA: Apologies for language, I’m just so angry about this…)
But I’ll stop there for now, because a Los Angeles teacher was found dead this morning, of an apparent suicide.
SOUTH GATE, Calif. (KABC) — An elementary school teacher from South Gate who mysteriously disappeared last week was found dead about 9 a.m. Sunday in the Angeles National Forest, authorities have confirmed.
The Coroner confirmed the body found by a search and rescue team is that of Rigoberto Ruelas, 39, a fifth grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School.
Authorities said it is a suicide, but did not say how he killed himself. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Ruelas’ family became concerned when he failed to show up to work last week.
A teacher ratings report by the Los Angeles Times did not score Ruelas well. Family members said the poor teacher evaluation scores may have caused him to go missing.
Ruelas, who has been teaching for 14 years, has had nearly perfect attendance.
According to his brother, Ruelas saw their sister Sunday and spoke with their father Monday night.
Family and friends said Ruelas was under a lot of pressure at work.
“He kept saying that there’s stress at work,” said Ruelas’ brother, Alejandro.
Alejandro Ruelas said his brother was a teacher who went above and beyond.
I just learned about this a little while ago, and obviously I don’t know all of the circumstances of this man’s life. But it bothers me profoundly that when this man went missing, the first thing his family thought of were his complaints about his stress at work.
To the spectators and grand-standers in this conversation, especially those who make six- and seven figures a year while teachers toil in some of the toughest places in our country for a mere fraction of that; who send their kids to tony private schools while poor, hungry children sit 35 to a room in public schools that are falling down; who have the leisure time and disposable income to show their children the world, or hire others to help them when they’re unavailable; who can’t imagine why more money couldn’t inspire someone to work harder; who can find a sympathetic ear when they complain of their troubles at work and beyond, and don’t know what it’s like to be accused of not caring when you give your ALL at a job for which you receive little to no appreciation; who casually reduce children and teachers to test scores, and blame poor parents for not making more hours in the day to read to their children after coming home from scrubbing their floors; who can’t imagine the kind of desperation regular people feel when facing the prospect of losing their life’s work– in any field:
Is this just a game to you, or what? For those of us in the trenches, it most certainly isn’t. Enough is enough. Deal with the real issues, approach us from a place of humility and respect, and offer genuine support. Put up, or SHUT UP.
My heart goes out to Mr. Ruelas and his family. I hope he finds some peace, wherever he is, and that he’s no longer suffering the kind of pain and turmoil that would drive someone to such a desperate act. May you be the last to suffer so.