Warning: personal post.
Dear Mr. W. Richards,
I have no way to reach you, since Vista Ridge High School fired you and won’t release your contact information, so I am using this forum to express my heartfelt thanks for everything you have done for my daughters. The school doesn’t have a facebook page so this is the best I can do.
Being an ISS teacher is a difficult job, and many teachers would try to do everything they could to avoid it. When one of my daughters was attacked in school and was given in school suspension for not letting a much larger child beat up on her, I thought she would have a rough time in ISS. Instead, she told me that she felt good about being there because you listened to her and although your opinions differed, you respected her point of view. She said that even though your faith wasn’t shared by all of your students, you never pushed it onto them and you never preached. You simply offered support. You encouraged her to not give up. In a school where my child almost fell through the cracks, you were one of the very few staff members who actually gave a damn.
My other daughter holds you in the highest regard, as do many other students. I know you probably can’t see this (and I am not sure you would ever even see this letter) but the kids’ twitter accounts are flooded with messages of support for you. The kids know you cared.
I understand that you have given a note enclosed below to a student who was having a rough time, as you have done a number of times before for different children, and you were fired for it, as it was found to be inappropriate.
I am truly sorry.
The children at Vista lost a wonderful advocate and a supportive teacher. I just want you to know that you made a difference in the life of my children and I am deeply grateful.
Update: the kids found out the real reason behind the Mr. Richards being let go. Without going into too much detail, it was a student with a grudge who complained that the note made her uncomfortable in a sexual way. The administration must’ve wanted to push him out, because they used it as an excuse to terminate his employment. He has been giving this poem out for years, to both boys and girls, and you can see from the content of the note that there is nothing remotely inappropriate about it. The separation of religion and government reasons would’ve made sense. Being fired because a sixteen year old got upset when you told her that she shouldn’t drop out makes no sense.
I am closing the comments. This is just terrible all around.