Last month we reported the story of John Gregory, a Forest Hills school district principal who refused to resign his office after pleading guilty to drunk driving. Why should he? No one in authority is demanding it of him. Besides, ‘fessing up to his criminal irresponsibility made it a “teachable moment” for his students. Exactly what that moment taught I’m not sure, but when too many kids drunk behind the wheel kill and get killed, keeping his office certainly doesn’t send the message that drunken driving should be taken too seriously.
Gregory, it seems, has an acolyte of his school of “Never Say Quit!” James Idziak, a Comstock Park school district teacher, was charged with a pair of felonies after leading the cops on a drunken car chase northwest of town last month. The prosecutor further charged him with misdemeanor child endangerment from partying with his high school students prior to the chase. The teachers union, the Michigan Education Association, is standing by their man and providing him with a lawyer to defend his tenure because he refuses to quit teaching.
Again, why should he? Even though the Comstock Park school board, in stark contrast to the Forest Hills board, fired Idziak for his reckless conduct, that is no guarantee he will lose his job because of it. The union will fight for him. In fact, even a conviction on one of the felonies or the child endangerment charge is no assurance that he will lose his teaching certificate. The union will fight for him again. The only certain means of Idziak losing his job is to quit. But he learned from Gregory’s teachable moment that a public servant is the last person who needs to hold himself accountable for his wrongdoing.