Friday, December 05, 2008

Grandstanding Principal Wants To Return

Irmo Principal Eddie Walker doesn't want to resign after all.

You will remember that Walker is the South Carolina principal who announced rather publicly earlier this year that he would resign before permitting a gay/straight alliance to be formed at Irmo High School.

The controversy his stance created pitted members of the community against one another. Some said that Walker stood up for morality while others said he should be fired.

Now apparently, Walker has changed his mind about resigning:

Irmo High School principal Eddie Walker, who planned to resign at the end of the school year because his values conflicted with a proposed Gay-Straight Alliance at the school, has changed his mind and wants to stay, school officials said.

Lexington-Richland 5 interim superintendent Herbert Berg received a letter from Walker this week “indicating his desire to remain at Irmo High School,” district spokesman Buddy Price said Thursday.

Before the new controversy erupts over Walker, I still have a question.

Obviously Walker is a popular principal. From what I have seen and heard, parents and students alike respect him.

But there is nothing wrong with gay/straight alliances in high schools. Despite all of the conjecture, they are not dating clubs nor are they sex clubs. Gay/straight alliances are a welcomed refuge for lgbt students who are still in the closet or are out and intimidated by other classmates.

So my question is why couldn't Walker have had a meeting with the students who wanted to start this organization? I think he would have gotten a better understanding as to why a group like this is needed. I constantly hear that Walker's door was always open and he made himself accessible to students. Well this was a time where such accessibility would have been the difference between reaching a quiet understanding and escalating the situation.

And Walker's objective as a leader should not have been escalating the situation. Perhaps had this meeting taken place, Walker wouldn't have felt the need to subject himself and his school to being public spectacles.

The way Walker handled this situation (and the way he continues to do so) is largely responsible for the criticism he is receiving.

At first, he made this huge unneccessary grandstanding gesture of quitting in order to "stand up for his values and beliefs." But now he is avoiding the grandstand and instead has taken to crawling back like an immature child who realizes that his threat to run away from home did not allow him to get his way.

So should Walker be allowed to return? As long as the gay/straight alliance is allowed to exist and thrive at Irmo, the school board can appoint Walker to any position they deem necessary.

But they should remember (as well as Walker) that the Irmo community suffered a needless controversy; something that wouldn't have taken place had Walker been the leader that so many have claimed him to be.