Looking for the Common Sense – Lifeguard Who Saves Life Fired While Teacher Comparing Student to Missing Link on Facebook Isn’t

05 Jul, 2012 Bob Wilson


Sometimes it feels as if the whole world is off its axis, and that logic, decency and common sense fell off the planet on the last turn.

I was reading my morning paper today and a couple different stories caught my eye. One was about a lifeguard here in Florida who helped to save a drowning man, but lost his job for the effort. The other was about a public school teacher, also in Florida, who in a Facebook posting publicly referred to one of her students as the missing link between Orangutans and Humans. She gets to keep her job, as the school board is unable to fire her.

That's nice. And people wonder why I am such a fan of school vouchers.

The lifeguard, 21 year old Tomas Lopez, was working a lifeguard station in Hallandale Beach, FL, when he was summoned by beach goers who told him a man was drowning in the surf nearby. He ran to the location to assist the man, who is now in the hospital in intensive care. The problem, it seems, is that the man inconveniently drown in a spot outside Lopez' area of responsibility – in fact he was fully 1500 feet outside the section assigned to him. He was fired by his employer, a private firm hired by Hallandale Beach, because he left his post, and the man had been swimming in an area clearly marked as “unprotected”.

And unprotected should clearly be what the name implies, apparently. Even though that same employer claims Lopez' area was watched by other lifeguards in his absence and that “the beach remained protected at all times”, they fired him for rules violations. After all, rules is rules, don't cha know.

Meanwhile, in Manatee County, Florida, a group of public educators participated in the public mocking of an 8 year old child on Facebook, with Lauren Orban, a music teacher at Rogers Garden Elementary School, posting that the student “may be the evolutionary link between orangutans and humans”. The school district, despite what they say is a violation of their code of ethics, is apparently unable to fire Ms. Orban, but has referred the matter to the Florida Department of Education in the hopes they will strip her of her license, which would then of course solve their problem for them.

What a proud, proud moment this is for public education. Not only can we display a gutless, spineless lack of resolve in our school administration, but we also get to see a total absence of any intellectual thought or reasoning on the part of their employees; the educators who teach our children. I cannot fathom what kind of imbecile would publicly disparage an 8 year old child. Let me say part of that again: we are talking about an 8 year old child.

It seems as though all hope for reasonability is lost, but it is not. Even as we drown in a morass of moronic idiocy, and all hope for common sense seems to have abated, I step forth with a solution. And a brilliant one, at that. I suggest we let the company that runs the lifeguard program for Hallandale Beach also run the Manatee County schools. They clearly understand the importance of rules, and would immediately eliminate those who stray outside the bounds of acceptable behavior.

Of course, they may also terminate teachers who accidentally teach something to a student not assigned to them, but the risk of that is small. It's a public school. They really don't teach anything anymore beyond the fact that rules were obviously meant to be broken.


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