Sam Card was back in school this week. By Friday night Clarke County’s best-known substitute teacher seemed to have finally regained both his infectious positive outlook and his disarming smile, both of which had been missing over the past several weeks as he awaited word from Clarke County Public Schools on whether he would be allowed to continue teaching.
Thanks go to school board and school administration for getting this issue right.
“I’m just glad to be back in the classroom,” Mr. Card said with joy in his voice on Friday. “I taught chorus and some history at the high school. It was wonderful and I really enjoyed it. I think the students did too.”
But while we applaud the “ends” that have gotten Sam back into the classroom where he belongs, the “means” that he has had to endure over the past month leading to his reinstatement as a substitute teacher will not rank among Clarke County Public School’s finest moments.
Part of the charm of our community is that we all trust each other, especially in “private” conversations. So the likelihood of the circumstances surrounding a matter like Sam’s ever remaining quiet in such a close-knit community is simply silly. News of events unfolding in Sam’s situation over the last few weeks spread across our community at next to real-time speed (and that was true despite high-speed internet access being absent across most of our county.)
Anyone who may have hoped that somehow Sam’s matter was going to be decided privately without public input may need to reconsider the next time an issue like this occurs. As a CDN reader aptly wrote in a comment regarding Sam’s plight, “Welcome to the new Clarke County.”
But with Mr. Card’s reinstatement, the final outcome of this sad chapter has allowed us all to breathe a sigh of relief. Everyone now finally seems to be working toward the right solution for both Mr. Card and for our students. Sam characterized a one-on-one discussion with Dr. Michael Murphy that was held prior to his being reinstated as “respectful and intelligent.” He also said that Dr. Murphy provided him with a letter outlining the areas that he needs to be mindful of in the future.
“I’m a rule follower,” Sam said. “If you tell me what you want me to do, I do it.”
Mary Veilleux, who defended Mr. Card’s reputation during the period when his case was under review said that she was grateful that Dr. Murphy had recognized Sam an asset to the community, in part, because of Sam’s deep knowledge of history, and geography.
“Dr. Murphy told Sam that with his background he should be teaching college,” Mrs. Veilleux said in a recent public hearing held by the school board. “If that’s the case then Sam is certainly qualified to substitute teach in Clarke County’s public schools,” Veilleux testified.
Apparently the school board agreed with Mrs. Veilleux because Sam is now back in the classroom practicing what he calls his “passion for teaching.”
We all “get” that the details of whatever kept Sam out of the classroom for over a month need to remain confidential, officially anyway. But unofficially, the community is very pleased that logic and good sense ultimately have prevailed with regard to Mr. Card and that the matter is now behind us.
Thanks are also due to Mr. Card.
Thank you, Sam, for your dedication to our students and to the ideals of education. You’re willingness to turn the other cheek serves as a role model not only for our students, but for the rest of our community as well.