There are certain expectations of you when you become the principal of a school. You are, so to speak, the coach of the entire school — it looks to you for guidance and leadership. You need to have a certain kind of moral fortitude in order to be the school principal because in a way you are also the keystone of the school. It should come to no surprise to anyone, therefore, that when the principal of a school slips up and behaves in a manner that is unbecoming of anyone meant to be taken seriously in a school, let alone the head of the school, said principal must face strong consequences.

It is often said that what a person does in the hours that they are away from their job is of no concern to their employee, so long as it does not impact their work performance. Once they allow it to impact said performance, however, is when it gets a bit troublesome. Principal Stephen McClenning of Quartzside, Arizona, was caught on video kissing one of the school secretaries on school property during school hours. Was this some kind of felony that they committed? Of course not. It was nevertheless completely unacceptable for them to be doing, perhaps more so because both of them are married and have children.

If you thought this case could not get any more twisted, consider this — there is an organization that handles disciplinary action against faculty members who unfortunately merit it due to their improper activity. This organization, which holds the charter to the school, happens to have none other than Principal McClenning as its president. Well really, the proper term should be former principal McClenning as he resigned from the school shortly after the scandal broke.

Resigning from the school was probably the only proper thing that McClenning did in this entire case. It would have been considerably worse had he fought it and tried arguing that he fundamentally did nothing wrong. The problem with that kind of argument, of course, would have been that it would have been entirely wrong. How are you going to inspire an entire school of teachers to go forward in doing what is right when you have been caught doing something very wrong in full view of one of the children you are trying to lead to a path of proper behavior? It cannot be done.

Posted by Gordon Davidescu

Born in Perth Amboy, Gordon Davidescu lives in Queens with his wife, toddler son and bears. He loves reading a good book whether it is cloth and paper or digitally.

6 Comments

  1. When leaders lack a moral core — the rest of us are left without a meaningful center — and we all rot from the outside in.

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    1. That’s exactly right and why we have to quickly identify moral core lacking leaders and eliminate them before the rot starts!

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    2. I disagree with the order of your causality statement. It seems more likely to me that when the rest of us lack a meaningful center we end up with leaders who also lack a moral core.

      We rot from the inside out.

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      1. Do you mean because the immoral people elect immoral leaders? Good thoughts!

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      2. Immoral people allow and occasionally encourage immoral systems that favor more immoral people. In democracies this leads to electing immoral leaders. In other sorts of nations it brings the immoral to leadership through other means.

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  2. I appreciate your comment, Jonolan, and get where you’re going — very good thought.

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