— Fox C-6 Watchdogs (@FoxC6Watchdogs) July 27, 2014
The long-awaited shoe has dropped for Fox C-6 school district administrators Dan and Angie Baker, who were implicated in the Critchlow defamatory online posts scandal. Only one comment was traced to the Baker’s house, according to the Post-Dispatch report (see update above). A settlement the Bakers reached with the district takes away two weeks of pay from each of them and forces them to take vacation and/or sick days for the past seven weeks or so that they’ve been on paid leave. Dan Baker had a job change, too. He was in charge of elementary education, but now he’s the assistant superintendent in charge of instruction, according to the Leader. He basically switched jobs with Andy Arbeitman.
Here’s what is interesting to me: So the Bakers made one comment that we know of; thus, only one of the pair could have made it (I assume they didn’t collaborate). But the district is punishing both of them? We are told that the board can’t do anything to punish disgraced superintendent Dianne Critchlow because there’s no proof that she made the comments; in fact, her husband took the fall and was fired (because his salary is lower, undoubtedly). I realize the Bakers can be “punished” as they are because they agreed to it, but it is still quite a striking comparison that they got reprimanded for one comment and Dianne got off scot-free for what was surely a number of them. I mean, the district’s statement even says Dianne’s early retirement has nothing to do with the comments. But Dianne is probably spending more than two weeks’ pay on Chet Pleban’s legal services, which are surely making all the difference here.
One could argue that, if it was only one comment, two weeks of lost pay is an reasonable punishment. Of course, at $165,000 per year, Dan’s pay needs to be docked by at least 25% permanently. On the other hand, Rich Simpson, a blogger, district critic, and target of the Baker comment, argues that that comment amounts to illegal retaliation and should grounds for dismissal. And we must also ask, what if a teacher did something like this? Or a student? Would they be let off with hand slaps? It’s like what they say in the military: Different spanks for different ranks.