Writer didn't represent all
Regarding Mr. Dowdy's letter to the editor in the Hartselle Enquirer Jan. 8 issue, I feel that Mr. Dowdy, himself, has done the citizens of Hartselle a grave injustice. He has repeated rumors and falsehoods as if they were truth.
I am a teacher at Hartselle High School; and contrary to Mr. Dowdy's statement, "after all, every member of the faculty already knows…"not only did I know the answers to all his rhetorical questions, I hadn't even heard all the questions. Mr. Dowdy did not ask me, who definitely can fit into his categorical "every member of the faculty," what I knew and when I knew it. (Pardon, Mr. Nixon, the pun.)
In Mr. Dowdy's sentence fragment "As part of my and your taxes go to the school," he referred to me, too. As a 26-year resident of Hartselle, I, too, am concerned about the illegal use of tax money. But let me reply, of my own personal knowledge, to some of his questions by stating some of my own.
First, does he have proof Mr. Reeves' house was painted at school expense? Despite the implication of a whole-house paint job, does Mr. Dowdy realize Mr. Reeves lives in a brick house? Has Mr. Dowdy seen proof in the form of sworn statements that Mr. Reeves used school personnel and materials illegally? Or is he simply passing on rumors of allegations? And are those allegations current? Or have there been modifications to the original accusations?
Regarding the "free family trip" at board expense, my father was also a high school principal. When I was a child, Dad took my mother, my sister and me to principals' meetings. Our being in the county-owned vehicle cost no more money than his being in the car alone. And (I recently called my mother to confirm this) my father, not the county, paid all of his family's expenses on the trips. Mr. Dowdy, was this stealing from the county? How did you ascertain that Mr. Reeves did not do the same thing before you accused him? What was your source for this information?
Roundup? Floor buffer? Mr. Dowdy, do you really think a high school principal and a teaching wife could not afford to finance these?
Mr. Dowdy, you obviously know a very different Jerry Reeves than I do. The one I know ( and the several colleagues with whom I have discussed your letter know) is a man who has never given us a reason to distrust his financial honesty.
He encourages us to document everything regarding school money so that we meet local and state regulations and the law. In my opinion, Mr. Dowdy, Mr. Reeves is legally astute enough to know not to do anything that could be considered suspect. And more important, my considered opinion of Mr. Reeves, as a fellow teacher beginning in 1980 and as my principal since 1988 (I ascertained these facts from MCHS and HHS annual) I consider Mr. Reeves a man of ethics and honor. How long, Mr. Dowdy, have you had personal knowledge of the character of Mr. Reeves?
Regarding Mr. Shinn's involvement prior to turning the matter immediately over to the ethic committee, I think the board made a wise decision to try and find out the facts first. As far as Mr. Reeves' being allowed to "serve as school principal" – Mr. Dowdy, there is a principle that I remember from my seventh grade civics class: "Innocent until proven guilty." In your opinion, has this principle been outdated?
Speaking of restoring "some dignity" to the school as well as the reputation of the city of Hartselle, your letter, Mr. Dowdy, did little to enhance the dignity of anybody or anything related to Hartselle.
Speaking of the ethics committee's case number, I know that every case sent to the committee gets a number. But that doesn't mean blame has been assessed.
Speaking of the recently adopted board rule about signing out materials that leave school property, we have fire drills before the fire occurs. And, Mr. Dowdy, how did you find out about this board rule before I, a Hartselle Board of Education employee, found out about it?
What is your source of information? Is someone using you to express his views?
Mr. Dowdy, if this matter "stinks worse that a hog barn," to you, in my humble opinion, you, sir, should look more closely under your own nose.