UPDATE: 12:05 PM PST JUNE 9, 2014
I have received an email form the counselor in question. After hearing both sides of the story I feel that I am valid in my feelings expressed below, but also have a better understanding of where the counselor was coming from. We all are approaching this situation from different angles and have to keep that in mind. I have to keep that in mind. While he may have not been thinking about the big picture in my opinion, his mind seems to have been focused on the current students at West Springfield High School and we can’t fault him for his concerns there. I think this is just one of those situations where everyone involved and everyone representing the school needs to choose their words carefully moving forward. In the end though, we all want the same thing. We want the truth to come out, this to be resolved and everyone to get the support they need.
UPDATE: 11:43 AM PST JUNE 6, 2014
Since the posting of this blog, tweeting of this blog and emailing of this blog to the West Springfield High School administration the tweet referenced below has been removed. While no explanation or response was received I appreciate the counselors realization that the tweet was a bit premature, or at least the wording was. Be a proud Spartan, but also a good role model.
ORIGINAL POST: 10:01 AM PST JUNE 6, 2014
Why not add my thoughts into the mix. This situation going on back home in Springfield, VA has really tripped me up. I was up last night watching television, but this situation just kept creeping its way back into my head and distracting me.
As an alumnus of West Springfield High School (WSHS) I was beyond shocked to hear the news about Laurence Einuis, the WSHS Band Director. If you haven’t heard about this case, Mr. Einuis was arrested yesterday for allegedly using an electronic device to facilitate certain offenses involving children. Apparently this past Monday a 14-year-old boy who attends the high school went to police with the allegations against Mr. Einuis.
It’s honestly hard to wrap my head around this situation.
Laurence Einuis joined West Springfield High School in 2003, which was my senior year of high school (as a side note that means this 14 year old boy was about 4 years old when I graduated from WSHS). I remember he wasn’t my favorite teacher ever and I eventually stopped band all together. I joined the color guard instead of marching band and Mr. Einuis finally let me stop focusing on band. He could tell I didn’t enjoy band, but he urged me to stick with color guard and follow what I did enjoy.
Even though we didn’t always get along, I do remember him as a great teacher. He was passionate about music and even more passionate about helping the students who wanted to excel to do just that.
I ran into him a year after I graduated in the student commons at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where I was going to college. I remember how proud I was to walk up to him and tell him I had made the Dean’s List. We butted heads at times, but that’s because he challenged me. That’s why I was excited to brag about my accomplishments when I saw him at VCU. His response, which I still remember today was, “I knew college would be good for you.” He was right. High school isn’t for everyone. He understood me as a student.
That’s why it’s so hard for me to believe these allegations. How could a teacher who truly cares about the success of his students, all students no matter how difficult they are, do something like he is accused of doing?
At this point in time, with little information available about his case, we have two directions we could go in as bystanders.
ONE: We have the option to immediately believe the accusations and crucify his reputation before we know the full truth; OR
TWO: We also have the option to move forward, however cautiously, with the theory of innocent until proven guilty.
I’m not saying this boy lied, but I sure as heck hope that the allegations aren’t true. I’ll be heartbroken if they are. If they are true I will be one of the many people in line to say that I am outraged. I don’t want any student at any elementary, middle or high school to fall victim to a teacher’s inappropriate behavior. But doesn’t this man deserve the benefit of the doubt and the right of all American citizens to be believed to be innocent until proven guilty?
That’s why I find the actions of a WSHS Counselor to be inappropriate. He tweeted publicly:
WSHS is a great place with great teachers and students – one person’s actions should not ruin that for us. I’m proud to be a Spartan.
You may be proud to be a Spartan counselor, but I am not proud of you as a representative of my former high school. These students need guidance from the staff at this school. Guidance on how to respond to such a situation. While it is natural to respond with shock and horror it is also appropriate to remind students that, FOR NOW, this is just an allegation.
Once the police release more details then this Counselor can make comments about one person’s actions, but until then maybe he should hold back on his public comments implying Mr. Einuis is guilty before he is proven to be so. The students are looking at you as a Counselor in a situation like this. I wish you would choose your words a bit more carefully until more facts are released. If he is found guilty or evidence is made public then I’ll retract my thoughts. For now, we don’t know enough to publicly imply to students he is guilty.
West Springfield High School really needs to get their staff under control.