I attended the Whitefish School Board meeting on April 9 for a recommendation of non-renewal of the contract for Whitefish High School teacher Chani Craig. The reason for her dismissal was that she was not a fit in the WHS community. This accusation is completely false as she is perfect fit for the school community. She has training that no teacher would have thought she would. She also has the knowledge that teachers were not expecting her to have.
Craig has taken the role of many things at the high school, from Student Council Advisor to friend of students and staff.
I would not have the strength that I have today to be who I am and be who I want to be because of the person that Craig is. I came out as an openly gay man in the second semester of my sophomore year at Whitefish High School. I would not have the confidence to wear heels to school without her in the school. We as a school have seen that there is a mold that each student and some of the teachers have to fit into. Craig is outside of the mold, as well as, most of the students and some of the teachers.
A quote of the night that has been stuck in my head, is that the School Board does not want to overstep the administration and their choices of who is to stay and who is to leave. The School Board is there to hold the administration accountable for every single action that they take. If a teacher is up for non-renewal and there are facts that they are not fit for the job, then the School Board holds the administration accountable and are getting rid of someone that is not right for the job.
In this situation, Craig is by far someone that is needed in the school district and needed at the high school. I understand that she has flaws, just like I have flaws and every other teacher has flaws.
Does that mean she doesn’t fit in this mold that the high school has set for both student and staff, absolutely not she exceeds the mold, in fact she expands the mold each and every day that she goes to school and says high to each and every student. In this situation the School Board did not listen to what the students at that meeting had to say as well as the adults and staff. The students shared their stories on why not having Craig in the school would negatively impact not only the students, but the staff as well.
Craig has done more mental health in the school than I have seen in any teacher. From her common knowledge of a bit of every subject, to helping a student go from a dark place in their lives to a positive one. Craig is intended for the school and every person in it. The School Board wants secrecy for many different things in the school. This is something that I want to bring light to each and every person.
Craig has helped not only myself love me and who I am but has given me knowledge on how to help someone that may be struggling as well. From her selfless heart to her warming classroom Craig is meant to be in the school with each and everyone of us.
Walter Pearson is a junior at Whitefish High School.