Spelling Is A Safety Issue

Proper spelling is important for several reasons — it avoids ambiguity of meaning, it presents a professional image, and prevents the reader from being distracted from the core message.  According to one charter school, however, spelling correctly is also a safety issue.  So much so that one student was given a ten-day suspension for misspelling the school’s name.

Admittedly, Cory Keir, a junior at the Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy, managed to misspell the school’s name on the cover of the yearbook he designed.  It was, he says, an innocent mistake.  Never mind that a teacher signed off on the cover without catching the error, that the misspelled name was not offensive or obscene, and that Keir was excited — perhaps overly excited — about being chosen to design the cover.  It seems the school simply assumed it was intentional and suspended him.

The school also reportedly asked the boy to come up with $1,000 in donations to the school, although officials are denying that there was a formal request for money.  Shelley Stockwell, the school’s executive director, said that following an investigation, Keir was punished for violating the school’s safety policy.  Safety?  Misspelling the school’s name is a safety issue?

But really, whether or not the mistake was intentional or not, the responsibility lies not with Cory Keir but with the teacher that approved the design, as well as any other adults involved in the process.  I could certainly understand and in fact would expect that the principal would have a chat with young Mr. Keir, but when it comes down to it, the fault lies with the teacher.  Keir also says that he feels that the teacher “threw me under the bus” for allowing the blame to be placed on him and not discussing the incident with him.

In the end, Keir wrote a letter of apology and was allowed to return to school after three-and-a-half days.  The yearbooks were recalled and the covers replaced with a generic one.  But Keir’s mother, Donna Diment, isn’t satisfied.  She would like the school to apologize for their handling of the issue to her and to her son.  “My son made an honest mistake,” she said, “and he was unjustly punished for the irresponsibility of his teacher.”

I can’t help but agree.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply