Teaching Compassion from One Teacher's Story

You may recall the story earlier this year about a Tacoma kindergarten teacher who was removed from her classroom because she was drunk.  I think most of us were aghast at hearing that.

But one person, reporter Matt Driscolll at the Tacoma News Tribune, wanted to know more.  He wrote this piece that appeared this week,

This kindergarten teacher was fired for being drunk. Three months later, she was dead. 

It's a beautiful story, written with compassion.  It's about how every single person has a story especially beyond their death.
Klara’s story, on the other hand, is one with trauma and addiction at its center. Like roughly 17 million people in the United States, she battled alcoholism. Unlike most, however, Klara’s struggle was very public.

It’s a struggle that ended in early June, when she took her own life. She was 33.

“I begged reporters not to use her name … even though they had the right to do so,” recalls Tacoma Public Schools spokesman Dan Voelpel. “While her actions meant she could no longer teach for us, she did not deserve to be publicly shamed.”
In deciding to share their late daughter’s story, Klara’s parents hope to inspire difficult — but needed — conversations about how we view alcoholism and addiction.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article108612927.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article108612927.html#storylink=cpy


Jet City mom said…
That is so tragic.
That poor family, to lose both their daughters.
My husband quit drinking when he was about that age.
It never affected his work, but it affected everything else.
But he has now been sober for almost 30 years, and he comes from a long line of alcoholics on both sides of his family.
I hope that someone sees this story and decides to get help.
Anonymous said…
I was sickened by the manner in which the media went after this woman. I'm glad to see at least someone from the News Tribune has a conscience.

Anonymous said…
What a moving piece of journalism - I'm so sorry for her family and friends - we are so quick to judge these days, but there's a story behind every bad decision like Klara's, if only we take the time to find it.

Anonymous said…
That piece is by Matt Driscoll of The News Tribune in Tacoma (not The News and Observer of Raleigh, NC). Here's the original link: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/matt-driscoll/article108337942.html

- Fan of local newspaper journalism
Northwest Owler said…
Also, Matt Driscoll spoke on KUOW: http://kuow.org/post/tacomas-drunk-teacher-watched-her-shame-go-viral-then-she-killed-herself .
Longhouse said…
I've got to believe part of the extreme witch hunt reaction to this poor women's addiction is the hatred that comes out of the woodwork from a small, but active part of this country who just automatically hate teachers and attacks them whenever they can manufacture an opportunity. I've never understood it. Is it just right-wing nut jobs who assume all teachers are progressives and hate them for political reasons (like the Seattle Times) or something else? I'm amazed when I meet somebody who hates teachers. It's often somebody who hasn't stepped foot in a school since they were in high school and remember teachers through the eyes of the sullen adolescent they were back then.

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