Tuesday, September 26, 2023

ID: West Bonner's Fake Superintendent Quits. Probably.

One more chapter in the ongoing saga of Branden Durst and the West Bonner School District. If you've missed the story so far, you can find the first three chapters here, here, and here

The very short synopsis is this: West Bonner voters snoozed through another school board election, and so a far right majority installed itself and proceeded to hire Branden Durst, possibly the most unqualified person to ever be offered a superintendent's position with an especially wacky contract. But it was contingent on Durst receiving an emergency credential from the state, and the state said "You have got to be kidding." Meanwhile, two of the three conservatives on the five-person board were ousted in a special recall election. It looked briefly as if the remaining third could keep the board from doing anything (like firing their uncredentialed superintendent) by just refusing to show up. 

Then yesterday Durst offered his resignation, saying he would seek an exit that was "amicable and fair," two qualities that were absent from all other stages of his employment.

Durst modeled the amicable part in his resignation letter by grousing about the community members who found his hiring wildly inappropriate. Probably thinking of people like the mother who called his hiring "asinine" and said “Why on earth would you hire a mechanic to bake your wedding cake? It’s terrifying.” But Durst claimed in his Twitter-posted retirement letter:

Throughout my short tenure, I remained cognizant of the fact that not everyone in the community welcomed my hiring, and there were those who hoped to see me fail and did everything in their power to try to make that so, even if meant hurting very students they claimed to support. I was undeterred by the naysayers and their negativity only strengthened my resolve to do what needed to be done to put this district on a path toward success.

To the end, Durst remains defiantly blind to any notion that his problem might be that he has absolutely no qualifications for running a school district other than his far right ideological bent. This is MAGA brand ego material here, the idea that opposition was personal, that Only He Could Do It, and that to interfere with his rule would somehow hurt the students. 

The whole world was arrayed against him! The community and state officials threw "relentless obstacles" in his path. Sure. Every teacher has had that student who didn't do the reading, slept through class, didn't do any of the practice or homework, and then complains that they failed the test because "the teacher doesn't like me." 

But Durst is going to 'promote healing and unity within the community" by stepping aside. "It may not be entirely fair, but life rarely is." It's not clear what exactly is unfair here. It's just not fair that a man can't have a major leadership position just because he wants it, even if he has none of the qualifications for that job? 

It's worth noting that Durst didn't actually give a final date. His last day of employment "will be up to the board." That's the same board that only has three filled seats and one of them belongs to a Durst supporter. So we may not be at the final chapter of this tale yet.

The moral here is that elections have consequences, that people should not snooze through their local school board elections. Thankfully, the moral is also that when people finally wake up, they are not particularly excited about far right MAGA approaches to running their schools. That story has definitely not reached its final chapter.

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