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Transfer a poor reward for good service

July 24, 2005|By K. Eichelberger

To the editor:

I am writing this letter as a parent of two Springfield Middle School band students (one past and one present). First, I want to thank Garman Bowers, band director, and Robert Green, assistant band director, for their many years of dedication to the Springfield Middle School Band Program.

These two special and unique gentlemen have touched many young lives, showing their many students over the years how commitment and hard work can give a person a wonderful sense of pride and self-respect. They have both spent countless hours beyond their scheduled workday working with Springfield's marching band, concert bands and jazz band, both practicing and performing at many events. The level of musical performance they help their students reach in a relatively short time has been amazing to witness. Those students and parents who understand that discipline, respect, hard work and rules are necessary for a band to be successful appreciate and commend these two fine gentlemen. Green is retiring and we wish him many wonderful and well deserved years of retirement.

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Unfortunately, the last day of school many of us found out that Bowers was being involuntarily transferred out of Springfield. We feel this is a great injustice to both Bowers and to our band students. It is not right to force a teacher out of his position after 25 years of dedicated service to his students. We totally disagree with the school administration's decision to do this and strongly feel it is being done for the wrong reasons.

It is our sincere hope that central office staff and elected board members will step in and make sure Bowers is given the opportunity to remain at Springfield. A group of Springfield band parents attended the Board of Education's June 7 meeting to show our support of Bowers. During citizens comments it soon became obvious that the elected board members were going to rubber-stamp this transfer without knowing what had transpired. At the July 12 board meeting, three additional speakers spoke on Bowers' behalf. Paul Bailey, president of the Board of Education, let them know that this transfer was in the appeal process.

We certainly hope that Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan and the elected board members are acting in good faith and are giving Bowers his due process. However, because of a letter we received in the mail July 15 on Springfield Middle School stationary from someone claiming to be the new Springfield Middle School band director, it is obvious that this is not the case.

Twenty five dedicated years of service should earn a person the right to a sincere effort at conflict resolution and not a transfer out of the program he has given so much to. Springfield students are expected to tolerate and respect each other's personality differences and to find a way to get along with each other. The same should be expected from their principal and his staff. If this transfer is not overturned it will be a great injustice to both Bowers and the Springfield Middle School band program.

K. Eichelberger

Hagerstown

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