Students and parents stand up for teacher


We at the Coastal Point are big fans of when people stand up for what they believe is right — whether they succeed in spurring change or not. That old adage of “you can’t fight city hall” is just not true, especially if you are motivated and your cause is good.

For instance, we saw a group of farmers lead the charge against the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to stop a proposed Route 113 bypass. We’ve seen people stand in front of town councils and have their wishes become laws. And we just saw a group of parents and students save the job of Indian River High School chorus teacher Ben Ables.

Due to lower enrollment, the school is not able to rehire several teachers for the 2011-2012 school year. On that list of teachers was Ables, who had just returned from Walt Disney World with the show choir in mid-April when word came out concerning which teachers would have to be sacrificed.

Immediately, the Indian River School District (IRSD) School Board was inundated with letters, emails and calls from students and teachers intent on saving Ables’ job at the high school. IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting took the feedback seriously, and recommended at the May 25 school board meeting that Ables be allocated an Academic Excellence Unit — thus, saving his job, and earning a victory for those who went to bat for him in the process.

“It’s nice to have the support,” Ables said earlier this week.

And it should be equally nice to have earned that support. No parent wants to see a teaching position cut at his or her child’s school, but it was obvious the school was going to have to make changes. That the parents and students thought highly enough of Ables to actively campaign for his reprieve says a lot about the quality of teacher he is.

We’re proud of those who fought for Ables to keep his position, and thankful that the school board really listened to the outpouring of support and was able to keep him in place.

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On Monday night, the Frankford Town Council approved the use of its park for a summer-long camp sponsored by Unite Sussex, a local organization created to bring non-profits, government and citizens together to improve the community as a whole.

The Rev. Kim Tephabock of Dagsboro Church of God, who organized Unite Sussex, explained that since there was no type of summer-school program this year that could provide subsidized breakfasts and lunches for those needing help, the camp would allow area youth to be nourished, get exercise and stay fresh with their educational skills. We thank Unite Sussex and the town of Frankford for this.