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  • Writer's pictureKelly E. Middleton

Concept #17 Don't Do Dumb Things

Updated: Oct 4, 2018

We've all made silly mistakes. It happens; we're human. But when it comes to making decisions without using common sense, I have a hard time forgiving those mistakes.

Take for example this news story about a superintendent, Thomas Tramaglini, who was serially defecating on a rival team's football field. The headlines are enough to make one shudder and social media had a field day (no pun intended) with this man, calling him "Pooperintendent!" and "Mad Crapper!" (puns intended).

This is a fitting analogy for the general public's overall opinion of public education today. These are the kinds of actions we've come to expect from school leaders who work at public schools. I'm not surprised to hear parents respond to such stories and say, "That's why I'm sending my kid to private school/the new charter school in town/eschewing educational systems altogether and homeschooling my child."

We've got to do better.

Whether we are talking about the business world or public education, making dumb mistakes usually ends up in the news. The media gets its hands on all kinds of embarrassing stories of people not using common sense in their work decisions. These bonehead moves are PR nightmares that hurt the brand more than the individual who committed the act. Sometimes the brand never fully rebounds as these types of mistakes are the hardest from which to recover.

About the time Walmart was at the top of the retail world, Amazon swooped in and took their customers almost as fast as an Amazon Prime package arrives at your doorstep. Part of the reason was Amazon's business model, but a big part of it was Walmart's string of bad publicity. Starting with a class action lawsuit for nearly 200,000 Missouri Walmart employees on the grounds of being forced to work off the clock and not take lunch breaks in 2005, continuing to allegations of workers' rights violations by Human Rights Watch in 2007, Walmart has seen a constant barrage of bad publicity due to lack of common sense in running their business.

Even as recently as June, 2018, Walmart has been shredded by the press for punishing workers for using sick days for doctor appointments. Why on Earth would a company not honor sick days with a doctor's documentation and hospital records? Especially since Walmart is in the middle of a campaign to make themselves appear more "worker friendly."

It's "Dumb Things" like this that make me shake my head and wonder how such lack of common sense decision-making can continue to occur within an organization. Amazon was allowed to rise to prominence amidst Walmart's bad publicity and mismanagement and has chipped away at Walmart's stranglehold on the retail market in the U.S.

So what happened to the "Mad Crapper"? After three months of bad publicity in the Kenilworth school district and their name being dragged through the mud, the school separated themselves from Mr. Tramaglini. Now, they are left to try to regain some of their dignity, sacrificed at the hands of a superintendent who was not using his head and acting like a professional.

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