A couple of months ago, South Bend school board President Roger Parent proposed that two teachers be “gently escorted from the classroom” because of their age.
One of them, 80-year-old Beverlie Beck, has no plans to leave the classroom “gently” or otherwise and has filed an age discrimination complaint with the EEOC. She has also written a letter to the school board asking that President Parent be censured for breaking the law and blatantly discriminating against her.
Parent, in an e-mail, urged the school superintendent to remove teachers age 80 and over and favors replacing these older teachers with younger teachers let go as a result of budget cuts. Beck says, “that is assuming that everyone of a certain age is the same and you don’t go by the age, you go by how they perform.” Besides, “it’s against the law.”
Parent contends that his suggestions to remove her from teaching stem from poor evaluations and her questionable abilities within the classroom.
Beck says those insinuations are far from truth and states, “He lied. I am sorry to say that, but he lied.” Her performance has come under scrutiny since Parent’s e-mail was sent to the superintendent but regardless of what Parent and other skeptics may say, many contend that even after 57 years of teaching Beck is a force to be reckoned with in her second grade classroom at Hamilton Traditional School.
To further aid her case, copies of her most recent performance evaluations show that Beck was praised for her high energy and effectiveness in the classroom. She says in all her years of teaching she has never had a poor evaluation or any kind of warning. In addition to her EEOC claim, Beck is asking that Parent be censured, stating that “he jeopardizes the whole school board.” Although Beck believes she could sue for slander, what she really wants is an apology and her name cleared so everyone will know she is not a bad teacher.
“If I can’t do my job, I will get out,” claims Beck, stating that she’ll know when it’s time to retire and won’t work longer than she’s capable. “I wouldn’t do that to the kids or myself.”
It seems that time has not come, though, and Beck has no plans to relent or quit teaching. According to Beck, “I teach because I really do enjoy it. I love to see the kids learn.”