Letter: What We Have Learned from Attending the Hearings for Mr. John Yoon

letter to the editorThe following letter was submitted from Craig W. Amundson on July 28, 2015

To The Editor:

I am writing to express my continued support for currently suspended Greenwich High School Band Director, Mr. John S. Yoon. Having now sat through the public hearings and listened to our school administrator’s justifications for moving to terminate Mr. Yoon, I am even more appalled. The school district’s action is solely based upon the word of two students, one of which specifically told Greenwich High School Headmaster, Chris Winters, that she didn’t want Mr. Yoon terminated. And the second, an over scheduled student whom just wanted to drop one of Mr. Yoon’s honors classes.

To top it all off, our school officials failed to even investigate the complaints before deciding to terminate Mr. Yoon, a teacher who has had an amazing impact on our students and our community.

We have heard no evidence of bullying, no evidence of verbal abuse, no evidence of unprofessional anything. What we have heard is that two students were mildly disciplined, resulting in one student losing his Section Leader position, and the other had her seat assignment moved one row back. Both had been reprimanded for their disrespectful behavior. If the “professionals” who run our schools don’t believe that students need to be disciplined and reprimanded, perhaps we are considering the continued employment of the wrong individual. Through Mr. Yoon’s dedicated tutelage based upon concepts like commitment, responsibility and integrity, he has grown our High School’s band program to be recognized as one of the best in the country.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Yoon since 1993 and can personally attest to his character, passion for his craft, and dedicated service to our children and our Town. I feel very strongly that we are punishing this man for performing his duties with the same enthusiasm we wish all teachers had. I would hope that our School Administrators and the Board of Education will rethink their position.

Craig W. Amundson

  • Andrew Collins

    Mr. Yoon supports and teaches outstanding music students in an exemplary manner. He is annoyed by and dismissive of students who have committed to more than the music program, and if they aren’t the most musically talented these students should be wary of his bullying and abusive side. He can be vengeful and petty and is certainly not a teacher who gives of himself generously to all. High school is for discovering who one is, what one likes and for being exposed to as many things as possible in order to start deciding where one might like to go with one’s life. Our job as parents, teachers and school administrators is to help our HS students graduate as well rounded young adults ready to go out into the world, not solely to help the music program win awards.

    • Linda Pannone

      The above letter is an accurate description of both Mr. Yoon and Mr. Walker. I’ve had face to face conversations with both men during the early part of my son’s freshman year after hearing him tell repeated accounts of students being embarrassed and humiliated for performing poorly during group practices. Through the years I’ve learned that the music departments disciplinary style is verbally and emotionally abusive.

  • Sandy Waters

    The previous reply is not our experience with the GHS band program. Our daughter was in student government, swam on the Cardinal’s swim team, played in the band (including marching band) and jazz band, sang in ChamberSingers, and took plenty of AP courses as well. Yes, there were scheduling conflicts from time to time, and yes, she was probably overscheduled and stressed. But, she managed to organize her time to get done what needed to be done, and she had few difficulties working out the various demands on her time with John Yoon. He was more respectful of the various pressures on students than many of the high school athletic coaches.

  • greenwichfreepress

    Thank you commenters for using real names. Another comment stream was shut down because commenters were using aliases.