Letter: What’s Next for GHS Band Director John Yoon? Does the end justify the means?

Letter to the editor from Craig W. Amundson, December 4, 2105

I am writing to express my continued support for currently suspended Greenwich High School Band Director, Mr. John S. Yoon. Now that the independent arbitrator’s report has been received, it becomes clear that, from a strictly legal standpoint, the only thing that mattered during the hearing process was whether Mr. Yoon’s discipline of two students had violated the Last Chance Agreement which was signed in 2014.

The Last Chance Agreement followed an altercation with another teacher within a dysfunctional music department whom used inappropriate language with Mr. Yoon. Whether Mr. Yoon’s discipline methods with these two students rose to the level of “unprofessional behavior” is very much in dispute as the two complaints used as the basis for his termination are both very common discipline methods used by every other music teacher I have ever spoken to, and there have been many.

At this point, the more troubling revelation from the arbitrator’s report is that the GHS Administration knowingly violated Greenwich Public School Policy as well as our teacher’s Union Contract, and no one seems to care. The fact that the GHS administration padded their case with false and uncorroborated accusations, that they knowingly repeated negative comments about Mr. Yoon which they knew to be false should not be acceptable behavior from our administrators. These points are all detailed in the arbitrator’s report. We now have a clearer picture that the GHS Administration was determined to end Mr. Yoon’s career at GHS regardless of whether their actions were right, legal or moral.

We are now going to have to depend upon our elected Board of Education to uphold the fact that integrity, honesty and accountability should matter. To vote to terminate Mr. Yoon, based on the flawed and dishonest case as presented by Dr. William Mckersie, Superintendent of Schools, would send the message that no teacher is safe in the Greenwich Public School System, and that such despicable behavior on the part of our administrators is acceptable.

What we know is that two students were mildly disciplined in front of their peers in the band, which is the norm in a group program such as the GHS Band. Both were reprimanded for their disrespectful behavior. Please allow our current and future band students to continue to learn from Mr. Yoon.


Craig W. Amundson