I am writing to you as the former director of Augusta Youth Development Campus, a facility that has received extensive media coverage recently because the unfortunate death of a resident.
I am not writing to explain my sudden departure nor defend my performance as director, since these have both been adequately discussed in a recent letter from Mike Hale, a well-respected former teacher. My extensive career has touched the lives of many youth, and serves to define me as a person and a professional.
I am writing to express my appreciation and praise to the many staff members at Augusta YDC, who are true professionals and dedicate themselves to serving the residents despite low pay and their sacrifice of family needs.
Yes, there are some marginal employees, as there are in any organization. However, the majority of the staff do not deserve to have Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Gale Buckner state that they are working toward “bringing professionalism back to the staff.” This is a slap in the face to the many great staff members with whom I have been privileged to serve over the years.
They, as I, have had a difficult period of grief and sadness as we lived through the recent tragic events and ensuing turmoil. My sincere hope is that this feeding frenzy presently taking place allows time for the newly anointed experts to recognize the difference between good and evil, and not allow their self-importance to cloud their judgments.
It is frequently too easy to pull a weak plant out by the roots rather than spend the time and effort in nursing it back to health. The second approach will yield a beautiful new plant to enrich the lives of others.