Stand behind Dr. Timothy Richard - WHS Principal
  • Petitioned Mesa Arizona School Superintendency

This petition was delivered to:

Mesa Public Schools Governing Board
Mesa Arizona School Superintendency

Stand behind Dr. Timothy Richard - WHS Principal

    1. Roger Webb
    2. Petition by

      Roger Webb

      Mesa, AZ

  1.  
  2.   
December 2012

Victory

From Roger Webb: Dr. Richard not only kept his job, but has (I believe) earned an incredible amount of respect from our community, the students at Westwood, and even the Mesa School Board. It is evident that with the petition, the news coverage, and several other events that took place this past week, that we made a tremendous difference in our community.

On Wednesday November 28th, two boys were fighting at Westwood High School. Dr. Richard, as their punishment, gave the boys a choice - be suspended for 9 days, or sit in the school courtyard at lunch holding hands. They chose the latter. The media got a hold of the story and spun it as Dr. Richard humiliating the boys, and creating an environment unsafe for gay kids - where holding hands was viewed as something wrong. It went viral, and there were soon news stories popping up everywhere. The Mesa Schools administrators came out publicly in strong opposition to the punishment.

Now for the rest of the story. My oldest daughter graduated from Westwood, and her sister is now a sophomore. I've been a Westwood parent for 6 years. Westwood kids are very proud of one thing... "Westwood High School is a place where everybody is somebody!" It is one of the most amazing things I've seen. Religion, race, sexual orientation, gender... none of it matters. These kids are taught respect for one another - unlike any school in our community. Dr. Richard started at Westwood at the beginning of this school year. He has, in his short time here, changed this school. He knows kids by their first name. They respect him. They even like him. He has significantly decreased truancy, in school fighting, and has created a very deep sense of pride in these kids. He's done this by doing what I have worked to teach my kids - to stand up for what they believe in. He is unconventional, yes... and he is the most effective school administrator I have ever seen.

I remember when I was a young parent, watching my cousin discipline her kids at a public basketball game, by making them sit for 30 minutes holding hands. They were embarrassed, and they learned. I've done it, and most parents I know have dome it too.

Suspending these kids would have been the traditional thing, but I guarantee it would not have had the lifelong impact this experience had. It had nothing to do with portraying homosexuality as wrong. It had everything to do with teaching two boys that there is a peaceful way to resolve things and learn a lesson that lasts.

Dr. Richard has been ridiculed for his decision, yet most of the students that I know at Westwood, strongly support his position and stand behind him. They ALL learned a lesson on Wednesday. not just the two boys, but all 2000+ kids at Westwood.

An educator that truly makes a difference in the kids in their care is rare in today's world. Now we have one who is - on a daily basis, and he is being punished for taking a stand and TEACHING his students. Imagine what a better world these kids will be equipped to lead from this one lesson.

I know many will jump on the "he's teaching intolerance" bandwagon, so let me say this. I'm gay. I'm a gay dad, and my kids, their friends, and everyone I have met at Westwood has embraced our family. The kids at Westwood "get it" - more than any other kids in this conservative community. They get that this event had nothing to do with that.

I invite everyone who agrees with his method of "punishment" to send a message to the Mesa School Board. If more educators cared like Dr. Richard cares, our future would be a much brighter place. You should be supporting him for the good he has done, rather than caving to the media pressure. You should be teaching our kids the lesson of a team who has each other's back, rather than throwing him under the bus. I say "Bravo Dr. Richard! Thank you for making a difference in my daughter's life. It matters. You matter."

To:
Mesa Arizona School Superintendency, Mesa Public Schools Governing Board
Stand behind Dr. Timothy Richard - WHS Principal

I support Dr. Richard in his choice of punishment for the two boys fighting at his school. I believe a school administrator should teach his kids by example and change their lives. Dr. Richard has done this, and you should have his back and support his decision.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. UPDATE

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer

      Dialogue between Mesa Schools Superintendent and myself - and an update to what's happening with this petition. I am keeping it up to receive signatures until December 11, 2012. I'd love to hit 1000!

      https://www.facebook.com/notes/roger-webb/update-on-the-westwood-hs-events-and-petition/10151294642693941

    2. We made a difference, and are still fighting!

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer

      Today we made the news 3 times!

      http://www.azfamily.com/news/principal-behind-hand-holding-punishment-will-keep-his-job-181906201.html

      As I told the reporter, this wasn't only about Dr. Richard keeping his job. It's also about how quickly the Superintendency and Mesa Schools threw him under the bus. THAT is what I want to see changed. I want them to show SUPPORT of him. They don't have to agree with him. That's two different things. This man was commended just 2 weeks ago, and as soon as the media put some pressure on them, they jumped too fast on the attack. This experience taught a life lesson that none of us will ever forget. It changed Westwood High School. It will never be the same, and Dr. Richard needs to be THANKED for that!

      Principal behind hand-holding punishment will keep his job

      MESA, Ariz. -- Students at Westwood High School in Mesa rallied in support of their principal on Monday. Another student posted a song she wrote on YouTube. She started off by saying, "Hey, guys. I'm Rilee. I'm a warrior at Westwood High School." The warrior, Rilee Webb, went to battle in support of Dr. Tim Richard.

    3. Reached 750 signatures
    4. Channel 3 tonight (12/3)

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer

      I was just interviewed for channel 3, and this will be the lead story tonight at 4:30 and 5:30!!! Keep it going!!!

    5. Phoenix ABC News - Channel 15 picked up the petition!!

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer
      Kids forced to hold hands: Firestorm grows over Valley students made to hold hands as punishment

      New developments tonight on a valley photo causing a firestorm of controversy all over the country. Two boys, caught fighting at school, choosing to hold hands in front of classmates in exchange for not being suspended. It's a move the Mesa Public School district does not support.

    6. Watch this!

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer

      My daughter wrote this song today... THIS is what this has done for WHS!!!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DljabJl55I

      Take My Hand

      Rilee Webb, sophomore at Westwood High School, wrote this in support of her principal, Dr. Richard, who was recently in international news for his out of the box methods. Westwood High... Where everyone is someone!

    7. 500 and counting!!!

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer

      We have hit 500! We would like 1000 at a minimum. It's getting momentum and is starting to go global! Keep sharing the link to this petition!

    8. Reached 500 signatures
    9. Help us go global!

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer

      If you know people in another country, please share the link to this petition with them and ask them to sign. The negative news story about this hit 6 countries in less than 24 hours. We need this to go bigger than that show we can truly show global support for Dr. Richard! We are almost at 500 signatures in less than 36 hours! Please help!

      Here is the link: Please share it!!
      http://www.change.org/petitions/mesa-arizona-school-administration-stand-behind-dr-timothy-richard-whs-principal

    10. 250 Signatures!!!

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer

      Keep this going everyone! PLEASE share it on your Facebook walls and email a link to all of your friends! Help us take this viral! The comments continue to amaze me!!

    11. Reached 250 signatures
    12. 100 signatures in our first few hours!! PLEASE share!!!

      Roger Webb
      Petition Organizer

      We just hit 100 signatures and we've only been up for a few hours! If everyone who signed were to share the link to this petition on their Facebook walls, and email it to their friends, we could easily hit our goal of 10,000! I'm in awe at the support and messages being sent. THIS is what community is all about! Thank you!!

    13. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Leah Haymore SIERRA VISTA, AZ
      • almost 2 years ago

      I am an educator. When I was a college student taking education classes, they taught us to think outside of the box so that we could reach the kids at a more personal level. Bravo to administrators who strive to do this!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Scott Miller PROVIDENCE, UT
      • almost 2 years ago

      WHS grad - I think it's great!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Julie Opdyke LIVERPOOL, NY
      • almost 2 years ago

      Suspending kids doesn't teach them the lesson that prevents them from doing it again. This does.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jason Lindblad KINGSTON, WA
      • almost 2 years ago

      Teaches a lesson, too many kids think that getting suspended is more like a vacation, this is much better. Keep the kids in school.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sarah Parker BREMERTON, WA
      • almost 2 years ago

      This is important to me because this principle has done absolutely nothing wrong. He gave those two boys a choice on their punishment, and they made it. I realllyyy dislike the fact that the media is trying to say that this man actually intended for it to look like it was some sort of "homophobic humiliation", and the fact that so many people are buying into this B.S saddens me even more. I will proudly sign and stand behind this teacher, if any gay slurs were yelled at these boys it needs to be the students that yelled them that need to be punished, not the teacher. There aren't many good teachers, or principles for that matter, and I would hate to see one loose his job because of the idiocy that is our country and the media.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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