Since the apparent-suicide death of educator Rigoberto Ruelas — his body was discovered in the Angeles National Forest 100 feet below a bridge Sunday — some of those who knew him have chimed in via Monday news reports to say that he was distraught over a mediocre showing in the controversial Los Angeles Times' teacher ratings database.
Here's the question: Could having your job performance rated as “Less effective than average overall” on a public website send someone over the edge? Our commenter of the day, Kerr Lockhart, weighs in:
If you don't think a teacher would commit suicide over a bad performance report, especially one released publicly, you don't know anything about teachers and teaching.
I've only been a teacher 7 years, after a 25-year career as an attorney, and I never cared about my clients the way I care about my students and how well I'm serving them. My sense of identity and personal pride are completely wrapped up in needing to be as good a teacher as I can be.
I can absolutely imagine contemplating what Mr. Ruelas did in similar circumstances …