Secrecy in the schools (5×8 – 4/8/13)

Lowering the cone of silence, Minnesota things worth bragging about, a soldier gives up the fight, what does your name say about you, and how to ask a girl to the prom… or not.

The Monday Morning Rouser…


The rumored walkout of students at Washburn High School in Minneapolis in support of an apparently doomed athletic/activity director raises an important question: When and how do parents and students get any say — or even knowledge of — the matters that may affect them, or in which they have a financial interest?.

The Star Tribune reports the AD is being fired by the school district over some sort of dispute over a scoreboard at the school’s new athletic fields. The district, however, lowered the cone of silence by declaring the issue with Dan Pratt a “private personnel matter.”

The school’s principal, declaring a “code yellow” over the planned walkout, complained about “many rumors and inaccuracies,” in a voice mail to parents, citing social media, according to the paper. But she, too, refused to discuss the situation, as has Pratt.

Secrecy and schools tend to go hand in hand. An official at a south suburban school got a big payoff to go away a couple of years ago, a superintendent was fired in the Woodbury school district, and in each case, the school officials clamped down on the reasons, citing state law.

Meanwhile, in Cloquet, the Duluth News Tribune reports, Dave Esse, the hockey coach at the high school, may be fired tonight in a closed-door session. A parent filed a complaint against the 14-year-coach in February. The paper says 45 parents signed a petition against Esse, whom they said has engaged in “tirades” over 10 years.

Then the paper tried to contact each of the parents making the allegations. “Nearly all sources contacted, however, said they preferred to remain anonymous or did not return messages seeking comment,” is said.

An exception, former goaltender Jordan Olean, told the paper that when he played 10 years ago, the coach was meaner when the team lost.

A couple, who have four kids on the team, have threatened a lawsuit if the school board doesn’t ditch the coach. The coach is threatening a lawsuit if it does.


BuzzFeed has created some local buzz with its Thirty-eight Things Minnesotan Are Too Nice To Brag About post. The usual items are on the list — Prairie Home Companion (which originates from New York more than Minnesota, but, hey), Bob Dylan, hockey hair.

Discussion: What’s missing?


Tomas Young was one of the first people in the U.S. to enlist in the armed services after the attacks of September 11, 2001. He wanted revenge against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Instead, he was sent to Iraq where a sniper’s bullet left him paralyzed.

His struggles were the subject of the documentary, Body of War:

In February, he announced he’s going to stop taking the 100 pills a day he needs, and removing his feeding tube.

“I’ve mourned the son that I sent to war, that didn’t come home,” his mother told NPR over the weekend.. “I’ve mourned the grandchildren that I’ll never have. The worst part about all of this for me is that none of this had to happen.”


We tested out a lot of names when we were naming our kids. We avoided some names because those names always seemed to be jerks. But is that really true? Is your name really your destiny?

Freakonomics Radio considers the possibility.


Or not.

Bonus: At the University of Nebraska spring football game, a young man battling cancer sprinted for a touchdown. He’s 7 years old.


In the last few months, several hospitals in northeast Minnesota have stopped selling soda and other beverages that are sweetened with sugar. Today’s Question: Do you prefer hospitals that ban unhealthy foods from their campuses?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Immigration reform.

Second hour: Boomers and the Great Recession.

Third hour: Being an ad woman on Madison Ave.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Holocaust Remembrance Day program: Army Sgt. Leonard Parker’s letter describing the liberation of Dachau, and MPR interviews with survivors Lucy Smith and Sabina Zimering.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Tension in the Korean peninsula.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Prosperity in the town of Mount Hope, West Virginia faded along with the coal industry there.Now, the Boy Scouts are investing $300 million to build a massive adventure camp on a nearby mountain. The camp will draw tens of thousands of visitors. But will the small town reap the big change it needs from its new neighbor? NPR will have the story.

  • David T

    What’s missing from the brag list? The Current.

  • Josh

    Actually the entire MPR network should be on that list, not just the Current.

  • David G


    Though it could be included in the general “lakes” category, it probably deserves it’s own mention.

  • MN123


  • John

    MPR should be on that list.

    So should the invention of the artificial heart. (you could perhaps replace Zubaz on the list with that one).

    Probably too heavy for that sort of list, but I would say our high quality of life/low cost of living combined with our relatively low unemployment rate are probably worth bragging rights.

    was the snowmobile invented here? I feel like it was, but I can’t quite remember and am too lazy to look it up. Also roller blades.

    There are lots of reasons to be proud of this state.

  • andy in chicago

    2) That’s it’s not Illinois…..

  • andy in chicago

    Ugh, even grammar is worse down here. I meant;

    2) That it’s not Illinois…..

  • Tom K

    Bonus item made me misty-eyed today. Thanks for sharing it, Bob.