Skip to main content

An Open Letter to Mark Barnes

Dear Mr. Barnes,

You are a bully. I know that in your recent blog post, you equated Doug Robertson to “the popular student” who gets others to yell without thinking about intent, but sir, that’s you. You have nearly 10 times the followers as Doug, and yet you continue to insist that you, head of a publishing company and former administrator, and Danny Steele, a principal, again with twice as many followers as Doug, are the outsiders in this situation. That you two are personally being attacked by a “poisonous” leader of a “mob” of thoughtless lemmings.

I take exception to this in many ways, but first, let’s explore why I italicized followers. Because, Mark, that’s what you see people as. You look at this number on social media and see yourself as a leader and all of us as followers. I don’t follow Doug Robertson, I am his friend. I’m lucky enough to know him and his family in real life: we’ve eaten meals together, I’ve played with his kids, and stayed in his spare room. He’s a generous person who just happens to be exhausted by people who don’t think about the impact of their words.

And yet, when we tried to explain to you that people can read things differently - the basis for this entire hoo-hah - you very literally called him a dog:

That’s a pretty personal attack, don’t you think? And yet, you publish a piece about teacher bashing and neglect to mention that, in this case, you are the one with personally critical comments.

You’re also a misogynist. Anne Delgado called attention to the fact that in addition to the original post creating a dichotomy between “good” and “bad” teachers, it was also gender biased because the makeup of the teaching profession is undeniable majority female. Like many men of a certain age you don’t even realize that you’re sexist, but comments like this are remarkably telling:

In your mind, you’re being a good ally, but the problem is - in ALL of these situations - that you have placed yourself at the center. The original tweet wasn’t about you, but you jumped in to defend Danny Steele. As dialogue about having deep discussions on Twitter continues, you centralize yourself in the narrative time and time again. I know that we’re all the main character in our stories, but Mark, this is not your story. To many of us, it looks like you are invested in a power structure that deserves questioning and you simply can’t abide that.

So you bully. You dismiss women, call people names, and set up metaphorical classroom scenarios that again, are so open to interpretations that you didn’t expect that you are “attacked” again. With all of your followers, not to mention that you’re an Old White Dude™, you have so much power, and not only do you want people to know it, you try to use it to intimidate those you don’t agree with. You're the very definition of a bully:

You say in this tweet that the reaction caused by the original post that perhaps the people who take issue with word choice need to look hard at their practice:

I hope that your personal vendetta towards Doug (because this isn’t the first time you’ve patronizingly wagged your finger in his face like, well, like he’s a Bad Dog), and the responses towards it - from people with so many different types of umbrage toward Mr. Steele’s original tweet and its word choice - coupled with this open letter, in which I hope I was clear enough about what this pushback is really about, help you take a look at your comments with the eyes of those you consider followers.

Good luck,

Sarah Windisch


Popular posts from this blog

Are we there yet?

My kids are really not ready for their band concert today. In fact, for the first time ever, I wanted to cancel a concert. I explained it in a way that I thought would make sense: This is my assessment, and in a grade-level classroom, if students aren't ready for the assessment, you push it back and review. I hoped it would be relatable (and honestly, sound better than, "These kids are really bad at this still and I don't want them to be discouraged/embarrassed/start to hate making music, oh, and this is not the level of performance I want associated with me because I'm a professional musician with standards."

Long story short, we're still having a concert today.

But here's the rub - because I am a professional musician with standards of performance I hold myself to, and because I want these kids to love making music, no one will know that they're not ready. No one will know that I cried in my classroom when I was told that we couldn't cancel the…

THAT kid

My kid just spent the day in in-school suspension.

I mean, I guess it's called "the quiet room" but let's call that spade a spade, shall we? And while we're calling things as they are, my son is a bully. He's the mean kid. He's hurting others physically and with words. And I'm not whether he knows how what he's doing is wrong or whether he just doesn't care.

Either way.

I could make a list of things that could be reasons excuses: he's young for his class but huge for his age. He's a super silly kid who is also very imaginative. He's gifted. He's got terrible impulse control. He's an only child. He's bright enough to be experimenting with sarcasm. Maybe he's a bit of a misanthrope like his mother. In any case, he's apparently gone from "big clumsy puppy" to "bad, bad dog" rather quickly.

I have no idea how to handle this.

Mom-Sarah: Dude. you're in so much trouble. You're grounded for t…