School Board will lose quality man in Mike Coburn

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2007

By Kevin Chiri

Nice job by St. John School Superintendent Michael Coburn in handling the rash of incidents at the school recently, which were culminated by Friday’s school closing for a couple of bomb scares, and a MySpace posting from a kid who was talking about burning down the school.

Everyone I talk to-and I mean EVERYONE-keeps wondering where these kids get off with this stuff. Naturally I won’t say exactly what I really think here about these kids, since some of their parents may read it and, of course, have a big excuse for their kid and why they “really aren’t that bad.”

But anyway you look at it, if you call in a bomb scare, you have got some serious problem. But maybe the craziest thing is for a kid to put his name on the Internet and openly talk about burning down the school. Then the kid asked if any other students supported him, and eight others put their name out there for being behind the plan.

Need I say more about how sad this all is?

But as I said in the beginning, Mike Coburn handled the situation in a very cool way, and the St. John Sheriff’s Office was all over the thing so fast it was probably making the heads of those kids spin.

Can you imagine when the FBI, and St. John Sheriff’s Office, show up at one of those kids’ house? I guess you might even feel sorry for the parents for a moment. Those kids had to be thinking, “oh my gosh, what the heck have I done?”

Again, I’ll say that everyone I talk to just has the same reaction, and that is to make sure they are as tough as possible on these kids to set an example.

But to my buddy Mike Coburn, I think the St. John school system has a good guy here. But oh, I almost forgot, the School Board has decided not to renew his contract, and needs to find someone who is better.

Good luck. And I really mean that.

In my opinion, Mike is the perfect guy for that job. Sure, I can hear the critics now telling me about this thing that wasn’t perfect to them, or that thing that could have been a little better. But if they think the new superintendent is going to make all nine School Board members happy, and keep everyone in this challenging school system pleased, then maybe they are living in Wonderland.

My take on the situation is that he handled a tough school system in a very good way, showing lots of progress. You may not have liked everything he did, but from an outsider coming from a top school system like St. Tammany Parish, I could make a good evaluation after watching that system across the lake for 30 years.

Coburn had this system making small steps forward in a number of ways, and considering where the system is coming from, I saw a lot of positive things from the teachers and administrators that backed up much Coburn was trying to institute for a long-term solution here.

So like I said-and I mean this-good luck finding someone better.

I am personally a Mike Coburn fan, and feel like it is a definite loss to the St. John school system.

Make sure to stop by Riverland Chrysler this Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be one of those cool car shows, with a whole pack of classics to view.

Besides being open to the public for viewing, it is an actual car show competition that is open to anyone at all, free of charge. The “Big East Mopar Club” event will be handing out prizes that will include Best In Show, Best Classic and Best Hot Rod.

Riverland Owner Brian Larche said there will be music and food available, so he’s inviting everyone to stop in.

As we enter the holiday season, L’Observateur would like to highlight any of our military men or women serving overseas right now, as part of our “Worshipping in the River Parishes” pages that we will be running.

If you have a relative who is serving overseas, please e-mail me here at L’Observateur, at the address listed at the end of my column.

We want to give some special attention, and thanks, to our service members who deserve it this holiday season.

Grandma was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter as she’d done many times before. After she applied her lipstick, and started to leave, the little girl said, “But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye.”