Since it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to thank Dane Riggenbach for teaching English and Drama and for coaching the winning Campus Bowl Team.

From the comments I’ve read by students and parents, Mr. Riggenbach is a great teacher and a positive role model, challenging his students to be diligent and creative and to think critically.

It saddens me that a media storm based on incorrect information, mistaking a work of fiction for a word problem assignment, may rob our students of such a dedicated teacher and coach.

Teens struggle every day to make decisions about honesty, sex, and addictive substances. They value authenticity and independent thought. They need adults around them who have the courage to face these tough issues alongside them and help them retain their natural integrity and health. Good English teachers support young people in reading critically and communicating clearly, compassionately, and creatively (including in works of fiction!). I believe Mr. Riggenbach was just such a teacher.

I understand Mr. Riggenbach did not mean to assign the controversial passage, and withdrew the material immediately upon noticing its presence. I believe he acted appropriately, and I would like Scotland County to be a place where we can see the truth through the media bluster.

Thank you, Mr. Dane Riggenbach, for your courage and dedication.

Alyson Ewald