Op-Ed: A Fellow Teacher Supports Steven Cohen

A colleague sent an open letter to the Board of Education

South Orange Middle School teacher scheduled for Wednesday, July 18th. In anticipation of that hearing, numerous colleagues, parents and former students spoke out at the Board of Education meeting. Colleague Sara Griffiths shared her letter.

Dear Ms. Daugherty and Members of the Board:

One of the best things about working for the South Orange and Maplewood School District is the sense of community that exists in the hallways and classrooms of each school. As a senior member of the South Orange Middle School staff I have always felt that I am part of a family and the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” rings true in the halls of our school.

It rings true because of dedicated professionals who care about students, dedicated professionals like Mr. Steven Cohen. I have taught side by side with Mr. Cohen for the past four years. I can honestly say I have not met a more intelligent, passionate teacher in my 15 years in education. He is there for his students, his fellow teachers, and anyone who should have the pleasure to cross his path.

He defines the “village” that we speak of; he will be there for the community longer than any new teaching fad or program. He is what all teachers should be: a professional, a scholar, and an inspiration. Please keep Mr. Cohen in our community. Future students will thank you.


Sara Griffiths ELA Teacher, SOMS

Robert F. Galgano July 18, 2012 at 02:54 PM
After seeing what has happened to Mr. Cohen and adding in my own personal (negative) experiences with SOMSD, it is clear to me that the current district administration does not value creativity and passion in its educational staff. This makes one wonder - what do they value, then? Best of luck to Mr. Cohen!
robin gray July 18, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Several years ago, the BOE slogan was "AIM Higher." This leads me to ask why Mr. Cohen, a well respected, talented, dedicated, effective, as well as beloved teacher, was dismissed. Here is a great lesson plan---When adults make mistakes, demonstrate to our students that they are able to acknowledge the error and fix it. I am confident that this lesson would be invaluable for us all.


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