Writing editorials about a news story as it is developing is a risky business, but here goes: Ned Evans should resign from the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board immediately.
If he hasn’t done so by the time you read this, that’s already too long.
Evans, as you probably have read by now, has caused an uproar across the Wyoming Valley after it emerged that he made a tasteless joke on someone else’s Facebook post about a teacher who had sex with a student in another state.
First he made the joke, giving what could be seen as public endorsement. Then he apparently thought better and posted an apology.
Too late. Word of the post began to spread like wildfire on social media. The Times Leader first reported it online Monday night.
On Tuesday, after discussing the matter with friends and family, Evans told reporter Mark Guydish: “I don’t intend to resign over it. I made a stupid mistake and that’s it.”
We’d like to address the rest of this editorial directly to Mr. Evans: Yes, sir, you made a stupid mistake. No, that’s not the end of it.
You represent the people of this community in governing one of its most important institutions — the one to which we entrust our children during some of the most important years of their lives.
Despite that sacred responsibility, you “LOLed” at a story about a teacher performing oral sex on a student.
You chuckled despite the fact that your district has had a high-profile teacher sex case in recent years that led to the convictions of an educator and an administrator and the termination of another teacher.
You chuckled despite the fact that you are a retired teacher and principal yourself.
You chuckled despite the fact that this community already forgave you for a previous high-profile transgression.
In 2013, you were first elected to the board.
In 2015, you were charged with driving under the influence and insulted the police officers who pulled you over.
You later made a public apology and assured the public you were getting treatment for your drinking. We believe in second chances, and the voters must, too.
In 2017, they re-elected you.
In 2018, you betrayed their confidence with this crude and inappropriate comment, offered another rote apology, then proceeded to suggest that the flames were being fanned by your political enemies in the Save Our Schools organization.
It’s pretty clear, sir, that members of SOS are disgusted by your remark — as they have a right to be — but so are many other people. So are we, and that has nothing to do with building consolidation or construction projects.
You joked that a grown woman “probably broke her teeth” performing oral sex on a 13-year-old.
It wasn’t funny or clever, or even something most decent people would say, let alone write on someone’s social media post. It was creepy and gross.
Yet you still lashed out at your political foes and maintained that you could do more good by staying on the board.
No, you wouldn’t. Not anymore.
Your inability to recognize that during Tuesday’s firestorm suggests not only that your judgment is deeply flawed, but that you are deeply out of touch with community standards.
Your board colleagues and superintendent also believe your actions were inappropriate and called for you to resign. But because you cannot legally be removed from office for this incident, the only recourse for the community at this point is to wait for the next election, in 2021.
We acknowledge your apology, but now it’s time to do the right thing, Mr. Evans.