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Read all about it in the January 9 banner headlines,” Board loses $800,00. Missing Money: Wes McConnell 55, former head of the regions school athletic association is charged with fraud and will appear in court Feb 18th”

With the write up was a small smiling face of Wes McConnell that thousands of youngsters/teachers will fondly recognize. Wes has been charged with none of the accusations being proven in court of law.

Why the banner headlines?. I know that if it bleeds it leads is the mantra of the London Free Press.

Teachers/police/priests are easy public prey to be held responsible for possible misdeeds. They have positions of authority and must be held accountable at all cost.

I have often asked myself: why many Londoners enjoy seeing teacher’s dirty laundry hung out in the media for all to see.? The vast majority of educators graciously donate their time after school to coach/mentor/tutor and yet they are not appreciated.

I have had the privilege to have known Wes for over 25 years. World class swimmer, teacher who gave his life to encouraging athletes in the London area to compete. A family man who has had braved health concerns for many years while giving of himself to help London and area children.

I wager that hundreds of teachers in the London area will attest that Wes is a genuine true gentlemen who nurtured the spirit of the Thames Valley Board: “Success for every student”. Everyone of us is dismayed/shocked that one of our own has been charged. Shylock said it best: "when you cut us do we not bleed?".

When you smear one teacher it is as if you tarred and feathered the whole group with the same brush. There are over 8,000 teachers employed by the Thames Valley and London District School Boards who by mere association will feel the psychic pain of one of their own being implicated in possible wrong doings. There is a high price for the notoriety when the media dwells on the negativity of our teachers.

The vast majority of our children’s teachers are caring individuals who give up their personal time to help their students. Teachers rarely receive due recognition from the media.

I trust that the London Free Press court reporter will give a balanced report of the court proceeding. Wes McConnell deserves his day in court.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com