Special Reports

Teacher's qualifications under fire in 1968

Now that the political campaigns are ramping up, rhetoric and aspersions are flying and candidates' qualifications are being questioned, along with their loyalty.

In Pasco, in 1968, another kind of questioning raised it's ugly head.

School superintendent assails 'bigoted rumors' about teacher

By the Herald staff

Published on August 8, 1968

Pasco School Supt. Lewis Ferrari angrily challenged those spreading rumors that a recently hired Negro teacher is not properly qualified to come forward and identify themselves.

The Pasco superintendent said "These bigoted comments are doing harm to a good teacher."

Ferrari was provoked into comment at Tuesday's school board meeting after A.E. Pitts asked from the audience whether the district had hired a high-school chemistry teacher whom he heard was not properly qualified.

"Are we that low that we have to hire a person not qualified to teach chemistry?" Pitts asked.

"Who says he's not qualified?" Ferrari shot back.

Pitts, who did not identify the teacher by name, would not divulge the names of those whom he claimed had originally raised the question.

He kept repeating his question, "Are we that low to hire a man not qualified to teach chemistry?"

"I feel your question is loaded in the first place and the whole situation can do nothing but harm. It's a shame," Ferrari said.

"We hired the man not because of his race or color but because he was the best qualified for the job. He was hired as a math teacher and is also qualified to teach chemistry.

"I'll match background on whether I think a teacher is qualified against any of those who you say are spreading this rumor.

"I wish these things wouldn't get started because its nothing but the talk of bigots who are hurting the entire country," Ferrari said.