An AC-student received the following letter from LPC ex-student Sasha de Beausset (Guatemala) presenting her impression of the events surrounding the leave of Jonathan Rutherford (name changed). He was a teacher at LPC until he was forced to resign about a year ago and John Green referred to him in his letter to the UWC community.
I want to tell you a little bit more about what happened with the teacher, Jonathan Rutherford, who was mentioned in John Green’s letter.
Jonathan was my arts teacher and a wonderful person who trusts the students; many people think that he was the only “UWC teacher”. He didn’t use to lock his door and some students were confident enough to go into his house, talk to him, study or simply watch TV.
Most of the time, his wife was there too, but from time to time, she used to travel to New Zealand to spend time with their son.
Around the first months of my second year, Jonathan told us that some teachers were saying bad things about him, regarding his relationship with the student body. For those teachers, he was getting too close to us. He asked us to stop anybody that said such things, because no one had evidence to say such things and rumours hurt him.
The next day, he wasn’t in his lessons and we had a meeting in which we were informed that the Board had received a letter from the father of one of the students (they never told us what was in that letter), for this reason he was suspended and he had to be off-campus for ten days, meanwhile they could do an investigation on the case.
He would have had to stay in a hotel, away from everything and everybody, if the students hadn’t ask the principal to let him stay in his house.
During those ten days, the student body talked to the most popular of Hong Kong’s newspapers written in English, “South China Morning Post”, as well as putting on poster everywhere in the college with things like: “Free Jonathan!”
After the 10 days, the rest of the teachers had a meeting to discuss the results of such investigation before letting as know what they were! We waited for an hour and a half before they came out. None of them was very happy. And suddenly the Principal told us that because of lack of evidence Jonathan would continue being our teacher. We were so happy and run to Jonathan; we had to celebrate some how!
The day after they published the results, we were called to an emergency meeting. The Principal said that the Board had decided to fire Jonathan. When he was asked for the reasons, he simply answered that he wasn’t allowed to say.
We were so upset, some people just cried, others got angry and quiet aggressive. But Jonathan was completely shocked; he couldn’t understand what was going on!
Jonathan had been told that he had to leave within 24 hours, so the closest friends helped him packing, wrote him letters and had a meal together to say good bye
I was really sad afterwards, what happened disappointed me so much, but anyway, we could do nothing to change it! We tried our best!
I still talk to Jonathan, he is fine. He feels released because he doesn’t have to fight for that idealism that LPC should have. He kept his ideals, but he practices it in another school, not in a UWC.
If you have any other questions I’ll love to help you, just let me know!
Good luck for you and students at AC.
Lost of Love,
Sasha de Beausset (LPC 05-07)
– United World College Student Magazine –