Art Teachers or Security Guards?

Heather Mullinix

Heather Mullinix



There are a lot of needs, wants, “gotta haves” and “wouldn’t it be nice” items for school systems to evaluate when planning their budgets. Most of the time, the available money doesn’t cover all the needs, wants and “wouldn’t it be nice” lists and choices have to be made.

At one Massachusetts elementary school, that choice came down to art teachers or security guards. This was a kindergarten through eighth-grade school that was noted for discipline problems and poor test scores, where backpacks were banned due to fear they might conceal weapons. Security guards were considered one of the necessary “gotta haves” to keep students safe while they worked on their lessons.

But Principal Andrew Bott decided to reinvest the money used for security guards and instead offer arts education.

He was the school’s sixth principal in seven years, and many saw his move to the Orchard Gardens school as a career ender. Bott saw a chance to turn the school around.  READ MORE…