Middle school principal humiliates self for proficiency
by Hawkins Teague
Nov 21, 2007 | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There are plenty of ways school administrators can unwittingly humiliate themselves. Low test scores, personnel scandals, rampant bad behavior throughout the school. It isn’t often, though, that a principal promises to humiliate himself not one, not two, but three times in the course of a week to motivate student achievement.

Although principals allowing themselves to be dunked in a tank or hit in the face with a pie at a school event is nothing new, Trigg County Middle School Principal James Mangels took a more unusual step last year. He told his students that if they scored proficient or distinguished on their spring tests, that he would actually let them have a personal hand in his degradation. While many principals would have been content to get the act over with quickly, Mangels each class to vote on what they would like to do to him. The sixth grade students wanted to shave his head. The seventh grade students wanted to duct tape him to the lobby wall. The eighth grade students wanted him to wear a dress, a wig, makeup and high heels.

On Nov. 8, the madness began when last year’s sixth graders, this year’s eighth graders got to take an electric razor and shave his head. When Mangels showed up at that night’s Board of Education meeting with a bare scalp, he said that he looked like he had mange several hours before. He managed to get away long enough to clean it up.

Eight days later, Mangels followed through with his pledge to the seventh grade students. Finally, the following Monday, he dressed in drag and handed this year’s freshman class awards in the middle school gym.

The duct taping was scheduled to occur on Nov. 16 before noon, but had to be delayed. When The Cadiz Record asked about it that morning, Mangels said it would definitely be that afternoon and that the students were getting antsy.

“If I put it off any longer, they’ll kill me,” he said.

When the time came, Mangels stood on top of a desk and braced himself as individual students were called over the intercom from their classrooms. As eighth grade student Jenora Adams approached, she said, “Are you scared? I don’t want to do it if you’re scared.”

“I wasn’t until I saw you,” Mangels said.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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