GOVERNMENT SCHOOL --- SOLDIERS NOT WELCOME Matthew Lund and Zach Richardson were college roommates. After college Richard joined the Marines and Lund started teaching. Richardson went to Iraq, Lund to Carson Middle School, there to teach a 6th grade language arts class. As a class assignment Lund gave his students the opportunity to write a letter to Sgt. Richardson in Iraq. Richardson wrote back and gave the class the names of five other Marines who would like to receive letters. Soon other middle school classes were also sending letters to the Marines in Iraq. When Sgt. Richardson returned to the United States he told Matthew Lund that he wanted to come to the Carson Middle School to personally thank the students for their support and letters. Lund filled out and submitted a "Resource Visitor or Guest Speaker Form" and submitted it to Principal Corbett. Lund says he never got the form back from Corbett. He says he asked the Principal about the form, and was told that she was not going to look at it. Lund says that he realized his request to have Sgt. Richardson visit the school was going to be ignored by Ulrica Corbett. He made the decision to proceed with the plans for the visit, a visit that took place, or was to take place on May 23rd, one week before Memorial Day. When Sgt. Richardson showed up at the Carson Middle School Lund took him to the school's media center to prepare to meet the students. At that point, according to Lund, Principal Corbett called him into the hall and told him that the Marine was not approved to be at the school. Lund told Corbett that the proper form had been submitted and had been ignored. Corbett's response was "that's your problem, not mine." Lund's version of the discussion with Corbett in the hallway suggests that Corbett harbored a great deal of hostility toward Sgt. Richardson and Matthew Lund. She told Lund that the students had not earned the visit from the Marine, and closed the discussion with Lund with the phrase "what part of what we just discussed do you not understand?" She then ordered Matthew Lund to escort Sgt. Richardson off the school campus. When this story hit the local newspaper Ulrica Corbett thought it best to do a little CYA work. She submitted a written statement to the Herald-Journal in which she stated "My decision not to allow Zach Richardson to speak with the students on Monday came out of my regard for the safety and welfare of our children." What a crock. Is Ulrica Corbett saying that this U.S. Marine who had just spent a year putting his life on the line for his country presented some sort of a threat to the children at the Carson Middle School? My guess? What we have here is some self-important middle school principal who harbors a dislike, if not an outright hatred, of the American armed forces, and who is steadfastly opposed to our actions in Iraq and quite possibly in Afghanistan. This principal then decided to let her petty prejudices stand in the way of what would have been a memorable and rewarding experience for both Sgt. Richardson and the children of Matthew Lund's 6th grade class. Now that's just a guess. I've received messages that Ulrica Corbett has family members in the military and serving in Iraq. You would have thought that information might have been set forth in her written statement to the newspaper. It wasn't Corbett is saying that the teacher didn't follow protocol. The newspaper has signed and dated copies of the documentation submitted by Lund. Someone here isn't telling the truth. One thing for sure: Protocol be dammed, Ulrica Corbett could have found a way to allow this soldier to talk to the students who had befriended him. She didn't This morning the story is getting increased attention. Calls have been coming into the Greene County Schools from across the nation. Superintendent John Jackson has offered a written apology, saying that the situation could have been handled differently. The official story still seems to be that Lund didn't follow the necessary steps to get permission for Richardson's visit. I would like to know a little more about Lund's assertion that Corbett told him that she was simply "not going to look at" the written request, and that this was "(his) problem, not mine." Right now it sounds more like the problem was with Corbett, not Lund. I guess it should be expected that the superintendent would protect an established principal in a controversy with a first year teacher on the way out the door. Thanks to the Herald-Journal the people of Greene County know just what type of person they have in charge of the education of their children at the Carson Middle School. Government schools. Gotta love 'em.