As the death of Principal Brian Betts continues to be investigated, I spent part of my night reading something unrelated to his murder. I read the Facebook tribute page that had inevitably been created to honor his memory. On that page, there is no surplus debate, no one demonizing Michelle Rhee. And there is no blaming teachers for everything that is wrong with D.C.’s school system. What you get is a moving portrait of a guy who lived for his students and his friends.
Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite posts about Betts:
*”when we were 16 (JUST), I was a bit mad and had a big crush on a lifeguard in Virginia Beach. Brian and I set out on day in that summer in his mother’s Monte Carlo. It was white. We drove 5 hours to Va beach to see him. We told his parents that I had an aunt in Lake Anna (we calculated the time and distance to see if …it was credible). How stupid were we? (seriously). But we did it. 10 hours in the car together for me to see a lifeguard that was really not interested. That was/is friendship. I can go on with silly stories like this, but that is not important. He was/is a great man, brother, son, person, principal etc. I love him, I miss him and we MUST carry on his dream. RIP”
*”I didn’t know Mr Betts; I attend a private school in McLean, Virginia, and never even knew Mr Betts existed until this morning. However, I felt compelled and somewhat obliged to promote his memory because my best friend was Erika Smith, the then-9 year old who was murdered alongside her father in 2002 in the house Mr B…etts purchased and died in. The murders are presumed to be unrelated, I know. But this morbid, horrific coincidence has made me feel unfortunately connected to Mr Betts’ plight by a tragic association and by something as simple as purchasing a home. I’m not going to pretend I knew Mr Betts at all. But from what I’ve read on this page, in articles, he seemed like a great guy and was much-loved, and I’m absolutely devastated. I hope his family, friends, coworkers, and students find the solace they need somehow; solace I know is not easy to find, solace I still have not found. But I hope they find theirs, and that his death is avenged and he remains honoured.”
*”Brian Betts was one of the best things that ever happened to my children. You guided them, joked with them, taught them life lessons that will remain with them for always. Plus, you were there for me. God Bless You Brian for all your strength and love you gave each life you touched. You will be missed….but your legacy of education and love of all will go on. “
“*I Remember When I Alwayss Got In Trouble And Mr Betts Would Never Yell At Me He Would Say Karen You Need To Change The Way You Act And I Never Listened To Him But Now I Think Imma Listen To Him And Movee Forword With Life.Rest In Peace Mr. Brian Keith Betts.
*”I remember in Neelsville, you would always make sure I was in PE class and in math class. You made sure, that every student in your classroom learned what you taught, no matter if it took more than one day to teach it. You made sure that your students were successful. You are the best teacher/coach/leader/principal tha…t anybody could ask for. You definitely taught me alot and I will miss you but you are never forgotten. Keep watching me! R.I.P Brian Betts”
Let’s hope his murder gets solved soon, and DCPS finds a way to create a lasting tribute to Betts.