It happened in Trenton, New Jersey. An elementary school teacher who was allowed to keep his job despite being late to work 111 times has explained the reason for his chronic tardiness – breakfast. “I have a bad habit of eating breakfast in the morning,” said Arnold Anderson, a 15-year teacher.
In a decision filed August 19, an arbitrator in New Jersey rejected an attempt by the Roosevelt Elementary School in New Brunswick to fire Anderson from his $90,000 per year job, saying he was entitled to “progressive discipline.” In other words, Anderson keeps his job because he has not yet been punished for his wrongs. But now on warning, he responded, “I guess I have to cut out eating breakfast at home.”
Mr. Anderson was late 46 times in the last school year and 65 times the year before that. But because the district did not provide due process via a formal notice of inefficiency or a 90-day period for him to correct his problem, he keeps his job. Governor Chris Christie tweeted, “Think I’m too tough on the teachers union? This is what we’re dealing with in New Jersey.” Anderson has been suspended, but not fired. When his suspension ends, he promises, “I will be early on my first day back.”
We have had 239 years to put together common sense laws in America. And this is what we have come up with. A man can be late to work 111 times because he fails to finish breakfast on time, and he keeps his job. Eventually, one would think, this law will be adjusted. There are other crazy laws that persist in America. In Kentucky, a woman can’t buy a hat without her husband’s permission. In California, it is unlawful for a dog to chase a bear. And in Las Cruces, New Mexico, you can’t carry a lunchbox down Main Street.
So it’s okay to be late to work 111 times, but not okay to carry a lunchbox. Despite 239 years of sincere attempts at getting it right, we still fall short. But God, in one try, got it right. He handed down something we call the ten commandments. They worked then and they work now. When you break God’s law, God’s law breaks you. But there is good news. Though we have all been found guilty, we have an advocate who has taken the punishment for our crimes. Through Jesus Christ we all have forgiveness. And one day, either at his return or our death, we will step into heaven, pure and righteous. And none of us will be late.