Where in the World is Former Janitor Bill Otto?

To many students and faculty, custodians often go unnoticed, or at least unappreciated. Not that they aren’t an important part of this school community, or that we wouldn’t all drown in bits of torn paper, eraser tidbits, and all the other trash that would pile up on the floor if they weren’t here. But it is a true, if a little disappointing, statement that unless a student stays after school for some reason, (activities, sports practice, or a freshman that was locked in a locker and forgotten about), they do not come in contact with the custodians on a regular basis. If, however, a student was a member of the select few that stayed after school in the last few years, they would have noticed one custodian that was not only conspicuous in every sense of the word, but well loved by everyone who got to know him. Most people had one of two reactions when they saw Bill Otto lumbering down the hall toward them. They would either run away as fast as they could to find a corner where they could cower in fear, or, if they knew him, they would call out a greeting and perhaps chat for a few minutes. The reason for the former of the two reactions is probably that Bill’s reputation precedes him. He has been known to do anything in his power to freak out and scare students with tricks that range from being able to crack any part of his body to, most commonly and infamously, coming up behind students quietly and yelling loudly to scare them. But where is he this year? Why have there been no students freaking out and falling down stairs when they are surprised by a sudden, deafening yell? Why is no one shrinking back against the walls as Bill lumbers by? The answer is that Bill was fired. Not cut out of budget necessity, but fired. And more interestingly, the circumstances of his firing are clouded in mystery and misconceptions. The superintendent, Dr. Tim Taylor, who is also the Human Resources Director, had no comment on the issue due to the Iowa laws on confidentiality that cover personnel issues. This does not mean that there is anything the school district is trying to hide. It simply means that there are certain legal issues the school district must observe when dealing with somebody’s employment. However, Bill is not bound by law to remain silent. If he chooses to open up about the loss of his job, he has every right to do so, and, luckily for us, he did. “It was job abandonment,” said Bill, “I left early. It’s all rather complicated, but I was fired.” All of this was rather sudden, and took Bill off guard. “I had mixed emotions,” said Bill, “I loved what I did. The best part was working with the students and teachers here, but over all, the work wasn’t the best. All we got from people in a position of importance was, “hey, you’re not doing good enough” no matter how good we did.” Luckily, though, Bill was not caught totally unprepared. “I had a plan to leave by July 1st of next year,” said Bill, “So, ok, I was fired. That sucks, but I was looking for a new line of work anyway.” And, though finding work in today’s job market is difficult, for a man of Bill’s talents and skills, jobs are not that hard to find. “I currently have another job,” said Bill, “I am working at Hach through Jacobson. They are both very good companies. Jacobson does hiring for Hach. Hach is a good company, and they really treat their employees well, and they have free ice cream in their cafeteria.” With another job, a unique set of skills, an always cheery attitude, and free ice cream, Bill should be all right. He survived being a custodian at Ames High, and after that, almost any job will seem like a walk in the park. “I enjoyed my time here,” said Bill, “I really had a great time meeting all you guys. You’re really an incredible group of students, because I hate high school, and I hate high schoolers. Yet, I respect and enjoy a lot of your company, and that’s difficult. I’m a bitter old man.”