Wednesday, May 31, 2023

What message yesterday at Summit Parkway M.S.?

When students returned to Summit Parkway Middle School yesterday after the Memorial Day week-end and the shooting death of Cyrus Carmack-Belton on Sunday night, what was the message to them from their Principal?

I don't know, because no one has told me. Of course, I wasn't there to hear the message.

If I had been the Principal, I would have offered a moment of silence in memory of Cyrus.

AND I would have admonished all the students to THINK before they act. And not to do stupid stuff.

And I would have been fired before noon.

Why was a 14-year-old carrying a gun? And why, when he went shopping in a convenience store while visiting in the neighborhood eight miles south of his school and home? The location doesn't matter. Why did he have the gun, at all? (And yes, he did have a gun.)

Did he have the gun when he got a ride there? Did he get the gun after he got there?

Whose gun was it? Where did it come from? Had he ever carried it before? Who knew about it?

I'm sorry for the hell that Cyrus' family is going through. 

Stakeholder Survey Report

Most readers here have no experience of newsboys' standing on street corners, shouting "Read all about it!"

Here it is, without going out to the street corner. Published today on the Richland Two School District website is the Stakeholder Survey Results report that the consultant from McPherson & Jacobson last week told the board they probably wouldn't like.

She chose her words carefully on May 23, throwing softball sentences at them. After all, she was hired by them to identify candidates for the job of Superintendent, starting in July.

Click here for the Results. It is a 110-page report.

What happened to the rest of it? Last Tuesday the consultant told the board it might be up to 150 pages. Were parts of it too ugly to put in print?

A blank page follows the title page, so already it's not a 110-page report.

Read the Executive Summary first, especially the third section. Be sure to notice the DEI slant in the last two words, "therefore inequitable".

Browse through the report. Which board members do you think will read it? All of it? Some of it? None of it?

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Why did Cyrus run?

 I'm sure (well, hopeful, at least) that the deputies figured this out before I thought of it.

Why did Cyrus run out of the Shell station Sunday evening after he was suspected of attempted shoplifting? If he had a gun in his pocket, he would not have wanted to be there when the sheriff's deputies arrived. 

They would have searched him and found it.

Why did 14-year-old Cyrus have a gun? Did he? Will RCSD find his DNA and fingerprints on the gun and on the ammo? 

In one of her comments online, WIS' Judi Gatson referred to "shots". Was more than one round fired by anyone? The Coroner mentioned only one wound.

Had that gun been fired? Will there be GSR on Cyrus' hand?

Guilty until found Innocent

Reading the news stories of Sheriff Lott's statement by WIS, WACH, and WLTX about the shooting of Cyrus Carmack-Belton, 14, a Summit Parkway Middle School Student, just about anyone will conclude that Rick Chow murdered Cyrus.

I don't.

In the minds of many, it is heresy to raise any questions about the shooting of a black "child". Comments on Facebook are over-the-top. If I drive by that Shell station today, I expect to see it burned to the ground.

In the online article of WLTX, Sheriff Lott called the "crime 'senseless' ". So he had already decided that a crime occurred, when Chow shot Cyrus. And calling it "senseless" inflames the public, which is already looking for the next "Michael Brown" excuse. You know, an "innocent" black being gunned down by a white person.

Lott denies that Cyrus was shoplifting bottles of water, because he had put them back in the cooler. It sounds to me like Cyrus' shoplifting was interrupted by the owner. The crime of shoplifting did not occur, because Cyrus put the bottles back after "touching" them. He didn't carry them out of the store.

WLTX says Cyrus "left the store". Another media report says he ran from the store. Which is it?

The owner's son (name and age not given) chased Cyrus, with Chow following. Chow was armed. In that neighborhood, if I were a business owner, I'd be armed, too. Wouldn't you?

Cyrus fell and got up. Chow's son tells his father that Cyrus had a gun. Chow shot Cyrus. That leaves a huge hole in the story. "Why?"

In a Facebook comment, WIS' Judi Gatson referred to "shots". Really? Plural? The Coroner refers to only one wound.

RCSD found a gun near Cyrus' body. Will RCSD find Cyrus' fingerprints and DNA on the gun? How soon will the sheriff release that information? What is a 14-year-old doing with a gun??? (Hello, Richland 2 Safety Committee and BeSmart!!!)

Now comes the statement in the article that "investigators determined the gun was not pointed at the men (Chow and his son)." They mean, when they found it. Finding an inanimate object (gun) on the ground tells them absolutely nothing about any direction in which it might have been pointed!

The WLTX article says the sheriff said "there's been a lot of misinformation". Now there is an honest statement. And, to me, it looks like a lot of it came from the sheriff.

For the sheriff to call this "tragic" and "one of these things were [sic] you just stand up and shake your head" and "There's no reason for this to happen" instills a bias in the mind of the public. Law enforcement is supposed to be neutral. Isn't it?

Monday, May 29, 2023

14 y/o with gun shot

WLTX reports today that 14-year-old Cyrus Carmack-Belton died after being shot. The article says he was a Summit Parkway Middle School student.

Sheriff Lott announced that a convenience store owner has been charged with murder.

It was just last Monday that Richland Two's Board Safety Committee sponsored a Summer Safety meeting. And BeSmart is supposed to be ending gun violence.

A summary of the article.

The store owner thought the kid was shop-lifting. An argument followed in the store. The kid ran off. The store owner and the owner's son chased him. The kid fell down, got up, and continued running. The owner's son told his dad that the kid had a gun. The store owner shot the kid, hitting him in the back.

Sheriff's investigators found a gun near the kid's body.

Last week I admonished students' preparing for the summer, "Don't do stupid stuff."

The convenience store is at Parklane Road and Springtree Drive. That is eight miles from the school. Did the kid live near the Shell convenience store? Is that why he was in there about 8:00PM yesterday (Sunday)?

There are holes in the story in the paper. Did the kid point the gun back over his shoulder as he ran from the owner?

OK, so the owner shouldn't have chased him, once he left the store without merchandise that had not been paid for. 

The article says that Richland 2 issued a statement, saying, "The Richland 2 family is devastated ..." and "....students, teachers and school staff are grieving ..." 

Not true. Few even know about it yet.

Sheriff Lott says, "People [sic] pray for this family."

Right, people. Pray that families will teach their kids not to do stupid stuff!

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Maine school district refuses to rent to church

In Maine a school district refused to rent a high school auditorium to a church. Read this article in The Daily Signal, a communication of the Heritage Foundation.

The Pines Church in Bangor, Maine, outgrew its space and wanted to lease space for worship services.

The superintendent and a board member, Chris McLaughlin (a subscriber to use of personal pronouns) wanted answers to questions about DEI, same-sex marriages, abortion, conversion therapy, sex education, etc. Read McLaughlin's request to the superintendent in the article.

Since "Chris" might be the first name of either a man or woman, he could simply display his email signature line as (Mr.) Chris McLaughlin, and skip the personal-pronoun stupidity.

The only proper questions for the church would have been whether anything illegal would be done on the premises and whether the premises would be left in the same (or better) condition than found.

Are there any churches meeting in Richland 2 spaces?

Friday, May 26, 2023

5/23/23 Public Participation

Westwood High School sophomore Ethan Lopez offered important comments to the board about in-school experience with safety issues. 

After the McPherson & Jacobson consultant told the board about the negative comments about the board during the stakeholder interviews, I offered some advice to the board that I had received from a neighbor, whose employment history includes organizational management.

He had written the following to me.

“Without guidelines, people start doing each other's work. That causes a lot of confusion and disruption. 

For starters, assume that an organization such as the Richland - 2 School District has five distinct roles:


STRATEGIC is the work reserved for the Board. It looks far out into the future, establishes policy and audits the processes.

LEADERSHIP is the work of the Superintendent and her/his administrative staff, who implement policy.

SUPERVISORY is the work of the School Principals.

OPERATIONAL is the work of the Department Heads leading the day-to-day sessions.

EXECUTION  is the work of the classroom teachers who deliver the established daily contacts with students.

When there is transgression into others' roles, confusion and 9-hour Board meetings result. Think of the concept as driving lanes. Stay in your own lane and do the work you are assigned to do. The trip will be much smoother!!!!”    

My comments during Public Participation followed Ethan's.

Unfortunately, many of the current board members have a very difficult time staying in their lanes. That's because they lack experience in serving as executives.