Saturday, June 25, 2022

Congratulations, R2 School Board

I wish to offer my heartiest congratulations to the Richland 2 school board for the school year of 2021-2022.

You did it. 

You pulled off enough antics to attract the attention of the legislators, the Governor and the Inspector General.

The legislators put together a bill (Senate Bill 202) to provide for the Inspector General to investigate certain schools. S.202 was pre-filed on December 9, 2020. It stalled in the S.C. Senate after March 25, 2021.

But then, a year later on March 31, 2022, increased attention was given to it, and it is swiftly moved through the S.C. Senate and the S.C. House to a Conference Committee and to the Governor, where it was signed into law on June 17, 2022.

On June 22, 2022 Gov. McMaster directed the Inspector General to investigate Richland Two.

You'll remember that Teresa Holmes was nominated as board chair on June 29, 2021. At that same meeting James Manning was nominated as board vice chair, and Amelia McKie was nominated as board secretary. Each of the nominees was elected.

And the chaos began. The intensity of the chaos grew, and the board finally hired a consultant for "executive coaching" and parliamentary procedures. 

We know how that well worked. Soon after the second training session came April 28, 2022. A day of infamy for Richland 2. 

Holmes was quick to run to the Sheriff's Department. It wasn't her first trip. On March 20, 2019, she had filed a complaint against me. Her report, as written by a deputy, was full of false statements, and her allegations went nowhere. 

Another board member filed a complaint against me with the sheriff's department on June 17, 2022. That one went nowhere. It too contained false statements.

There ought to be a law against filing false police reports. But wait; there IS a law. Unfortunately, in both cases RCSD failed to collect handwritten statements to back up the reports at RCSD. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Post and Courier reports on Gov. and I.G.

The Post and Courier newspaper published an article today about Gov. McMaster's directive to the State Inspector General to investigate Richland School District Two.

The following sentences were in that article.

"McFadden turned herself in to authorities two weeks later and was arrested and charged with threatening the life of a public employee. She still serves on the board despite calls for her resignation. The governor weighed removing McFadden from office but now is waiting for completion of the investigation to make that call, Symmes said." 

Now is the time to write to the Inspector General in Lashonda McFadden's defense. There is not a single person on the planet who believes that Lashonda was threatening Teresa Holmes' life.

Teresa's bringing charges against Lashonda was one of those "Getcha [sic] moments" that Caution-Parker talked about a few months ago.

I have attended and watched many board meetings. I have observed how Teresa interacted with Lashonda. How many adjectives would you like me to drag out here to describe why Lashonda hit the boiling point on April 28?

I cannot describe it any better than the fifth speaker in Public Participation did on May 25, 2022. Watch her comments here: Listen to her remarks on livestream.com/richland2 beginning at 1:25:00

I intend to submit this recording to the Inspector General. 

When Lashonda ran for office, I'm sure she had no idea that she was stepping into a snakepit. I had considered running for the school board in 2020, but only briefly. I spoke with a wise attorney in Columbia, who told me that I'd have a good platform for airing my complaints about the board. He added, "But you don't want to win." 

I had pretty much decided that the Richmond 2 school board was no place for me. Sure, I could have done the job. But I never would have put up the the drivel and nonsense that was occurring. 

I have high admiration for Lindsay Agostini, Monica Scott and Lashonda McFadden. Frankly, I don't know how they put up with the (horse manure) that goes on at board meetings and, I'm sure, in executive sessions. I'd be on my feet and walking out after 1½ hours. Craig Plank knew how to run a board meeting. Meetngs were friendly and tightly-run.

Now, look at the chaos that has taken place in this school year. Manning never should have nominated Holmes as Board Chair; she is not even a legal board member. Usually, when a board member serves a Vice Chair, s/he learns how to run a meeting. Holmes served a year as board vice chair. Did she learn anything, except how to pound the gavel six times to call the meeting to order? One time would have been sufficient. 

Next Committee of the Whole Meeting?

Is the Committee of the Whole for Safety & Security really just the bastard child of Richland 2?

Looking at the District's website today, the meeting of this Committee still shows as for June 14th at 3:30PM. That was ten days ago.

Does this really show the level of importance being given to the Committee by the Board and Administration of the District?

Why didn't Media Relations update the website once the meeting date had passed? Why wasn't the announccement of the meeting changed to a Notice of the past meeting with a link to the the livestream recording of the meeting?

Has the Committee acted to involve parents, teachers, staff, and community members in the Committee's planning? Or will it be "same ol', same ol' " - just the same staff people from before who were supposed to be improving safety and security?

Do community participants want some "say" in what is happening, or are they just willing to be spoon-fed by the Administration? Did you notice the number of times that the staffer said "our survey" during the presentation on June 14th? And the staff's assumption that guns were the most important issue in safety?

What if "guns" are not the most important issue in school safety? The District did not learn that, because it did not ask in the survey!

OIG's website not quite ready

The Office of the S.C. Inspector General is hard at work to update its online complaint form to accept complaints about the Richland 2 School District (and Board). Please have patience; they are working on it.

Get your complaints ready. You might draft them in Word and then copy and paste them into the online complaint form at oig.sc.gov

If you are really in a hurry to submit them, you can mail them to the address on the website.

If you wish to email your complaints, send them to oig@oig.sc.gov

I intend to separate my complaints by topic and to submit them as separate emails or webform submissions. This should make it easier for the office to place them in categories to be investigated.

When you submit your complaint by mail or email, be sure to indicate whether you waive confidentiality. The webform will ask you the question.

Me? I put my name on everything. "Anonymous" does not exist for me when I have something to say.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

How Will Richland 2 Respond?

Will Richland 2 lawyers be hard at work this morning to craft a worthy response to the Governor's directive to the Inspector General to investigate Richland 2?

I could save them a lot of time. Just say this:

"Richland 2 has no comment on the Governor's directive, except that the Board and the District have done nothing wrong."

Well, that settles it, then. The I.G. won't have a thing to do.

Will all the videos disappear from livestream.com/richland2 and YouTube? 

Will Richland 2's Media Release after the disruptions on January 25 magically vanish? Will WIS-TV lose the videos of Holmes and Manning and Pamela Davis from January 28, 2022?

Thank goodness for screen-captures and printers. The proof has been saved.

Who will be elected as Board President on June 28 (Tuesday)? That person will end up with the "fun" of trying to deny all the dysfunction that has taken place in the School Year just past.

S.C. Governor Orders Probe of Richland 2

YES! Yesterday, June 22, 2022, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered the South Carolina Inspector General, Brian Lamkin, to initiate a probe into the affairs of Richland School District Two.

Thanks to the new law signed on June 17, 2022, which started as Senate Bill 202, Gov. McMaster didn't waste any time asking Inspector Lamkin to get started.

Will Mr. Lamkin have any difficulty finding mismanagement, misconduct or wrongdoing? Once you stop laughing over this question, make your list. Be specific. Cite examples. Refer to livestream.com/richland2 with the date of the board meeting and the counter/timer. 

Has there been organizational dysfuction by elected officials? 

Send your letters to Hon. Brian Lamkin, State Inspector General, 111 Executive Center Drive, Suite 204, Columbia, SC 29210. Or you can use the webform at www.oig.sc.gov (NOTE: the OIG webform has not yet been updated to accept school district complaints)

My complaints will include 1) failure of Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie to take the oath-of-office after filing their Statements of Economic Interests and illegitimately usurping public office since November 13, 2018; 2) Teresa Holmes' filing a false police report against me with the Richland County Sheriff's Department on March 20, 2019; 3) Teresa Holmes' failing to call for an investigation of the disruptions in the board room on January 25, 2022; 4) failure of  RSD2 to investigate my complaint against Pamela Davis for her misconduct on January 25, 2022; 5) Teresa Holmes' failing to call for an investigation after the disruptions in the executive session on April 28, 2022. 

                                                                  (Click to enlarge)




Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Here Comes the Inspector General - hopefully

On June 17, 2022 Gov. Henry McMaster signed S.202 into law. What was this Bill?

S. 202, when signed, allows the Governor to go after Richland Two School District. He can direct the South Carolina Inspector General to investigate Richland 2.

You're familiar with all the chaos and antics of the past year. Things got so bad in the fall that the board decided to hire an outside consultant to help them. No doubt she tried. And failed. Within a matter of days things got worse. And then worse after that.

January 25, 2022 Before the board meeting started, I attempted to introduce myself to a black woman I did not know and had never seen before. As soon as I said, "Hello, I'm Gus Philpott", she shouted, "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! DON'T TALK TO ME! GET AWAY FROM ME!" Two Richland 2 security officers came over and within minutes I was on my way out of the building - banned until June 30, 2022 at 11:59PM.

Then she turned on a 14-year-old student and cussed him out. The student told me what she said. A white man intervened on the young man's behalf, and then Baron Davis came barreling over and had to be restrained. The white man was the second man kicked out of the meeting. He said he was told by the Director of Safety & Security that Davis said to put him on No-Trespass Notice.

Who was that woman? Pamela Davis, wife of Supt. Baron Davis and teacher at Blythewood High School.

I filed a complaint against her with the Blythewood H.S. Principal, and I have never heard one word from the District. Where did they bury my complaint? Probably in the same place where they have bury most of my complaints.

There has been more chaos, disorder, upsets, antics. 

Hopefully, the South Carolina Inspector General will swoop in and clean house. One person in the spotlight, who should not be cleaned out, is Lashonda McFadden. She made a mistake, for which she has apologized, but she was teased and taunted. McFadden has endured disrespect from Teresa Holmes since almost the beginning of her term in November 2020. Listen to the remarks of the fifth speaker in Public Participation on May 25, 2022. This speaker nailed what has been going on with The Core Four on this year's school board.

Listen to her remarks on livestream.com/richland2 beginning at 1:25:00

I wish I had been present that night. I would have been on my feet, applauding her remarks.