Thursday, March 28, 2019

How prevalent is bullying?

How prevalent is bullying in the Richland 2 School District?

For accurate information I'll need to hear from parents and students. If you'd like to give examples and want to remain anonymous, let me know. I can deal with confidential information given to me.

I'm interested in which school, grades, classes and what's going on.

I had first-hand experience with bullying, as a parent. No, not being bullied. And not bullying. But witnessing it. Not here in Richland 2, but before I moved here.

The Special Ed student was assigned to a private therapeutic day school for summer between 9th and 10th grade. He told me he was being bullied. Not by students, but by staff!

He blew off the school bus ride one morning, and he called me. He said he would go to school, if he could take a tape recorder and record the bullying. So I drove him to school - 30 miles! On the way there I explained that our first stop needed to be the Principal's office, so that he could ask permission to use the tape recorder. I told him that, if he couldn't get permission, then I'd need to take it with me. He agreed.

We walked into school (late) and were greeted by the Principal and the Special Ed Director. As soon as he said he had brought a tape recorder, and before he could tell them that I was going to take it with me if he couldn't have it there, both of them went down his throat. And I mean, hard! He did a pretty good job of sticking up for himself, but finally I intervened and backed them down.

He was withdrawn from the school a few days later, after an emergency IEP.

Parents, believe your kids!

More Justice - what is it?

At the Richland 2 School Board meeting on March 26, Mrs. Marian Wright spoke about the More Justice coalition of 30 congregations, including her own at Adams Northeast A.M.E. Church.

Over a year ago I attended a group somewhere in the county and met a man who was in this group.

The group is concerned about the higher ratio of black students in Richland 2 who are encountering suspensions and expulsion than white students for the same discipline. She commented that Richland 2's out-of-school suspensions are increasing, and it has "nearly double the number of expulsions".

More Justice (Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice) sponsored a community forum on poor school climate and its impact last Thursday (March 21) that was attended by community members, parents, teachers, and representatives of South Carolina for Education, Richland 2 Black Parents' Association, South Carolina Fellowship of Bishops, the South Carolina Association of Position Behavior Support, USC College of Law and others.

She mentioned that not one Richland 2 School Board member attended.

You can view Mrs. Wright's three-minute comment at the March 26, 2019 by going to the video-recording on YouTube. Fast-forward to 0:09:40.

You may want to check out the More Justice page on Facebook. There is information there about an April 1st meeting/rally.

Violation in Board Policy BC, Board Member Conduct?

When you make time for important reading, you can wade through Board policies. To find the Policy Manual, go to the District's website. Click on EXPLORE. Click on School Board. Click on BOARD POLICIES.

I looked for the policy that Teresa Holmes read about Public Participation at the March 26, 2019 School Board meeting. It's probably somewhere in the Board's Manual, but I didn't find it easily or quickly.

But I did find Board Policy BC, Board Member Conduct, under Section B, School Board Governance and Operations. It reads,

"In order to preserve the trust, confidence, and integrity the public has placed in its public officials, it is the desire of the board to operate under the highest ethical standards.

"It is the responsibility of each board member to do the following (in part):...
  • Refer complaints to the superintendent and abstain from individual counsel and action."
If Holmes had a problem with my persistent questions about her illegal participation on the Board, shouldn't she have complained to Supt. Davis. Did she?

And shouldn't she have abstained from individual action, such as filing a complaint at the sheriff's department, since I have addressed only her Board participation and nothing of a personal nature?

Did she follow that responsibility of a Board member?

If she didn't, what disciplinary action will the Board take? And will it be of public record?

Under Section B. Policy BCA Board Member Code of Ethics, will be found this requirement: 

"Additionally, a board member will annually file a statement of economic interest with the State Ethics Commission (8-13-1110).:

Imagine that.. 

Public Comments Restricted on 3/26/19

The March 26, 2019 Richland 2 School Board meeting has been posted to  You can view that meeting right here.

An important procedure was changed at this meeting. In view of the harassment charge filed against me by Teresa Holmes on March 20, I think you'll be interested in the change.

At 0:07:35 into the recorded meeting, Mrs. McKie introduced the Public Participation segment. Before she could finish the general housekeeping rules for public comments, she was interrupted by Teresa Holmes. Mrs. McKie finished her comments and then recognized Holmes.

At 0:08:19 Holmes said: “Madame Chair, I’d like to make a point of privilege at this time." McKie consented.

Holmes: "I’d like to just reiterate the guidelines for public participation tonight. Just a few points. [Reading] Members of the public may address the Board on any subject within Board authority {emphasis added]. So the subjects that are addressed need to be something that the Board can address. Secondly, speakers are requested to refrain from inappropriate language and from engaging in any form of personal abuses [emphasis added]. [End of reading

"As you have reiterated, Madame Chair, we do not use student’s names, teacher’s names, and ekcetra (it sounded like) and we also ought not be doing that also with Board member’s names. This is not the time for that. I aks, humbly aks that, as the Chair of the Board, you use the gavel to adhere to those policies so that we can continue with what we are here for and that is the governance of children, policy and moving the District forward. So I aks, respectfully aks, that you follow those guidelines, Madame Chair."

Do I think that McKie and Holmes worked this out ahead of time?

Do I think that McKie selected Holmes to give the admonitions, instead of Mr. Manning or Dr. Caution-Parker or Dr. Elkins-Johnson or Mrs. Agostini or Mr. Shadd? 

I have never experienced a Board meeting when any speaker use inappropriate language. Why did Holmes find it necessary to mention that?

I have never experienced a Board meeting when any speaker engaged in any form of personal abuse? Why did Holmes mention that?

The first speaker didn't get gaveled in submission for mentioning her son or the absence of Board members at the More Justice forum that was held recently.

I wanted to avoid leaving the meeting with any bruises from a flying gavel, so I modified my comments that night. You can view my comments at 0:13:05.