Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Weapons Policy: McKie (No); Caution-Parker (Abstain)

When it was time to vote on a Motion at last night's school board meeting, there were two votes that were not surprising.

The Administration had submitted a revision of Board Policy GBEB Staff Conduct. The revision was first discussed at the September 24th board meeting, where it was eventually postponed (rather than "tabled"). A number of board members voiced desired changes.

The Administration returned last night with the same revised policy. The bullet point pertains to employee conduct that would be viewed as an Misconduct.

The existing policy: ● possessing weapons on district property (unless otherwise authorized by law)

The proposed revised policy: ● possessing weapons on district property (unless otherwise authorized by law and the superintendent)

Upon motion by Dr. Elkins-Johnson and seconded by Teresa Holmes, the board approved removing the entire parenthetical portion, leaving the proposed revision as "...possessing weapons on district property."

The vote was 5-1-1, with McKie voting "No" and Caution-Parker Abstaining.

Why would McKie vote "No"? Was it because Supt. Davis' authority was being diminished?

Why would Caution-Parker abstain? There is a clue on the website of the Richland 2 Black Parents Assn.(BPA) The BPA has this to say on its website about Caution-Parker:

"Her claim to fame is her 30 plus years and multiple roles in Richland School District Two. Her tenure on the board has been one of going along to get along. Her platform has basically been whatever the district decides or feels like doing should be supported regardless of the economic burden that it creates for the community. With Ms. Caution-Parker it's all about district first, and everyone else next including parents and students. She demonstrates a commitment to maintaining status quo and approves all initiatives of district with zero questions."

Actually, McKie's "No" vote shouldn't be counted (even though it would not have affected the outcome), and the motion needed a different trustee to second it, since both McKie and Holmes are not legal members of the board.

Just yesterday a Columbia attorney asked me why McKie and Holmes are permitted to sit at the board, and he asked me if I was seeking to have all decisions swayed by their votes since November 13th invalidated. He hit the nail right on the head! He had no hesitation to opine that, if McKie and Holmes took the oath of office before they were eligible to do so (which they did!), then they are not legally on the board.

Curb Gun Violence?

Are you interested in curbing gun violence in Richland County? How about curbing all violence?

Okay, turn off the TV and show up at Rehoboth Baptist Church tomorrow, Thursday, October 17, 2019, at 6:00PM. The church is located at 4646 Hard Scrabble Road, just south of Summit Parkway.

Who will be there?

Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia Police Department
Community organizations, including MOMs Demand Action

The Pastor of the Church is Ivory Torrey Thigpen, who is also a S.C. State Representative (House District 79) and a local chiropractor (D.C.).

A while back I offered to participate in any community focus or advisory group that he might assemble to help him with information about proposed gun legislation. I wanted to help him understand what "assault weapons" are (and that they have been generally outlawed in the U.S. since 1934), but I've never been called.

Apparently, I didn't even make it onto his email distribution list for announcement of meetings of this type. I'm glad that I happened across a member of MOMs Demand Action at last night's school board meeting and didn't delay in looking at the MOMs webpage today.

Look for me at tomorrow night's meeting. I'll be the one who is wearing the blue NRA cap in the sea of red MOMs t-shirts. I just hope that no madman shows up with a gun at Pastor Thigpen's church, because we'll all be defenseless in the gun-free zone there.

Should a student be tasered?

Is Richland Northeast High School the most dangerous school in the Richland 2 District? Wasn't it just in the news within the past two weeks?

At last night's school board meeting a speaker addressed the board on the topic of weapons and firearms, which would be discussed later by the board as part of its review of Board Policy GBEB. He mentioned the tasering of a student. Watch the YouTube recording, starting at 20:46 on the timer.

At the time of the meeting I hadn't heard about the fight on Monday at Richland Northeast High School. After returning home, I read this article on

My answer to the question is a resounding "Yes!"

If an SRO responds to a fight on school grounds and three punks are punching and kicking a student on the ground, if the SRO can't quickly break up the fight, then he will begin using "such force as is necessary". If that's a taser, use it!

And if the taser doesn't work and one of the punks is about to kill or seriously injure the kid on the ground, then the SRO is very likely going to shoot him. And he shouldn't have to worry about getting fired over it.

A taser is a less-than-lethal weapon. A death or serious injury usually does not occur after its use.

But I've got to ask - What is really going on at Richland Northeast High School?

What are the demographics of that school compared to, say, Blythewood High School or Ridge View or Spring Valley?

I've already been told (not by anyone connected with the school district), "A school with a high percentage of black students should have a black SRO, because he'll understand the black culture."

I responded to my acquaintance that I thought many Richland 2 schools probably have black SROs, but I don't agree with the idea that you must assign a black SRO to a "black" school. If you want to promote separation and racism, then that's what you do. We expect the SROs to be color-blind in the administration of justice, and that's exactly what the students and parents should be.

But what about the "school-to-prison pipeline"? you ask? What about the "loud voices" of African American males, as school trustee Shadd asked at a previous school board meeting? What about Trustee Elkins-Johnson's question and comment last night about understanding African-American boys.

Here's my take. Like it or not. All students (black, white, brown, red, yellow, etc.) should be expected to be polite and respectful. For some, they are going to have to learn this at school. If they carry weapons or threaten to kill other students or teachers, then they are going to get sucked into the school-to-prison pipeline. They should learn that in first grade.