Friday, February 14, 2020

Why isn't this discrimination?

The Richland 2 website carries an announcement of "The PREMIER 100" conference to be held on March 28. Clicking on the link on takes you off the District's website to a Google site.

What is it? The conference "is an annual conference supporting Richland School District Two's effort to not only recruit, but to retain male educators of color." 

As a matter of fact, this seems to be the First Annual Conference (if you get the joke). Since the program kicked off on November 13, 2019, this is the first conference. It will only be an annual conference, if it is held again.

The superintendent referred to The Premier 100 at the February 11th Board Meeting as "men of color".

I was curious about the application and tried to click through to examine how "color" is asked on the application for the conference. You can't pass into the application without an account.

Is "white" a color? Can a white "male educator of color" attend this conference?

The last Q&A in the FAQs answers that question (sort of): "I am Not a Minority Male Eductaor (sic). Can I still attend?"

A. "ABSOLUTELY! We know that we cannot affect change in our industry alone. We welcome all current and future educators to attend this event."

What on Earth does this mean? "We know that we cannot affect change in our industry alone."

Men of color in Richland 2 (black men) might be a high percentage within the boundaries of Richland 2 School District and even in the total Columbia metropolitan area and in South Carolina. But blacks are 14% (including multi-racial) of the population in the United States. There is a whole wide world out there into which they are going to have to learn to fit.

So much for Equal Employment Opportunity in Richland 2. The superintendent's #1 Initiative is to hire 100 men of color. Why isn't that discrimination?

This district should be hiring the top 100 applicants and be as color-blind as it expects teachers and staff to be.

MSD H.S., Parkland, Fla. - two years later

It was two years ago on Valentines Day, February 14, 2018 that a nut got loose at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and killed 17, and injured more.

Read this interview and listen to the podcast with Max Eden, co-author of Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created The Parkland Shooter and Endanger America's Students. Meadow Pollack was a student at MSD. Her father, Andrew Pollack, and Eden spent a year writing that book, and they nailed it.

To view the book on Amazon and read a sample, click here. I bought the Kindle edition on the day it was released. After reading only a few pages, I ordered the print edition.

The article and podcast are here.

Why am I writing about this again now? Because every parent, every student, and every teacher and school staff person and SRO should read it. And then read it a second time.

Could this happen in Richland 2? You bet it could.

With the crimes (ex., sex assaults at Ridge View H.S., etc.) happening right in our own district, the potential is for some kid to go off the rails and commit the same crazy act that the punk in Parkland, Florida did.

How do you keep it from happening? You learn what allowed it to happen. It's all in this book.

Parents, you had better start showing up at board meetings and getting involved. 

The Richland 2 School District refused my request at the end of February 2018 to survey the teachers, staff, parents and community members on the topic of arming teachers. They wouldn't even ask the community how it felt. And the superintendent refused to apply for a School Safety Shield Grant from the NRA.

That money would have been a no-strings-attached grant; perhaps as much as $10,-15,000, to be used to improve safety for students. I felt the sole reason was that the NRA was the source of the grant. He said he had other sources of funds.

The SRO program, by itself, is not the answer. Buy Why Meadow Died. Read it. Discuss it. Ask questions. Get involved and put a stop to what is happening in Richland 2 now that might produce a Parkland incident right here.

McKie's telephonic attendance on 2/11/2020

Will the Board Secretary, Cheryl Caution-Parker, document in the Minutes of the February 11, 2020 Regular Meeting of the School Board to reflect the absence of Amelia McKie and the authorization of her attendance at that meeting by telephone? Will the Minutes include the reason she did not attend the meeting in person and a copy of McKie's request to the Chair, the Vice-Chair, or the superintendent to attend by telephone?

Board Policy BEDM allows telephonic attendance only in exceptional circumstances, such as "special medical and/or travel situations, military service, or job constraints."

When a Board member is absent, should the Board Chair explain to the other Board members and to the public why that member is absent? Since this is the second meeting in 2020 that she has missed, is this the beginning of a pattern? The only way to determine a pattern is to keep records. Public mention and record in the Minutes would create such a record. Last year McKie was absent related to a death, but it was never mentioned how close the relationship was or when any service was in relation to the date of the meeting she was missing.

Shouldn't the Board vote on allowing an absent member to attend by telephone? This is done in meetings of many public bodies. The Secretary could inform the Chair of protocol and reference in Robert's Rules of Order. Is that part of her responsibilities as Board Secretary? To see that things are done correctly? Her role of Secretary is not just to sign her name, when someone tells her to do so.

Since McKie has never taken the oath of office legally and owes $51,750 to the Ethics Commission, isn't it time for McKie to leave the board? Actually, she can't "leave" the board, because she has never legitimately been on it. To become a legal member, all she has to do is raise her right hand and take the oath. Even now, it's not too late. She became eligible to take the oath on December 4, 2018. Of course, she'd have to refuse her trustee wages since November 13, 2018.

What will be the effect of a garnishment of School Board Trustee wages, when the S.C. Department of Revenue attaches McKie's wages in collection of the debt to the Ethics Commission? How will the Secretary record that? Will she?

Why isn't the Board Secretary throwing a red flag on the field over this? Cheryl Caution-Parker, as Board Secretary (versus the secretary on the District staff who writes up the Minutes) is the keeper of the official records. I wonder if she even knows this.

Under Board Policy AR BD-R a duty of the Board Secretary is to "prepare such reports ... as may be prescribed by the statutes or directions of the chairman of the board." Has she ever been directed to prepare a report? This Policy allows for a staff person only to record minutes and proceedings. Does the Secretary review and approve them before they are presented for Board approval? Does the Secretary know what is required of her under the South Carolina Code of Laws?