Monday, October 12, 2020

Remember that blackface Tweet at Blythewood H.S.?

On October 1 I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request to Richland 2 school district for the text of the freshman's tweet that riled up the principal and, therefore, the District. In my FOIA Request I specifically did not request the name of the student.

The FOIA Officer of the District today denied my request, deeming the information protected so as not to identify the student. The District relies on its belief that I would be able to identify the student, if I knew what he had said. I guess I have better investigative or psychic powers than I thought I had.

The District did acknowledge that I could access publicly any social media post that might exist. How nice of them.

The District did provide a copy of the message sent out by Principal Matt Sherman. I would post it here but it is a .pdf copy.

Principal Sherman did state, in part, "We immediately recognized that the tweet was inappropriate and insensitive and took measures to have the post removed."

The school had been "tagged" in the tweet, and I wonder whether the School demanded that the student delete the tweet from his personal Twitter account or only took down the "tag" to the high school. If the school demanded that he deleted his tweet from his personal account, I consider that a gross violation of the student's First Amendment rights.

The principal also used these words: "disappointed and hurt"; pain.

Further, he wrote: "As your principal, I'm even more motivated to help create a culture where everyone is valued and respected." 

Does that include the 9th Grader who posted the tweet? Is he to be valued and respected?

Squashing that student is a good example why Richland 2's cultural sensitive programs and efforts to "promote unity" will fail. Rather than using that tweet as a learning experience, it teaches students (and employees to be secretive and to post comments under names that will not identify them. 

I would like to meet the 9th Grader and his parents. I would like to read that tweet. If you can help me, please email or call. Confidentiality is guaranteed.

Voting Date - coming up

Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020 is 21 days away. 

Many voters have already cast their ballots, either in-person Absentee Voting or by mail-in Absentee Voting. Many will wait and go to the polls on November 3. 

Have you picked your three school board candidates yet?

If not, how will you pick them?

There is candidate information furnished by the League of Women  Most of the candidates have a website.

Good luck in wading through their positions.

How many of the candidates have the background and education to serve on a school board? A position on the board is a Management and Executive position. A school board trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to the voters who provide the funding for the school district.

This is what irritated me to the max when so many board members expressed sympathy for the teachers on May Day 2019, when Richland 2 had to close its schools because so many teachers decided to take the day off to demonstrate at the State House grounds. 

The Board failed to make certain that a day of education was provided to 27,000 students. The Board failed to direct the superintendent weeks ahead to take such actions as would keep the schools open. The superintendent failed to direct principals to accept only a limited number of requests for personal days off and to forestall the ploy by teachers to violate their contracts by a common stop-work action led by SCforED. Many on the board spoke in support of the teachers and said they would attend the demonstration. That's Management???

The Board is the Employer. The teachers (and staff) are the Employees. But the current board has not acted as Executives, Managers, Employer. 

Search the candidates for those who will direct, not follow.