Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Respect the U.S. Flag

During the public participation segment this evening, I read the following statement to the board.

Members of the Board and Supt. Davis,

My name is Gus Philpott.

In many places in the United States professional, college and high school sports players are “taking a knee” when the National Anthem is played.

In order to prevent such gross disrespect of the United States Flag in the Richland 2 School District, I request the Board to formulate a policy that clarifies respect for the U.S. Flag.

This policy should provide that at any school event no player will take a knee or in any other way show any sign of disrespect, including not taking the field before the National Anthem is played. I heard a rumor recently that a Blythewood High School football team stayed off the field until the National Anthem was played. I attempted to learn whether there was any truth to the rumor, but Supt. Davis has not replied to my October 26th email yet. The Board and Coach Mizzell received a copy of my email to the superintendent.

As a concerned member of the community I offer to participate in the drafting of a policy that addresses this subject.

Thank you.


When the public participation was introduced tonight, the Acting Chair stated that no names were to be mentioned. That isn't actually how the Board Policy reads, but I was careful not to mention any names. I didn't dare risk getting gaveled into submission.

Robert's Rules Training - desperately needed

Tonight's Regular Meeting of the Richland 2 school board started on time. Manning's chair was empty. Four legal trustees were present. That is not a quorum.  No business could be conducted.

Present were Holmes (Acting Chair), Caution-Parker (Secretary), Agostini, Elkins, McFadden, and McKie. That's six people, but there were only four legitimate trustees present and two trustees-elect.

Just after the meeting was called to order by Holmes, an incoming call's ringing could be heard over a microphone. It sounded like someone said, "Someone's calling in."

As the meeting progressed, motions were made, seconded and voted on. Votes were 6-1 and 7-0. How could the vote be a total of seven? Manning's chair was empty.

What was missing was any explanation to the other board members and to the public that James Manning had apparently called in to attend by telephone (if that's what the ringing phone meant).

I guess I'm going to have to spend $18 on my own copy of Robert's Rules of Order and stop relying on the library's copy. I'm pretty sure telephonic attendance and protocol are covered in Robert's Rules.

What should have happened is the Chair should have announced that Manning would not be attending in person and would attend by telephone, which is permitted under Board policy. In many public bodies the board votes to permit such telephonic attendance. They don't just sweep it under the table.

I can appreciate that the Acting Chair might not know the rules. Then it's the job of the superintendent to coach her, so that protocol is followed.