Thursday, December 10, 2020

Protocol ignored at 12/8/2020 Board Meeting

On the agenda for the December 8, 2020 Executive Session was a student disciplinary item. Could the parents of that student claim that the board failed to take action and therefore the matter is settled?

I did not attend the December 8, 2020 board meeting from its onset at 5:30PM, but I watched the video this morning.

Board Chair James Manning was not in attendance (in person), and the meeting was opened by the Acting Chair, Vice Chair Teresa Holmes. (I won't belabor the point here that she is not a legitimate board member and cannot serve as Vice Chair.)

Although she was elected to the board in November 2018 (and has never legally taken office), she also has not learned the protocol for conducting meetings. She's had plenty of time to learn some of the rules for running a meeting, as she could be called on at any time to substitute for the Board Chair.

When she opened the meeting at 5:30PM, she asked for a motion to enter Executive Session.

The superintendent interrupted and asked for a "point of privilege". The correct thing for him to do (and he should know this) is to wait to be acknowledged and to be granted permission by the (Acting) Chair. The Chair might or might not grant that privilege. However, he launched right into his request.

He asked that the board make a motion to remove an item from the agenda for the Executive Session. That was the correct form for his request, since the superintendent is not a board member and cannot make a motion.

Holmes then asked for a second. That was an error. 

A board member needed to make the motion. Then, after a second and any discussion, there would have to be a vote.

Instead, a faint voice apparently indicated a second. Holmes failed to state who seconded the motion. There was no discussion. There was a hand vote and Manning, who was not present in person (but was attended by telephone), voted in the affirmative. (There had been no mention that he was attending by telephone!) Holmes stated that the motion passed but did not report the vote. The motion to remove the item from the Executive Session agenda and the vote were not shown to the public.

Then Holmes asked for a motion to go into Executive Session. 

Because no board member made the motion to remove the student disciplinary issue from the agenda for the Executive Session, does this invalidate the removal of the item? Did it legally remain on the agenda? Were the student and parent(s) waiting to enter the Executive Session and be heard? Did the Board's failure to act on the agenda item result in a de facto decision in the student's favor?

At 6:00PM the open meeting was called to order by Holmes, and she asked for a vote to "come out of Executive Session." The vote was 7-0 to adjourn the Executive Session. There was no vote to re-convene the open session.

This board needs advice! Without a Parliamentarian, the Board often disregards protocol. The correct motion is to re-convene the open session, not to "come out of Executive Session." This error has been made for months.

Manning called back in, and his telephonic attendance was never disclosed to the public.

When will this Board schedule a intensive training session with the Robert's Rules of Order expert, Attorney Helen McFadden?

Is this really an answer?

On October 26, 2020 I emailed Supt. Davis about a rumor I had heard involving the Blythewood High School football team. The rumor was that the team had stayed in the locker room until after the National Anthem had been played. I wondered whether the rumor was true.

When I had not received any acknowledgement or reply from Supt. Davis by last Tuesday, I addressed the lack of response at the Regular Board Meeting. On Wednesday I emailed BHS Athletic Director Mizzell and asked him to inform the superintendent, so that a reply could be sent to me.

Notice that I did not ask AD Mizzell to reply to me. I wouldn't want him to risk his job by doing so!

Yesterday afternoon Supt. Davis did reply. Here it is.

Supt. Davis wrote, "After reviewing your question my office has determined that the alleged actions stated in your original email are neither a violation of current Board policy or school rules, therefore no further action is required on the part of the district or school administration." 

I re-read both my October 26th email and my December 9 email. I did not ask whether a violation of current Board policy or school rules had occurred. I asked f the rumor was true. His reply obfuscates the issue.

For the less-informed, "Obfuscation is the obscuring of the intended meaning of communication by making the message difficult to understand, usually with confusing and ambiguous language." Thanks, Wikipedia.

Why do you suppose the superintendent didn't just say it either happened or it didn't happen?

Reading between the lines, it is easy now to conclude that the actions of the BHS football team more than likely did occur. And that there is more to this story.

Are you on the Blythewood HS football team? Like to give me some information with an absolute guarantee of confidentiality? Are you a parent with information? Same guarantee. My sources for stories know they can depend on privacy and confidentiality! Call 847/971-7083. Block your number, if you want. Email me at from a blind email address (or your own). Same guarantee.

According to the Bengals' schedule -

On Oct. 2 the Bengals played Northwestern (Rock Hill) at Blythewood H.S..

On Oct. 16, the Bengals played Spring Valley at Spring Valley H.S.

On Oct. 23 the Bengals played Ridge View at Ridge View H.S.