Thursday, December 30, 2021
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Does anyone know whether the book Gender Queer, by Maia Kobabe,
is located in any libraries or classrooms of Richland 2 schools?
For whatever reason (I'm afraid to ask) the Richland County Library has four copies and an e-book.
When is the last time that the Library purchased four (4) copies of a popular Conservative book?
Gallup Polls determined that 5.6% of the U.S. adult population identified as LGBT. Is this what you want the world taken over by?
Look at other book purchases by the Richland Library:
My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen (4 copies)
The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish (3 copies)
Should the Public (You!!!) get more involved in the Richland Library's book selections?
And then take a moment to read this article: "Teacher uses Dr Seuss-style poem to mock Christian parents at board meeting. It does NOT go over well."
That "instructional technology specialist at Grisham Middle School in the Round Rock (Texas) Independent School District (ISD)" ought to be fired. How many like that employee are right here in Richland 2?
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Be sure to read yesterday's article in The State newspaper about Beth Carrigg, a Lexington County Council member representing District 7. Her husband and she moved out of their in-District home, and a Lexington County resident is challenging her by lawsuit over the issue of qualification to continue to hold office.
As you read the article, consider whether a somewhat-similar issue might exist here in Richland 2 School District.
For months there has been a persistent rumor that one Richland 2 board member no longer lives in the Richland 2 school district. If that is the case, then that board member should have resigned upon moving out of the residence.
Richland 1 School District has had that happen twice in recent years. I was a poll worker for the special election on December 31, 2019, when Jonathan Milling ran (and won) in a special election to fill a vacant seat created when a board member moved out-of-state. He should have been elected for a full term in the November 2020 election, but a dark horse, with no campaign and only $675.00 in campaign funds, came out of nowhere and got nearly 23,000 votes.
If the rumor about the Richland 2 school member is correct, then Richland 2 has THREE illegitimate board members. Two (Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie) are certain, because neither has ever taken the oath-of-office legally. Evidence is being gathered about the third seat.
You would think that the Richland 2 Board itself would be interested in its integrity. A huge problem this school year is that the Board Chair and the Board Secretary are illegitimate board members. And they are two of the four controlling the board of seven.
Yet in the many months since I first raised this issue in February 2019, three months after Holmes and McKie were elected, not even one of the minority three board members has made a motion to investigate their legal status.
County Councils and School Boards should be squeaky clean. My attention hs been on the Richland 2 school board since February 2018, when I asked the board to consider a survey of teachers, staff, parents and community members on the topic of arming teachers. That was two weeks after the s school hooting in Parkland, Florida. The board never considered the question; the superintendent answered. Then I asked the board to consider applying for a $15,-20,000 school safety grant from the NRA. Again, the board never discussed it, and the superintendent answered. How does a seven-member elected board get cut out by a hired superintendent?
Should the superintendent stamd up for integrity on the board? All he'll say is the board is properly in place. Well, it's not. Holmes and McKie broke several state laws by taking the oath of office and sitting on the board, before they were eligible (legally) to do so. In fact, they still do so today.
Lexington County will solve its problems. Richland 2 School District should solve its own problems.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
This is the (not-so) proud owner of a $57,100 debt to the South Carolina Ethics Commission. Who is it?
Amelia McKie, trustee-elect of the Richland 2 School Board.
Her debt was $51,700 in February 2019, when I figured out that she was not a legitimate member of the school board. Why isn't she?
McKie has never taken the oath of office legally.
She was elected to her second term on November 6, 2018. The oath was administered to her on November 13, 2018, but that was three weeks before she became eligible to take it. She should have filed her Statemet of Economic Interests Report (SEI) with the South Carolina Ethics Commission before taking the oath!
She did file that SEI on December 4, 2018 and, on that date, she first became eligible to take the oath of office and commence the official responsibilities of the office of school board trustee.
Because she has never taken the oath legally, she has been usurping public office, receiving tax-payer funds as a monthly stipend, and receiving expenses from the public monies of the school district.
Due to additional violations of ethics laws, her debt now totals $57,100.
She apparently has no qualms about thinking she is qualified to serve and oversee a $300,000,000 annual budget of the school district, even though her debt remains so high and she has trouble filling out the required forms for the Ethics Commission's quarterly and annual reports.
What should happen now?
At the very least, she should raise her right hand and take the oath of office. Even though she'd be more than three years late in doing so, she would become a legal member of the board.
But then the District would have to go back through three years' worth of Board records and remove every vote she cast.
Or she could just resign from the board. They can't kick her off because of the fines from the Ethics Commssion because, unfortunately, there is no South Carolina law that prohibits holding (or running for) public office if you owe a huge debt for ethics fines.
McKie's term-of-office ends in November 2022. Perhaps the voters will be wise enough this time not to re-elect her. They sure missed the boat last time!
On Thursday, December 9th, with great fanfare a Be SMART initiative was announced at R2i2. It is to be a partnership between Richland 2, a number of other school districts, law enforcement agencies and healthcare sytems.
Three Be SMART volunteers showed up at the December 14th school board meeting to pose some "Did you know ...?" questions to the board. As I listened to the questions, which seemed straight out of the Everytown for Gun Safety anti-gun playbook, I wondered how much of the information was distorted. And there is a reason that I wondered.
Everytown and MOMs Demand Action (and now Be SMART) seem to me to be an anti-gun organizations, rather than specifically anti gun-violence organizations.
I awakened early today (3:45AM) and, before arising, glanced at The State newspaper on my phone. Bad habit; I know. There I read about a 13-year-old boy who died by gunshot at the Harbison Gardens apartment complex. That's over by Columbiana Mall, off I-26, in the City of Columbia. Apparently, another boy and he had gotten hold of a firearm about 11:00PM.
There is plenty of anti-gun talk around Columbia, but is anyone really doing anything to educate kids and young adults about firearms safety? I roughed out what I can do. What I can do is NOT wait for "government" (i.e., school districts) to assemble a grand program. I have ideas which will work right now. Some of them could even have been implemented since December 9th. I'm starting on them today.
Every kid should be exposed to the four (4) rules of firearms safety.
1. Treat every gun as if it's loaded.
2. Never point a gun at anything you don't want to destroy.
3. Finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
Most gun injuries and deaths are not "accidents". They are caused by negligence. Some are the result of just plain stupidity.
Firearms safety should start at very young ages. Dispel the curiosity of firearms. Teach safety awareness and handling.
The criminal use of firearms is another matter. Students' taking guns and other weapons to schools must stop. As in, S-T-O-P.
A local group wants to slow down the school-to-prison pipeline. It's simple. Make it plain to the kids that committing crimes will land them in jail or prison. How do you stay out of jail? Don't commit crimes. What could be simpler?
Friday, December 17, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2021
RICHLAND TWO BOARD OF TRUSTEES ENCOURAGES STUDENT AND EMPLOYEES TO MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR TIME OFF DURING WINTER BREAK
COLUMBIA, S.C. — At the December 14, 2021 meeting, the Richland Two Board of Trustees passed a resolution encouraging students and employees to prioritize investing in their own personal mental and emotional wellbeing during Winter Break.
Board Chair Dr. Teresa Holmes said, “As an educator for more than 30 years, I know the value of Winter Break every school year. However, this year, possibly more than ever, the importance of this time off cannot be understated. With this resolution, which was the idea of Board Vice Chair James Manning, we hope to convey to our employees and students that the Richland Two School Board recognizes how hard they have worked since school started back in August. In the face of all of the challenges the pandemic continues to throw at them, their premier dedication to the district’s Core Values of Learning, Character, Community and Joy led to Richland Two being named the District of the Year by K-12 Dive.”
In the resolution, the Board is publicly encouraging that no non-essential assignments be given to students or employees over Winter Break so that the entire Richland Two family can focus on enjoying time off from school and work, investing in personal wellbeing and spending time with family and friends.
The resolution approved by the Board stated:
WHEREAS, Richland School District Two schools will close for Winter Break starting December 20, 2021.
WHEREAS, Richland Two employees and students will return to school and work on January 3, 2022.
WHEREAS, all students, teachers, school and district employees, continue to demonstrate a premier dedication to the district’s Four Core Values of Learning, Character, Community and Joy in the midst of a pandemic that has altered life in countless ways.
WHEREAS, the pathway to success requires time to focus on doing the work, it also requires that students and employees take time to focus on investing in their own personal mental and emotional wellbeing.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Richland School District Two Board of Trustees, by this resolution, strongly encourages no non-essential assignments be given to students or employees over Winter Break that would take time away from enjoying time off from school and work, investing in personal wellbeing and spending time with family and friends.
Adopted this 14th day of December, 2021.
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Today I heard that there are channels on social media for the fights at Richland 2 schools.
Today I sent the following email to the members of the school board, including trustees-elect Holmes and McKie.
Members of the Board,I hope you are getting daily updates from Administration on the number of fights every day at each school.These fights must be stopped immediately. If they aren't, the severity of them will increase.Teachers should not be expected to intervene. Their only duty should be to summon law-enforcement (SROs and 9-1-1) and to direct other students to leave the area, removing the audience of the combatants.Are you aware of the channels on social media where fight videos are being posted by students?
If you hear of any fights or recordings of fights, please email them to all board members and request that immediate action be taken to restore safe conditions in Richland 2 schools.
Teachers and other staff should not be expected to expose themselves to injury by interfering or attempting to stop fights. All they should do is summon the SRO and dial 9-1-1, then encourage non-combatants to leave the area.
Comments from students, teachers and staff are invited. Post them below. If you fear retaliation by posting with your name, email your comments to email@example.com for publication without your name.
If you want to provide information to me but not have it published, email me. Confidentiality is assured.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
It didn't take long for the board meeting last night (12/14/2021) to disintegrate into disorder.
Facemask-less Teresa Holmes gaveled the meeting to order (4:53) with five raps of the gavel. One would have been enough.
If you were there when the public meeting re-convened, as I was, you saw it live. The board was late in re-convening. When it did, it didn't take long at all for the bickering to resume.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Recently the Lexington-Richland 5 School District wanted a new superintendent, and so it hired one. Only it didn't.
It contracted with a business to run the school district. It contracted with HeartEd LLC, Akil Ross' education consulting firm, according to The State newspaper.
A former school superintendent, Stephen Hefner, and others didn't like that move, and a complaint was filed with the district's accrediting agency, Cognia..
And what is the response of Lexington-Richland 5?
It is suing the former superintedent.
The State's updated article yesterday included this statement. "Board member Nikki Gardner argued the lawsuit needed to move forward to deter politically motivated action agains the board and the superintendent."
She is wrong! Her position has a chilling and silencing effect on a statements, comments and opinions of those who disagree with decisions made by a school board.
A school board should hire only a live person who is personally and individually accountable for his actions.
Next we'll have principals and teachers who want the district to contract with their corporations. And, after that, a student will incorporate a business and have it show up (or not) for classes and tests. How would you ever administer detention to a student's LLC?
Check out the homepage for L-R5: lexrich5.org The first link that caught my eye was "Meet the Candidates for Superintendent". Aha! The undated page includes "Dr.Akil E. Ross, Sr." Looks like his consulting firm is NOT a candidate. The other candidates ought to make a big deal out of that!!!
Why is that link even on LR-5's homepage?
Saturday, December 11, 2021
|As of 12/11/2021|
Friday, December 10, 2021
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
SEL and surveys (data-mining)
Monday, December 6, 2021
THE OMBUDSMAN CAN:
- Listen to clarify concerns to understand them thoroughly
- Help community members identify and explore options for solutions
- Provide information to help resolve concerns by researching Board policies as well as Administrative Rules
- Coach and empower individuals on how to prepare conversations that lead to collaborative resolutions
- Navigate individuals to the correct resources and people to address concerns
- Foster effective communication
- Track trends to help the district identify areas that could be improved
Friday, December 3, 2021
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
This article about Loudoun County (Va.) parents and their battle against Critical Race Theory (CRT) should be read and studied by every parent, community member, teacher, staff member, administrator and school board member in Richland 2 School District.
The title of the article is "Loudoun County Moms Set Out to Protect Their Children, Now They’re Trying to Save America".
I suggest printing it and then highlighting important words and phrases.
The indoctrination of students MUST stop.
Am I exaggerating? Do you understand that CRT is comprised of equity, inclusion and diversity? Those are the three words you hear in Richland 2.
The Loudoun County Public Schools' "equity impact statement highlights LCPS’ commitment to 'a racially-conscious, identity-affirming, and culturally responsive learning space.'"
How much of that is right here, whether written down or just applied?
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Be sure to read this article in K-12 Dive Thanks to a Richland 2 parent for sending the article to me.
Measure it against your own experience with Richland 2. What will you learn about Richland 2?
Richland 2 "... has received recognition for rethinking grading policies with equity at the forefront". Do you have any idea what that means?
Supt. David "has prioritized the recruitment and retention of male teachers of color via his Premier 100 initiative." Does this sound like a racially-based program to you?
"(E)very school (has) a TLC, which is a tech learning coach". Do you know what the SAMR model is? Here's a scary word: "redefinition". What does that mean at Richland 2?
How nice to read about "engagement and transparency" at Richland 2. I know some parents who will question that!
The article repeats the percentage of Richland 2 students who live in poverty: 56.2%. The number makes me wonder what the poverty level is, especially when I drive by the student parking lot at, for example, Blythewood High School.
What can you do? Get involved at your kids' schools. Attend school board meetings in-person. You get a totally different understanding when you are sitting there versus sitting at home in front of your computer.
When you do show up at a board meeting, ask yourself why the room is set up as it is, with the trustees lined up sideways so you can't see most of them.
Ask why the superintendent occupied the place of honor in the corner between the trustees; that's where the board chair should sit.
Ask why the superintendent even sits at the board line-up, which one trustee inquired about recently.
Ask yourself why the audience is seated so far away from the board members.
Ask why staff is seated in front of the audience, rather than off to the side as it used to be.
Ask why there are so many deputies and R2 security officers present.
Social Emotional Learning - SEL
I remember the non-too-distant past when SEL was for special education students who were struggling with how to be included.
And now? It's the indoctrination being jammed down kids' throats. Kids as young as kindergarten. Do parents even know what it happening in schools?
Thanks to the internet and parent action groups all over the country, parents are waking up and becoming informed. And the school districts hate it.
Witness the "statement" being read by the Richland Two (acting) board chair, trustee-elect Teresa Holmes, before each public participation segment of a board meeting. Remember the kinder, gentler introducation of public participation when Craig Plank was board chair? Nobody felt threatened when he made very brief statements about how public participation would be conducted.
OK, boys and girls. You'd better be nice and follow the rules or you will be gaveled into submission.
Be sure to notice at each board meeting how (un)evenly the "rules" are applied. At least she stopped drumming her fingers on her desk as the clock ran out on a speaker. No one commented on just how rude that was.
Thanks to whoever ordered and installed a timer on the podium so that the speaker could see the time remaining.
Back to SEL. Read this article from School Reform News titled "Schools Spending Billions to Indoctrinate Kids with 'Social Emotional Learning'. Parents in West Hartford, Conn. are up in arms. Just like parents should be all over this country, including right here in Richland Two.
Step out of the "smoke" being blown at you. When Helen Grant and Teresa Holmes say, "We don't teach Critical Race Theory in Richland 2", they are right. "Theory" is not being taught. Now break it down into its elements. They don't talk about that. In fact, Helen Grant couldn't even define Critical Race Theory (CRT) for the board at a recent meeting. Imagine that. The chief of diversity, inclusion and equity couldn't even define CRT. And yet, the topic of her presentation was the Difference between CRT and culturally relevant teaching (crt). If you can't define something, how can you compare it with something else?
Why didn't seven board members stand up and cry out, "WHAT?" I know why four of them didn't. The other three were being polite.
Friday, November 26, 2021
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Have you tried to view the November 16th video-recording of the board meeting? Would you normally look for it at livestream.com/richland2?
Here's what you'll find there:
Now what do you do?
Then, if you are like I am, you write to the Richland 2 office and ask where it is. Imagine if 28,000 students write or 25,000 parents write. That would create a huge workload on someone, wouldn't it?
Here's the reply to my inquiry on Monday:
"Below is an explanation for why that video is password protection [sic]. This explanation is posted on the live stream page on the district's website:
Sunday, November 21, 2021
What's that old saying? "I've got some good news for you and some bad news."
Today's Post and Courtier newspaper takes a hard look at the South Carolina Ethics Commission - again. Read the article here.
If Amelia McKie reads that article, she'll be relieved. The bad news is that this is a long article about a State agency that should be keeping publicofficials on the straight and narrow. The good news is that her name is not in it.
The last article took a big swipe at Amelia McKie, trustee- elect (since November 6, 2018) of the Richland 2 School Board. She owes $57,100 in fines and penalties to the Ethics Commission, which filed a judgment in the Richland County Common Pleas Court in July 2019.
Notable sentences in the article:
"The State Ethics Commission is an understaffed government watchdog enforcing a toothless ethics law."
"The State Ethics Commission should be one of South Carolina’s most powerful anti-corruption tools."
"What’s more, state prosecutors say the agency has traditionally not forwarded criminal cases to them for prosecution."
Why isn't the Ethics Commission pounding on the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCFOR) to collect that $57,100 for it?
Rumor has it that the SCDOR doesn't go after people who can't pay.
McKie can't pay? Doesn't she receive almost $10,000/year from the Richland 2 School District?
Well, maybe not, since she didn't report any income for 2020 from Richland 2 on her Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) filed with the Ethics Commission on January 12, 2021. But why wouldn't she have been paid a stipend of $800 monthly, as were all the other trustees?
She also did not report any Family Members' Income. Was she married in any part of 2020?
McKie reports only private personal income in 2020 from NLLC (whatever that is). It is not required that she disclose the amount of any private personal income.
Her SEI is a public record and was examined today.
Saturday, November 20, 2021
Friday, November 19, 2021
The following press release was received from the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
Sent: Fri, Nov 19, 2021 6:31 pm
Subject: Re: Press Release - Richland 2
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Reporter Michael Smith of The Independent Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County contacted me for a comment after the Richland 2 Scho...
The school board has scheduled a Special-Called Meeting for Tuesday, January 17, 2022, 4:30PM. Are you kidding me? After the marathon on Jan...
On December 14th I wrote about a Blythewood Middle School teacher, Aja Adams, who was charged with four motor vehicle violations, including ...