Thursday, December 30, 2021

How bad is the gun problem in Richland 2 schools?

Just how bad is the gun problem in Richland 2 schools?

Is the Administration of Richland 2 School District keeping a lot of the information out-of-sight?

Is the Board of Trustees being kept fully informed of the problems?

What about parents? Are they being informed?  Ya think? I don't!

The District's new MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between eight school districts, multiple law-enforcement agencies, major healthcare providers, and the Be SMART group is simplistic, to say the least.

It will not get to the heart of the problem. The big question is WHY do students take guns to school and commit crimes with guns? Why do they shoot at others? THIS is what must be addressed!

The basics are important. Don't point guns at people or animals or pull the trigger when the gun is not pointed in a safe direction. Well, duh...

Gun locks? Except for that fact that someone with wirecutters will have the gun lock off in a jiffy, they are a deterrent to the smallest child's being able to fire a gun.

Expose kids to the NRA's Eddie Eagle Program. Sit down with your kids and watch the Eddie Eagle video now. Click on the link.

That MOU needs some serious work and broadening to include more groups.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Equity Grading - what is it?

Many parents have not yet heard of "equity grading". Here is a partial description:

- Removing late penalties for homework assignments,
- Not allowing students to earn extra credit;
- Allowing unlimited redoes of assignments; 
- Eliminating grading on homework assignments. 

Those came from today's FoxNews article titled "Virginia teachers fire back after school district mulls implementing more 'equitable' grading system"   Click on the link to read the article.

What else is it? Issuing a minimum grade of (for example, 40), rather than a zero on a test. Why? Because a zero creates a bar that can hardly be overcome to achieve a passing grade in a class.

What else is it? Do you have other examples of "equity grading"? Put examples in the Comments box below.

I guess there's yet another way to grade. Just give everyone an A at the beginning of the grading period. If the student doesn't get expelled, that's his grade. Are we coming to this?

Book in Richland 2?

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?

That book is $24.99 (hardcover) on Amazon. Why would the library system waste such money? Glance at the book on Amazon or check it out. Is it in Richland 2 libraries or classrooms? 

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)

Seriously???

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."

https://www.bizpacreview.com/2021/12/24/teacher-uses-dr-suess-style-poem-to-mock-christian-parents-at-board-meeting-it-does-not-go-over-well-1180148/?fbclid=IwAR3lCO7Ig4Jr5cnOh3xU2A05Xe5jTbFCCGTJx9JV1mDZOBZPmCd-KzRgGi4

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

Lexington County Council Dist. 7 - unqualified member?

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

Holmes - FB LIVE during school board meeting ???

Why would Teresa Holmes be doing a Facebook LIVE broadcast during a Richland 2 school board meeting?

Isn't that a rather juvenile thing? Acting like a young teenager who can't live without her social media?

Maybe that's why she can't conduct a school board meeting with any degree of professionalism? Could be.

This screenshot is from her LIVE broadcast on Tuesday, December 14. Recognize the "saxophone choir"?



Holmes has a hard-enough time trying to keep secondary motions straight and even hearing and understanding motions by Trustee Agostini.

After Trustee Agostini made a motion, Holmes asked, "Is that a motion?" Trustee Agostini was much more polite about it than I would have been. I would have said, "Weren't you listening? What did I just say?"

Then I would have waited to see which other member of The Squad bailed her out.

Holmes should forget about Facebook LIVE and pay attention to running the board meeting. If she turns on her phone to stream at a future meeting, all the trustees should object.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

McKie still owes $57,100 to S.C. Ethics Commission

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!

Where is Be SMART?

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

R2 Board insults community, teachers, students

At last Tuesday's school board meeting, the board considered and approved a resolution regarding Winter Break.

What a complete waste of time. There was administrative time wasted in preparing it; the attorney for the District probably looked at it to get all the WHEREAS's right, and today it was sent out.

Winter Break (Christmas break) has been on the school calendar since the day it was approved months ago.

Do we really need Big Brother telling us to relax and have a good time?

Following is the message from the school district and the resolution. If you agree it was a waste of time and taxaper money, please sound off to the school board and the superintendent. The email addresses for the school board can be found here: https://www.richland2.org/School-Board/Members  (If you wonder why Trustee Scott and trustee-elect Holmes use personal email addresses, ask the Board; they should only be using @richland2.org email addresses for official business.) 
The superintendent's email address is superintendent@richland2.org 


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

Fights at Richland 2 Schools

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 gusphilpott@gmail.com for publication without your name.

If you want to provide information to me but not have it published, email me. Confidentiality is assured.

Early Dismissal - Dec. 17 - - WHY?

The District calendar indicates that schools will release students early tomorrow, Friday, December 17.

WHY???

Winter Break - formerly known as Christmas Break - starts Monday, December 20. Christmas is not until Saturday, December 25. Schools are closed for two full weeks.

Why isn't December 17th a full day?

When the yearly schedule was planned, did anyone take in consideration that parents of many (most?) Richland 2 students are working? Will a parent have to take a day off? Without pay? How understanding are employers?

On the District's homepage it reads, 

"Early Dismissal Middle & 
Elementary Schools: 10:50 AM
Middle, 11:30 AM Elem"

Do you think anyone bothered to proofread that? Does it make sense to anyone?

Are middle school students released at 10:50 or 11:30? What about High School students?

Will a parent bother to send a kid to school for 2½-3 hours?

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Georgetown Teacher hurt while breaking up fight

A Georgetown County School District teacher was hurt while trying to break up a fight between two girls.

The State newspaper published this: 

Suggestion: when a teacher sees students fighting, call a cop (or a deputy).

Let 'em fight. Don't risk your own skin and bones. You're not paid for that. Call the SRO or dial 9-1-1. Just stand by and watch them duke it out. Be a great witness.

No heroes wanted.

Sure. You'll want to help. It's not worth it. You don't get battle pay.

The wimpy response from the school district can be read in the second-to-last paragraph.

Just before I read this, I was wondering if an SRO's response to a fight or other crime in a school is reported by the Sheriff's Department as a "call for service". Does it go in the crime statistics or does it get swept under the rug.

MORE Justice was complaining a few years ago about the school-to-prison pipeline. I've got an idea how to close the pipeline. 

Tell the kiddies to stop committing crimes.

Fights in Richland 2 Schools?

What's going on in Richland 2 schools with all the fights?

Today I heard about fights at Dent Middle School. Kids roaming the halls, shoving and cursing. Seriously?

What are the Principals, Assistant Principals, teachers and SRO(s) doing about it?

Are the inmates taking over the asylum?

It's a good thing I'm not a teacher. I might make it to the end of First Period.

It's a good thing I'm not a principal. I might make it to noon on my first day.

My first-day morning's announcement would be:

"This is the first day of the rest of your life. No more cursing, rudeness, pushing, shoving, throwing things. No more chaos and bullying. No more weapons at school. If you "made a mistake" and brought a weapon today, bring it to the office. Now. Surrendering it voluntarily means you can go back to class.

"Otherwise, you're going to get expelled and go to jail. This is your choice. You have one minute to make it.

"You are here to learn. We will teach you, and you will learn.

"If you don't want to be here, walk out now. If you want this to be a school-to-prison pipeline, we will arrange that. Choose wisely."

Holmes Misreports Vote on Consent Agenda

When the board voted on the Consent Agenda, the electronic vote was displayed as 6 Yes, 1 Abstain (McFadden). .

Teresa read the vote as "Motion passes. One (1) No. Six (6) Yes. Moving on to Public Participation." 
There was an inaudible objection from Teresa's left. Then Teresa said, "I'm sorry, Mrs. McFadden. I didn't see that. Thank you."

Teresa failed to read the correct vote aloud. The correct vote was
Yes 6
No  0
Abstain 1 (McFadden)

What's going on with Teresa that she can't even read a projected screen correctly?


See videorecording at 1:27:34
(Click to enlarge)








Fireworks from the Top - 12/14/21

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.

If you weren't there, you can waste a big part of your day by watching the recorded version at livestream.com/richland2  The recorded version at 04:53 on the timer. Notice the duration of the meeting shown in the lower-left corner: 5:16:08. That's FIVE HOURS, SIXTEEN MINUTES, 8 SECONDS (including the executive session).

Don't miss Teresa's rings. You would definitely not want to run into her in a dark alley late at night. South Carolina has a law against brass knuckles. I wonder if those silver rings she wears would be considered weapons. They look dangerous to me!

Of course, I couldn't see them from the Back Forty, to which the audience is related during meetings. Going to a board meeting in-person is like sitting in the nose-bleed section of a football game.

Notice how Teresa can't even get the words right after asking for discussion, after the motion to go into executive session is seconded. She says, "Seeing [sic] none, we'll take a hand vote."  Question: How do you "see" discussion???

The vote to go into executive session was 6-0-1. Trustee McFadden abstained from the vote. Early warning, folks. Stay tuned for the action! Late in the meeting there will be an important message from Mrs. McFadden.

Do you detect anything about Teresa's attitude as the meeting starts. If you don't see it yet (as you watch the beginning of the meeting), you'll recognize it on the recording and see it when the public meeting re-convenes.

When you see the rest of the meeting, you will see why Teresa Holmes has to go. Not only is she an illegitimate member of the board, having never taken the oath of office legally, she is fully into Power Mode as she attempts to conduct a meeting.

At 1:16:45 on the recorded broadcast, the public meeting shows the seated board. McKie makes a motion regarding the ending of the executive session. Teresa halts the motion because she is not logged in. Why not? Why didn't she do that upon sitting down, so that she would be ready to go? Teresa announced that the hand vote was "Unanimous". Was it?

NOTICE THAT TERESA IS NOT WEARING HER FACE SHIELD!!! 

(Watch what happens later in the meeting when Trustee Agostini tries to introduce an agenda item to remove the face mask requirement.)

At 1:17:51 McKie introduced the Inspirational Moment, which was a "saxophone choir" from Richland Northeast High School. At 1:19:25 they began to play. The Inspirational Moment was over at 1:22:24. They played; there was nothing inspirational about it at all. (It sounded better in-person than on the recording.) Frankly, McKie's verbosity is sickening. Is she auditioning for a prize at Toastmasters?

At 1:23:30 McKie asked all to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. BUT THERE WAS NO FLAG IN THE ROOM. The superintendent apologized for the room set-up error after the Pledge.

At 1:24:37 approval of the night's agenda was asked. Here come the Fireworks!

Trustee Agostini asked why the Resolution for Parents' Rights was not on the agenda, as it had been submitted last Thursday (three days before the meeting, as required in Board Policy). Teresa stated that her question would not appropriate for that part of the meeting, but it could be addressed at a later time. Trustee Agostini called a Point-of-Order. Teresa ignored the Point-of-Order and kept talking. Mrs. Agostini repeated "Point-of-Order". Teresa said, "Let's move ... any other discussion on that?" Mrs. Agostini said it is appropriate, because the board is considering the approval of the night's agenda.

Teresa completed ignored Robert's Rules of Order. If a chair does not rule that a Pont-of-Order is "well-taken", then the board must vote. Teresa either does not know that or knows it and ignores it. Watch Teresa's smug expression during the electronic voting. Be sure to read the Minutes of this meeting to see whether the recording secretary included Agostini's Point-of-Order.

This was the first time in this meeting that Teresa "ran over" another trustee.

The vote to approve the Agenda was  5-1-1; i.e., 5 in favor; 1 No (Agostini)-1 Abstain (McFadden).

FOUR HOURS !!! + Executive Session

Last night's Richland 2 School Board meeting ran for FOUR HOURS, from its scheduled starting time of 6:30PM until after 10:30PM.

There is no excuse whatsoever for such a length of a regular board meeting. And that was in addition to a one-hour executive session from 5:30-6:30PM. 

The board demonstrated discourtesy to the public by 1) not being ready to start the re-convened public session at 6:30PM and by failing to apologize to the public for the delay. They seemed in no hurry to take their seats in the meeting room after the executive session.

A single ray of sunshine, though. Projected on the screen during the executive session was a message that hearing-assistance devices would be available at the A/V desk. Only if you signed your life away, but they were available. The audio in the room did seem to be louder last night, without a device. I used a device, and it helps. Next time I'll take my own earbuds.

Back to the length of the meeting. The meeting agenda is planned by the superintendent and the board chair. THEY are the ones responsible for the length of the meeting. So that's Baron Davis and Teresa Holmes who should learn some lessons about creating an agenda for a meeting of a reasonable length.

Ever since Craig Plank was board chair, meetings have gotten longer and longer. I think last night's meeting set a record!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

McFadden - prohibited from talking to Supt?

At 10:08PM tonight, watching from home, I heard Trustee McFadden say that she has been "excommunicated" and prohibited from speaking with the superintendent.

What the heck is that about?

I tuned back in and had missed her comments just before that. It was during the discussion of a review of Board policy BEDB - Board Agenda. I'll listen to it again tomorrow.

While the camera was off Trustee McFadden, she left the meeting. Her departure should have been mentioned by the Chair, but it was not. Another failure on Holmes' part.

This is outrageous.

And right after that, there were motions to add topics to be the next agenda. Watch Holmes while Trustee Agostini is making a motion for a topic to be added to the next agenda. Holmes is staring into space and NOT listening attentively to Trustee Agostini.

Trustee Agostini made a motion. Then Holmes asked if that was a motion. What does she think it was? She was spaced out and just not listening. Her job as Chair is to listen. If she is not going to do that, she should get out of that Chair and resign.

Well, Holmes isn't even really a legitimate board member, and she shouldn't be chair! Manning knew that when he nominated Holmes for Chair on June 29, 2020. Big mistake. He has got to be regretting that. Or he should be.

And listen to Caution-Parker. She was nasty to Trustee Scott. Just totally NASTY. If this was still the 1800s, there would have been a duel at 10:45PM in the parking lot.

Unfortunately, the majority, The Squad, is secure until November 2022 - unless Holmes and McKie get removed from the board for not being legitimate members and that one other trustee is confirmed as no longer residing in the District. 

A Bully's Tactic

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

Honesty on personal FB page?

How important is it for a public official to be honest on her personal Facebook page?
As of 12/11/2021


I think most would agree rhat a public official should be honest at all times.

If a school board official, even one who has never taken the oath-of-office legally, identifies herself as a "School Board Commissioner [sic] for Richland School District Two", is that correct? Is that honest?

Richland 2 doesn't have "Commissioners". It has Trustees. (Richland One calls its elected officials Commissioners.)

Is it just a simple, dumb mistake? What possible reason could there be for such an error?

And how about misleading the public by calling yourself an "Assistant Administrator / Guidance" for a school district where you haven't worked since August 1st? The person, whose Facebook page it is, was never an "Assistant Administrator". According to that school district, the person was a Guidance Counsel/Lead Teacher who also had some administrative duties when the Administrator was not present. But that doesn't make her an "Assistant Administrator".

For some people, "little things" don't matter. Is it just a case of "Don't sweat the small stuff"?

Like not taking the oath of office legally, and therefore not being a legal member of a school board, but sitting on the board, voting on school matters, accepting pay and perks, and glad-handing all.

Many years ago, I heard "integrity" explained as what you do when no one is looking. Well, everybody is looking.

Is honesty important?

Friday, December 10, 2021

Can a public official block someone on social media?

Can a public official block a person on a social media platform?

Tonight I was curious whether Teresa Holmes had ever corrected her description of her position on the Richland 2 school board.  I attempted to view one of her pages, titled "DrTeresa (no space) Holmes..." Last time I checked that page, Teresa described herself as a Commissioner in the Richland 2 school district. Tonight? I cannot access that page.

Teresa sent me a nastygram at about 11:00PM one night and informed me that she was going to block me. I guess she figured out how to do that.

Hello? "Commissioner"? Richland 2 doesn't have any commissioners. Richland 2 has Trustees. And Teresa isn't even legally one of those, because she has never taken the oath of office legally.

Teresa has been usurping public office since November 13, 2018, when the oath-of-office was administered to her at that evening's school board meeting, before she became eligible to take the oath of office. It was not until December 4, 2018 that she first became eligible to take the oath-of-office.

Is this important to anyone else?

Why does the District tolerate not just one, but two women on the school board illegitimately? Amelia McKie also took the oath on November 13, 2018. She too did not become eligible to take the oath until December 4, 2018.

What happened on December 4, 2018? Both Holmes and McKie filed their Statements of Economic Interests with the South Carolina Ethics Commission.

In spite of becoming eligible to take the oath on December 4, 2018, neither Holmes nor McKie has even taken the oath since that date. Taking the oath-of-office (legally) is required to hold office.

Should Holmes be able to block me from her social media page? Her main page seems to be full of self-promotion pictures. She is all smiley with other public officials. Is she starting her campaign for re-election already?

Will it be possible to have Holmes and McKie arrested at a school board meeting and removed from their chairs? There are plenty of RCSD deputies there at school district expense. I wonder whether they would do their jobs, if I presented them with information of violation of numerous laws and asked them to "do their duty". 

Do you think that Holmes and McKie should take the oath of office legally and become legitimate members of the school board?  Please comment below.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

SEL - "the Insidious Teaching Tool You've Never Heard of"

 

                                                         SEL and surveys (data-mining)

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) - ever heard of it?

If you've been paying attention to the uproar over Critical Race Theory, you've probably heard of it. But do you know what it is?

Read this article (and/or listen to the podcast) from today's The Daily Signal, a publication of The Heritage Foundation. From this article, "The (SEL) program seeks to indoctrinate kids into leftist ideology by reinforcing a series of critical race theory-based morals and values."

Read about the firing of Jennifer McWilliams, who got canned from her Indiana elementary school teaching position northeast of Indianapolis. 

What happened to her job?

"When she voiced her concerns about the racist ideology, she was summarily fired."

Teachers here and around the country are learning to hunker down. Don't stick your head up out of the foxhole. Suck it up. Keep your mouth shut (if you like having a job and a paycheck). Do what you're told. Teach what you are told to teach, the way you are told to teach it.

Do not get on the bad side of your principal or any higher-up administrator.

Is the program "Leader in Me" here in Richland 2?

I remember a first-year, freshman English teacher in college who was brave enough, when asked during a faculty meeting to fill out what he considered a dumb questionnaire, to exclaim something about "utter nonsense", snap his pencil in half, and walk out of the meeting. I always wondered where he worked next.

Check out McWilliams' webpage at www.jennifermcwilliamsconsulting.com  Could we get her to come to Columbia and conduct a workshop (Special-Called board meeting) for the school board?

Are you familiar with data mining? That's collecting information from students and analyzing it, often without parental consent. Watch McWilliams' video. Click on the YouTube video above or click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCErTSJkWTs

How much money does Richland 2 spend with Panorama Education for surveys?

Monday, December 6, 2021

Does Richland 2 have a REAL Ombudsman?

The following email was sent this morning to the Richland 2 Ombudsman, Kelli Johnson.

According to the Richland County (S.C.) website, 
"An Ombudsman is an impartial dispute-resolutioner, whose major function is to provide informal assistance to citizens and to assist citizens with county concerns and request for service.
  • Receives and investigates concerns and requests for service.
  • Develops or identifies a range of responsible options to resolve problems and facilitate discussion.
  • Helps citizens find alternative solutions and develop new ways to solve problems themselves."

In most organizations, the Ombudsman is a strong and independent authority, often reporting directly to the CEO. An ombudsman is an advocate for the person with the issue - the complainant, the employee, the customer, etc. An Ombudsman has clout.

What is the role of the Richland 2 Ombudsman? She reports to the superintendent. Can she go to him and say, "We have a real problem here. This is a legitimate complaint. We cannot just sweep this one under the rug."

What will his response be?

Here's the email sent this morning to Ms. Kelli Johnson. Copies were sent to the outside attorney for the school district, the Richland County Councilman for our district, the executive directors of the Richland County Election Commission and the S.C. Ethics Commission, Gov. McMaster, the S.C. Attorney General, the S.C. Superintendent of Education, the five legal school board trustees and the two trustees-elect, and the superintendent.


For the Ombudsman.

Dear Ms. Johnson:

The Richland School District Two school board has two participants who have been usurping public office for three years, and I seek your assistance in having them removed from office.

I have reviewed the services offered by the Ombudsman, and I am writing for your assistance.


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

Significant dates:

11/6/18 Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie were elected.
11/9/18 Richland County Election Commission certified the election.
11/13/18 The oath of office was administered to Holmes and McKie; they took office that night. However, on that date neither was eligible to take the oath of office.

11/14?/18 Notarized oath of office documents were transmitted to the S.C. Secretary of State (SCSOS). The SCSOS should be informed that false notarized documents were sent to it, because neither Holmes nor McKie was eligible to take the oath of office legally on Nov. 13, 2018.

11/16/18 School board member term-of-office began.
12/4/18 Holmes and McKie filed their Statements of Economic Interests Reports (SEI) with the S.C. Ethics Commission.

* Neither Holmes nor McKie was eligible to take the oath of office on 11/13/18, because they had not filed their SEIs.

* Holmes and McKie first became eligible to take the oath of office on 12/4/18.

* Neither Holmes nor McKie has taken the oath of office on or since 12/4/18.

I have raised this issue regularly with the School Board since February 2019. It is absolutely within the purview of the school board to address this issue.

Administration informed me one time only that it considers Holmes and McKie to be legal board members, but it has never provided an explanation for why S.C. Code of Laws Section 8-13-1110(A) does not apply. That law reads, in summary,

1. the elected person files the SEI (by filing the SEI, the elected person first becomes eligible to take the oath of office);
2. the elected person then takes the oath of office;
3. the elected person then enters upon official responsibilities.

The order is clear: 1-2-3.

However, Holmes and McKie followed this order: 2-3-1, and that is not in compliance with State law.

For three years the District has improperly paid monthly stipends to both Holmes and McKie and has paid or reimbursed expenses for both.

In view of the District's published services of the Ombudsman, will you please help me explore the options to remove Holmes and McKie from the board? 

Sincerely,

Gus Philpott
847.971.7083
Resident, Richland School District Two


Friday, December 3, 2021

Critical Race Theory - what you didn't learn at the Board presentation

Were you disappointed by the presentation to the Richland 2 Board of Trustees about the difference between Critical Race Theory (CRT) and culturally-relevant teaching (crt)?

Frankly, I was the most disappointed by Helen Grant's response to Lindsay Agostini's question. Mrs. Grant couldn't even tell Trustee Agostini what CRT is.

If I had been the superintendent, the next day Mrs. Grant would have been looking for a new job.

Check out this website for information on CRT: www.uspie.org  It's the website of the U.S. Parents Involved in Education. Click on the tab right in the middle of the first line of subjects: CRITICAL RACE THEORY.

It's too bad that Mrs. Grant didn't spend some time on that page before the presentation. Her presentation was not about the Differences.

Oh, but don't worry. Just trust Helen Grant and Teresa Holmes, when they say, "Richland 2 doesn't teach Critical Race Theory." Seriously?

Of course, Richland 2 does not teach Critical Race Theory. Richland 2 doesn't teach theory.

Now what about all those elements of Critical Race Theory that are taught, emphasized, urged, encouraged to be used in the classroom?

Those are what concern many parents of Richland 2 students!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A Must-Read: CRT, Loudoun County. It's there; it's HERE

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. 

Refer to it when you are emailing the board members, administrators and teachers. 

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

Don't Miss This - K12Dive article

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.

A great resource: School Reform News

Before today I was unfamiliar with School Reform News. I just read a second article, this one titled "Parents Want Authority over K-12 Cuirriculum Choices, but Teachers Evade Oversight".

Check it out. Skim through it. Read it more slowly.

Parents throughout the country are waking up to what is happening in schools. Parents have in the past trusted schools to educate their children. Schools have the kids for a large portion of the day. Now parents are finding out what really happens in many schools.

Attend a Richland 2 school board meeting in person. Get a taste of the action. In particular, pay close attention to Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker and Manning. Their terms expired in November 2022. 

Efforts are mounting to replace all four then, if not sooner.

Remember when SEL was for SpecEd kids?

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.

Now?

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

True?

Borrowed from Vic Zoe Warren's Facebook page:


Not always true, but sometimes very true.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

ICYMI: Where is the Nov. 16th video?

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?

You might look next on the District's website. In fact, not only is the video-recording not there, the agenda is not shown on the page of meeting recordings and notes.

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:

*A note about the recording of the November 16, 2021 Board Meeting: While the investigation involving the minor has been concluded with no charges being filed, the availability of the livestream video from the meeting will remain restricted. A recording of the meeting with an approximately three minute portion of Public Participation removed is posted on the district's YouTube channel. Click here to access that recording. The livestream video is restricted and the version on YouTube is edited as the District is generally prohibited from releasing personally identifiable information about students pursuant to a federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA")."

And here's my question to you. Would you ever have found that page on your own? Would you even know to begin looking for it?

If the wizards at Richland 2 put themselves in your shoes, wouldn't they put that message on the "Password Protected" page? Or wouldn't they put at least a link on that page that you could click and then see the "note".

Personally, I believe that Richland 2 is violating the FOIA law by restricting the original video of the meeting and failing to publish it in its entirety. The District is hiding behind FERPA, when it doesn't apply. FERPA would apply if I tried to get personal information about a student from the District. 

The recording of the public meeting is just that - a recording of a public meeting. Whatever was said at that meeting, by anyone at that meeting, was said in public. 

The father's name was announced by the board chair as the next speaker. He would have known that the public meeting was recorded. The entire recording should be published, not an edited version. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Spotlight: S.C. Ethics Commission

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

Degaldo or Delgado?



When you refer to someone in a meeting, how important is it to know who that person is/was and how to pronounce his name?

During Tuesday night's presentation on Critical Race Theory, Mrs. Grant referred to Richard "Degaldo". Only it's Delgado, not Degaldo. He was listed on Slide 11 as a legal scholar.

The second paragraph of Slide 11 read, "The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others." 

Did Mrs. Grant just lift that paragraph and the preceding one on Slide 11 from Education Week, as cited, without really knowing who the scholars were? Is that why she mispronounced Delgado's name?

I recognized the mispronunciation because I had read through that presentation two-three times before the meeting? When I heard "Degaldo" during the meeting, I knew I hadn't seen that name. How many of the board members studied the presentation before the meeting?

Want to know more about Richard Delgado (1939 - )? Check this out (and get ready for a laugh)   https://www.seattleu.edu/research/law/richard-delgado/

That page is in Seattle University's "Scholarly Excellence" section. His name appears above University Professor as "Richard Delgad0". I wonder how long it has been like that!

Board Policy BID - smoke & mirrors

At the November 16 regular board meeting, trustees and the two trustees-elect heard Richland Two's in-house General Counsel Karla Hawkins present a draft revision to Board Policy BID - Board Member Compensation and Expenses. The proposal is to change the monthly stipend ($800/month) to a per diem for each meeting. The discussion starts at 1:26:15 in the altered version of the board member recording on YouTube at https://youtu.be/56lks0GbCfs

If approved at the December 14, 2021 meeting, she said it would not go into effect until January 1, 2022.

Like that is supposed to be important? Anyone concerned? December 14th is the only board meeting before January 1, 2022. Should board members be permitted to change their compensation during their term-of-office? Many in the public will say a loud and resounding NO.

Mrs. Agostini asked a question about whether a board member could spend more than her equal amount of expense money.

There is a huge problems with the proposed change.

No one asked for a comparison of the stipend costs versus anticipated per diem costs. Remember all those extra meetings in September. The scheduled Regular Meetings in September were September 14 and September 28. Then Teresa called two Special Meetings: September 22 and September 24.

If trustees were paid a per diem of $400/meeting, September's costs would have jumped from $800 to $1600.

If a Special-Called Meeting (workshop) is held, would that mean three (3) meetings paid by per diem in that month? $1200 vs. $800.

Is the board acting like the Federal Government? Just spend money without feasibility studies or  a cost/benefit analysis?

Is this a case of the fox watching the henhouse?

Friday, November 19, 2021

RCSD Press Release

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

Sheriff Leon Lott announces that no charges will be filed against the Richland Two school administrator who was accused of sexual misconduct.
 
After an intense investigation which included interviewing multiple witnesses and the individuals involved, as well as reviewing surveillance video from school cameras, investigators determined that the incident did not occur as described by the child and that the administrator did not do anything improper. 
 
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department began investigating on Monday, after the parent of a Richland Two elementary student raised concerns about an incident involving an administrator.
 
On Tuesday night, that parent spoke about the allegations during the public participation portion of the school board meeting.
 
“As parents, we want to believe that our kids are always truthful with us, but sometimes it turns out that’s not the case,” Sheriff Lott said. “However, we have a duty to make sure that any allegations are fully and completely investigated so that appropriate action can be taken when warranted.”
 
Richland Two and the elementary school involved cooperated fully throughout the investigation and have been notified of the findings.

Manning slams community members

During the Board & Superintendent Comments at the end of the November 16th board meeting, at 3:12:45 Trustee Manning slammed and disrespected community members and parents.

He said that they (the board) learned a lot and accomplished a lot. Seriously? What did they really learn from the long presentation by Mrs. Helen Grant that was supposed to rnlighten them about the difference between Critical Race Theory and Culturally Relevant Teaching? Nothing. 

They did learn that Mrs. Grant couldn't even tell them the difference. Certainly, there is no excuse for not being able to explain the difference. That's her department. That's her specialty. That was the requested topic. Grant reports to the superintendent, and she probably will get praised, not reprimanded for her admission that she could not explain the difference.

Then Manning said, "It's interesting - sometimes we get requested to put things on the agenda. We have community outpour and then, when we get to the actual topic, the ones that asked for the information aren't present. Umm. I think it is a two-way street that, you know, when you want information or you request information, you ensure that you are also present so that you make sure you get both sides of the story so that you completely understand what's going on. For those of you who stayed with us, thank you for being here with us so that you are fully informed on what's going on in the District and how that all comes to play..."

"both sides" of CRT weren't presented! 

The problem with what Manning said is that "those who weren't there" have no obligation to be there. They may have already read the CRT presentation. Nothing was added that was helpful. Who wants to sit through other business just to hear someone read a presentation. Plus, anyone can view the replay, so why stay there so late. 

I emailed the board members before November 16 to ask them not to let Mrs. Grant read her 28-page presentation to them. I suggested that, if she started to, tell her you had read the presentation, and then begin asking questions. Which board members, if any, had read the presentation? If I were to guess, I'd say that Trustees Agostini, McFadden and Scott had read all 28 pages. Anyone else?

Manning has managed to raise the ire of a segment of parents who are insulted by his remarks. No public official should make such remarks. 

Holmes - out of order AGAIN

Toward the end of the Nov. 16th board meeting, during the agenda item pertaining to the Draft Agenda for the December 14, 2021 board meeting, Trustee Agostini moved (made a motion) at 3:01:20 in the YouTube sanitized version of the recording to have an Human Resources update included in the agenda.

Teresa Holmes just does NOT understand parliamentary procedure.

The ONLY thing Holmes should have said at that time was, "Is there a second?"

Instead Holmes jumped into Stalling Mode with a question about doing that update as a Board Brief, and then the superintendent piled on with another typical long-winded response. Davis offered a written response to Agostini's question, if he receives the question.

I think there was a reason that Mrs. Agostini wanted it to be part of a public board meeting. She was sticking up for teachers who are losing their planning time to substitute-teaching duties, and that situation has existed for many months. TEACHERS, SUPPORT MRS. AGOSTINI.

Mrs. Agostini already knows that submitting a written request hasn't worked in the past. She did a good job of not asserting once again that that process doesn't work, when it involves a question she has brought up.

Trustee Agostini is always very nice when she gets run over by Holmes and Davis. In the future, I hope she will stand up to them. Another trustee should have called out "Point of Order" and demanded that there be no discussion until Mrs. Agostini's Motion was seconded. The only one who might have spoken up was Trustee McFadden, as Trustee Scott apparently had silently excused herself from the meeting.

There should have been NO discussion until Mrs. Agostini's motion was seconded.

This is exactly why this board needs a Parliamentarian AND why there isn't one. Without a Parliamentarian, Holmes and the superintendent can run roughshod over others.

Manning knew there was a secondary motion pending. Why didn't HE speak up, when Holmes called for the vote to approve the draft agenda??? It is true that it hadn't been seconded, because Holmes violated parliamentary procedure and had never called for a second.

RCSD: No crime at (BHE)

The Richland County Sheriff's Department (RCSD) reports that it has completed its investigation of the incident reported by the father of an elementary school student, when he addressed the school board on November 16. Sheriff Lott announced that no crime had been committed.

See the short article on The State newspaper's website here.

Expect an announcement on Richland 2's website soon. www.Richland2.org

[Edited] 11/19/21 1:16PM The Richland 2 website has been updated. I'm still waiting for the full press release from RCSD.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Board did it - sat for 20 min. of reading

At Tuesday night's board meeting, November 16, 2021, the board sat in their seats for 20 minutes and listened to Helen Grant read her 28 PowerPoint slides to them. What a waste of time. The board should have read and studied those slides before the meeting. Did they?

Her presentation starts at 2:08:55 on the YouTube (altered) copy of the videorecording of the meeting.  Questions from the board begin at 2:28:19.

Caution-Parker made a point of expressing her sorrow that many in the audience left early and missed Helen Grant's presentation. Perhaps someone could explain to her that no one needed to sit through all the meeting filler and wait for the presentation, especially if they had read it before the meeting.

In my remarks to the board earlier in the meeting, I suggested that they just launch into Q&A and not just sit there and be read to. But that would have been a business way of doing things. That's not this board. Plus Caution-Parker was one of two trustees who couldn't be bothered with giving me their attention. Maybe she was busy writing her memoirs or planning her next vacation. Caution-Parker does not acknowledge that many "of us who left" had read the presentation (and wouldn't have learned anything new) or might be watching later on the videorecording.

Trustee Agostini asked what the most-common misconception was between Critical Race Theory and Culturally Relevant Teaching. Mrs. Grant: "I wish I could tell you." She said the two are not the same. Duhhh..... If they were the same, there wouldn't be any differences! 

Mrs. Grant ought to know the answer to that question, and it should have just rolled off her tongue. She said she could not explain the difference. Why not??? Did she not anticipate the question? I'm glad I didn't waste time sitting around for that answer!

Mrs. Grant explained about "lived experiences"; ex., crocheting, swimming. Now you tell me... if a teacher of 30 students is supposed to learn about each one's "culture", when is that teacher ever going to have time to teach the subject matter of the class? Then she talked about the possible "unconscious" beliefs of a teacher. If it is an unconscious belief, how is the teacher even going to know she has it?

Mrs. Agostini asked about "equity". Mrs. Grant answered that the district provides everything that a student needs. Wow! No wonder that teachers are stressed out, over-worked and quitting.

Mrs. Agostini then asked about "privilege". (2:35:00)  Mrs. Grant: "Students have varying levels of privilege." A pretty good argument or debate could be carried on about whether she really talking about "privilege" or something else. She assigns the word "privilege" to experiences. No wonder this world is a mess.

Mrs. Grant mentioned "educational privilege". (2:35:35) Hogwash! She worked for it. She earned it. 

Mrs. Agostini asked Supt. Davis (2:40:03) if the book STAMPED had been used in the SOAR program last summer. At that point the superintendent got the bit in his teeth and headed on around the race track. Why is he allowed to just take over like that??? WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL HIM TO STOP TALKING??? It's obvious that the chair was not going to put a muzzle on him, but someone needed to.

As the superintendent rambled, he asked, "What inspired Nat Turner?" Do you know who Nat Turner was? A runaway slave who murdered whites in a nearby state. What conversation was held about that? I remember a black middle school student who, here in Columbia in 2015, told me Nat Turner was a hero. Oh, really?

McKie's comments. She should have taken a pass.

Manning made some really dumb statements about "privilege". Apparently, "privilege" is a new class word. I don't buy it.

Caution-Parker took a second whack at talking and contributed nothing further to the evening.

Holmes did not call on Trustee Scott. Was she still there? If not, when did she leave the meeting? Why was her exit not announced and recorded?

Then Holmes took over and that's when I shut down the video.