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.


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


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.

Open Letter to the Board and media

The following email has been sent to the five legal board members, the two trustees-elect and to media contacts.

Good morning, Board Members and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,

You should be aware that Richland 2 has not yet published the recording of Tuesday night's board meeting on the District's website or on livestream.com/richland2

An altered version of the recording has been published on YouTube, where it will not be found by most people. 

The District is obviously in high cover-up mode. The removal of the parent's remarks from the official recording is, I believe, an illegal alteration of the public record. You, as board members, must insist on transparency and compassion, and you should not allow yourselves to be swept up in stone-walling. I understand the need to avoid any pre-mature legal admissions.

You must demand why the full board was not quickly apprised of that complaint. Were some, but not all, of the board members informed before the meeting? Was the chair informed before the meeting?

Trying to set off the responsibility for withholding the parent's remarks on the "Director of Safety & Security" is a dumb and irresponsible decision. 

Please have the full recording immediately published on the District's website, on livestream.com/richland2 and on YouTube.


Gus Philpott

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Why did Holmes shift order of speakers?

Why did Teresa Holmes shift the order of speakers last night?

When the speakers' list opened for sign-up at 5:30PM, I was #9 to sign. Signatures are in ink, so there is no question about who signed when.

As I listened to the first eight speakers, I prepared to hear my name called and step forward to the microphone. However, Teresa called Larry Smalls as the ninth speaker. Larry is great speaker and also entertaining, too. Be sure to watch the Public Participation, when Richland 2 gets around to posting it on livestream.com/richland2

Teresa has trouble with names. For some reason she can't pronounce Gary Ginn's name. Last night it sounded by "Gwinn".

Julie Weaver is often introduced as "Julia". Does Holmes need glasses, or does she have a reading disorder? Should someone coach her about pronunciation of names?

Had Public Participation ended without my being called to speak, I was prepared to assert my privilege to speak, since I had been #9 to sign up. Maybe she was hoping I'd leave, instead of waiting...

I ran out of time, because I stopped speaking at one point when I noticed that both McKie and Caution-Parker had their heads down and were busy writing. I'm pretty sure they weren't taking notes on what I was say. So I stopped and waited for their attention. The silence in the room didn't cause either of them to look up.

Nov. 16 Video now available on YouTube (only)

The video of last night's meeting is now available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/56lks0GbCfs

At this time (11/17/2021 6:43PM) it is not yet available on the District's website or on livestream.com/richland2

The video has been altered to remove the unrecorded 1¼-hour executive session. I did not yet view the video to see whether anything else has been removed. Even with those items removed, the video is THREE hours 24 minutes long. Out. Of. Control.

[Edited 11/18/2021] The remarks by the father of the elmentary school student have been scrubbed from the video that is posted to YouTube. In place of the father's remarks is this notice

Is there anyone on the planet who believes that the "Director of Safety and Security" gave the "advice" not to post that parent's comments? Seriously? The guy just works there. Why hang him out to dry (and not even mention his name)?

The buck stops at the superintendent's office. Why didn't the superintendent take responsibility and put HIS name on the announcement? That's the $64,000 Question. For $1 I'll give you the answer.

Did you notice how the superintendent didn't even pipe up after the father spoke? Nor did Holmes!

Should Richland 2 be sued?

If the Richland 2 School District continues to delay publishing the video of last night's school board meeting or deletes the portion of the meeting when the father informed the board of the searching of his elementary school child, should the District be sued.

If you think it should and if you will support such a lawsuit, please email your expression of interest to gusphilpott@gmail.com  There will be no publication of your name or email address here. I'll collect the names and email addresses and keep you posted (by bcc:) of the level of interest. 

The delay by the District in publishing the videorecording on livestream.com/richland2 is preposterous and creates added furor to this mess. The effort to suppress information is not what one expects of a supposedly-responsible board of trustees or superintendent.

Most will accept their natural reluctance to make any public statement. Anything that is said officially will be vetted by their lawyers, whether internal or external. 

The father spoke in public. The District is 100% wrong to suppress his statements.

Be sure to read today's article in The Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County. Listen to the audio of the father speaking to the Board on November 16, 2021 (yesterday). 

Richland 2 Lies...

What's the lie?

The man did not speak about "an alleged incident". He spoke about something that he said happened! He was the 13th speaker of the evening. 

There were about 50 members of the public there last night. All seats were taken. There were seven board members and the superintendent. There were plenty of Richland 2 staff members present, who get preferred seating between the board and the audience. Everyone in the room heard the man speak.

There was no "alleged" about it.

 On the homepage of the Richland 2 School District is this announcement about last night's meeting.



During Public Participation at the November 16, 2021 Board Meeting, an individual spoke about an alleged incident that was reported in an email to the district office on Sunday, November 14, 2021. The allegations were disturbing to hear just as they were disturbing to read about in the email. Dr. Baron R. Davis, superintendent, has assured employees and parents in an email that district administrators responded quickly after reading the email on Monday morning.

Administrators from the district's Human Resources office responded to the school Monday morning, November 15, to begin an investigation and to place the employee named in the report on administrative leave. Law enforcement began an investigation on Monday as well, and school and district administrators are fully cooperating with the investigators from the Richland County Sheriff's Department. The school principal talked with the parents to let them know that district administrators had started an investigation.
Based on the advice of the district’s Director of Safety and Security, the availability of the livestream video from the board meeting is currently restricted to protect the identity of a minor involved in an investigation. The district is exercising as much caution as possible in order to not interfere with the investigations, and therefore, district leaders could not respond to the comments made during Public Participation at the board meeting. Additionally, the district must protect student privacy in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
In the letter to employees and parents, Superintendent Davis said, “Please know that Richland Two does not tolerate any type of misconduct involving students and always fully investigates any reports of possible violations of laws, policies and procedures. In responding to allegations, district and school administrators are required by privacy laws to protect the identity of all individuals involved during the investigation. We always fully cooperate with law enforcement to ensure that our actions do not interfere with or compromise the integrity of any criminal investigations. I want to reassure the entire Richland Two family that providing safe, nurturing and caring environments that support quality teaching and learning at all of our schools remains our top priority.”


The Richland 2 School Board met last night (November 16, 2021), and the District has not posted the video-recording of the meeting as of 10:57AM today.

Recordings are normally posted shortly after the end of the meeting.

During the Public Participation segment of the meeting a parent addressed the board about an incident that had occurred at the Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School. Those in the conference room were shocked by his statements. 

One member of the public received this reply from Libby Roof, identified on the District's website as the chief communications officer: 

"Based on the advice of the district’s Director of Safety and Security, the availability of the livestream video from the meeting is currently restricted to protect the identity of a minor involved in an investigation. The district is exercising as much caution as possible during this ongoing investigation.

"During Public Participation, an individual spoke about an alleged incident that was reported in an email to the district office on Sunday, 11-14-21.  Those from the district's HR office responded to the school Monday morning, 11-15-21 to begin an investigation. Following board policy, the employee named in the report was placed on admin leave. LE began an investigation on Monday as well, and school and district administrators are fully cooperating with the investigators from the RCSD.

"I will let you know when we are able to make the video public."

I wonder why the District is hanging its Director of Safety and Security out to dry on this one. The buck stops right at the top - at the superintendent's desk. Safety and Security is responsible for the multitude of Richland 2 security officers who protect the public from the school board on meeting nights and who are regularly thanked for doing their duty in such a friendly manner.

One member of the public was ejected last night, when he rose to his feet and protested politely to the board following the parent's remarks.

This morning I sent the following email to Libby Roof, the full board, the superintendent, the in-house general counsel, and the outside attorney for the District.

Good morning, Mrs. Roof,

I notice that the recording of  last evening's board meeting has not yet been posted. Please post the recording in full without delay.

I understand the District may have some concern about the remarks of one parent. Those remarks are part of the public record and cannot be legally redacted from the recording. Should the District alter the public record by redacting all or a portion of that speaker's remarks, I am quite sure that the District can expect a very public lawsuit.

It was inexcusable that the chair or the superintendent had absolutely nothing to say after that parent's remarks. At the very least, the superintendent should have directed a staff person to speak with that parent before he left the meeting. That happened at a recent board meeting after parents expressed concerns of a less-serious matter.

Please post the full recording by 12:00PM today.

If the parent wanted his identity or the identity of his child protected, he would not have spoken in public about what had happened. The purpose of the District's action is clear to all for what it is.

A number of us spoke with the parent in the courtyard of R2i2 after the Public Participation segment, while the meeting continued. There were many offers of support to the family. We are outraged by what the parent had reported.

Speak up now. Email the Board and the superintendent and tell them it is too late to run for cover.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Why Teachers are Leaving...

Just got home from the Richland 2 school board meeting and came across this. Watch this teacher's rant. She is right on. 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Judicial Watch on Critical Race Theory

Watch Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, take off on Critical Race Theory and Antiracist Baby. I've been a supporting member of Judicial Watch for several years, and it is doing great work on many fronts.

This November 2021 video is germane to issues being addressed by Richland 2 right now. If you have time to watch this before the November 16 board meeting, please do.

Here's another video for more information about Ibram Kendi's Antiracist Baby:

Grab Your Wallets - Policy BID under "Review"

At the November 16, 2021 board meeting Board Policy BID is up for review. This policy is Board Member Compensation and Expenses. Grab your wallets and purses, folks.

Of course, you know what the board members will really do, don't you?

They will reduce their monthly stipend (salary) from $800 to $400-500. Or maybe they'll change it to $100/meeting. Not likely.

And those expenses? 

I remember Teresa Holmes' photos on her Facebook page when she attended a national meeting of the National School Boards Association in Washington, DC in January 2019, only two months after being elected to the Richland 2 School Board on November 6, 2018. And BEFORE she ever took the oath of office as a board member legally.

Need I mention one more time that Holmes has never taken the oath of office legally? Nor has Amelia McKie.

How many more NSBA meetings has she attended at Richland 2 expense? How many SCSBA meetings has she attended? She has never taken the oath of office legally and, therefore, is still NOT a legitimate member of the Richland 2 school board. How much has Richland 2 spent on expenses for her?

How much does Richland 2 budget for board of trustees expenses? How much does Richland 2 actually pay for trustees' expenses?

Is anyone foolish enough to think that the board will be reducing its own allowance?

If the District does reimburse a trustee for expenses, the trustee should have to provide documentation and confirmation that s/he actually attended general and workshop sessions and didn't just go to the meeting to party.

The public deserves to know what the numbers are.

Also, Board Policy BID should be amended state that no increase in stipend/per diem or expenses will be effective during the current term of any board member. In other words, they can't vote themselves a raise.

Please spread the word

Please spread the word about this blog throughout the Richland 2 world and beyond.

It's easy to do. Just ask friends, coworkers, neighbors, family to visit www.Richland2.info

If you want to share a specific article, you'll see at the bottom of each article a row of small boxes. The left box, "M", will open a new page on which you can enter your name, your friend's email address, and a message. Try it now.

If you wish, you can send to more than one email address. 

If you send to multiple email addresses, the recipient will receive only his own copy and not see the other email addresses.

Check that you aren't a robot and then hit Send Email.

No record is kept of your name, your friend's email address or your message. I don't see it. It's a one-time use only, and only by you.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

View the CRT presentation for Nov. 16; then

The presentation about the difference(s) between Critical Race Theory and Richland 2's Culturally Relevant Teaching is available for your inspection on the Richland 2 website.

Parents and others may read, review, study and learn it (and about it) before Tuesday's board meeting on November 16 at 6:30PM.

Study it now and email the questions that you would like board members to ask Mrs. Helen Grant and her team.

What a shame and waste of time it will be, if Mrs. Grant is just allowed to read the PowerPoint presentation to the board and the audience. Presumably, the board members will have read and familiarized themselves with the presentation before the meeting. Some of them will; some of them won't. 

The trustees should use Tuesday night's time with Mrs. Grant to ask her specific questions and get clear, complete answers from her. There should be no "I'll get back to you with that" responses.

Where will you find the presentation? 
Go to the District's website. www.richland2.org
At the upper right, click on EXPLORE.
Click on School Board
Click on AGENDA
Click on Regular Board Meeting
Click on View the Agenda
On the left side, scroll down to Item 10.5
Click on Item 10.5
Click on the link for Board Presentation
Scroll down through the 28 PowerPoint slides

Know where to find the email addresses for the school board?
Click here:  https://www.richland2.org/School-Board/Members

Or just paste the following email addresses into the To: field of your email:
docholmesschoolboard2@gmail.com, jamesmanning@richland2.org, ameliamckie@richland2.org, cherylcautionparker@richland2.org, lashondamcfadden@richland2.org, lindsayagostini@richland2.org, puttingstudentsfirst2012@gmail.com, 

Open Letter to Board about 11/16 board meeting

The following email has been sent to the Richland 2 School Board Ms. Holmes and Ms. McKie are addressed as trustees-elect because they have never taken the oath of office legally. Because they have not, they have never become legitimate members of the school board. 

Good morning, Board Members and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,

At the board meeting on this Tuesday, November 16, Mrs. Grant will entertain you with Item 10.5, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, a 28-page presentation apparently intended to respond to the Board's request for information about the July 22nd In-service Training for staff on the difference between Culturally Relevant Teaching and Critical Race Theory.

Hopefully, Mrs. Grant does not intend to read all 28 pages to you. You'll notice on Slide 1 that Mrs. Grant has a new title, even though the District's website has not been updated. Her titles are key evidence of the presence of Critical Race Theory right here in Richland 2.

May I encourage you to take a couple of hours to read and study carefully this presentation? To save your time, print the 28 pages. Put a big X across the irrelevant pages. As you study it, continually ask yourself if you are seeing the differences between Culturally Relevant Teaching and Critical Race Theory. Write YES or NO on each page.

Please prepare your questions. When Mrs. Grant begins her presentation, cut her short and start asking questions, so that her long presentation doesn't consume all the agenda time that the chair and superintendent may have allocated to that Item.

Slide 2 is worded to mislead you and to re-direct your attention from Critical Race Theory. The Culturally Relevant Pedagogy of Gloria Boutte and the superintendent's preference for a face at the front of the room that looks like the faces in the classroom seats (i.e., black) is what you want to examine. Many pages have nothing to do with CRT1 vs. CRT2. Don't be misled.

One of your first questions might be: "What do you mean by 'intentional focus on providing an equitable education for all of our students'. Explain 'equitable'."

Ask "What is the District's Mission?" and "What is the District's Vision?" Those should be short, but important, answers.   https://www.richland2.org/About/About-Us  Is this the truth? Is it achievable? Is it correct?

Ask what and where the videos are that in-service attendees were required to watch during break-out sessions.

Ask the titles of the break-out sessions.

Ask where the hand-outs for the break-out sessions are.

Ask if the break-out sessions were recorded and where the recordings are.

Were attendance sheets for each break-out session kept?

Otherwise, you will be spoon-fed a carefully-prepared presentation designed to give you what Administration wants you to see, which may not be what you have asked for.

An R2 teacher called me this week and told me that everything I have written on my blog is 100% accurate. I was told that teachers are afraid to speak up. Are R2 students being indoctrinated, as suspected by an increasing number of parents? Your job is to root that out and return R2 to the business of Education.

Example, Page 3 Equity. Richland 2 has 28,000+ students. It is impossible to deliver on that statement of opportunities and supports. Richland 2 is not a Montessori school or a private institution with unlimited funding.

Slide 18. Saying it does not make it so.

If you study the presentation carefully, do you understand the differences? Since almost no information is provided about Critical Race Theory, how can you understand the differences?


Gus Philpott

Friday, November 12, 2021

Is there a difference? CRT vs. CRT

At the November 16 board meeting, a presentation will be given by Helen Grant, now "Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer." On the title page for the presentation appears "Formerly known as the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion." Does the board know about that change?

That change must be new. The District's website hasn't even been updated yet. On 11/12/2021 at 4:48PM it still reads

Dr. Helen Nelson Grant

Chief Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer

This presentation should be "interesting", since the words "diversity, equity and inclusion" are key components of critical race theory. 

The title of her presentation is "The Difference Between Critical Race Theory and Culturally Relevant Teaching."

Her dog-and-pony show consists of 28 PowerPoint pages. You can see and study them on the agenda for the November 16 board meeting. Go to the agenda and scroll down on the left side to Item 10.5 "Update: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion" When you find that, click on it. The PowerPoint presentation will open up.

Be sure to look at them carefully.

I spoke with a teacher this week who attended the In-Service Training that was provided to Richland 2 staff. I was told that my blog (this one) was 100% accurate. And that teachers are afraid to speak up. 

Of course, they are. If they express a different opinion to the "right way to think", they put their jobs and future at risk. And they know it. 

The board meeting will be eight hours long if Mrs. Grant reads every word on every page. Almost every professional presenter knows that you never prepare this type of presentation with page after page of narrative. You use bullet-points and then tell your story.

But the "show" Tuesday night must be told exactly right. If she gets off-script and trustees interrupt with questions, the temperature will drop 40Âș. Bring your parkas and mittens.

"The core idea (of Critical Race Theory) is that racism is a social construct..." PowerPoint 11.slide.
"The construct of race ..." / STAMPED, by Reynolds & Kendi, Inside front dust cover.

On the second slide is mentioned "culturally relevant pedagogy". That is a pet program of Gloria Boutte of the University of South Carolina. The Board was treated to an explanation of that exact program on March 26, 2019. Richland 2 implemented and has been using Boutte's program. That was the meeting when then-Board member Jamie Shadd said something about how young black men just talk loudly. Also at the meeting Board member James Manning reluctantly rose to the defense of white teachers.

Keywords on Slide 2: "...intentional focus on providing an equitable education for all of our students."

Let's hope the board stops Mrs. Grant after about five minutes and starts peppering her with direct questions. Don't let her waste 50+ minutes of time speed-reading her slides.

"Dr." Grant is a lawyer by education. She is not the school district's lawyer. She has an administrative role in the District. She should be addressed as Mrs. Grant, not Dr. Grant. Have you EVER heard a lawyer anywhere being addressed as Dr. (last name)?

Agenda for Nov. 16 now out

Remember when the agenda for a board meeting was accompanied by an announcement that was halfway friendly?

It just laid out the information and didn't threaten anyone. Now?

Be good, boys and girls. Behave. Don't loiter. Don't protest. Don;t be loud. Don't try to socialize in the lobby at the Taj Mahal. 

And you'd better fit into that group of people who are "allowed" to speak. I say, remove the category of public officials! If they live in the District, fine. If not, why should they get preference?

Now, the one good thing is to keep a safe distance from the board of trustees. You'll notice that all EXCEPT ONE wear a mask and keep the mask on during the meeting. Teresa is special. She takes off her Darth Vader mask (I keep looking for the breathing tube) and keeps it off for far too long. 

Maybe I'll ask for a plastic protective shield in front of her, so she can't breathe on the audience.

Look at all the subjective conditions for getting kicked out: "any person attending the meeting who is out of order, loud, disruptive, making inappropriate comments, and/or a safety concern"

Who decides if a person is loud? disruptive? making "inappropriate." comments?

If I say to someone at R2i2 that Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie should be removed from the board because they are not legitimate board members, is that an "inappropriate" comment? Even if I can prove it? If I have a copy of the state law (8-13-1110(A)) and copies of their fraudulent notarized oath-of-office documents? the documents that prove they violated the State law?

If I explain to someone at R2i2 that Holmes filed a harassment report against me at the sheriff's department and the deputy's report of her complaint contained nothing buy false statements, will I be considered disruptive? 

I'll tell you what this District needs. It needs four new board members at the November 2022 election AND a new superintendent. The board needs to return to a constituent-friendly public body. Sooner, rather than later.

Oh, say; can you hear?

Do you attend Richland 2 board meetings in-person? Can you hear all of what is said?

If you cannot hear all of what is said by board members, the superintendent or staff who answer questions from the board, will you please indicate to the board that you cannot hear?

Board members and the audience are supposed to be able to hear everything. There should be no side conversations during the meeting, just like board members are not supposed to be surfing the internet, playing Solitaire, or sending or receiving text messages or email. 

A couple of years ago I was offered a hearing assistance device. But those devices must have "grown legs" during the pandemic, because now they are nowhere to be found.

A good solution would be for the sound engineer to turn up the volume in the room. Volume on the livestream broadcast and recording is substantially better.

Or find the devices and post a sign at the room entrance that such devices are available; after they have been found. Or purchased again.

If you can't hear everything, post a comment below and send an email to Tony Kenion at   akenion@richland2.org

A Maryland Dad Steps Up

Read this story about a Maryland dad who got involved after his son's 8th Grade English class was exposed to a transgender activist's video. That video, a 2017 TED Talk, can be viewed via a link in that story.

Matt Schoenfeldt wrote, in part, "We make a practice of reviewing the health lessons at our son’s middle school, but naively never thought to look at English lessons. We were surprised by this 'lesson' openly advocating the LGBTQ+ agenda and using a trans activist’s propaganda speech disguised as English instruction."

This dad, a career military officer, sought and attained a fairly quick meeting with the principal, the teacher and a director from the school district. He refers to them as the "unwitting accomplice, the patsy, and the pusher", respectively.

The "pusher" in Richland Two would be Helen Grant, the school district's Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer. How many teachers in Richland 2 would be the "patsies"?

What are your stories about challenging "Culturally Relevant Teaching" and indoctrination of Richland 2 students under the guise of "education"? More like "re-education", I'd say.

STAMPED, by Reynolds & Kendi

When I heard that the book STAMPED, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, had been used in the Richland 2 SOAR program, I decided to read it. What's it all about?

I was familiar with Kendi's book from readings about Critical Race Theory. Since the Richland Library had four copies of it in English (I mistakenly reserved the Spanish-language copy first), that's where I got it, instead of buying a printed copy or reading it on Kindle.

That was my first good decision - not spending money buying it!

As I read on the inside flyleaf "The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power...", I thought, "Oh, here we go." I hadn't known exactly what to expect, but that set the stage.

Then I began to read the Introduction, which is by Kendi. Kendi refers to this book as a "re-mix" of his book, Stamped from the Beginning. I thought, "Maybe I should read that one first." Kendi praises Reynolds as "one of the most gifted writers and thinkers of our time." (Page x). I thought, "Seriously?"

Then Kendi wrote, "I watched the televised and untelevised life of the shooting star of #Black Lives Matter..." (Pages x-xi) How do you watch an "untelevised" life?

Kendi wrote about the heart-breaking deaths of boys, naming Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown (Page xi), and I'm already wondering, "How am I ever going to get through this book?" And I haven't even made it to the first page yet; I'm just at the third page of the Introduction (misleadingly numbered as Page xi (that's "11", for the kids who are reading the book and don't know what "xi" means).

My opinion has been formed. This book is trash. But I'll keep reading, because I want to know why Richland 2 selected this book for any program.

Kendi referred to co-author Reynolds as "The novelist". Is this book going to be a story dressed up like it's real? 

What balance is being given to Richland 2 students? Kendi uses the word "antiracist". Does he really mean his own version of racism?

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Smart guy, that Walter Williams

Who was Walter Edwards Williams (1936-2020)?

If all you knew about him was what is quoted above, you'd say he was a pretty smart guy.

I encourage you to take a.few minutes and read about Walter Williams on Wikipedia.com    Learn about his upbringing, education, military service, degrees and friendships.

Wikipedia has this to say, "As an economist, Williams was a proponent of free market economics and opposed socialist systems of government intervention. Williams believed laissez-faire capitalism to be the most moral, most productive system humans have ever devised." 

And this: "Williams believed that racism and the legacy of slavery in the United States are overemphasized as problems faced by the black community today. He pointed to the crippling effects of a welfare state and the disintegration of the black family as more pressing concerns. 'The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do, and that is to destroy the black family.' "

And "Williams viewed gun control laws as a governmental infringement upon the rights of individuals, and argued that they end up endangering the innocent while failing to reduce crime."

Not just a pretty smart guy. A very smart guy.

What questions are being asked in schools?

Could this be happening right here in Richland 2? Ask your kids now.

Read this FoxNews article about questions being asked of students in Fairfax County, Virginia schools. The questions are being asked of students in 8th Grade, 10th Grade and 12th Grade. Answering the questions is reported not to be mandatory.

I can hear the teacher's explanation now. "Who wants to answer these questions? All others, report to detention after school."

What questions?

"Have you ever had sexual intercourse?"
"How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?"
"During your life, with how many people have you had sexual intercourse?"
"Have you ever had oral sex?"

Questions are also asked about "their sexual orientation, whether they are transgender, and their race."

How old are kids in 8th Grade? 13? 14?

A long time ago I learned that, just because someone asks me a question, I don't have to answer it. Just because someone wrote down or printed a question on a piece of paper, I don't have to answer it.

Have students learned that yet? 

My stepson came home from middle school one afternoon and said, "Guess what I learned in school today. Stand up for what you think is right, even if you are standing alone."

Then he added, "Except in school, where you get in trouble."

Have today's students learned to say, "I am not answering those questions, and I don't know to tell you why not."

Monday, November 8, 2021


Last Friday, November 5, the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) voted to withdraw from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and to request a refund of its 2021-2022 membership dues.

I suspect many school boards in the State went down the throat of the SCSBA over the NSBA's letter to the White House. That furor led to protesting parents' being labeled as domestic terrorists, and parents won't stand for that.

Richland 2 didn't exactly jump on the band wagon. At the last board meeting somebody suggested a Resolution be prepared for presentation to the SCSBA, and the Richland 2 board expected it at the next board meeting on November 16. Other districts got busy and got the job done, while Richland 2 was trying to figure out how to circle the wagons.

Good thing a building wasn't on fire. 

Will Administration keep going with the preparation of the Resolution?

What are Baron Davis' Side-hustles?

People around here know Baron Davis as the superintendent of the Richland 2 School District. For that he was paid $233,882.97 in 2020, plus  an $18,000 car allowance.

You'd think that being superintendent of a large school district (28,000 students and 3,000+ employees) would be a full-time job; right? Apparently not.

The University of South Carolina paid him $14,000 in 2020. He has put a tagline on his email signature that he is Superintendent-in-Residence. What does he do for $14,000? A lot of people would have to work over a month for that amount of pay.

The University of the Cumberlands is another of his employers. He draws a salary from that school, which is located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. That's about 342 miles from Columbia. When does he have time to teach there? Or does he teach online courses there? At what times-of-day are those courses conducted?

One of his students reported on ratemyprofessor.com: "Written assignments are very self-reflective. Turned in three before I received any type of grade on the first one that was submitted. Feedback on all assignments seemed to be a cookie cutter statement that may or may not have had anything to do with my particular performance on that particular assignment."

Another student "graded" him with "Dr. Davis was informative and a very intelligent man but he was horrible at getting assignments graded."

And then there is The NeoGenesis Group. That's Davis' own business, established in 2018, of which he is the President and CEO. Its website is www.noegenesisgroup.com

There seems to be some confusion, even on his own website, as to whether it's the NeoGenesis Group or the Noe Genesis Group.

On his Statement of Economic Interests Report to the South Carolina Ethics Commission, Davis reported the name as "The Noe Genesis Group".

In bold, capitalized letters on his website, it's "THE NEOGENESIS GROUP".

In tiny print at the top left of the homepage of his website, it's "THE NOEGENESIS GROUP".

In the "ABOUT NOEGENESIS" section of the website, one can read what the business is about:

"Founded and established in 2018, The Noegenesis Group is a solutions-focused and outcomes-driven Think Tank who's [sic] philosophical orientation of support is rooted in the belief that we are at all times working toward self-actualization and continuous improvement."

Maybe someone in the tank should think a little more about whether it's who's or whose? While they are tinkering with spelling, they might also review "ESTB 2018".

In view of three side-hustles, the logical question might be, "Is Richland 2 getting his full-time services for $233,000/year? Or did the majority on the board (Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker, Manning) decide they could do with less than his full time for the $233,000?

Davis reported his income from The Noe Genesis Group on his 2021 Statement of Economic Interests Report to the Ethics Commission as Salary. That would lead one to think that The Noe Genesis Group is one form of corporation or another. Income from sole proprietor ships and partnerships is not "salary". But the S.C. Secretary of State has no business registration for either The Neo Genesis Group or The Noe Genesis Group. Interesting ...