Monday, May 16, 2022

Why Kali Fontanilla stopped teaching


Watch this hard-hitting video from PragerU. This former teacher (Salinas, Calif.) hits the nail squarely on its head.

Kali Fontanilla, founder of Exodus Institute, knows what she is talking about. Check out her home-school program.

Spread this video far and wide. Use the "Email this" button at the bottom of this article to forward to your friends, colleagues, neighbors.

And read this 2021 Epoch Times article about Kali.

Roll Call required at board meeting

More than once in the past 2-3 years I have urged the school board to call the roll at board meetings. Why is this important?

It is essential for a public body to be certain who was present and who was not. The main reason is to confirm that a quorum was present. For the Richland 2 School Board, that's five members to be present. And it should be five legitimate members.

Immediately after calling the meeting to order, the chair should direct the Secretary to call the roll by name. If a member is attending by telephone, that should be so stated. Then announce whether a quorum is present. If a quorum is present, then the chair can proceed with the business on the agenda.

For some unknown reason, the board entertains a motion to leave executive session aftet they have returned to the main meeting room. South Carolina law allows the executive session to decide to return to public session.

SECTION 30-4-70. Meetings which may be closed; procedure; circumvention of chapter; disruption of meeting; executive sessions of General Assembly.

(b) ... No action may be taken in executive session except to (a) adjourn or (b) return to public session." 

Once the board returns to public session, the correct motion would be to re-convene (after the executive session). Richland 2 school board never does that. 

What they currently do is vote to leave executive session. They never vote to re-convene.

When the board does re-convene, roll call should be taken again.

Why should they do that? Simple. To comply with State law. When they had the consultant come in for two Executive Coaching and Parliamentary Procedures training, that should have been explained to the board. It wasn't.

SECTION 30-4-90. Minutes of meetings of public bodies.

(a) All public bodies shall keep written minutes of all of their public meetings. Such minutes shall include but need not be limited to:

(1) The date, time and place of the meeting.

(2) The members of the public body recorded as either present or absent.

The Minutes do state who was present and who was not; HOWEVER, the members were never recorded as present or absent during the meeting. The recording secretary (not the Secretary) notes who was there. Because there was no roll call, no "record" was made at the time who was present.

Thus, at every meeting the board approves Minutes that are incorrect.

If a member departs before the end of the meeting, the chair should immediately announce who left and at what (correct) time. If that member was attending by phone, it's even more important. The member on the phone should state that s/he is leaving, so that the chair can announce the departure and time. That departure could affect whether the meeting can legally continue.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

"Special" Committee meeting 5/16/2022, 5:30PM, R2i2

The following email has been sent to Richland 2 school board.


Please discuss tomorrow what "Special" means for the 5/16/22 Committee of the Whole meeting. On the District's website, the meeting is announced as "SPECIAL COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE WHOLE ON SAFETY AND SECURITY".

Please create a space on the Richland 2 website where meeting content and remarks will be posted quickly after meetings, so that parents, community members, business owners, employees, teachers, students, and staff will be aware of what you are doing.

Please also describe to the public how the Committee is separate from the board.

Please livestream the Committee meetings.

Please explain to the public how your Committee is organized, who is in charge of it, and how you will include the public in the future, since Public Participation is not on your agenda.

If Minutes are kept, please ensure they are more expansive than Board Minutes are.

For your committee work, please describe how it will work with the BeSMART initiative and local organizations, such as Building Better Communities (BBC), that are attempting to reduce gun violence. You don't really have to re-invent the wheel.


Email the board and tell them what you want. Use this string to email add board members:

teresaholmes@richland2.org, ameliamckie@richland2.org, cherylcautionparker@richland2.org, jamesmanning@richland2.org, lashondamcfadden@richland2.org, lindsayagostini@richland2.org, puttingstudentsfirst2012@gmail.com, 

Committee of the Whole for Safety & Security (4/28/2022)

The Committee was created by the school board at its Regular Meeting on April 26, 2022.

On April 28, 2022 the Committee held its organizational meeting in a special-called board meeting. This is the one that blew up in executive session, which may itself have been illegal.

The livestream.com/richland2.com recording starts at 05:21 on the ribbon timer.

When the meeting convened at 4:30PM, Teresa Holmes, as chair of the school board, made an introductory statement before the Motion to enter executive session was made.

During her statement, Holmes said (06:05), "Before we do that (the Motion), let me take a point-of-order [sic] here. I want to make a little clarity to the public tonight. This meeting is the way that we have to get to the public forums that we do plan to have later on. We have to go through committee first, which is what we are doing tonight. And then we'll talk about the things that we we want to do. Dr. Davis and I will come back later after and give a brief little update. But I wanted the public to understand that this is the process that we have to go through first, before we go into private things of having people come in and however we are going to format that."

Then Holmes called for the motion to enter executive session.

This organizational meeting should have been announced as a meeting of the Committee of the Whole, not as a special-called board meeting. Nothing Holmes said qualified the meeting they were about to have as an executive session. The entire meeting should have been open to the public and live-streamed.

What "private things" does Holmes have in mind?

This Committee is part of the public body (school board). There aren't going to be any "private things". 

Or are there?

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Why one, but not the other?

Isn't it the rule in schools that, if kids are fighting, they both (or all) get kicked out of school? Isn't it Zero Tolerance?

Why doesn't that apply in the boardroom?

For example, back on January 25th when Pamela Davis was disruptive and shouting before the board meeting started, why wasn't she escorted out and put on Trespass Notice?

Why wasn't Pamela Davis escorted out and put on Trespass Notice, after she cussed out a 14-year-old student in the boardroom?

A. Because she is Mrs. Baron Davis!

When Baron Davis rushed at Gary Ginn (I believe Gary), why wasn't he escorted out and put on Trespass Notice?

A. Because he is the superintendent and gives the orders to Richland 2 security officers!

Why did Gary Ginn get escorted out and put on Trespass Notice, after he intervened when Pamela Davis cussed out a 14-year-old student who was present?

Why did I get kicked out after introducing myself to Pamela Davis?

A. It was retaliation for writing a blog about Richland 2 for almost three years (at that time), sending many emails to the superintendent and board, criticizing the District's and Board's failure to remove Holmes and McKie for never taking the oath-of-office legally, and speaking out at many board meetings.

Did Richland 2 ever investigate my complaint against Pamela Davis that I filed with the Principal of Blythewood High School, where she is a teacher? I presume he forwarded it up the food chain. On whose desk did it die without action? I'm told it is an "HR Issue" and therefore confidential. But there is a documentated procedure for handling complaints. And one of the steps is NOT "Sweep it under the rug."

And did the S.C. Department of Education ever investigate my complaint against Pamela Davis over her antics in the boardroom on January 25? On whose desk over there did the complaint die?

When I spoke quietly and politely to the black woman I did not know and had never seen before at a board meeting, I had no way of knowing the level of angst that would be immediately created by those four simple, short words, "Hello, I'm Gus Philpott."

I had absolutely no idea who she was. Nor did the two other men or the 14-year-old student. 

Pamela Davis told Judi Gatson, WIS-TV anchor, that she had seen Gary Ginn and me "many times" at meetings. She told Judi she had felt "intimidated", "threatened", "targeted". Is that why she sat down immediately behind where I was standing (and right in front of Gary Ginn, the student and another man?

She must have really gotten some strong coaching before she sat down for WIS-TV.

She said she was "very uncomfortable when they (Gary and I) approached her". She flat-out lied, because Gary and I did not approach it. I stepped around to be in front of her to introduce myself. Why did she lie?

She also lied when she said "one of the men called security over after she refused to answer their question." That isn't how it happened. No one was asking her questions. After I was seated about 20 feet away from her and a security officer was standing between her and me. I told the security officer that I wanted a deputy sheriff as an independent observer. That's when a female deputy came over, and she and I stepped into an adjacent hallway.. 

Pamela Davis was playing the classic victim. Black woman is the victim. White male is the oppressor. Straight out of the CRT playbook.

About two weeks later a black acquaintance told me, "You do know you got set up; right?" Until that day, I had not thought about it in those terms. Once I gave it more thought, I decided he was right.

Why else would Pamela Davis shout, "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! DON'T TALK TO ME! GET AWAY FROM ME!" as soon as I said, "Hello, I'm Gus Philpott"?

Watch Pamela Davis' performance on WIS-TV right here.

Can Holmes Block Me from her FB page?

Should I be able to access to Teresa Holmes' Facebook page?

She does block me from her "DrTeresa [sic] Holmes" page. Can she do so legally?

Holmes is an elected person. I won't refer to her as an "elected official", because she has never taken the oath-of-office legally. An oath was administered to her on November 13, 2018, but that was three full weeks before she first became eligible to take it. 

However, she considers herself a public official, as does Richland 2.

She was required to take the oath-of-office (legally) before commencing the duties of the office. Yet she was allowed to attend her first executive session (November 13, 2018) and then vote on board motions before her term of office had even begun (November 16, 2018). She filed her SEI on December 4, 2018 and has never taken the oath-of-office since that date.

SECTION 8-13-1110. Persons required to file statement of economic interests.
(A) No public official, regardless of compensation, and no public member or public employee as designated in subsection (B) may take the oath of office or enter upon his official responsibilities unless he has filed a statement of economic interests in accordance with the provisions of this chapter with the appropriate supervisory office.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January 2019 that "the interactive portion of a public official’s Facebook page is a “public forum,” so an official cannot block people from it because of the opinions they hold." [Source: ACLU blog]

The article continues: "As the court rightly held, that includes any time that they’re controlling a Facebook page they maintain in their official roles. Specifically, the court recognized that when a public official uses a Facebook page as a tool of governance — that is, when she uses it to inform the public about her government work, solicits input on policy issues through the page, and swathes it “in the trappings of her office” — she is controlling the page as a government actor.

"And if she opens that page to public comment, the interactive space of the Facebook page constitutes a public forum.ibid.

That decision was in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; it was a Virginia case. Columbia, S.C. is in the jurisdiction of the same Federal Court of Appeals.

Maybe I'll have a pay to visit to the ACLU office this next week. 

I wonder. Would Teresa ask Richland 2 to pay her legal fees to defend her blocking me from her Facebook page? Would Supt. Davis just put her invoice through Accounting? Or would he say, "No way, José. You're on your own"?

Many thanks to the reader and friend who tipped me off to that article!

Friday, May 13, 2022

Tampons in boys' bathrooms?

Will Richland 2 be installing tampon dispensers in boys' restrooms?

Have you heard of the Menstrual Dignity Act? You haven't? Just ask Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. Thank goodness it's a state law, and not (yet) a Federal law.

From the article, "What’s next? Urinals in the girls’ restrooms?"

With all the other equity issues in Richland 2, it probably won't be long before "menstrual equity" hits here.

Committee of the Whole - Mon., 5/16/2022, 5:30PM, R2i2

Another meeting of the Committee of the Whole (on Safety & Security) will be held on Monday, May 16, 2022m 5:30PM, at R2i2.

No executive session is on the agenda.

No public participation is on the agenda.

The District issued this announcement today:

SPECIAL COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE WHOLE ON SAFETY AND SECURITY ON MAY 16 AT 5:30 P.M.

 

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees will hold a Special Committee Meeting of the Whole on Safety and Security on Monday, May 16, at 5:30 p.m.

 

Click the link below to view the agenda for the meeting:    http://go.boarddocs.com/sc/rsd2/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=CECTJ4678FD0

 

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the Boardroom at R2i2 located at 763 Fashion Drive, Columbia, 29229. Please note this meeting will not be streamed live or recorded.

 

At the Special Committee Meeting, visitors will need to adhere to social distancing guidelines.


The official notice is attached. [not attached here]


After reading the announcement, I sent this email to the Board members, superintendent, in-house legal counsel, outside legal counsel, and the consultant who tried to work with the board on parliamentary procedure (and executive coaching)

If you feel the meetings should be live-streamed, leave a comment below and inform the board members.

Members of the Board,

I suggest that the wording of the announcement of Committee of the Whole be changed.

Current wording is "The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees will hold a Special Committee Meeting of the Whole on Safety and Security on Monday, May 16, at 5:30 p.m."

This wording makes it a Board meeting, not just a Committee meeting. All State laws apply, including Notice, Agenda, etc. The Agenda for the Committee meeting is published on the Board's webpages. If fewer than five board members show up, the meeting cannot be held.

The meeting should be announced by the Committee, not by the Board.

The Board should carefully consider what happens when five or more board members attend. It then becomes an official board meeting, subject to all the rules for public bodies.

Detailed Minutes of the Committee meeting should be quickly available, so that the public will be informed. I suggested a dedicated webpage on the District's website.

Committee meetings should be live-streamed, so that the public will know what's going on. It is difficult for the public to attend frequent 5:30PM meetings. More specific information should be revealed on the Agenda. 

And another GSA article

Earlier today I wrote about the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) in Fort Collins, Colo. Today is the first day that I've heard of GSAs. And then I came across a second article about them.

This second article on FoxNews is titled, "Elementary school teachers say 'no' to parents' wishes they refer to students by pronouns given at birth".

I understand there are a lot of kooky things in California, but they spread.

Read that article.

If you, the parent, tell your kid's teacher to refer to your kid by his gender at birth, should the teacher have to follow your wishes?

If you, the parent, tell your kid's teacher to call your kid by his name, should the teacher have to do it? And, if your kid is a boy, to use "him" and "his" when referring to your boy? Must the teacher comply with your direction?

Or must the teacher call your kiddo Roberta, not Robert, if that's what the kid wants in school? And should you be told about it?

Teachers likely find themselves in a Catch-22 situation. Caught between a rock and a hard place. Caught between parents and administration. How does it work in Richland 2?

School board members just spent a lot of District money in San Diego, attending a conference of the National Association of School Boards. To what were they exposed?

Gender Nonsense in R2 schools?

I lived in Fort Collins, Colo. for the entire year of 1989, so I was interested in this May 12, 2022 FoxNews article about a middle school there that had an LGBTQIA+ club, portrayed as an "art club", but it was really a Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) "safe space" at the school.

One mother learned that her 12-year-old daughter had thought she would be attending an art club, but an outside speaker was there to present about transgenderism.

Wellington Middle School is one of 53 schools in the Poudre School District, and it had sponsored the GSA event. 

Is there any chance this nonsense is going on in Richland 2 schools?

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Board Expenses through 4/30/2022

Thanks to FOIA, here's the information that the superintendent didn't want you to know. If fact, he didn't even want one trustee to know what the others were spending.

In the School Year 2021-2022 each trustee is allocated $7,000 for travel, training and some other listed expenses.

How much has each spent?

Agostini                   $2,516.43 (San Diego conference to be added)

Caution-Parker        $2,117.97

Holmes                   $9,726.37   OVER $2,726.37

Manning                 $7,172.60    OVER $172.60

McFadden              $6,606.76

McKie                    $7,444.83   OVER $444.83

Scott                       $9,938.15   OVER $2,938.15

TOTAL                 $45,523.11

Who recalls hearing Supt. Davis say that the trustees, as a whole, had exceeded the total amount allocated for training and travel? Wouldn't that be $49,000? $7000 x 7? Not true, was it?

In fact, $49,000 is listed as Total Annual Board Travel Allocated to Board Members

$49,000 - $45,523.11 = $3,476.89 Remaining as of 4/30/2022

Trustee McFadden has $393.24 remaining, as of April 30. She certainly could have transferred to $150.00 to Trustee Scott. Why wouldn't the superintendent allow that? 

The worksheet is very clear about showing the total spent and the remaining amount. The question is, why didn't District controls kick in to prevent over-reimbursement?

The Board has never approved an increase to the total allocated for travel, training, etc. And it should not. The District should recover monies overpaid to trustees.

District Reimbursement Form

(Click to enlarge)

Here is the Treasure Chest. This is travel reimbursement form that trustees complete in order to draw on their annual $7,000 travel and training allowance.

There must be a procedures manual that goes with it, but I did not request that.

At the top right is wording that directs the employee (or trustee) to fill it out after they return. Near the bottom an "approved Travel Request Form" is mentioned. In the body of the form a Travel Advance line is shown, along with a P-card line.

Already I can see that at least one trustee will find her mental powers and arithmetic skills heavily taxed to complete this form correctly.

How often have trustees requested money in advance for travel? Who has dipped in before traveling? Why?  How much has been requested? How much was advanced?

Somebody down in the bowels of the Accounting Department should be watching each trustee's spending. No funds should be advanced, if the trustee's total is pushed over $7,000. 

When the Reimbursement Form is submitted, that same "somebody" should first look to see if the amount requested will push the trustee's account over the $7,000 limit.

If it does, only the amount should be paid that will bring the total up to $7,000. The employee should be informed that no excess reimbursement will be made.

BUT in School Year 2021-2022 the Total for all trustees has already been exceeded, and at least one trustee has been told she won't be able to spend funds remaining in her own account. 

At the bottom of the form are lines for signatures of the Approving Supervisor and the Finance "Approver". Who are those Distreict employees who approve trustee spending? Why did they approve excess amounts for one or more trustees?

The form is deficit in that it does not ask the trustee (or employee) how much remains in her spending account before the trip? Each trustee should know where to look for that information. How much is left in the Pot of Gold?

Is the attitude of some of the trustees that it doesn't matter; it's just taxpayer money?

I am awaiting the District FOIA response with the individual totals already spent by each trustee. Then we'll know who blew through the top of her spending budget. 




Which is it? (A) or (B)

Which is it? (A) or (B)

So far, it's not clear with which alleged "crime" Lashonda McFadden has been charged. The penalty range differs beetween (A) and (B).

The P.R. bond granted by the judge leads me to believe that Section 16-3-1040(B) is the one.

Is there anyone who believes that Holmes actually felt threatened? Listen to her taunt Lashonda. If Holmes had actually been fearful, wouldn't she have fled from the room and dialed 9-1-1?

Didn't Holmes know exactly what she was doing by continuing to engage in the argument and especially by announcing how many times she was "threatened"? Why didn't Holmes take control as Board Chair and regain control of the meeting? And, if she couldn't, she could have declared a recess and walked out of the room, ending the argument.

Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses

CHAPTER 3

Offenses Against the Person
ARTICLE 11

Miscellaneous Offenses

SECTION 16-3-1040. Threatening life, person or family of public official or public employee; punishment.

(A) It is unlawful for a person knowingly and wilfully to deliver or convey to a public official or to a teacher or principal of an elementary or secondary school any letter or paper, writing, print, missive, document, or electronic communication or verbal or electronic communication which contains a threat to take the life of or to inflict bodily harm upon the public official, teacher, or principal, or members of his immediate family if the threat is directly related to the public official's, teacher's, or principal's professional responsibilities.

(B) It is unlawful for a person knowingly and wilfully to deliver or convey to a public employee a letter or paper, writing, print, missive, document, or electronic communication or verbal or electronic communication which contains a threat to take the life of or to inflict bodily harm upon the public employee or members of his immediate family if the threat is directly related to the public employee's official responsibilities.

(C) A person who violates the provisions of subsection (A), upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(D) A person who violates the provisions of subsection (B), upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

When did 4/28/2022 executive session start?

When did the executive session on April 28, 2022 start?

The starting time is important, in order to determine whether the disagreement that became public should be in the public record.

When the motion to go into executive session was made by trustee-elect Amelia McKie and seconded, the board voted to go into executive session, and the school board members rose from their seats. That moment is when the executive session started.

Why? Because the board chair did not declare a recess for the purpose of moving to another room.

This timing is important, because the disagreement arose during executive session. And the information is privileged. Everyone was duty-bound to hold the contents of the executive session in confidence. No one should have recorded any portion of the meeting. No one should have spoken about what happened in that room. And certainly no one should have delivered the recording to the sheriff's department.

On the other hand, if the executive session was illegal, then nothing is confidential. And everything becomes immediately and publicly available.

It can't be both ways.

Why might the executive session have been illegal?

The motion made by McKie was faulty. She stated the purpose of the executive session was for a "safety and security meeting". In other words, they were going into a meeting for a meeting. State law requires more detail.

Holmes wrote to the trustees on May 9, 2022, in part: "Lastly,  executive session had not technically started yet. Dr. Davis was just going over what we were going to cover.  The guest for the meeting had not been called in yet, which, was the purpose of executive session.  Additionally,  when a crime has been committed, as it was here,  by Mrs. McFadden with her repeated threats to do me bodily harm, it has come to my attention  that, confidentiality,  can be waved [sic] in these type of events."

Holmes often speaks at board meetings about her truth. That's her truth. Did she write truthfully?

1. The executive session HAD started.

2. If the superintendent is speaking to them, the executive session definitely had started.

3. Presence of an invited guest doesn't make it an executive session. When McKie made the motion, she made no reference to a guest.

4. Whether Mrs. McFadden committed a crime will be determined in court. Teresa only alleges a crime. Teresa fails to report her own participation; i.e., her own condescending remarks that added fuel to the fire. 

5. Holmes failed, as acting Board Chair, to detach herself from the argument and restore order.

5. Teresa puts forward an unsupported claim that confidentiality can be "waved" [sic].

Teresa touts her pride as a "product" of Spring Valley High School. Is that where she learned to write? Look at the spacing, the punctuation, her wording. Didn't she ever learn that the unfamiliar word she was stretching for is spelled "waived"?

Did she believe on April 28, 2022 that she could violate the confidential requirements in Board Policy and State law, when she went to sheriff's department? Or did that "come to (her) attention" later, when she was trying to figure out how to avoid having violated Policy and law?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Holmes with victim's advocate

From the WACH-TV/Fox 57 webpage today, Teresa Holmes attended the bond hearing for Lashonda McFadden.

Reporter Kelsey Sanchez wrote, in part, "The victim told deputies she had been threatened three times.

"McFadden turned herself in to authorities Wednesday morning and appeared at a bond court hearing at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center alongside her attorney, Alex Postic, later that day.

"Holmes was alongside a victim's advocate during the hearing who spoke on her behalf and asked the judge for a no contact order, and for McFadden not to return to the workplace."

Usually a victim's advocate is assigned to someone who is actually hurt. Holmes proudly refers often at board meetings about her 35 years of teaching experience, including being an administrator and a counselor. Did her feelings get "hurt" by Lashonda's words?

Is Holmes over-playing the "victim" role here? Just a little? Just a lot?

Read the captions on the (illegal) recording on the WIS-TV website of the April 28, 2022 special-called board meeting. Read the words. Listen to Teresa egg Lashonda on. Listen to Holmes' patronizing Lashonda.

Judi Gaston (WIS-TV) said Lashonda was charged with threatening the life of another board member (Teresa Holmes). The charge, as listed on the Public Index of the Richland County Fifth Judicial Circuit is "Threatening the life, person or family of a public employee." That is a real stretch to come up with that. Did the Sheriff pass that buck to the Solicitor, or was the decision made at RCSD?

My opinion? Lashonda has been over-charged. What will cause this charge to fail? Threatening the life... No, it doesn't sound to me like Lashonda came anywhere close to threatening Teresa's life.

Anyone who knows Lashonda and Teresa knows that Lashonda would likely have a very hard time beating Teresa's "Mo... Fu... A..", as The State newspaper described it. So the "means" are just not there. The ability is not there to complete the act. 

When you are bullied over a period of time, sometimes you just explode. 

What do school counselors do with unruly students? What do parents do with children who are acting out? They tell them to get in that room and don't come out until you are friends. But no. Teresa runs off to the po-po. 

Look up Teresa Holmes in the Richland County Fifth Judicial Public Index. She is no stranger to court records. 

Open Letter to James Manning, R2 trustee

The following message was emailed to Richland 2 trustee, James Manning, after he appeared on WIS-TV with a statement about Lashonda McFadden.


Mr. Manning,


You were interviewed on WIS-TV today as a board member. I didn't hear you say that you were speaking for yourself only and not for the board. For you to say that Trustee McFadden should resign was completely wrong!!!

You have witnessed the disrespect shown to Mrs. McFadden by Teresa Holmes for months. As Vice Chair, you could have worked with Teresa to help her learn how to conduct the office of the Board Chair properly, without the chaos that she has generated. You were the one who nominated her last June 29 for Board Chair, in spite of my beseeching the board to nominate and elect only a board member who was fully qualified to serve as an officer. I believe you knew then that Teresa had never taken the oath-of-office, after she first became eligible to do so on December 4, 2018.

Mrs. McFadden is an elected board member. It's not up to you to express an opinion about her continuing in office. She will, and she should. You owe Mrs. McFadden an apology.

You know how hard Teresa is to work with. Teresa baited Lashonda and, unfortunately, Lashonda fell for it. Teresa has often disrespected Lashonda by constantly interrupting her and talking over her during board meetings. Teresa, as acting chair (never legally having taken the oath-of-office) knew exactly what she was doing by engaging in the confrontation. By her own words, Teresa was egging Lashonda on. Teresa could have stopped it at any time by calling for order; instead, she chose to participate, as is evidenced clearly on the recording.

A general rule of law is that you cannot pick a fight and then cry about being a victim.

Where was your comment when Cheryl Caution-Parker uttered a profanity toward a community member at R2i2 last October? You were silent then; right?

Regarding the sessions with Liz Guthridge, which board members are you talking about who want high conflict? You are not referring to Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden. So it must be the others, including yourself.

Please raise the issues of violations of Board Policy BEC by Teresa and by the person who recorded the incident. The law is clear. Teresa doesn't get to decide whether the law about confidentiality can be waived.

Gus Philpott

Lauren: Please provide of copy of this to Nick Neville, Dawndy Mercer Plank and Judi Gaston.

Holmes complains; McFadden arrested

The State newspaper reports this afternoon that Trustee Lashonda McFadden has been arrested on a complaint filed by Teresa Holmes.

As soon as I heard the news about 4:15PM, I called the Richland County Bond Court. I wanted to know how much the bond was, and I was ready to drive straight there and post it. I learned that the bond will be a Personal Recognizance (P.R.) bond (no money), and that Lashonda would be released on her own signature 1-4 hours after court today. Maybe she had already been released.

For months I have watched Holmes disrespect Lashonda, along with Trustees Agostini and Scott. She has constantly interrupted Lashonda and put her down, as if Holmes' longer time on the Board and her self-importance of being this School Year's (acting) Board Chair makes her Queen of the Board. ("acting", I say, because Holmes is not a legal board member.)

Holmes has demonstrated a serious lack of knowledge of parliamentary procedures and Robert's Rules of Order. The recent executive coaching sessions were worthless; I don't think Holmes learned anything.

Whoever recorded the chaos on April 28th committed a serious violation of Board Policy BEC.

The initial newspaper articles were misleading. I guessed that there were not three people involved. The articles seem to report that Holmes had reported a conflict between another board member and a colleague. That's three people.

But now it appears that Holmes was the alleged victim. But was she really? Did she instigate the confrontation? That will get sorted out through depositions. If Teresa is smart, she'll withdraw the charge. You can't start a fight and then claim to be a victim.

I've been watching Teresa conduct board meetings recently, and I can assure you that I would not want to get into a fight with her. And why would Lashonda? Look at the weight difference!

But what would keep me out of the fight would be Teresa's weapons. Look at that huge, metal, man's watch that she wears on her left wrist. One whack with that, and I'd be down for the count.

And if she hit me with all that jewelry on the fingers on her right hand? First time I noticed them, I wondered why the security officers at R2i2 didn't ask her to leave her weapons in her car. If she clobbered me in the face, I'd probably lose an eye and some teeth, and I'd probably have a broken jaw. 

Why would a Board Chair allow a verbal argument to continue for so long? Why didn't she act and call a halt to it? Teresa participated in the argument. Should she have been arrested, too?

How soon did she decide to file charges? Was she even thinking about it before that meeting ever started? Why was another board member so quick to start recording? Will that Board member be disciplined for violating Board Policy BEC?

Will Teresa be disciplined for violating Board Policy BEC by revealing proceedings from an executive session if, indeed, it really was a legal executive session which, I suggest, it was not.

School Board Pres. tells speaker to "Zip it"; settles lawsuit

BWLSD School Board

Ashley Ryder is my kind of parent.

When the Board President of the Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education (BWLDB) in Sunbury, Ohio, told her to "Zip it" during the public participation portion of a school board meeting, she didn't buy it.

She sued the District in an Ohio federal court in March. It didn't take long for the District to buckle and settle with her. 

Ryder disagreed that the school board could muzzle her during public participation. There's this little thing in the U.S. Constitution called the First Amendment. 

Read the article on LegalInsurrection.com

Could that happen right here in Richland 2? For how many years have we been told, "You can't say names" and "You can't complain about (employees, board members, administrators)?"

Ashley Ryder put her money where her mouth is. You go, Ashley!

Thanks to the reader and local friend who sent this to me.

Remove two illegal board members NOW

Why does the Richland 2 school board tolerate two women on the board who are not legitimate board members?

This serious situation has existed since the school board meeting on November 13, 2018. That is now 3½ years!!!

The board has never explained to the public how Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie can be legal board members.

Should members of the public have to file a lawsuit in the Richland County Common Pleas Court to resolve this?

History:

Holmes was elected, and McKie was re-elected, on November 6, 2018.
The election was certified on November 9, 2018.
The oath-of-office was administered on November 13, 2018, three full weeks before they first became eligible to take the oath-of-office. Neither had filed her Statement of Economic Interests Report (SEI) with the S.C. Ethics Commission.
The term of office began November 16, 2018, one week after the election was certified, but Holmes and McKie attended the November 13, 2018 board meeting and the executive session on that date.

The Voice of Blythewood newspaper blew the whistle on them about their SEIs.

On December 4, 2018 Holmes and McKie filed their SEIs electronically. On this date they first became eligible to take the oath-of-office.

Neither Holmes nor McKie has taken the oath-of-office on or since December 4, 2018.

THEREFORE, they are not legal board members.

It's not just a "technicality". It's the LAW. See S.C. Code of Laws Section 8-13-1110.

ARTICLE 11
Disclosure of Economic Interests
SECTION 8-13-1110. Persons required to file statement of economic interests.
(A) No public official, regardless of compensation, and no public member or public employee as designated in subsection (B) may take the oath of office or enter upon his official responsibilities unless he has filed a statement of economic interests in accordance with the provisions of this chapter with the appropriate supervisory office.

The Richland County Sheriff's Department and the S.C. Attorney General should have acted on my complaint that Holmes and McKie are usurping public office.

What does it mean to have board members and officers (Holmes is acting as Chair; McKie is acting as Secretary) who are not legitimate board members?

Everything they touch is invalid. Their attendance in executive sessions is unlawful. Their voting on board motions is invalid. All votes by them should be struck. Decisions will change, when their votes are removed. Every vote since November 13, 2018 must be reviewed and their votes deleted. Documents signed by them are invalid.

Three and one-half years of board work will have to be reviewed. Will Bondholders and banks be concerned? 

Will the Governor remove them under the new law that resulted from S.203?

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Conn. H.S. locks up cell phones


The Branford (Conn.) High School solved the problem of students' using cell phones during the day by locking them up.

Read this article

The article does not say what other steps, if any, were tried before implementing that policy.

Personally, I don't like it. 

I prefer a policy that restricts usage of a cell phone on school property or in a school building or whatever is decided. And then expect the students to follow the policy. (I know. I know... That's like expecting drivers to obey speed limits; right?)

If they don't? Discipline them. But encourage compliance.

Many thanks to the reader (you know who you are) who sent me the article.

BMS SIC speaker gets 4 minutes

A parent somehow missed the first Public Participation segment of the board meeting and stuck around for two hours to speak at about 8:30PM in the second Public Participation segment. She is the chair of the Blythewood Middle School School Improvement Council.

Holmes acknowledged a mistake (of some type) had been made. What was it? Did the woman arrive after 6:15PM?

She read her prepared statement very well.

At the 3:05 mark Holmes called time on the speaker, but the speaker did not stop talking. The speaker continued, without further interruption by Holmes, until she completed her remarks at the 4:00-minute mark.

NOW, somebody please explain why Holmes did not cut her off. 

I'm going to suggest a reason. The speaker was black. Had the speaker been white, Holmes would have continued to interrupt, and Holmes would have signalled the sound guy to cut off the microphone. (Remember when Manning did that recently?)

Holmes' discriminatory act, allowing the woman to continue reading her prepared statement without further interruption, was completely out-of-order. 

And why didn't Holmes read the Rules of the Road before the Public Partication segment, as she always does, emphasizing the three-minute time allotment and that the board does not respond?

SEL dog-and-pony show



At tonight's board meeting there was a long presentation by teachers on SEL.

And then the chair called on the superintendent. How nice it would have been, if he had made a one-minute comment. 

And then Teresa wound up with a rambling comment.

Perhaps all board members and the superintendent should be limited to one minute for questions. So much time was wasted with individual Thank-you's, when one Thank You from the chair would have been sufficient.

Board Policy BEC - Makes no sense

Part of Board Policy BEC - Executive Sessions/Open Meetings makes no sense at all.

The Policy was issued in January 2017.

Paragraph 2 reads, "Before going into executive session, the board chairman will put the question of whether to meet in executive session to a vote. If such vote is favorable, the secretary will then announce the specific purpose [emphasis in the original] of the executive session (i.e., identifying the matter(s) to be considered in executive session), which will be reflected in the minutes."

Now, read that again and tell me what's wrong with it.

What's wrong is that the board would not know on what it is voting, if it votes before it hears the reason. A public body (ex., school board) can only go into executive session for a very short list of reasons. If the board votes first, before they know the reason(s), it would not know if it could legally enter executive session.

The applicable State laws are found at Sections 30-4-70 and 30-4-90 of the S.C. Code of Laws. 

The Board is not following Policy, when the Secretary makes the motion and states the reason(s). The Board should revise the Policy. Will it?

Opening of 5/10/2022 Board Meeting

The chair gaveled the meeting open but failed to call the meeting to order. She just asked for a motion to go into executive session.

Trustees McFadden and Caution-Parker were not present. No reason was given for their absence. 

The chair must have believed that a quorum was present. The board did not have a legal quorum, because Holmes and McKie are not legitimate members of the board. They have never taken the oath-of-office legally; i.e., after filing their Statements of Economic Interests Reports on December 4, 2018.

Only three legitimate board members were present: Agostini, Manning and Scott.

The motion to enter executive session was made and seconded. Trustee Agostini was recognized, and  she mentioned a violation of Board Policy BEC during the April 28, 2022 special-called board meeting, when a board member made a recording that was given to the Richland County Sheriff's Department, and she said she hoped that would not happen again.

Board Policy BEC reads, in part, "Board members or any other persons attending will not use tape recorders or any other other means of sonic or video reproduction to record executive sessions."

What are the consequences or penalties for violating board policy? If there are none, then why have the Policies? Who was the offending board member?

Most of the board members had their tablets open and ready for the vote to go into executive session. Teresa Holmes did not, so the vote was a hand vote; 5-0. Why is it that she cannot turn on her tablet and be prepared for the start of the meeting?

Committee Meeting - Wed., May 11th, 5:30PM, R2i2

One-day notice. Nice, eh? Did they decide on April 28th to hold this meeting on May 11th? They must have, since that is the only time the Committee has met.

From Richland Two:

RICHLAND TWO BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO HAVE SPECIAL COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE WHOLE ON SAFETY AND SECURITY ON MAY 11, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees will hold a Special Committee Meeting of the Whole on Safety and Security on Wednesday, May 11, at 5:30 p.m. 

Click the link below to view the agenda for the meeting:

http://go.boarddocs.com/sc/rsd2/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=CE5M2J57F8AB


The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the Boardroom at R2i2 located at 763 Fashion Drive, Columbia, 29229. Please note this meeting will not be streamed live or recorded.

At the Special Committee Meeting, visitors will need to adhere to social distancing guidelines.


From a technical stand-point, this looks like a Board of Trustees meeting, since the Board is to hold the meeting. Because of that, it should be live-streamed and it should be subject to all the other requirements of a public body. If it's a Board meeting, then a quorum needs to be there.

If it is "only" a Committee meeting, then the Committee should announce it. No action can be taken that binds the Board. If it is a Committee meeting, there is no quorum requirement.

This is why the Board of Trustees should not be announcing this meeting.

The above is how the first meetng of the Committee should have been announced - open to the public. Planning the structure of a Committee does not qualify as an exception to Open Meetings laws. The April 28th special-called meeting contained an executive session that very likely was illegal under South Carolina law.

How Much Does the School Board Cost Taxpayers?

When you do your home budget, do you watch your pennies?

Wait 'til you take a look at the 2021-2022 School Year budget for the school board! Not for the District; just for the School Board. Are they watching your pennies? Not hardly. They are just spending OPM. Other Peoples' Money. Comment below.

The recent attention to TRAVEL spending by certain school board members is in the spotlight, thanks to good questions by one school board member who is getting cheated out of a portion of her travel allowance, because other school board members have blown right through the ceiling on their travel allowances.

Even though at least one board member has money remaining in her $7,000 annual allowance for training and travel, the Total for the entire board has been surpassed. That's because of sloppy policies and poor oversight. (The December 14, 2021 meeting recording contains worrisome comments by the superintendent about reimbursement procedures; there appears to be no set District-wide procedure on timing for reimbursement requests.)

Details on individual trustee travel/training spending to follow, as soon as the District complies with my FOIA Request. 

But take a look at the 2nd Quarter summary for the current School Year. Go to Page 5.

When the budget was created, board members were receiving $900/month salary (stipend), which is W-2 income for them. The Chair got more.

Board compensation changed on January 1, 2022, when the District decided to comply with State law and pay board members a per diem, rather than a flat monthly rate. Board members now receive $384 per meeting, and the board chair is now paid $480 per meeting. If chaos is one of the conditons for pay, we're definitely getting our money's worth.

School Board "Salaries and Benefits" total $174,845. Remember; the budget is based on compensation in effect when the school year began on July 1, 2021.

If the board chair was paid $1,200/month, that's $14,400 for the budget.
Six board members at $900/month totals $64,800 ($900x6x12) for the budget.
Salaries total $79,200

How in the world could Benefits total $95,645 (174,845 - $79,200)???

Board Expenses in the 2021-2022 School Year Budget are estimated at $240,200, with this breakdown:

$42,000  Audit Services
$19,500  Legal Services
$63,000  Travel
$60,500  Organizational Dues
$55,200  Other

What is in that $55,000 "Other" list?
Why $60,500 in Organizational Dues?
What does $42,000 Audit Services provide?

Just think, if one or more board members hadn't blown past their spending limit, we'd probably never be paying attention to their spending!!!

The link to the First Quarter Spending on the Board was quickly repaired after I reported it did not work.

What did I find?

The annual Budget for Board Salaries and Benefits shown in the First Quarter Report was $150,026.
The annual Budget for Board Salaries and Benefits shown in the Second Quarter Report was $174,845.

Why and when were Salaries and Benefits increased by $24,819 (16.5%)?

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Public Participation needed - 5/10/2022

Parents and Community Members, please show up Tuesday evening, May 10th, for the Richland Two school board meeting. Arrive before 6:15PM to sign up to speak during Public Participation.

Are there 10-15 parents willing to stand up and speak out?

You've got plenty of issues to keep on the front burner. Safety in schools. Gender issues. CRT. Discipline. Discrimination in the 100 Premier Men of Color hiring program.

If you don't have your own issues, ask about the illegal executive session held on April 28th. 

Planning committee work is not a valid reason for ducking into executive session. Holmes' explanation of the meeting and McKie's Motion did not agree. It is not valid to go into executive session for a "meeting", which State law requires. No specific purpose was given.

Ask about the disruption that occurred during the April 28th special-called board meeting. Why didn't the District's Media Relations Dept. put out a press release quickly after The State published its articles? 

Ask by what authority Teresa Holmes contacted the Richland County Sheriff's Department about the disruption in the meeting. Did she have board authority to do so, or did she complain as an individual? If so, why would she identify herself as board chair?

Ask the board to explain why Holmes and McKie have never taken the oath-of-office legally. They took an oath on November 13, 2018, before they were eligible to do so. They became eligible to take the oath on December 4, 2018, and they have never done so.

Ask how Holmes and McKie can serve as officers of the school board, when they are not legitimate board members.

Ask why Amelia McKie is allowed to serve on the board without making serious payments toward her $57,100 debt to the South Carolina Ethics Commission. Ask how she intends to resolve the pending complaint against her, for which a hearing is scheduled on June 16, 2022. 

Ask which board members blew past their $7,000 allowances for travel and training and by how much EACH exceeded her allowance. Ask if they will be required to repay the excess reimbursements. Ask how procedures failed in the Accounts Payable Dept. that allowed over-payments.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Updated article about 4/28/2022 blow-up in The State

Be sure to read the updated article in today's edition of The State newspaper about the blow-up at the April 28, 2022 Special-Called Board Meeting.

Did you see the press release put out by the Media Relations Dept. of Richland Two after the negative newspaper article was published?

I didn't, either.

Appoint Special Counsel

The Richland 2 school board should appoint a Special Counsel to investigate the controversial events that took place at the closed session of the board during the Special-Called Board Meeting on April 28, 2022.

Word had started to leak out about the incident, and on May 5, 2002 The State newspaper published this article, updated today (May 6), which described Teresa Holmes' as having filed a report with the Richland County Sheriff's Department (RCSD) about threats made during what the District has called an executive session. Was it a "report" or was it a "complaint"?

The original article said Teresa reported that another board member got into it with a colleague on the board. That's three people involved; Teresa (reporting), one board member, and another board member (colleague).

Today's revised article, second paragraph, reads, "Chairwoman Teresa Holmes filed the report with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department after a special called meeting April 28, during which another board member reportedly cursed another member and threatened to 'beat her Mo....Fu.....A..,' according to the report." 

Is that still three people involved, or is Teresa the "victim" at whom the alleged threats were hurled?

If the reporter got most of his information yesterday from the RCSD report, how accurate was the report? I have filed a FOIA Request for the report, so that I can read it myself.

The updated article includes comments from some board members. It does not state at whom any threats were directed. What's the secret? 

Where is the statement from Richland 2 Media Relations? They were so quick to publish a statement defending the superintendent after the January 25th incident.

The District cannot be trusted to investigate itself. Certainly, employees of the District are not going to investigate board members. Since all board members were at that meeting, they cannot investigate themselves. The superintendent, who is employed by the board, is not going to investigate them.

The public should demand an independent outside investigation, regardless of any action taken by RCSD.

A Special Counsel should have been appointed at the end of January to investigate everything that took place on January 25, just before the board convened its regular meeting. Teresa Holmes refused to investigate what happened, passing the buck off to RCSD which, in only one day, decided that no crime had been committed.

Let's review the crimes that were committed on January 25. Disruption of schools? Disorderly conduct? Assault? A woman becomes disruptive in the meeting room, shouting loudly after a man (I) attempted to introduce himself. According to a 14-year-old student in the room, that same woman used profane language toward him twice. The superintendent, who is the husband of that woman, is alleged to have charged at a man who intervened as the woman was swearing at the student and was allegedly restrained by school district security officers and one or more board members.

Had an honest board of trustees carefully examined all the FACTS of that incident, they would have been forced to discipline the woman (a teacher in Richland 2) and the superintendent. And they would have ruled that the Trespass Notices delivered to Gary Ginn and me were unwarranted.

The public should show up at every board meeting and demand a public investigation of what occurred on April 28. The next board meeting is Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

Best Defense - A good offense?

Maybe, if it is "good". And if it's not?

Back in March 2019, shortly after I began addressing the school board about two illegitimate board members (Holmes and McKie), I sent an email to the entire board on a Wednesday, stating that if I was not informed by Friday that the two women would be legally sworn in before the following Tuesday's board meeting, then on that Friday I would file charges against them. That email was sent about 10:30AM.

By 1:00PM Teresa Holmes was at the sheriff's department to file a report that I was harassing her.

Why would she leave work in Blythewood and hot-foot it to 5623 Two Notch Road in Columbia?

The next day a RCSD sergeant called me from the Criminal Investigations Division. I answered my cell phone while I was in the backyard, cleaning up dog poop. As soon as he told me why he was calling, I knew I was not going to "give" him anything. I was fully aware of "You have the right to remain silent" and "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law".

I was polite and listened to him, and then I thanked him for calling, telling him I was busy at home. When he said he wanted to get my side of the story, I said, "I'm sure you would."

I told him I wanted to read Teresa's report. I drove to RCSD. He met me at the front door and guided me up to the office of the Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations. That might worry a lot of people. Me? No problem. I walked in and introduced myself.

I read the deputy's report. Then I told them they didn't have anything. Pointing to the first part, I said that was a lie. And the second. And the third, etc. Everything that the deputy had written was false. Where had he gotten his information? From Teresa Holmes. And the deputy had failed to get a written statement from Teresa.

And that was the end of it.

Now, I had the advantage of eight years' experience as a reserve deputy sheriff in Colorado. I've never gone to law school, but I was accepted twice at the University of Denver School of Law. A State Trooper in Colorado told me I knew the traffic laws better than most of his officers. I've worked with lawyers. I can read and understand the law. 

So, why did Teresa run down to RCSD to make a report after last Thursday's special-called board meeting? Did she go there, or did she make the report to a deputy at or near R2i2? Did she think she was culpable? Was yesterday's article in The State accurate? Was the RCSD deputy's report about the 4/28/22 confrontation accurate?

Were three people involved on April 28? Teresa Holmes, her colleague, and a "suspect"? Or only two? Did a board member comment on Teresa's ability to run a meeting? Is that what started it?

What caused the "action" on 4/28/2022?

What really happened in the private meeting of school board trustees on April 28?

First, it was an illegal executive session. To "have a meeting" is not a lawful reason to meet in closed session. Not even to "have a safety and security meeting".

Trustee-elect Amelia McKie's Motion was incorrectly worded. She failed to state the specific purpose for the executive session, and she failed to state the exclusion in the law that allows a public body to enter executive session.

Are there concerned citizen who will fund a legal move in court about that?

If a court declared the executive session as illegal, would that open all issues and discussions to public view?

What did happen behind closed doors? Who said what? To whom? In what tone of voice?

Teresa Holmes, as board chair (illegally, because she herself is not a legitimage board member (she has never taken the oath-of-office legally)) is known for cutting off discussions and interrupting other board members while they are speaking. Did she do that on April 28th?

The public has witnessed the chaos of open board meetings. You can review almost any of the past meetings and see the chaos for yourself. Usually, the other board members back down when Holmes is rude. Seeing how Holmes behaves in public, is it hard to imagine what might take place when the cameras are not recording?

Speaking of cameras, who grabbed her cell phone and began recording? Are recordings in executive sessions illegal? Or at least in violation of board policy?

I'm reminded of the 2015 incident at Sprng Valley High School, when Niya Kenny grabbed her cell phone in class and began recording a disturbance caused by a classmate. She was one of two students arrested for disrupting schools. That case fell apart, in part, because Sheriff Lott fired the SRO too quickly. The charge against Kenny is no longer in the public record; she must have had it expunged.

Should all parties involved in the April 28 incident be subjected to equal handling under the law?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Holmes Files a "Report" with RCSD

The State newspaper reports on the April 28, 2022 Special-Called Board Meeting. At 3:22PM today reporter Bristow Marchant published an article below this headline: "Police report says one Richland 2 school board member threatened to ‘beat’ another

Read the article at: https://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article261126992.html#storylink=cpy"

The article opens with "The chairwoman of the Richland 2 school board filed a police report on another board member who threatened during a heated exchange at the last board meeting to beat one of her colleagues".

My first question is, why would Teresa Holmes file a police report, if she is not involved? Was she the victim? That's not what the first sentence says. The first sentence intimates that two other board members were involved.

The reporter wrote that Holmes declined to comment to The State.

Executive Sessions are supposed to be confidential. So why did Holmes make the complaint? Seems to me that if a person was threatened, that person needs to make the complaint. Not Holmes.

Just a couple of days ago I was reminded of Holmes' "report" against me for harassing her in 2019. I'm still laughing over that one.

Holmes had a knee-jerk reaction to the emails I was sending to the board about McKie and her being illegitimate members of the board. After one of the emails, she hot-footed it down to RCSD in the middle of her workday in Blythewood and made a "report". The deputy's statement of what Holmes said was full of lies, and the "report" went nowhere. I should have had her charged with Filing a False Police Report.  You can read one of the stories I wrote about that on March 21, 2019 right here:  https://richland2sd.blogspot.com/2019/03/citizen-accused-by-r2-board-member.html

The article does not mention that any charges were filed, and there is no record of charges in the public record of the Fifth Judicial Circuit Public Index, as of right now.

The article mentioned that a board member recorded ("filmed")  the exchange. Wouldn't that be an improper use of cell phone on school property, according to Board Policy?

The reporter's final sentence in today's article is erroneous. He wrote, "Two people were removed from the meeting by law enforcement and formally warned not to return to the property."

After the meltdown by Pamela Davis at the January 25th board meeting, I was not removed from the meeting by law enforcement.

Illegal Executive Session, 4/28/2022?

Why was an illegal executive session held by the Richland Two school board on April 28, 2020?

This good explanation of the rule for entering executive session comes from an organization of public bodies, like school boards, in South Carolina.

"Before going into executive session, the council must vote, in open session, to enter executive session and state the specific purpose and open meeting exception for the closed door meeting. Councils must be as specific as possible without compromising the issue. The motion to enter executive session should be specific, such as 'to go into executive session to discuss applications for employment within [a specific department]' or 'to discuss negotiation of a contract and receipt of legal advice related to a building project.'" (Source: Municipal Association of South Carolina)


When trustee-elect Amelia McKie made her motion at the beginning of the Special-Called Board Meeting on April 28, 2020, she said it was for the purpose of a safety and security meeting. McKie gave no specifics.

In fact, many thought the meeting was for the purpose of organizing the work of the Committee of the Whole, which would not qualify for an executive session.

I recognized immediately that she had not stated a purpose. And she certainly did not cite the exception provided in South Carolina law.

Had there been a Parliamentarian present, that professional would have called attention to the wording of the Motion and urged the board to halt business right on the spot. Maybe this is one of the reasons that the Richland 2 school board does not utilize the services of a Parliamentarian.

Had one of the minority three on the board questioned the wording and the intention to enter into executive session, after a Second there would have been discussion. Then the board would have voted. Regardless of arguments presented, the board majority would have voted 4-3 to go into executive session. 

Because the board was about to enter an illegal, non-public session, the three members of the minority should have left the meeting. The meeting would have stopped for lack of a quorum.

What is R2's Cellphone Policy for Students?

Does Richland 2 have a cellphone policy for students?

The 2021-2022 Student Handbook can be viewed here. It's 58 pages (in .pdf). What percentage of it do you think students have read?

Electronic Communication Devices (ECDs) are covered on Page 28 of the Handbook. That's Page 36 of the .pdf version when viewed as 100%, if you want to find it quickly. 

Board Policy JICJ is the formal wording for the Policy.

I suggest reading the Board Policy first. In my opinion, there are several questionable actions in that Policy that are allowed by school personnel. Parents should review Board Policy JICJ with their children who are students and discuss the Handbook conditions with them. If you object, show up at a board meeting and speak out.

From Board Policy JICJ:

Elementary and Middle School

"Elementary and middle school students may not use or display ECDs while on school property during school hours."

High School

"High school students may use ECDs before and after school, during their lunch break, within "free zones" (as determined by the principal) for educational and/or instructional purposes only. Any other use of wireless communications is considered misuse and violations may result in disciplinary action. [emphasis added]"

How is this last part enforced? Or is it enforced? 

Is it a good practice for all students to just turn off their cell phones upon arrival at school and leave them off until departing?

What kind of emotional distress would students experience, if they did that?