Sunday, July 31, 2022

ACLU vs. Holmes?

Will the ACLU sue Teresa Holmes?

Teresa maintains at least two Facebook pages/groups, and at least one of them seems to be her official school board member page. They are "Dr.Teresa Holmes" (no space between Dr. and Teresa) and the second is "Dr. Teresa Holmes: School Board Member Richland Two".

Read this January 9, 2019 ACLU article: "Court Rules Public Officials Can’t Block Critics on FacebookClick on the link to read the article.

I emailed Teresa on June 17, 2022 and requested that she unblock me from her official page(s). I sure she must be busy recovering from the chaos of her board leadership; she hasn't replied yet.

The first page is still completely invisible to me.

The second page displays this message, instead of content: 

"This content isn't available right now

"When this happens, it's usually because the owner only shared it with a small group of people, changed who can see it or it's been deleted."

I am contacting the ACLU and asking them to investigate Teresa's two pages.

The Fourth Circuit includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. The Court's decision applies right here in Columbia. What will Teresa's lawyer tell her? What would Richland Two's lawyer tell her? 

Will they tell her to just open her up Facebook pages? Or will they tell her to "Take a chance. You're just a small fry."

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

More good news

Check out yesterday's (July 26, 2022 article about Richland 2 in the Post and Courier newspaper. 

Here's the leading paragraph. 

"COLUMBIA — Northeast Columbia parents wrote to Henry McMaster for five months, asking him to look into “dysfunction” and “toxicity” among the board and superintendent of Richland County School District Two, before the governor asked the state inspector general to investigate."

You can read it, if you are a subscriber, by clicking here:



Now ... who was responsible for that???

Sunday, July 24, 2022

The U.S. Constitution - What do YOU know about it?

Here's another great PragerU 5-minute video. This one is on the U.S. Constitution.

What do you know about the Republic that is the United States? And about the risks that a Republic faces?

Princeton University's Professor Robert George provides a short course in our government. One of the key statements he makes is that the framers knew that their efforts would fail, unless "Citizens (were) embued with the spirit of Republicanism."

Are you willing to have our Republic fail, like those in Greece and Rome did? Look how long we have lasted. I, for one, am unwilling to accept a statement by others that "all governments fail."

Do you understand that the Federal Government has limited powers? And why?

Are you one of James Madison's "well-instructed people"? Are you well-educated about our constitutional liberties and responsibilities?

Are students in Richland 2 schools being "well-educated" in principles of our form of governmen?

Friday, July 22, 2022

Past Board Chairs. When did Chaos begin?

I remember the order and the civility that existed on the board, when I attended my first board meeting on February 27, 2018. The division, disharmony, and back-biting wasn't present. Who have the board chairs been since Craig Plank?

Board Chair history:
2017-2018 Craig Plank 
2018-2019 Amelia McKie *
2019-2020 James Manning
2020-2021 James Shadd (July 1, 2020 - Nov. 17, 2020)
2020-2021 James Manning (Nov. 17, 2020 - June 30, 2021)
2021-2022 Teresa Holmes **
2022-2023 James Manning 

Minutes of the June 25, 2019 and the June 28, 2020 board meetings, when officers for the following School Year were elected, are missing from the District's website. 

* McKie was ineligible to continue serving as Board President after November 13, 2018, because she had failed to to file her SEI before the oath of office was administered on November 13, 2018 and never took the oath of office after December 4, 2018.

** Holmes was ineligible to serve as Board President, because she had failed to to file her SEI before the oath of office was administered on November 13, 2018 and never took the oath of office after December 4, 2018.

Why the Rush to Retain Wyche Law Firm?

Remember the rush by the (majority of the) board to retain The Wyche Law Firm ("Wyche")?

The ink was hardly dry on the Governor's directive to the State Inspector General to investigate Richland Two and the superintendent and the board had to rush to line up its mouthpiece. Before they even knew (for sure) what the I.G. would be investigating.

Is that like getting your DUI lawyer lined up and standing by his telephone, before you head out to Saturday's night's drinking party?

And remember how Teresa would not allow other board members to ask questions about the deal with Wyche? Like,

How much was Wyche going to charge?

Whom would Wyche represent? (the board or the district? or both?)

Why some of the trustees received the information about the deal only 30 minutes before they were expected to discuss it and then vote on it?

Why there wasn't competitive bidding?

What the estimated (total) cost is for Wyche?

Wyche's hourly rate is $375.00, according to the District's response to my FOIA request.

The lead attorney on the representation is Wade Kolb, III.

There was absolutely confidential about that! Yes, it had been discussed in the executive session, but that did not mean it could not be discussed in public session. Why shouldn't The Public know?

It is crystal clear to The Public who was responsible for the chaos and the antics in the last school year (2021-2022). Teresa Holmes tried to put the blame on Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden. The Public knows the truth.

It is that chaos that drew the attention of the legislature and the Governor to Richland Two.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

What the R2 Board Could Learn

Did you ever watch a meeting of the Richland County Council? Expect to see a model of organization and efficiency.

Every member of the Richland 2 School Board should watch last night's County Council meeting. The Chair, Councilman Overture Walker (from our District), runs the meeting with precision and control.

Notice how motions are made and seconded. Notice how discussion is handled. Especially notice how the vote on a motion is handled.

Compare the smooth running of the County Council meeting with a Richland 2 school board meeting.

If the Richland 2 School Board hired a professional coach and a parliamentarian, meetings would be 60-90 minutes. Not 2-4 hours!

County Council members don't fill the air with extraneous comments. The Chair doesn't expound on matters. He conducted the meeting as it should be conducted. If he didn't need to comment, he didn't.

Unlike the Richland 2 School Board, where a couple of members can be counted on to say how many years they have been in education or how they are a proud "product" of a certain high school.

Notice how quickly voting is handled. Do you question why it takes so long to tally votes by seven board members electronically? When it's time to vote, voting should be completed in about five seconds. Just press the button. (Hint to some: press the correct button.)

Will business be conducted better, more smoothly, more quickly under the new Chair?

Monday, July 18, 2022

Cost of Censorship - $300,000

The Pennsbury School District (Bucks County, Penn.) learned an expensive lesson last year, after it curtailed public comments by four men at school board meetings.

In November 2021 a Federal judge, U.S. District Court Judge (Ms.) Gene Pratter, ordered that school district to "stop enforcing its policy prohibiting abusive, offensive, or personally directed public comments".

The Pennsbury School District's insurance carrier got stuck with the bill. Too bad the $300,000 wasn't charged to the board members 

A lawyer at the Institute for Free Speech (Washington, DC) is quoted as saying, “School boards across the country should take note. Rules for public comments must respect the First Amendment rights of speakers. If you are limiting which opinions may be shared, you’ll be held liable for violating First Amendment rights,”

Richland 2 resident, Gary Ginn, has often mentioned the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution at Richland 2 School Board meeting.  

Can you count the number of times in the 2021-2022 just ended School Year that past-Chair Teresa Holmes warned public speakers about using names?

After speakers and even board members told her she was wrong, Holmes continued to apply Board Policy BEDH incorrectly. That board policy prohibits "any expression of personal complaints about individual school personnel or any other person connected with the school system." 

It does not prohibit mentioning names of school personnel.

Is that provision in BEDH unconstitutional?


Many thanks to the reader who sent this article to me. You know who you are.

Can Richland 2 learn from the mistakes of others? 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Cost of DEI/CRT

You know these initials; right? DEI? CRT?

DEI? Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

CRT? Critical Race Theory (and Culturally-Relevant Teaching)

Check out yesterday's article in The Epoch Times titled, "California Spent $500 Million on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training, Report Reveals"

The Center for Organizational Research and Education (CORE) said, "“In recent years, the concept of critical race theory and its variants—often camouflaged as more generic ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ (DEI) activities, has entered the national spotlight, and infiltrated publicly-funded entities.”

Learn more about CORE at The $500,000,000 figure for California was for the period 2020-2022.

How much has Richland 2 spent on DEI? At every meeting you hear DEI more and more. Even in the Dress Code revision that is proposed. 

Richland 2's DEI effort is led by Mrs. Helen Grant, who prefers to be called Dr. Grant. Now, she doesn't have a Ph.D. or even an Ed.D. She's a lawyer, holding at J.D. degree. She is the only lawyer I have ever heard of in my entire lifetime who wants to be called Dr. ____. 

Is that privilege? What "privilege" is it? 

Is it equity to be called whatever you want? Is it inclusion? Diversity? 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Can three board members control the School Board?

Many people will say that the school board is controlled by the majority of board members. In other words, four board members control. 

This is NOT correct.

Three board members can control the board, and they should. Judiciously, of course.

Remember when three trustees walked out because of the short notice they were given to consider the superintendent's proposed contract renewal? That worked!

They should have used that again when they were asked to vote on The Wyche Law Firm on such short notice. The superintendent and the chair apparently withheld information about Wyche from at least three of the trustees until the executive committee met. Did Manning, McKie and Caution-Parker get the information days earlier? Did they even care if they didn't?

Agostini, Scott and McFadden could have walked out, eliminating a quorum and halting the meeting.

And last Tuesday night, when the same three wanted more time to consider the $300,000,000+ budget for 2022-2023?

Walk-out time.

The same when they raised a Point-of-Order. When the Chair failed to recognize the call for a Point-of-Order, the trustee needs to say it again and more loudly. If still not recognized, then stand up and say it loudly. And if that doesn't work, three trustees can walk out.

They could remain in the hall for five minutes, hoping the Chair would decide to comply with Robert's Rules of Order. If not, the meeting is over for that evening.

I wrote to them earlier in the year and suggested they consider that philosophy. I told them it's like training a new puppy. 

When you train a puppy, it only takes a few times of discipline. 

If the chair refused reasonable requests and positions, walk out. 

I figured it might have taken a little longer with the Chair, but it would have worked. The bullying would have stopped.

Pass motion; then make secondary motion???

At Tuesday night's board meeting (July 12, 2022) there was a lengthy discussion of the proposed 2022-2023 Budget. 

Trustees Agostini and McFadden asked for more time to consider it. McKie had made a motion to approve the budget. McFadden made a (secondary) motion to delay the vote and  allow more time for deliberation. 

Manning said there was a  motion standing. He was right, but he knows full well what a secondary motion is and in which order motions are voted. He has been on the board since 2010, and he often had to explain secondary motions to last year's chair.

And then McKie chimed in the wrong information that she has spoken about in the past.

She should know by now that, when a motion passes, such a "secondary motion" is meaningless. The motion would have already passed.

But Manning, as chair and member of the pack of the Core Four, did not correct her.

And without a Parliamentarian the wrong information did not get corrected.

McFadden's secondary motion should have quickly been seconded by Agostini or Scott. Then there should have been discussion and a vote.

Unfortunately, the Core Four stood ready to approve the budget, so they would have voted en bloc 3-4 on McFadden's motion, causing it to fail. But there would have always been hope that Holmes would not have understood McFadden's motion and would have "hit the wrong button", making the vote 4-3 (passing).

That would have killed the primary motion and would have just taken them back to a starting point, and they would have had to wiggle to produce some kind of wording to get what The Four wanted - a passed Budget Tuesday night.

How much money did the District waste on the two "executive coaching and parliamentary procedures" trainings? $10,-15,000? More? Did anyone ever submit a FOIA request?

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The three R's

Several years ago, in a different school district, a high school counselor told me that students do not need to know how to write in cursive, don't need to know arithmetic, and don't need to know how to spell. They use keyboards, calculators, and spellcheck.

I remember telling that counselor that, if she were playing baseball, she had just struck out.

Today many high school students cannot read or write in cursive, cannot add numbers in their heads or correctly estimate totals (sums or products), and cannot spell.

Students without those skills are harmed - for life.

If you have a student in grade school, middle school, or high school, now is the time to get them the help they need.

These are basic life skills. If a person is balancing his checkbook, he should be able to estimate the new total, after he makes a deposit or writes a check. Should the new total be greater or less than before the transaction? And by approximately what amount?

There is one way to spell a word - the correct way. (Although I did have a person tell me that "it is a strange and narrow-minded person who can spell a word only one way." And then there is Mark Twain's version: "I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way."

To me, a person demonstrates his intelligence through his spelling and his oral word choices. When I call someone and ask, "May I speak with Betty, please?" and the response is, "This is her", I am ready to gag. I mean, throw up. I'll probably just hang up.

I visited a third-grade class one day and the teacher said, "Him and I are going to the library." Seriously? And then the teacher made a similar error the next week in the kid's IEP. It was all I could do to refrain from saying, "WHAT?"

How do you handle incorrect grammar from children?

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Don't Miss Policy JICA (proposed revision) - WOKE all the way

On the agenda for the July 12, 2022 school board meeting is a first reading of a proposed revision to Board Policy JICA - Student Dress/Articles/Displays

You can read it in the attachment to the agenda. Email me if you don't know how to find the agenda.

The revision drifts far away from Student Dress, to be re-named Attire.

Following a re-statement of the District's Mission to develop global citizens - blah, blah, blah - 

Check out the new first paragraph. Just exactly how is a school responsible for ensuring that attire does not contribute to a hostile or intimidating environment for any student?

If a student wears a "I love Trump" shirt or a shirt with "Jesus is the way" (or a hoodie with BLM on the front) to school, and "another student" gets triggered and trots off to the Principal's office to complain of a "hostile environment",  what happens next?

You can guess, can't you?

In a world of equity at Richland 2, which student will be supported? Which one will be disciplined?

You and I know the answer to that question.

Why is there a re-statement of core values (Learning, Character, Community & Joy) in the Attire policy?

"Students have the right to be treated equitably." No, no, NO..... The right is to be treated EQUALLY. Look closely at "marginalization" and identity in that bullet-point.

Whoever drafted that revision should be required to affix her name to it. My guess it came straight out of the DEI department. 

Contact all the trustees and express your opinion (even though you already know the Core Four will approve it at the second reading on August 9.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Will board meetings return to 90 minutes (max.)?

Remember when school board meetings ran about 90 minutes? What happened over the past three years? (You and I know.) Chaos. Disrespect. Shaming. Out-of-control.

Will James Manning, as the board chair for this school year, restore order and control over meetings?


Establish a 90-minute time-frame for meetings before entering the planning session with the superintendent on the Thursday before a Tuesday board meeting.

Shorten the Inspiration Moment to three minutes (max.), including the introduction. Select a different board member to introduce the Moment. Amelia McKie must have thought she was at the Academy Awards or Toastmaster Championships. 

Move right into the Pledge. And, no, it's not "Join me in reciting the Pledge." It's "Join me in the Pledge of Allegiance." Let the Chair thank the speaker. It's not necessary to spend another 1-3 minutes thanking the speaker.

Cancel student performances as the Inspiration Moment. If the Board decides to have Student Performance, instead of Inspirational Moment, change the Agenda.

Eliminate the lag between speakers during Public Participation by asking following speakers to queue up.

Crack down on unnecessary board member comments that are redundant and off-topic.

Eliminate the long delays in board voting. What is the world takes so long to tally and announce electronic votes?

Know Robert's Rules of Order and follow them without shaming board members.

When the agenda is created, set a time-limit for the dog-and-pony shows put on by the staff (at the superintendent's direction). Presenters don't need to read slides to board members (and the audience).

Board members should study the packets that are distributed to them before meeting and be prepared to ask succinct questions.

If a board member wants something, make a motion (or a secondary motion). Saying, "I would like ..." is a waste of time. Recall how many times Teresa Holmes just blew on past what a minority member said, instead of asking, "Do you want to make a motion?"

Conduct the board meeting in a fast-paced, concise manner without "rushing". Work against "Time Remaining". Put up a big clock, similar to that used in football and basketball games.

Eliminate individual thanks by board members for staff presentations. That just wastes time. The chair can thank for all. Cut out the "I've been an educator for 35 (or 40) years" remarks.

Let four-hour board meetings be a relic of the past.

Like any of these suggestions? Have some of your own? Put them in the Comments section below.

Dennis & Julie Podcast

I'm a fan of Dennis Prager and PragerU. Dennis is a smart man.

Recently I learned of the Dennis & Julie Podcast, featuring (who else?) Dennis Prager and Julie Hartman.

This is a must-watch. I'd like to give you an image on which you could just click, but this video must be one that YouTube has partially censured. It doesn't show up in the YouTube search window for the Blogger platform.

However, you can watch the video by clicking on this link:

Dennis introduced Julie as his first co-host. They discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other topics.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Open Letter to board chair James Manning

To Richland 2 board chair James Manning:

One of your first acts as Board Chair for the School Year 2022-2023 should be to require Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie to take the oath-of-office and become legitimate members of the Richland 2 school board.

This issue was first raised during public participation at a school board meeting in about February 2019. The board was informed that the oath-of-office administered to Holmes and McKie on November 13, 2018 was done so THREE full weeks before they first became eligible to take it.

That is because neither Holmes nor McKie had filed her Statement of Economic Interests report (SEI) with the South Carolina Ethics Commission. They filed the SEIs on December 4, 2018. Neither has taken the oath-of-office since that date.

Had the board required Holmes and McKie to take the oath-of-office in February 2019, the District would have needed to correct the votes on motions only back for three months. All votes of Holmes and McKie should have been removed. Many results of voting on motions would have changed.

The problem of wrongful voting has continued now for more than 3½ years. The effort required now to correct votes and results is massive.

With respect to honesty, integrity, responsibility, transparency, and South Carolina law, there should be no further delay in correcting this legal nightmare.

The board has functioned with only five legitimate members since November 13, 2018. McKie's term as board chair ended on November 13, 2018, and a new board chair should have been elected for the balance of the 2018-2019 school year.

Holmes and McKie should not have been nominated for, or elected to, officer positions on the board. Holmes and McKie should not have been elected as board officers on June 29, 2021, and they should not have been elected as board officers again on June 28, 2022.

S.C. Code of Laws Section 8-13-1110 reads, in part,

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.

Will you correct this error now?

Friday, July 1, 2022

Not school district -related, but good reading

A neighbor sent me this scam alert. Whether it's true or not, it could be. We get so used to paying with plastic. So, be careful. Share this article by using the "Mail" button below. (No record is kept of any articles forwarded or emails used.) Note: I didn't write it. This did not happen to me.

The following is a recounting of the incident from the victim:

Wednesday a week ago, I had a phone call from someone saying that he was from some outfit called: "Express Couriers," (The name could be any courier company).  He asked if I was going to be home because there was a package for me that required a signature.

The caller said that the delivery would arrive at my home in approximately an hour. Sure enough, about an hour later, a uniformed delivery man turned up with a beautiful basket of flowers and a bottle of wine. I was very surprised, since there was no special occasion or holiday, and I, certainly, didn't expect anything like it. Intrigued, I inquired as to who the sender was.

The courier replied, "I don't know, I'm only delivering the package."

Apparently, a greeting card was being sent separately. (The card has never arrived!)  There was also a consignment note with the gift.  He then went on to explain that because the gift contained alcohol, there was a $3.50 "delivery/ verification charge," providing proof that he actually had delivered the package to an adult (of legal drinking age), and not just left it on the doorstep where it could be stolen or taken by anyone, especially a minor.

This sounded logical and I offered to pay him cash.  He then said that the delivery company required payment to be by credit or debit card only, so that everything is properly accounted for, and this would help in keeping a legal record of the transaction.

He added, "Couriers don't carry cash to avoid loss or being, likely, targets for robbery."

My husband, who by this time was standing beside me, pulled out his credit card, and the "delivery man," asked him to swipe the card on a small mobile card machine with a small screen and keypad.  Frank, my husband, was asked to enter his PIN number and a receipt was printed out.  He was given a copy of the transaction.

The guy said everything was in order, and wished us good day, and left.

To our horrible surprise, between Thursday and the following Monday, $4,000 had been charged/withdrawn from our credit/debit account at various ATM machines.  Apparently, the "mobile credit card machine," which the deliveryman carried, now, had all the info necessary to create a "dummy" card with all our card details including the PIN number.

Upon finding out about the illegal transactions on our card, we, immediately, notified the bank which issued us a new card, and our credit/debit account was closed.  We, also, personally, went to the police, where it was confirmed that it is, definitely, a scam because several households had been similarly hit.

WARNING: Be wary of accepting any "surprise gift or package," which you neither expected nor personally ordered, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the gift or package.  Also, never accept anything if you do not, personally, know or there is no proper identification of who the sender is.  Above all, the only time you should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when you yourself initiated the purchase or transaction!

PLEASE, pass this on, it may just prevent someone else from being swindled.

Richland 2 responds to S.C. IG

WIS-TV published Richland Two's response to the Governor's direction for the State Inspector General to investigate Richland 2.

In an article published on yesterday, Richland Two wrote:

"Richland School District Two administrators contacted State Inspector General Brian Lamkin on June 23, 2022, to follow up on a report that the Governor had submitted a formal request to Mr. Lamkin to conduct an investigation, review and analysis of Richland Two. In speaking with Mr. Lamkin, we pledged our full cooperation with the investigation.

"As demonstrated in our recent successful accreditation process and our annual financial audits, our district approaches any and all reviews with a strong commitment to transparency and to our Core Values of Learning, Character, Community and Joy."

That standard of "Core Values" certainly does not apply to the January 25, 2022 incident in the board room. Transparency? Seriously?

Then-board chair Teresa Holmes refused to convene an investigation into the disruption caused by Pamela Davis, a Blythewood High School teacher and wife of Supt. Baron Davis, and the superintedent himself.

I thought it was amazing that the sheriff's department could almost instantly conclude that no crime had been committed by the superintendent, who allegedly charged at the white man who intervened when Pamela Davis was cussing out a 14-year-old student who was present that night. Teh student told me what her words were.

The District should have investigated her for conduct unbecoming an employee. I filed a complaint through the principal at Blythewood High School and have never heard one word from the District.

I suspect Inspector General Lamkin will put this on his list of items to investigate. How will the District spin its response?