Saturday, February 19, 2022

District's Toothless Warning

Late in each week prior to a board meeting, the District puts out a long notice about do's and don't's of attending a board meeting. In other words, Be good, boys and girls.

Read this paragraph:

"In an effort to effectively maintain a safe environment, any person attending the meeting who is out of order, loud, disruptive, making inappropriate comments, and/or a safety concern will be asked to be seated or leave by a security officer. If the person does not comply, a Richland County Sheriff Deputy will escort them off the property."

Then recall the February 8th board meeting.

That was the meeting when Craig Khanwell was allowed to go on a three-minute rant, threatening members of the audience and those at home. Missed it? Go to  Feb. 8, 2022 meeting. Start at 1:46:30
Ask Teresa Holmes and Baron Davis:

Was a safe environment maintained?

Was Khanwell "out of order, loud, disruptive, making in appropriate comments"? Was he a safety concern?

There was no doubt about that. All of the above.

How did Holmes and Davis respond? Not a peep out of them. Not a peep out of any board member. Not a peep out of Marq Claxton. Not a peep out of even one Richland 2 security officer.

Holmes mentioned recently there was an elephant in the room. There sure was. A black elephant.

If I had expressed myself, or if any white person had expressed himself, as Khanwell did, we would have beene face-down on the floor. Arrested for threatening behavior in a school. Jailed.

I am not going to be bashful about talking about race here. 

Holmes and Davis permitted Khanwell to spew his vitriolic hatred because all three are black. 

Convince me I'm wrong.

You Are Invited: 2/22/22 6:30PM

The next school board meeting will, hopefully, be calmer than the February 8th meeting. If that loud guy shows up again, security or RCSD should shut him down if he threatens the audience as he did on Feb. 8th.

What's up for Tuesday night?

The Board is scheduled to consider my grievance about the Jan. 25th Trespass Notice in executive session. I have presented a Witness List with ten names on it. Then the board will vote on my grievance in public session, right after Public Participation.

I'm all for having the entire grievance discussed in public session. Why would the board not want to do that? (Shall I list the reasons?) Then the public would have the whole story.

We'll see how it goes. I expect the board members to do their duty and be fair. What do you think? Will they be fair? 

The stumbling block right now is access to R2i2. If I cross the property line without written Access Authorization from Mark Claxton, I'll be arrested for Trespassing. Should I be intimidated by that? 

Monday is a school holiday. That leaves only Tuesday for the District to produce written Access Authorization and get it to me in time for me to be in the board room by 5:30PM, when the executive session starts. 

Surely, the board would not attempt to "consider" my grievance without hearing from me, would it? Or without hearing from the witnesses on my list?

If you want to speak during Public Participation, be sure to get there before 6:15PM. Sign-up starts at 5:31PM.

Revision of Board Policy BEDI - Media

On Tuesday, February 22, 2022 a revision to Board Policy BEDI will be introduced for first reading. No action will be taken that night.

Who dreamed up this one? Did a board member propose that BEDI be re-visited? Or did Administration (meaning the superintendent) come up with this?

This is a blatant attempt to muzzle Trustees. As you read the following, pay close attention to the wording in the proposed revision: "...assumes personal legal responsibility..." Those four words will have a chilling effect on the free speech rights of board members.

On the other hand, maybe this revision should have been passed before Holmes and Manning stepped into the spotlight in the courtyard at R2i2 on January 28th and spoke in front of the WIS-TV camera. When the Chair and the Vice Chair stand on school property in front of R2i2, is there any doubt that both of them are speaking on behalf of the board?

Here it is. If you were a Trustee, what would you say to this?

"Policy BEDI News Media Services At Board Meetings Issued 9/17 

"The board believes that one of its paramount responsibilities is to keep the public informed of its actions. Therefore, the press and public are welcome to attend board meetings. 

"The superintendent or his/her designee will send a copy of the agenda in advance of all official board meetings to members of the working press who request it. In the event that representatives of news media are unable to attend a meeting, they will be provided a summary of important board actions upon request. 

"When individual board members receive requests from news media representatives for information about board meetings meeting content, members will refer the information-seekers to the board chairman. The board chairman is the official public spokesman for the board (except as the board specifically delegates this responsibility to others). Individual board members may speak to the media so long as they are not speaking on behalf of the board. When speaking as an individual, the board member will express such to the media and assumes personal legal responsibility for his/her media statement."

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Underscore indicates added content
It is already adequately covered in Board Policies that trustees, by themselves, do not speak for the board.

If Administration proposed these revisions, why does the superintendent want the hammer - the threat - of "personal legal responsibility" added to the Policy? 

Trustees should vote on this revision at the next following meeting. And the vote should be 0-7!!!