Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Is it time to arm teachers & staff?

In February 2018 (two weeks after the shooting in Parkland, Fla.), at the first school board meeting I attended, I addressed the Richland 2 school board and asked them to survey parents, teachers, staff and community members on the issue of arming teachers. 

Later that night, in the second Public Participation segment, two parents were allowed to speak. They said they didn't want guns in schools.

Did anyone there that night hear me say I wanted guns in the schools? I wanted a survey! Find out what the community wants.

OK, maybe it's time for that survey now.

As of 10:25PM today, media report that 19 children and two teachers are dead in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which is 80 miles west of San Antonio.

What if many teachers and staff had been armed this morning? When the shooter showed up, he would have been quickly stopped.

Richland 2's Committee of the Whole on Safety & Security is supposed to be hard at work. Will they be serious about protecting students and staff? Will they consider a plan to allow teachers and staff to arm themselves? 

Provide rigorous training in firearms use and the law. 

Remember that often-quoted saying - "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun."

10:15PM Still going strong

The May 24, 2022 meeting was still going strong at 10:15PM. Remember that it started at 6:30PM.

The board was hearing a l-o-n-g presentation on the budget by Dr. Harry Miley and a colleague. At 10:15PM she was delivering most of the information.

Why in the world the chair and the superintendent would ever set up such lengthy staff presentations that could have been summarized to board members in other ways?

This meeting has the potential to continue to 11:00PM. Will it?


Mr. Manning tried to end the meeting, calling for short comments by the board and superintendent. McKie went on and on about her daughter, and I thought she was going to thank every category of employee at Richland 2.

10:50PM Meeting adjourned. Was this a record? Four hours 20 minutes (minus the five minute recess). Plus the executive session from 5:30-6:19PM. 

5th Speaker - 5/24/2022 - Now Hear This!

The fifth speaker in Public Participation on May 24, 2022 is not to be missed. She nailed it.

(Mrs.) Mary Ann Adams was introduced and she spoke about the executive session bruhaha on April 28, 2022.

Listen to her remarks on livestream.com/richland2 beginning at 1:25:00

Mrs. Adams avoided using names but mentioned how one board member taunted another member and laughed at her. (That would be Holmes taunting and laughing at McFadden.)

That first board member (Holmes) kept laughing at the other member (McFadden) and called her names.

Mrs. Adams commented that some board members attempted to de-escalate the situation, but most did not and are complicit in the bullying.

Mrs. Adams said that (Mrs. McFadden) is not the only guilty party and feels that Mrs. McFadden bears the least guilt in the situation, because she was provoked and you (some of the board members) wanted her to react explosively.

"Effective leaders attempt to de-escalate situations," Mrs. Adams said. "You (meaning Holmes) deliberately make things worse."

Mrs. Adams likened the school board to a group of middle-school girls who bully an outcast.She said a private business would fire you (the complicit board members) on the spot for how you treat a fellow board member. She said that "you" (certain board members) create a hostile work environment.

She said that what happened to Mrs. McFadden was purely harassment.

She said that she has asked the Governor to remove you (meaning Holmes) and other members who display unprofessional and unethical behavior.

Thank you, Mrs. Adams, for your professionally-delivered, excellent statement at the meeting.

Manning - WRONG about naming school personnel !!!

Why did Vice Chair incorrectly apply the Board Policy BEDH on Public Participation at the May 24th meeting?

The fourth speaker (Mr. Paul (last night not clear) during Public Participation tonight wanted to praise administrators and teachers of the schools attended by six of his nine children, which are Blythewood High School, Blythewood Middle School and Round Top Elementary. Listen to his excellent remarks on livestream.com/richland2 at 1:21:40.

The speaker asked if he could mention the names of personnel. Manning said something about "in keeping with (policy)", No.

This Policy has been been discussed at many meetings.

What is so hard about understanding this Policy? BEDH reads, in part, "The board will not permit in public session any expression of personal complaints..."

It says nothing about mentioning names of people associated with the schools or the District. If a speaker wishes to mention a name of a teacher, administrator or Board Member, s/he can do so. Board Policy is silent about that!

What is so hard about understanding that? Why can't Manning (and Holmes) understand that?

McKie cuts off discussion

Amelia McKie moved quickly to cut off discussion, shortly after the Richland 2 school board convened its May 24, 2022 Regular Board Meeting.

Vice Chair Manning opened the meeting and explained Teresa Holmes' absence. Holmes had informed him of having been exposed to COVID-19 by a family member. Holmes would be attending by telephone. Manning said Holmes would attend by telephone to keep everyone at the meeting safe. Nice try, James.

Trustee Scott had indicated to him that she would attend the executive session by telephone and will attend the meeting in-person when it re-convenes at 6:30PM.

Manning said Trustee McFadden was present but that she would attend the executive session by telephone. If I were to guess, I'd said she would not even want to be in the same room as Teresa Holmes. Perhaps she will attend the executive session in person, since Holmes was not present.

Manning asked for a Motion to go into executive session, but Trustee Scott asked to be recognized. After she was, she spoke to clarify why she would be attending the executive session by telephone. She stated that she would be attending the executive session by telephone because "someone" violated board policy on April 28th by recording in the executive session.

Then McKie made a motion to go into executive session. It was seconded by Caution-Parker, which seems to me to be about her only role on the board.

During discussion before the vote to go into executive session, Trustee Agostini read the final paragraph of Board Policy BEC, which prohibits recording during executive session. She also stated that it appeared to her that the recorder was already on ___ (partially not understandable).

While Mrs. Agostini was speaking, you can see Cheryl Caution-Parker not paying attention to her.

You can also see that Amelia McKie is busy shuffling items on her desk and apparently not paying attention to Mrs. Agostini.

Manning asked if there was further discussion and McKie hopped in with a Call for the Question to vote. Fancy words for shutting off further discussion. 

McKie's call for the Question (to Vote) was unnecessary, because that is exactly what Manning would have done, had there been no further discussion.

When there is a Call for the Question (i.e., let's vote), Robert's Rules of Order §16:6-7 applies. This one appeared to catch Manning by surprise.

What should have happened next? Manning should have asked if there was any objection to closing debate (or discussion). Had someone objected to closing discussion, he would have had to ask for a second to McKie's call for the vote. Then McKie's motion (call for the vote) would have required a vote; only after that vote, could the board have voted on going into executive sesssion.

Instead, after a pause Manning called for a vote on the motion to enter executive session.

Why did McKie rush to shut off discussion about the recording that had occurred during the April 28th executive session? Was she worried that more might be said about the violation of Board Policy BEC? Might the recording party have been mentioned by name? Is there more for the public to learn about that?