Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Knife at Westwood High School

WACH/FOX-TV has reported that a 17-year-old student at Westwood High School (Richland 2) was found with a knife today.

Richland 2 will consider a knife to be a weapon. In some cases, it is. Most often it is a tool.

No details about the knife in the media, of course.

Does anyone know? Big knife? Little knife? Straight knife? Folding? In a sheath on a belt? In a back pack? Pocket?

A parent called me a couple of weeks ago because her child had been found with a knife at school. For the kid, it was a tool; not a weapon.

Remember (most readers won't) when all the boys used to carry pocket knives? I still have the Swiss Army Knife that I got when I was about 12 years old. It has been all over the country with me (by car and motorcycle). Across Mexico, into Belize; and back. 

And when pick-up trucks had gun racks in the back windows? With guns in them? In the school parking lot! And when students in ROTC had real rifles? And when schools had rifle teams?

No school shootings. No thefts from pick-up trucks.

So it's not the weapon. It's what between the ears that counts. And THAT is what Richland 2 ought to be working on.

What's cooking at Westwood H.S.?

Not much, from what I hear. Did students get bag lunches again today? No hot lunches?

Where is all the money going?

The District receives Federal dollars for meals for the free-meal program and the reduced-price meal program. Isn't it cheaper to serve a bag lunch than a hot lunch?

Who keeps the profit?

Does starving students cause better behavior?

When I was a kid and hungry, my behavior got worse. Is that still true? Yes. For me and for others. Just ask.

In Richland 2 school district how many students get their only hot meal of the day at school? If Westwood H.S. has stopped serving hot meals, what about their diet?

How is Principal Jackson communicating with the parents of students whose meal plan is being radically changed? Is it punishment for all, due to behavior of some?

What does Supt. Davis have to say about what is occurring at Westwood? 

Is the school being informed of the Draconian measures being implemented at Westwood?

Every student, teacher and staff member at Westwood is invited to comment below. Am I getting it right? No? Let me know.

CUBE Conference, Miami - Canceled

Thanks to Hurricane Ian, the CUBE Conference in Miami, scheduled for Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, has been canceled.

This is the meeting that three school board members whose terms expire in November were planning to attend on the District's dime just before leaving office.

So Ian has saved Richland Two somewhere between $10,-15,000.

The conference is postponed to December 8-10, which will be after Manning and McKie, and hopefully Holmes, will have left office.

Another 4-hour meeting!

When will the Richland 2 school board learn (re-learn) how to conduct a school board meeting and get the length back down to 75-90 minutes?

Last night's meeting was almost four hours, including the executive session that started at 5:30PM. Of course, the public didn't have to endure that first hour. The initial start time at 5:30PM shows up at (4:50) on the livestream timer. Then the board left for executive session.

The open meeting re-convened at 6:30PM. (1:04:38 on the timer)

The livestream clock indicated a meeting duration of 3 hours 59 minutes 56 seconds (3:59:56); that included the executive session.

Meetings are so long, because the board does not control them. The agenda is planned by the Chair and the Superintendent. The Board could vote and tell the Chair, "No more four-hour meetings!" Shorten the dog-and-pony shows put on by the superintendent's staff. That would drastically short staff preparation time and expense.

Perhaps the new board in November will do so. Might they decide 30-minute executive sessions and 90-min. board meetings?

One way to shorten meetings would be for the Chair to call the meeting to order and call for a motion to enter executive session for the purpose of xxx. . All a board member would have to say is, "So moved", and a second member would say, "Seconded". Chair: "All in favor, raise right hands. Opposed? The vote is 7-0, Approved. We will adjourn to executive session."

How long would that take? Less than 30 seconds!

And cut costs by sharply reducing the number of staff required to attend. Having 12-15 of them sit there for 3-4 hours is a complete waste of talent and money.

Trustees apoprove falsified Minutes

At every school board meeting the trustees are asked to approve Minutes of the previous meeting. The Minutes are under the Consent Agenda and are normally approved without batting an eye.

And, apparently, without having read them!

Last night was a good example.

The Minutes are supposed to be an accurate reflection of what happened at a meeting. They are the permanent record. They should be accurate and TRUE.

At the September 13th board meeting Holmes made a long, convoluted motion regarding the superintendent's evaluation and contract extension. It was so long that the recording secretary had to go to her for a written copy of the motion. Then the recording secretary typed it for display on the projection screen. In her haste, she included an additional sentence, "I move that we as a board conclude Dr. Davis [sic] Dr. Davis's employment contract."

In other words, let's fire him.

Apparently, no trustee read the motion before voting. The vote was 4-3, as expected.

It is the written motion that is the legal one; not the oral motion that precedes it. When the Minutes of that meeting were attached to the Agenda for last night's meeting, that sentence was gone. Some removed it. Perhaps somebody was told to remove it.

Last night's vote to approve the Minutes was 4-2-1. 

Manning, Holmes, McKie, and Caution-Parker voted to approve falsified Minutes.

That is NOT okay!!!

New Speaker Sign-up Procedure

Richland 2 has a new sign-up procedure, if you wish to speak at a board meeting. I was surprised by it last night and would have missed the registration, had I not arrived at 6:00PM.

Sign-up forms are no longer used. Richland 2 is going the way of McDonald's and discarding the sign-up desk with the attendant labor cost of an employee to hand you the forms and receive them, once completed. Say, "Hello, McDonald's ordering kiosk."

Now you scan the QR Code at R2i2 (outside the board room) with your phone and register. This assumes you'll be able to connect to the Richland 2 site (which I wasn't). Fortunately, there was a very helpful Richland 2 employee who used the available laptop to register me.

Or you can use the District's laptop there. There was apparently an announcement I missed in an email from the District with the link to the Agenda. 

Or you can register from home (or work) via your own computer. 

The new procedure was apparently announced in an email from the District. There is an assumption made by the District that you will receive and read the email. If you already knew the procedure to sign up, why would you read the email?

Here's where you find the electronic sign-up form:

Sign up during the period between the Friday before the board meeting and about 6:00PM on the day of the board meeting.

Go to the District's homepage at
Click on EXPLORE
Click on School Board

Westwood H.S. - how bad are things there?

Richland 2's Westwood High School is located at in Blythewood. Its 2020-2021 Annual Student Improvement Council Parent Report (on its website) indicates an enrollment of 1,490 students.

The Principal is Robert Jackson. There are two Assistant Principals - Vanessa Rhoden and Bruce Davis. Three Assistant Administrators are listed on the school's website.

Westwood H.S. is located at 180 Turkey Farm Road in Blythewood. That's just west of Hwy. 21 (Wilson Blvd.) and just south of the interchange with I-77.

With that introduction, what's going on at Westwood?

What is the current level of violence on a daily basis at Westwood? Is it so bad that teachers must give up their 4th Period classes in order to escort students to lunch?

What was in the email to all teachers yesterday from Asst. Principal Rhoden?

What is required of students to pick up their bag lunches? 

Are all seniors required to stay on campus at lunch times?

One message to me indicated "prison-like" conditions. Seriously?

Should every student be punished because of the actions of a few (or, perhaps, not so few)?

Must teachers wait with their students in their classrooms until an administrator releases them to go to the cafeteria? Must they submit rosters of their students to the cafeteria staff? Must they escort their students to and from the cafeteria?

If you are a teacher, staffer or student (or parent of a student), let me know what is going on? You can safely (confidentially) contact me at  Your name and any identifiable information will never be revealed.