Monday, January 7, 2013

Speaking at School Board Meetings Results in Retaliation

I have spoken at several Fox C-6 school board meetings over the last couple of years.  The first time I made Public Comments at a Fox C-6 school board meeting was at the December 2010 meeting.  There were only 7 people from the community in attendance at that meeting.  My speaking at that board meeting resulted in defamatory comments being posted on the TOPIX.COM website.

The first TOPIX.COM post was made shortly after the board meeting that night. Since I was the only person who spoke at the December 14, 2010 school board meeting, the following post on TOPIX.COM was directed at me.

"I went and almost made a public comment then decided that in reality all of this chatter and such is really is none of my business. There was one guy who talked but I thought he was kinda MR so I didn't take him serious. Other than that.... Nothing. no matter what I type on here to stir the pot I truly don't have any proof or knowledge of these rumors. I am sorry for being so belittling and dumb. I just hope they can't get my ISP number and find out who I am."
The 7 people from the community, not including myself, that attended the meeting that night were two students who spoke at the meeting and their parents, Kim Robertson, the reporter from The Leader newspaper and a representative from an accounting firm. So, that only leaves school board members and some of Fox's administrators who were in attendance that night, who would have known that I had just spoken at the meeting.

I certainly doubt that the post was made by any of the community members who attended the meeting. However, it makes one question who would have posted the comment or conveyed the information to the person who actually made the post:

There was another post made on TOPIX.COM that was directed at me and my parents a week after the December 14, 2010 school board meeting.  The comments were mostly directed at me, but they indirectly referred to my parents.  I didn't realize that expressing concerns to our school board about their hiring practices would result in such comments.  However, once you've gone to a school board meeting at Fox C-6 and expressed your "concerns within the district" as my Public Comments were documented in the December 2010 school board meeting minutes, you become branded for life by the powers to be at the Fox C-6 School District.

I made my second Public Comment at the April 2011 school board meeting.  This was the meeting that had everyone under shelter for quite a while as a severe storm with tornado warnings blew through the area.  It was so windy that you could see the outside walls of the service center flexing in and out.  You can read about the questions that I presented to the school board at the April 2011 school board meeting in my May 17, 2011 email to the school board.  In that email, I documented the fact that Jamie Critchlow had approached me at the April 2011 school board meeting and told me that I was simply trying to, "stir the pot". It's funny how the post that was made on December 14, 2010 used the same phrase of "stir the pot" that Mr. Critchlow made to me at the April 2011 school board meeting.

I don't recall any specific retaliatory comments that were made on TOPIX.COM shortly after my April 2011 board meeting presentation, but there had been quite a few made between January 2011 and April 2011 and several were quite vulgar in nature.  I guess when you start asking questions of our school board and the school administrators, that a little intimidation usually puts an end to those types of questions.  But, I did not let them deter my efforts.

I next spoke at the August 2011 school board meeting and this time I started off by complimenting the school board for having the school district correct the 10 Elementary Student Handbooks that weren't up to date after downloading the Lone Dell Elementary Student Handbook from the district website.  I found that the Lone Dell Student Handbook was dated for the 2009-2010 school year and had the 2009-2010 calendar of events in it.  Lone Dell parents were told at Open House for the 2011-2012 school year that the student handbooks weren't going to be printed anymore and that they could be downloaded from the website.  I complimented the board after being scolded by Ruth Ann Newman, the school board president at the time, for never complimenting the school board for the great job they were doing.  So, after thanking them for correcting the handbooks which is required by state law to be kept up to date, I moved on to my concerns.

The next school board meeting that I made a Public Comment at was the December 2012 school board meeting.  I asked the school board again as to why they have been unwilling to publish the board meeting packets on the school district website like they do in other school districts.  That was the only concern that I presented at that school board meeting.  However, there were two other presenters at the December 2012 school board meeting that also voiced their concerns.  One was an NEA representative from Festus who spoke to the school board.  The other was a parent who expressed his concern over the recent hiring of our school board president Linda Nash's daughter-in-law as the Food Services Director for the school district with a salary of $65,336.  He expressed his concern after reading about it in the Arnold-Imperial Leader newspaper.  The newspaper article stated that her daughter-in-law Kelly Nash only had a high school diploma and had been an assistant manager at McDonald's for the past 17 years and that the school district was going to give her 2 years to obtain her degree or certification.  I didn't express my concerns to anyone on the school board or administrators that night about the recent hiring practices.  However, I did express my concern about the textbooks shortage in the middle schools though in discussions with school board members and administrators after the school board meeting.

So, I was quite surprised to learn that on Saturday December 15, 2012, there were new defamatory comments posted about me and my family on TOPIX.COM again.  I guess that the powers to be at Fox do not share the same interest I have in ensuring that our school district keeps the community informed about what they are doing by publishing the board meeting packets on the district website and exercising transparency to the fullest degree as one of our board members Dan Smith touted in his most recent election campaign for Missouri State Representative.

So, why do people attack my character and make defamatory and derogatory comments about me on the TOPIX.COM website?

I guess they attack me and my family because between November 2010 and January 11, 2011, I posted a total of 18 comments on TOPIX.COM which were all facts regarding my concerns in the Fox C-6 School District.  I found the TOPIX website while researching information in relation to issues going on in the Fox C-6 school district.  I found many people posting their concerns about Fox on the TOPIX website.  And, it was my opinion that the school district was not keeping the public informed or informed in a timely manner.  School board meeting minutes aren't posted until after the next school board meeting.  So, the school district has more than a month before anyone in the community really finds out about it.  So, I thought I would post the facts that I had researched.  I verified my facts before I posted them as I always do.  However, my postings were met with many negative responses and those responses could have only come from a very few people that were in the know of what had been going on in the school district if you know what I mean.

So, for everyone in the know at the Fox C-6 School District which would include school board members and administrators, I recommend that you re-evaluate your thinking because I am quite sure after reading many of the posts that were slanderous in nature and directed at me and my family that you believe that I have been posting on TOPIX.COM for the past 2 years.  Sorry, but you are ALL quite wrong in your thinking.  The comments on TOPIX don't count the attacks against me and my family that were posted by people in the know on STLTODAY.COM after the August 2010 Post Dispatch news story that I believe was written for the school district to make it appear as if they were properly following the law.

For our school board members and school administrators to even consider thinking that I would make the comments that people have pointed out as being made by me simply shows a lack of knowledge of my character, integrity and intentions.  You may wish to attack my character because in doing so, it makes you feel better about the things that have been going on in our school district for the last several years.  But, the comments that have been posted online and directed at me have been beyond belief.  The comments really do reflect poorly on the people that have posted them.  I never asked TOPIX to remove them as I wanted to make sure that when the truth did start coming out as to what has been going on in our school district that the community would be able to see first hand how a National District of Character treats the patrons and citizens in the school district for voicing their concerns.  Over the past couple of years, I have forwarded many of the comments on to our U.S. Senators and Congressman as well as to the USDA OCR and U.S. Department of Education (ED) OCR and the Department of Justice.  I guess everyone in our school district hasn't read Policy 0215 as they don't seem to be following it very well.  Perhaps it would also be a good idea for our school board members to read their Code of Ethics policy as well.

It certainly has been quite a learning experience over the last 4+ years when I began researching all of the issues and concerns going on in our school district.  I grew up in the school district and my parents devoted their entire professional careers to the district.  I also learned a great deal about the law as well as the founding of our countries education system and a lot about human nature.  I can say that I am a much more informed and better person for it.  It is definitely not what I had planned on doing with the thousands of hours that I have put into this project.  I can only hope that we soon get a completely new school board and a new administration who can show respect to the community and to the teachers and staff that work within our school district.

On January 11, 2013, it will have been two years since I made my last post on TOPIX.COM.  I think that an apology from those that have been posting negative comments about me and my family is in order to both me and my family and the community.  Your comments really do reflect very poorly on our school district!