November 19, 2015
On Tuesday, 11/17/15, approximately 100 people attended the BOE meeting. Many of those people wanted to speak; however, the BOE only allows 5 people to speak.
Mike Newton, Superintendent, explains the school boards rules –how many can speak and what they can say. These 2 or 3 pages of rules were posted on the door; however, no agenda of the meeting was posted on the door.
The BOC says they want to hear from people, But do they? The first speaker questions if the mission of the BOE is to silence those who dare to oppose what goes on in Jasper County Schools with their “public participation policy.”
Then a parent spoke who is concerned that his child was not moved out of a class she feels uncomfortable in. Not only that, but the administration told the teacher he complained and then kept the child in the class a week longer while she was bullied by the teacher.
The next speaker told the BOC that parents don’t want to know about personal lives of teachers; teachers need to stick to curriculum. He said, “Don’t pick on my kid; don’t persuade my kid. Don’t make crude comments about my religion.” He handed each BOE member the State regulations—the Code of Ethics for Educators (505-6-.01)
Protect our children from abuse was the next speaker’s concern. He spoke of ugly attacks and teachers belittling our traditions and values. He asked, “Does BOE see this as verbal abuse toward child?”
The last speaker may be a little hard to hear, as she had a soft voice and the air conditioner had come on making some noise picked up by the video recorder. Her comments proved this “alledged” remark was reported by students who signed written statements verifying it happened. She also said teachers shouldn’t be able to mock any faith.
After the comments, Chair Shannon Barton was ready to move on with the regular agenda. Dr. Newton said they would take the comments under advisement and would be preparing a statement. This clip also pans the crowd to show how many people were there.
The BOE then went on with their business and made absolutely no comments and appeared to ignore the people attending and the issues brought up. One person in the back of the room could stand it no longer. She had waited about 20 minutes and then spoke out, “When are you going to respond to parent comments?” Chair Shannon Barton said it was their meeting and they would respond. The woman asked, “WHEN?” There was no answer. She continued, “Is this going to be swept under the rug like everything else?” BOE member Bobby Norris said, “This will not be swept under rug.”
The BOE then went about their business, with Superintendent Mike Newton taking charge of the meeting with the BOE members rarely, if ever, saying anything and never discussing any issue. The Superintendent was totally in charge and the BOE sat by listening from 6:20pm to approximately 7:40PM when the BOE went into Executive Session.
We will post a copy of the “statement addressing the citizens’ concerns” when we receive it.