Monday, August 1, 2011

Detention?

From: Kathy Mazur
To: amherstac@aol.com
Sent: Fri, Jul 29, 2011 2:07 pm
Subject: Tuesday


Hi Larry - Can you please meet with Maria and me at 3 pm next Tuesday? I expect to have the settlement information ready at that time, and Maria and I would like to be able to answer any questions you might have, as well as have an opportunity for us to provide some context for the settlements. Thanks, Kathy
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I feel a bit like the petulant school child sent to the principal's office for discipline, or what the Chinese government refers to as "retraining." Stimulates not-so-fond memories from St. Michael's Catholic school in Northampton, where the first line of offense was a brief stay in the cramped cloakroom.

Of course the ironic thing about the Amherst Schools trying to keep these settlement agreements with public employees secret is that by taking flawed legal advice from Attorney Tate and resisting my initial public documents request they have only attracted additional attention to the matter.

Furthermore, had I not published the formal finding from the Public Documents Division spelling out the Schools' mistake, a reader would not have seen the opportunity to forward me documentation regarding the other recent incident where the Schools, acting on bad legal advice, withheld the resume of the "interim" Director of Special Education, thereby earning yet another reprimand from state officials.

Rather than spend taxpayer money on bad legal advice, perhaps the Schools--a $50 million enterprise--should hire an entry level Public Relations advisor to spin positive stories and prevent recurrence of these embarrassing
faux pas.

21 comments:

Ed said...

This is what so infuriates me about the psychologist mindset (Maria G) -- they can't just give you information to which you have legal right of access; no, you must make an appointment with them to "discuss" it.

These are public documents (or they wouldn't be "discussing" them with you) -- why should you have to run the gauntlet of a "discussion?" Why can't she just send them to you like any normal bureaucrat could/would?

Are they so overstaffed that they have the time for two fairly-high-paid employees to spend an hour (or more) "discussing" something that you ought to be able to read for yourself?

Ed said...

0ne other thing -- I still haven't heard from Maria G as to how she and the district intend to implement the ED/OCR policy I asked her about last winter....

Anonymous said...

Your damned if you do and damned if you don't. Here the school is offering to spend time with you, Larry, to discuss the information and answer any other questions you might have and you are chastising them. They don't have to take the time out of their busy day to actually meet with you...they could just give you the stuff and send you on your way.

If you really don't want to meet with them tell them so and they won't waste their time with you.

LarryK4 said...

I'm not chastising them in the least for setting up the meeting. It was just my guilty mind that made me reminisce about the good old days of Catholic school.

I am, however, chastising them for not releasing the documents--with our without a meeting--when I first asked for them.

Anonymous said...

Larry:

By titling your piece "Detention" you are implying a chastisment. Why not simply call it "Meeting with Super," which is what it is. Detention implies that the school trying to set up a meeting with you was done to punish you. You don't want to meet? - don't go. Plain and simple. Titling your piece "Detention" is simply not good journalism. Though if you are trying to get a job at the Gazette this post might give you a leg up.

LarryK4 said...

I did use a question mark, didn't I?

And I do plan to title tomorrow's upload "My meeting with Maria," or something fair-and-balanced like that.

Nothing wrong with grabbing attention via a headline (worked on you.) Yes, even the venerable Gazette is guilty of that once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Ed, they want to give the documents some context. That which they believe might go missing if he was to read the documents himself.

That being said, I can't wait to hear their context (read: spin) on what they were trying to hide.

Anonymous said...

I think Larry's right to be a bit skeptical. Why don't they just turn over the documents? Because they want some time to sweettalk you Larry. That's their MO, just as they've sweet-talked the whole community and convinced us to hire Maria. Hope you still keep up the great reporting after you meet....

Anonymous said...

Beware their mountain of words that mean nothing. That is their true expertise.

Anonymous said...

You are hitting it right on the head. This is how the Kum-bi-yah crowd works (and I dealt with them on many issues) they smile at as they twist the knife in deeper. Then claim they don't know what the problem is or why anyone is upset. I sat in on meeting once with concerns on the schools and they questioned why I had paper in pencil in hand. I explained it was so that I could write down anything I thought was important and were very suspicious of that. someone explain that one to me!
If I were to guess they are going to withhold something and want Larry their to patronize into submission. Or so they can say they did everything, even had a meeting.
As always what is the big issue with just handing over the documents and leave it at that. I totally agree with the sweet talk part that is very caracteristic of this crowd. they figure if they smile while they bury you in BS it will make it all better. Throw in a group hug and you damn near have world peace!!!

Anonymous said...

Just be happy you don't work for these "women".

Crack to them is handing down walking papers to whistle-blowers...

Anonymous said...

When you get the inevitable bureaucratic/education school jargon, ask them to translate. They may or may not be able to do that.

Just try listening to MariaG at a public meeting and then ask yourself, just what did she just say? You'll be hard-pressed.

The woman has been doing a marvelous job blowing vapors up our collective hind quarters, something she will likely do unimpeded for the next few decades.

Anonymous said...

I think the 3PM timing adds to the parochial school detention feeling.

Do you think saying the Act of Contrition before the meeting (silently- lol) would be of some help???

LarryK4 said...

Maybe throw in a couple of Hail Mary's.

Anonymous said...

Hail Mary's what?




mind those apostrophes!

LarryK4 said...

Or acquire a copy editor.

Anonymous said...

It's "advice," Larry, "advice!"

LarryK4 said...

Thanks, I'll take it.

Unfortunately I can't go in and change/edit "comments" like I can text in a post.

Anonymous said...

In your post, you wrote "advise" when it should be "advice" from an attorney. An attorney could advise you, but you do have to seek his advice.

LarryK4 said...

Thanks. Fixed. (At least I got it correct in the paragraph immediately before it.)

Kathy P. said...

Larry, it never ceases to amaze me how the Geryk Dynasty gets away with the crap that they give parents, they don't even respond to parents requests to meet. Special Needs Studets get pushed through the system, and are not prepared to funtion in the real world. The School Committee has become a spineless committee that rubber stamps anything the queen Bee puts forth. This school system is/has been abusive to parents and students and we as tax payers and can't do anything about it. because if you push too hard and know you rights and the SPED regulations, DCF get involved and your child is taken away. No one on the school committee has answered my questions re: my daughter being passed to the next grade when she missed 63 days of school. I'm still waiting. Doesn't anyone care about our children? It appears to me that ARHS is more concerned with hiring as many Administrators and unqualified staff as possible. Has anyone thought about the fact that the school bills MassHealth/Medicaid for many of the services they provide. Can anyone show me how that is figured in the budget?