Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Amherst Regional High School 3:00 p.m.

Amherst Regional High School went into lockdown just after 2:30 p.m. this afternoon as students were preparing to leave at the end of the school day.

A heavy police presence at the moment but no fire department ambulances, so that's a good sign.


Apparently visiting coaches coming to the school to recruit candidates signed in, put on ID badges and went about their business, left,  but then reentered the school without resigning in ... and could not be instantly found.

Hence the panic button.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.


So lost in all the confusion of today's yet another lockdown was the news that Michele Tesauro, yet another school principal, is resigning -- this time from Crocker Farm Elementary School after less than a year on the job.

Two months ago (on a Friday naturally) the schools announced Betsy Dinger was resigning as Middle School Principal and Monical Hall from Fort River Elementary School, although she is staying in the ARPS system in the black hole known as Central Office.

Principals' offices in the ARPS system should come with a revolving door:

In December of 2012 Michael Hayes suddenly resigned as principal of the Middle School, Ray Sharick resigned from Fort River in 2011, Matthew Behnke quit as Wildwood principal in 2010 and Glenda Cresto quit the Middle School in 2009.

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Anonymous said...

This is getting ridiculous! Anyone ever hear of the boy who cried wolf? Eventually the Amherst police will get notified for something really serious and they may not rush right over, figuring its just more of this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

do other school districts shut down 1, 2, or 3 schools every time there is someone one person doesn't recognize in the building? or someone that forgot to sign in? shouldn't there be some other reason, like suspicious behavior, that justifies the lock down? why not just send someone (some staff, police) to check around while the school goes on? what do other schools do?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the administration is just trying to create distractions from all of their short comings.

Basically keeping everyone distracted about real issues of curriculum and learning by crying about safety and racial issues.

Either way the schools are looking more ridiculous than ever.

Walter Graff said...

It all depends on what side you are on.

If you are on the side of fear it is valid. We need to be afraid of everything and everyone. You can't ask a teacher to see if someone is in the school because that would put them in danger.

If you are on the side that all this security is overkill because of a few random incidence of violence in schools, then it is crazy.

You just have to decide which side you are on, fear or reality.

Then again you have to wonder where the danger really is. Considering the crack administration recently looked "carefully" through a list of entries for a school principle, narrowed them down to three, did "all" the background checks, interviews and presented them to the parents for review. Only then did they find out one of her picks had been arrested in the past for DUI, something someone innocently brought up after the 'extensive' selection process. Then quietly and without proper explanation scratched the potential candidate. I guess it's ironic to have a last name like Wonderlie.

It makes you wonder who's more dangerous and what security we really have and need in this system.

Anonymous said...

why not put the sign in booth at the main entrance of the high school, instead of in the main office.

Anonymous said...

Maybe team Maria is looking to build a case for their own personal police force to patrol the schools and keep undesirables out. Typical pattern of a dictatorial person.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:19,

Sure, that makes a lot of sense. They are engineering distractions.
They have nothing better to do.
They are generating news stories just to divert attention from other problems.
You just stick with that.
And, please, stay right there by your computer. Don't go anywhere. You probably shouldn't be out and about.

Anonymous said...

Again, really! Slippery floors in the fall, anonymous internet threats from students, nut bans, racial insults, random people looking for urine, did I miss something?

When is the drama going to end?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the umbrella search!

Walter Graff said...

The drama ends when a qualified administrator is hired to run the Amherst schools. Maria "Queeg" Geryk is not that person but being is allowed to continue her agenda that does little for eduction and a lot for the labor scene in Amherst.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen a chicken with its head cut off? It's just like this. Richard Marsh

Keithw said...

I'm certain that as a result of the events of last week, there likely was some serious internal disciplinary action doled out or warnings of such. Just enough so that staff responsible have shifted from complacency to development of a hair trigger. None of this helps the kids and that's what the worst of all this is. Why not explore the concept that all of these security procedures/measures be grounded in common sense?

Anonymous said...

You have to sort of wonder whether the decisions to lock down recently are motivated by other less publicized concerns or threats, and not the presence of a few unknown guys alone. Or, maybe, it's all just ridiculous, make-believe stuff based in fear and not reality, or a distraction from failure, and the system is like a chicken with it's head cut off right now. I guess it's easy to speculate either way. We'll see who comes on here saying it was all overkill when something serious goes down.

Or does that stuff not really happen? Just on the TV somewhere else and not here?

Nina Koch said...

I believe school officials are following protocols that were developed in concert with local law enforcement. They have a genuine desire to keep kids safe and they also recognize the expertise of people like the police chief.

Administrators assume responsibility for the safety of hundreds of children entrusted to their care. Can you imagine how nerve-wracking it is to have to make potential life or death decisions in a short space of time? Most of the time, it turns out that there is not a threat. But you don't know that at the time when you are making the judgment call. And they do this kind of decision-making on top of the heavy burden of everything else they do.

Being a principal of a school is a very demanding job, in any school district. It's not surprising that nationwide, the turnover rate is very high. There are very few people cut out for the enormous responsibility of the job and for the toll it takes on one's personal life.

Larry Kelley said...

If you can't stand the heat, don't apply for position of head chef.

Nina Koch said...

If you want tasty and healthy meals, don't turn up the heat in the kitchen beyond what is needed to cook the food.

Larry Kelley said...

Buy an air conditioner.

Anonymous said...

If this is the crap that a college coach has to put up with in order to recruit an ARHS athlete, I think we can expect to see a lot fewer of them being recruited...

And if the coaches weren't dangerous the first time they entered the building, why did they suddenly become so the second time???

And Nina, are you even considering the trauma that you are causing the children with this bull-bleep? My guess is that you'll have a dozen serious PTSD cases by the end of the spring and then -- oh yes, we can increase the SPED budget yet some more...

Walter Graff said...

"If you want tasty and healthy meals, don't turn up the heat in the kitchen beyond what is needed to cook the food."

Sort of like saying stop hitting the lockdown button if you see a shadow.

As for principals, the national statistics for them staying one year let alone two are not good so it's not just an Amherst problem, but I'd imagine the top-down method of Amherst is a factor.

Worst part is that all the science shows principal turnover has a direct correlation to student achievement and progress.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:44,

Was there really some sort of umbrella search or are you just pulling a late April fools joke?

Their siphons, your cash-o-la said...

"...don't turn up the heat in the kitchen beyond what is needed to cook the food."

Or the books?

You friggan betcha.


Anonymous said...

" Crocker Farm School was briefly locked down Friday morning after a man who did not sign into the West Street school building had a brief conversation with a cafeteria worker about a missing umbrella."

"The man is believed to be a school staff member whose identification badge was obscured by his jacket and who was leaving the building to go to another school.
(Gazette article from 3/28/14)

Anonymous said...

The people commenting here today are truly superstars Kelley. Are these the same people who cry tears when a nutcase shoots up a school. Willing to bet not one of the nut cases bitching about people keeping kids safe actually has a kid in school.

In the very least the schools are being kept safe from most of the crazy idiots posting here.

Larry Kelley said...

Damn Anons (ahem).

Anonymous said...

Alright, what is going on? Now the CF principal is leaving after 9 months. This seems too much for coincidence.

Anonymous said...

oh please tell me that's a joke. The CF principle is leaving now. The parents are demanding sure, but no more or less demanding than they were for the past many decades. Why can we not keep a principle? Is the Director of HR or the head of the schools not easy to work with?

Anonymous said...

Thanks on the info for "Umbrella Gate" If we could just forget the fact that kids futures are at stake in these institutions, then the drama becomes quite hysterical.

Ponziville, is failure itself said...





Ponzivillers desperately cling

to the false self image.


As they say:

"When monkeys can't dance,

they blame the ground."

You have only ever had


to blame.


Anonymous said...

When the Superintendent has no Principles, she often has difficulty keeping Principals.

Two different spellings. Two different words. And one damn relevant fact in all of this...

Walter Graff said...

Yes I for one always spell principle instead of principal. Drives me nuts but I always do it wrong. But your analogy is good.

I was talking to many parents today and there is a growing tide of outright disgust at the Amherst school system. Won't be long before we start to hear some very vocal parents and we start to see some pressure to change this horrible school systems ways and that starts with the administration.

Anonymous said...


Why I 100% believe the administration should change, am 100% sure it will never happen. Parents who are unhappy get worn down and have to find alternatives. The schools knows this and use time to their advantage.

Also I believe Ellen Story was a supporter of Maria's. Couple that with the 60% of the people who re supported Appy and you have a very strong base for support regardless.

Walter Graff said...

PART 1 of 2

Yes, many a fight in Amherst is often a loss. Nothing changes so it seems.

But when it comes to children I'll never give up a fight. When the future of our children depend on it you will bet I will do what it takes to mobilize people. You will bet I will publicly call out the failure of the Amherst school system.

I heard of this wonderful "plan" that Maria Geryk had when see was voted in for being friends with certain people and not on her qualifications. My kids and every other parents kids don't have time for a plan. Our kids don't have a year. They need leadership now. Many will simply go away. Many will simply throw their hands up. I spoke to at least 20 parents today who told me they believe the Amherst school system is an utter embarrassment. They are not wrong.

Do we simply run away or do we fight the fight and fight then fight. A fire is started with a spark and even wet leaves will eventually burn.

I was brought up to fight. I was brought up to do what was best for my family. I will fight this system one person at a time until something is done. And if nothing is done, I'll keep fighting till my last breath because that is the contract I made with God when I had kids and you can bet I won't back down any time soon.

I'm mobilizing parents now. I'm working with a core group that is growing and getting louder. One email at a time. One parent in a school yard or parking lot at a time.

This ass backwards community will eventually listen or will face some pretty serious public embarrassment along the way. I'm already working with one of my national news clients to do an expose on towns like Amherst. National attention on a network magazine show might not make for change but will warn many to stay away.

And some will attack me. Please do. That means what I'm doing is having an impact. For too long the way around where was to quietly comment or not comment at all.

I would give my life for my children and you bet a shitty school system will not deter me from making change.

Some say why not go somewhere else? Ask that of the many parents who are in my boat. The answer is it isn't that easy in Western Mass. And why should we just abandon a system rather than improve it. With the attitude of going somewhere else eventually you kill all the schools as you run and run and get nowhere.

The flag has been driven into the ground. It's time to fight. I will lead that fight and I will be part of the growing masses who are simply disgusted with the Amherst school system, the proverbial joke of Massachusetts. It doesn't have to be.

I would think educators would want more but apparently many are blind, too busy, or are just too nice to complain about other educators. Shame on you. With a community like Amherst this should be the best school system in the state if not the nation.

People complain that paretns are too tough. They may be but I see teh same 30 parents in teh schools and never see anyone else bother to come, bother to ask questions, bother to really care. If this was a good system of parents we'd all know each other. For the last few years I know in my school I see the same seven parents at my school functions, trips and involved with a sprinkling of occasional parent. The rest seem to be absentee parents. Perhaps that is why they have no idea how bad it is. Or maybe they just don't care.

Walter Graff said...

Part 2 of 2

There was a time when it wasn't a bad system or so I've been told by many. When I first came here in 1999 I didn't know because I had no kids so didn't care. I heard that Amherst had good schools though.

Unfortunately too many parents still hear the old adage "Amherst has a great school system" only to ask the question "where" once they see what a failure it is.

And students are starting to come home and complain too. I spoke to many parents who say their kids are coming home saying that they are not allowed to do more, they don't do enough and they aren't happy. Kids DO want to learn. And many hate to be held back in learning and thinking just as kids DO like competition and yet all we do these days is tell kids to stop competing. Watch the complaints about Amherst soccer after this season as an example.

The line is drawn in the sand. The battle my not be won but the war will be victorious for the students.

Walter Graff said...

The ultimate win if all the battles are lost will be the fundamental loss of revenue and tax base because people are leaving Amherst and many because of the schools. After Amherst can no longer support its public servants then things will change. Hopefully we won't get there but three parents told me today that they are so fed up that they are looking to get out of town to give their kids a better education. They aren't the first and won't be the last. You can only have a dysfunctional system for so long. Ask Detroit or any other city that failed because of its elected officials.

Anonymous said...

Yes I also had heard that Amherst had a great school system but was I ever let down this year by the administration

Anonymous said...

Walter: "Principal" stands for "Principal Instructor" -- which the Principal once was -- if this helps.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much this blog author profits and contributes to high admin turn over by obsessive armchair bully pointing and snickering at every struggle and then cherry-picking the meanest, often anonymous, posts making this the "stall wall" of Amherst. Does he ever find good or good intentions, or is it always -look mistake - ha ha.

Anonymous said...

I found the problems with the school system, got involved, and found lots of other people who had problems with the school system long before I ever heard of Larry Kelly. I have met lots of people who had the same problems with the schools long before I ever moved to Amherst.

The problem is the schools! People can choose not to read Larry's blog. You have to send your kids to school, its the law.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy with the education my child is getting in the Amherst school system. I think every teacher they have had have been excellent. I would not send my child anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 7:40

I think it is great the schools work for you. You are among the 60% who are satisfied. Others of us have moved onto other schools and discovered, what for us, is true excellence and challenge. I hope the rest of your years in the schools are as good as the ones you have already had. I wish I could have felt the same as you, truly I do. It would have been wonderful.

Keithw said...

I received an excellent education while attending ARHS. I learned a lot about plate tectonics from my earth science teacher, Ron Garney. We used to chalk up the edge of his desk which he loved to bump his rear end up against, leaving a funny line on the seat of his pants. Incidentally, he's doing 2.5 to 3 years in prison for possession of child pornography. I imagine something other than a chalked up desk is bumping up against his rear end now.

Anonymous said...

Would the schools have been locked down if the unknown adults were women?

Anonymous said...

Great. Another lockdown so that the self-satisfied administration can APPEAR to be doing something about student and faculty safety.

Anonymous said...

Principals, that train has left the station (yawn) . A rather sudden departure ( resignation? ) from the school transportation department, now THAT would be a " racy" story ! lmao!