Thursday, July 3, 2014

Yet More School Secrets

Amilcar Shabazz, Chair Equity Task Force

The least they could do is mention what the punishment was for the three kids of color who beat up the white "greatest student racist they could find."  And you could do that without divulging their identities. 

And you have to wonder if Mr. Shabazz had not mentioned it at that School Equity meeting, would school officials still be trying to keep the incident swept under a rug along with all the other racial incidents they buried over the past year?




111 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larry, you are missing the point of the letter from the SC chairs to the ETF. The reason the letter was written and sent to the ETF was because Shabazz's comments were filled with mis-information as were other comments he made that evening. Also, in this instance Shabazz called the white student a racist and additionally potentially breached his confidentiality. Breaches such as this could put the town at risk of a law suit. As a SC member he needs to follow the laws for school employees and he has an ethical obligation to at least present facts in a truthful manner. This is no way for a SC member to conduct himself.

Anonymous said...

Jesus H. Christ. This guy is worse than a joke -- he's a fucking menace. He takes a position of authority and immediately starts shooting off his mouth (which seems to be about all he ever does*), and now the town is exposed to a lawsuit from the kid he indirectly labeled a racist?!

(*Take a look at his UMass home page: long on grandstanding, very short on publication.)

Anonymous said...

I've had it with the word "racist" being slung around by community "leaders" like Shabazz and Anderson, especially when their intent is to brand individual residents and employees in our community with that label, and I know I'm not alone. The next time one of these clowns calls one of us a racist we should be ready to sue for defamation.

Anonymous said...

Why wait til next time anon 5:19? At the very least he should step down from all school related committees. Now.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised by how reckless some of our elected officials have been in their recent utterances on the record.

There's no lack of transparency if a school committee member, or any person for that matter, recognizes that he or she does not really know what's going on in another person's heart and mind and soul, and then tempers his or her spoken reactions accordingly.

I am thinking not only of Mr. Shabazz's comments but also Mr. Hood's earlier remarks about our schools being places of "institutional racism". My sense is that these are well-intentioned mistakes that do not advance things as much as the speakers think they do.

What if we gave the use of the words "racism" and "racist" some time off (say, six months) from the public discourse in Amherst? Would that really hurt anything? Are people really in a frame of mind to listen carefully after such words are used?

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

I hope if/when Vira Douangnmany runs for SC again, that people will remember she is intimately allied with Shabazz, Anderson, Carpio, and the clown troupe that calls itself OASIS. We do NOT want MORE of this strife, we want to ELIMINATE it.

Anonymous said...

Shabazz did not indirectly label the white kid a racist. He directly labeled him a racist. He was the one who characterized him as the greatest student racist they could find. The 3 black kids did not use those words.. Shabbaz needs to step down from the SC. And the NAACP should replace Kathleen Anderson as it's leader. These 2 people are the biggest hindrance to our schools and town making any progress in dealing with issues around race and equity.

Anonymous said...

Vira Douangnmany in the Gazette:

Vira Douangmany Cage of Amherst, a parent and member of the task force, said in an email that she stands by Shabazz, although she was not present at the June 18 meeting.

“I decline to comment on hearsay,” she wrote of the claim that Shabazz referred to the white student as a racist. “It is reckless and irresponsible for the district to forward unfounded allegations without a hearing, discussion or investigation."


Umh, hello, Vira? "Hearsay"? Six of the fifteen Task Force members who were present heard him make the comments, and complained in writing. No hearings, no further investigative work required...six witnesses confirmed in writing what he said.

"...without a discussion"? Two school committee representatives met with him and discussed it with him.


WE are not going to put up with YOUR "reckless, irresponsible, and unfounded allegations" anymore!

Anonymous said...

July 3, 2014 at 7:29 PM: That is correct and very important for Amherst tax-payers and voters to hear and understand:

AMILCAR SHABAZZ is the one who labelled the one white student, who was seriously assaulted both verbally and physically by three black students, "The Greatest Student Racist".

That is ABOMINABLE and Shabazz should step down NOW.

Anonymous said...

Was that meeting taped?

Anonymous said...

They can't fire Shabazz it would make the schools racist

Larry Kelley said...

School Committee members are unpaid volunteers.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone mentioned firing Shabazz. People are saying he should step down. Voluntarily. We all know that be won't but the town would be so much better off if he did.

Anonymous said...

unpaid "volunteer" politician, salaried politician, they're one and the same. amherst's "volunteer" sc members are politicians and duly elected public officials. i dare shabazz, or dongmany, (not a duly elected public official, in fact roundly defeated last time around,) to run again. i ask shabazz: PLEASE resign.

also, there seems to be some confusion, no doubt compounded by scherban's report in the gazette which contained many errors based on assumptions (she has changed the content since first publishing it online, erasing her errors):

this incident is separate from the incident where dylan was bullied by three black students. (scherban said she tried to contact the parents of the kid branded "the greatest student racist"--she tried to contact the wrong parents. what has happened to investigatory journalism and "journalistic integrity"?) the incident shabazz referred to at the task force meeting is an entirely separate incident, although similar in that three black students bullied one white student, however in this case, which happened well before the dylan incident, the one white student was not only bullied but seriously physically assaulted (beat up) by three black students.

can you imagine the outcry if there were TWO incidents (at least) this year where three white kids bullied and seriously physically assaulted one black student? did some members of our community attempt to distract us from what is REALLY going on in amherst's schools? how do we feel about them recruiting a CHILD (camila carpio) to do their bidding, and ultimately take the fall, for THEM?

another important point: shabazz made several innapropriate and inaccurate--otherwise known as entirely FALSE (lies)--statements at the task force meeting. the statement about the arms student being a "racist" is simply the most egregious and the one that opened up the district to legal possibilities.

Anonymous said...

I followed the Dylan Akalis story with interest, but without any illusion that I knew both sides of the story in its entirety.

This case, regardless of what Vira Douangmany says, is clear cut. And if the student slandered by Shabazz decides to sue him personally (as opposed to the town of Amherst), I will gladly kick in a hundred bucks for his legal fees. If nothing else, it will be money well spent to see how fast Shabazz's supporters disappear when it comes time to pay _his_ attorney.

Anonymous said...

"School Committee members are unpaid volunteers."

No, they are elected officials who do not get a salary. Key point is they are elected in a town wide election.

Anonymous said...

The first sentence of the article in the Gazette has a glaring error. Shabazz did not "identify" the white student as a racist. He MA'S - IDENTIFIED him as a racist. The Gazette needs to issue a correction. Can you imagine how that boy and his family must feel reading in the paper on Independence Day that he has been identified as a racist. The paper should be ashamed and Deb Sherban needs to go back to journalism school.

Anonymous said...

There is probably a quiet percentage of the readership of this blog who would acknowledge that it's nearly impossible for an outsider (no kids in the schools, not working in the schools) to understand what's really going on in our schools right now.

Perhaps Nina, our brave correspondent (seriously), would agree with that.

Anonymous said...

That should be MIS-identified! Damn auto correct!

Larry Kelley said...

Did he identify the white kid specifically by name?

Anonymous said...

He did not identify him by name but several people in the audience knew of the incident he referred to and so knew the name of the white kid. And according to the rules SC members must follow that is equal to identifying him by name.

Anonymous said...

can someone please tell me what school this incident happened at- ARMS or ARHS? anon@12:1 says "arms". About when did it happen? I ask bc my child became inexplicably afraid of school in late Feb/March.

Anonymous said...

I do not know what this is all about. Is this a separate incident from the Dylan incident? What is allegeded to have happened i this case? We need some background here please.

Larry Kelley said...

Yes, a separate incident. Why I used the title "Yet more school secrets.

Nina Koch said...

to 8:37 am,
I don't have any information about this incident. The kids often know things that the adults don't, although they don't necessarily know the whole story.

By the way (off topic), if anyone is looking for a different way to spend some time on the internet, check out this online course from Stanford:

Online course about how people learn math

It's intended for a broad audience, so everybody can benefit from it. I think you can audit it for free. I would be interested in having a discussion with people around the content of the course.

Anonymous said...

The thing to focus on here is not the original incident. Incidents like this happen in middle and high schools all across the nation every day and those schools don't issue a press release about them. They deal with them by punishing the perpetrators and then move on.
The important part of this story is Shabazz ' s illegal outing of the white student and calling him a racist. This kid did nothing wrong. He got beat up for no reason and now his good name has been trashed by Shabazz. Yes he did not name him but many people in that meeting knew who he was referring to.
Shabazz has to go.

Anonymous said...

From the Gazette article, "According to the memo, 15 members of the 30-person task force were present at the meeting and roughly one-third confirmed the comment made by Shabazz."

One-third of 15 people is 5 people. What does "roughly one-third" mean? Less than 5? 4? That seems fewer than the "many" complaints mentioned by anon posters earlier. (and what did the "roughly" other two-thirds of attendees think? Has anyone asked them?)

Also, I am wondering, didn't a TV station attend the June 18th Equity Task Force meeting? Did their reporters capture any of Shabazz's remarks?

Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled as to why no one is concerned about the outing of the three kids of color who, the way it sounds, purposely sought someone to target and then beat up as a racist. They must be just as well known in the school community, no?

Is being "suspected" of having a racist ideology that much more of a heinous "crime" than pre-meditated physical intimidation and violence, regardless of the reason behind it?

By emphasizing and issuing an apology about a student being inappropriately outed for one form of offense and not the other, it's as if the SC is saying that, if the racist accusations were true, then the beating was justified--in which case there would be no need to worry about outing the aggressors.

The whole situation related to the racial climate in the schools needs some serious mediating (not just public relations "handling")--including at the school committee level. I really believe that everyone on the board has the same basic goals around equity but can't get past their own politically correct stances and insecurities to work together effectively.

If the adults are all tied up in knots in response to the situation, what hope is there for untangling things for the students?

I also think that Shabazz "stepping down" would just exacerbate things. These folks need to figure out how to move forward TOGETHER... in the same way that we aspire for our children to do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip Nina about the math course. I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

My guess about why only one third of the people attending the meeting complained is because they are the only ones who care about accuracy around this issue and about proper behavior of SC members. The rest are there to use the outlet of the task force as an additional opportunity to call people racists and trash the schools.

Anonymous said...

The black kids who b eat up the white kid did not think he was racist. They set out to beat up the whitest kid they could find. Again, Shabazz is the ONLY person who called him a racist. And Shabbaz is the ONLY person who outed anyone when he brought it up at the ETF meeting. And finally people are living in a dream world of they think anyone can move forward together with the likes of Shabazz and Kathleen Anderson.

Tiredofnonsense said...

Seems like a whole lot of labeling for a town and people who "do not discriminate, judge or label"

Anonymous said...

Just imagine if these "brilliant" minds put their time and energy into something useful

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine the outcry and protests if the race roles were reversed. This happened twice, but nobody gave a crap til it came to light for other reasons. This is screwed up on so many levels.

Larry Kelley said...

And remember the first alleged racist incident against teacher Carolyn Gardner back in October was covered up completely (not even reported to APD) and only used much later to deflect attention after the Dylan Akalis case started coming to light.

Anonymous said...

"...people are living in a dream world of they think anyone can move forward together with the likes of Shabazz and Kathleen Anderson."

Shabazz and Anderson are members of our community who bring an important perspective, whether you agree with it or not. We HAVE to move forward with them, or we won't move forward at all.

What it will take is a commitment to doing so and a readiness to put a halt to the "shame game", on everyone's part... including those like me who comment anonymously on blogs.

Anonymous said...

Shabazz and Anderson are members of our community who bring an important perspective, whether you agree with it or not. We HAVE to move forward with them, or we won't move forward at all.

Which "important perspective" is that? The one in which all white people are racists? Sure, let's move forward with them! For balance, let's invite the KKK onto the bandwagon, too -- their perspective is equally "important", by your apparent definition of the word.

Anonymous said...

What people don't get is Shabazz and Kathleen are NOT interested in moving forward. There are many many people in town, including the superintendent and town manager and SC who are interested in moving forward. Rhetoric such as that thrown around by Shabazz and Kathleen will NEVER move is forward. They need to be removed from the equation before true progress can be made.

Larry Kelley said...

"Removed from the equation," eh?

Sounds like something a lynch mob would spout.

Anonymous said...

I mention the superintendent and town manager because they are our town leaders. This is a bigger issue than just the schools. This is a town wide issue. Our town leaders should convene some town wide discussions around the issue of race, using facilitators trained to conduct discussions such as these. These facilitators should NOT be residents of Amherst.

Anonymous said...

I did not say they should be lynched. Sounds like a very identify inflammatory comment Larry and not at all useful to the discussion. Progress cannot be made with them leading the discussion so if you want to see progress made yes they do have to be removed from their roles leading the discussion.
Your comment Larry was preposterous and way out of line.

Larry Kelley said...

if you add up many of the comments here with those on another post, my comment is well within the lines.

Walter Graff said...

Fear not. Soon the school system will have a new climatologist public relations person on board who will fit the requirements of the job description to a tee.

After this person releases incredibly rediculous information on one subject or another from slaves to white racists to urine samples, we will all be able to ask - who did you have to crouch for, bend over for, or get on your knees in front of to come up with that rediculous story.

I heard the satirical news outlet "The Onion" is moving to Amherst because of the overwhelming number of stories that happen here that you just can't make the shit in this town up.

Anonymous said...

Shabazz and Anderson are members of our community who bring an important perspective, whether you agree with it or not. We HAVE to move forward with them, or we won't move forward at all.

Anderson is the one of the children who continuously interrupted the last sc meeting with chants of "white power" and "white supremacy" and other loud, immature, rude behavior. Anderson is a seventy year old grandmother, she's been behaving this way for more than twenty years in our town, and she's not going to change.

I will definitely NOT be moving forward with HER or Shabazz, or any of that crew for that matter.

Can you imagine if this crew had spent the year trying to accomplish something positive? They've burned their bridges.

Anonymous said...

What has Shabazz done to address racial issues and events on the UMass campus where he is employed?

Anonymous said...

Our town leaders should convene some town wide discussions around the issue of race, using facilitators trained to conduct discussions such as these.

"They" would just show up and behave like children and disrupt the whole thing, just like they did at the last sc meeting.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Dr. Shabazz, Kathleen Anderson, Vira Douangmany Cage and others who are frustrated with the way things are in our schools, especially for children of color, should be considered to all be part of the same entity: "that crew", "those people", or worse. They have different backgrounds, and bring to the table different, yet related, concerns and grievances. They also each have different levels of commitment and willingness to work with others to change the system from within. For example, both Baptiste and Shabazz have said they are hopeful that the current district leadership can make changes to address their concerns and current inequities within our school system.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, anon 4:18 PM.

Shabazz and Baptiste are "hopeful"? And that's your evidence that they are "willing to work with others to change the system from within"? I've seen and heard nothing but that they are uncooperative, and unwilling to perform the duties they were elected to perform (unwillingness to complete the yearly superintendent's eval except to say in dissent that "no goals have been met this year" is one example. Increasing all the other sc members' workload by not working on any committees for three years until very recently is another...and look how things are going on that committee.) Show me one example that they are "willing to work with others to change the system from within".

Shabazz, Vira, Anderson/Sherlock et al in the Amherst NAACP, Carpio, the OASIS clown troupe, Sonji-Johnson, so on, are intimately allied: they collaborate and coordinate together and actively promote and attend each other's "events". I can provide many examples, but just one is Shabazz, Carpio, and Douangmany working TOGETHER to demand "Justice for Ayyub". Another is Shabazz actively endorsing and advertising, taping, and attending hateful rants by Camila Carpio, beginning at the Back To School celebration on the Common and ending with his awarding to her a "Sojourner Truth Award" for "Social Justice". Evidence of all of these people collaborating together TO DISRUPT RATHER THAN COOPERATE is littered across the internet. And you're not going to convince me that they didn't secretly and actively align their efforts to disrupt the normal and smooth operation of our schools over the course of this school year in order to make the administration and sc appear inept. (As if that would have served "all" our children and not their childlike and delusional egos. In fact I KNOW they did. Things just didn't really go the way they wanted them to.)

And now it's open and very clear, based on his little "slip" at the Task Force meeting, that Shabazz's participation is based in a strong bias against white people...just like the troupe who disrupted the last sc meeting yelling "white supremacists" and "white power", just like his failed protege Camila.

He even said online before the last sc election that he would be voting for Vira because "she is not white", actively campaigning against the woman who sat on the board with him and actually performed the duties we elected her (by a landslide...doesn't that represent a mandate?) to perform.

Anonymous said...

Another major fact that Shabazz, Anderson etc. have succeeded in pushing aside is that the ONE person identified in the racial attacks on Gardner was a student of color. Kids know who it was. It hasn't been addressed because it doesn't serve their agenda.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:27 pm:
You watch the activities of the people you cite closely and know an awful lot, more than the average person and even most school committee watchers about all that the people you mention are involved in and all that Baptiste and Shabazz "haven't done" in their roles as School Committee members in the last few years.

You write: "I've seen and heard nothing but that they are uncooperative, and unwilling to perform the duties they were elected to perform (unwillingness to complete the yearly superintendent's eval except to say in dissent that 'no goals have been met this year' is one example).

Have the individual school committee members' evaluations of the superintendent been released to the public, or are your comments on Shabazz's and Baptiste's evaluations of the superintendent (as well as many others of your comments as well) based on your own inside knowledge?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:37, it was widely reported you nimrod

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:27 pm: I have never seen much in the media most of the activities of the School Committee's subcommittees. Subcommittees meetings aren't generally televised & their minutes aren't posted. Even a list of the current School Committee members on any one subcommittee can only be obtained by contacting the central office or by watching School Committee meetings very closely.

Is it other School Committee members themselves who are complaining about Baptiste & Shabazz's participation on the subcommittees or just other people in the know such as yourself?

Anonymous said...

...the ONE person identified in the racial attacks on Gardner was a student of color.

Was it a black student?

Anonymous said...

6:37, all the facts I've stated regarding Shabazz and Baptiste, and everyone else for that matter including Vira, Carpio, and Anderson, were viewed on public internet sites, community television broadcasts, and online and print newspapers, with the exception of my knowledge of "secret" planning and coordinating meetings they collaborated with each other during.

Who are YOU an "insider" with, Anonymous at July 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM?

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Mary Custard!

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering when we'll hear Amilcar Shabazz make a public apology to the student and his/her family, and to the Task Force and the entire community for that matter. I heard that someone was compelled to apologize to the family, but it wasn't Shabazz. Maybe he stands by what he said, that the student was "the greatest student racist (the three black students who sought out and seriously assaulted him) could find"? Like how Vira was quoted as saying she stands by Shabazz and his statements? (Even though an investigation of the episode found no evidence that the white student is a racist?)

I'm led to believe at this point that Shabazz still believes what he said at the Equity Task Force meeting. He constantly cants the old worn-out Quaker saying, "Speak Truth to Power". Does he believe that's what he was doing?

Anonymous said...

So what is the truth to power he thinks he is saying? Does he think it was right that these 3 black kids beat up a white kid? I don't get it.
On another topic it is pretty widely known by anyone who follows the SC even a little that Shabazz had no sub committee assignments until this one. He sat on 1 sub committee but never went to any meetings and then resigned saying he did not have the time.

Larry Kelley said...



>>> Larry Kelley 07/04/14 11:36 AM >>>
Hey Lawrence,

As an open pubic body the Equity Task Force should have a secretary or someone who takes minutes of the meeting. If so where can I get a copy of the June 18th meeting minutes?

When did the incident Mr. Shabazz refers to occur? Before or after the Dylan Akalis incidents of late January?

Was APD notified and did they investigate. If so, did they make any arrests?

Are the three minority students who attacked the white student still ARPS students or were they expelled?

Larry


From: Lawrence O'Brien
To: amherstac
Sent: Fri, Jul 4, 2014 10:38 pm
Subject: Re: Equity Task Force 6/18 meeting
Hi Larry,

I just got back in town, so I apologize for the delayed response.

Unfortunately, my answer to all of your questions is an honest to goodness "I don't know." Even as a School Committee member, I don't have access to records that would allow me to answer or even speculate on answers to your questions. I think that if the administration gave me information about these matters they would be violating FERPA, so I don't even broach the subject.

Best,

Lawrence

Anonymous said...

Someone suggested the white student was targeted because he was "the whitest kid" in the minds of the attackers, not because he was "the greatest student racist" as shabazz stated.

Physical assault is criminal in either case. However, if the student was targeted for "being the whitest" I would say that makes it a clear cut hate crime where he is being targeted for exemplifying a despised racial identity.

If on the other hand the student was credibly believed to have made racist statements or held racist views, and was demonstrably a racist, the the attack may be seen as revenge and not a hate crime.

It sounds as though ARHS determined the student was not racist. Therefore, this case should be handled as a hate crime.

Further, I would speculate that the motive for the attack came to light in part because the attackers used racial taunts. After all, why beat someone up if you are not going to taunt them first.

Where is the outrage?

-- Mig

Anonymous said...

Good question, Mig. Where is the outrage?
Also Larry, I hope you can follow up with Lawrence and find out of Shabazz had anyone taking minutes. Is it required that task force meetings have minutes. Is a task force different than a sub committee of the school committee in its minutes requirement? If there were no minutes taken this is another black mark against Shabbaz if he was required to have someone taking minutes. Finally, I know the task force has broken up into working groups looking at different issues. Does each working group need to have a minute taker?

Anonymous said...

This is a web site that was setup for the School Equity Task Force:
http://stair2stair.org/groups/equity-task-force-etf-amherst-regional-school-district

Anonymous said...

If a student of color was assaulted "aggressively and severely" by three white students- we would've been informed about it!
(Today's Gazette)

Anonymous said...

"Amherst’s top school official said Friday a spring incident in which a white student was targeted and “aggressively and seriously” assaulted by students of color was investigated and resolved internally."
Add this to the schools ignoring the ongoing bullying of Dylan A (and then punishing him and his Dad for reporting it)

Blame the victims and sweep the real stories under the rug!


Larry Kelley said...

Yes, and they will be hiring a part time PR flack to assist with the sweeping.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else wondering about what this controversy says about the safety of children at school?

Or is just about race and student rights?

Anonymous said...

Reporter Chad Cain posted an article in the Gazette last night about the incident.

He writes: "(The) student was targeted, according to the letter Thursday, after students of color decided to 'beat up the greatest racist they could find.'"

How does a paid, professional reporter not get that the whole point of concern around this is that NO ONE said or decided to "beat up the greatest racist they could find"? That is, until Shabazz uttered those words at the June 18th Equity Task Force Meeting?! Students did not say this!

The story is not that teenagers got in a fight at school--the story is that Shabazz shared information he was not allowed to and INNACURATELY dubbed the young teenage victim a "racist".

Shabazz heard bits and pieces of rumors and hearsay in the community about the incident, then spun it his way while acting in the capacity of School Committee member.

I hope the Gazette gets sued now as well for printing the egregiously false statement that I quoted above. Cain is a hack.

Larry Kelley said...

Now, now. It is the July 4th weekend.

Anonymous said...

Kids have been beating up kids in schools across the country for years and schools have never issued press releases at each and every occurrence. This is not a big deal that the schools did not announce that this occurred. If the school knows who the 3 attackers were I am sure they were punished. Either way we will never know because of the FERPA laws, which Shabazz violated.

Larry Kelley said...

It is a BIG deal they did not report it to the police.

Just like they did not report the bullying and assault on Dylan Akalis at the end of January.

And did not report to APD the racist graffiti targeting Carolyn Gardner when it first appeared in October.

Anonymous said...

Name me one school who reports these things to the police. It was up to the white child's family to report it to the police and they chose not to.

Anonymous said...

I have to echo Anon 9:37 AM that a new sub-plot in this story is the utter inability of the Gazette to cover it coherently and responsibly.

Apparently, it got reassigned to a new reporter for Saturday's paper after the confusion we saw previously in the Gazette this week.

But that supposedly more effective reporter reports the story as if the letter written by the chairs CONFIRMS that the child who was beaten up is IN FACT "the greatest racist they could find." This is just bad writing, bad writing with consequences.

And, is it really necessary to disclose exactly how long Dr. Appy's voicemail indicates she will be away? Talk about invasion of privacy.

We are seeing more stumbling and bumbling these days from BOTH local papers, when they are attempting to report on Amherst.

I miss Nick.

Larry Kelley said...

South Hadley. Oh yeah, never mind.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Anon 9:37. Why can't the Gazette get this right? Two reporters now who can't write an accurate story. I hope someone from the paper reads this blog and will finally issue a correction in a headline way and not buried in a corner on page 7.

Anonymous said...

One further comment about the Gazette. We all know that for whatever reason they can't seem to get this story straight. Makes you wonder how many other stories are filled with errors that we don't know about. Maybe it's time to find a new place to get the news.

Anonymous said...

couldn't the district have violated FERPA with the memo it sent to Equity Task Force members about the incident?

Anonymous said...

This story now screams out for context, and there appears to be nobody, including Larry and the papers, who can provide it.

So the question remains: would any school system in Massachusetts have handled this situation differently than keeping it quiet? In short, I take Anon 9:44 AM's assertion seriously.

The Gazette uses the phrase "school opted for silence". I thought the story was really about Mr. Shabazz's indiscretion. But the Gazette joins Larry in shifting the ground. Was there really an option to disclose for our schools given the legal constraints involved? The Gazette story says nothing on this, except to quote Ms. Geryk's remarks. An intrepid reporter would go deeper.

So we are missing context that we're not going to get, context that in the absence of, there will be more confusion and misunderstandings. Thanks, Gazette.

Anonymous said...

Children, do you see now why it's best not to gossip and tell lies about other people? Some people get confused and believe what you say, which could land you in the soup.

Anonymous said...

-any elected official who asserts that they do not have time for the work necessitated by the Office is honor bound to resign so that a person with time available can succeed to that office.

-any elected official who betrays the legal and ethical RESPONSIBILITIES of Office is honor bound to resign.

-any professing academic who does not publish in their field, betrays the trust that is tenure. That professor should resign.

-only arrogance claims a different standard for self than is expected of other persons.

read isbn 978-1-59102-580-1

also;
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana



townmeetingmember

Larry Kelley said...

Well that narrows you down to one of a possible 254 people.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone attend the meetings of the Equity Task Force? Or do you have to be a member?

When and where is the next ETF meeting? (Can't seem to find word on the ETF website.)

Who appointed the current members to the Equity Task Force? Was it Shabazz?

Anonymous said...

-only arrogance claims a different standard for self than is expected of other persons.

Shabazz is one of those that has figured out that if you schedule an "event" or constantly attend conferences, dress cooler than everyone else, get in front of every camera you see, it makes you look like your important and very busy, and you can get away with not really doing anything of substance that others require of you. Everyone knows going to conferences is basically a day off from work.

Shabazz' cv is a list of conferences he has attended. This guy is "too busy" for anything.

Larry Kelley said...

And probably too busy to read your inflammatory cowardly comments.

Anonymous said...

Coming from the King of Inflammatory Comments I'll take that as a compliment

Anonymous said...

Memo to Gazette:

You cannot credibly claim that Amherst school officials "opted" for silence, if you do not set out in the reporting what the legal rules governing the situation are.

We don't "opt" to stop at a red light.

Anonymous said...

Shabazz is one of those that has figured out that if you ... dress cooler than everyone else, get in front of every camera you see...

My favorite is the photo of him from about 1980 that's prominently displayed at the top of his web page. Who cares if he's actually an irrelevant old man, as long as he looked cool once upon a time?

Larry Kelley said...

The irony of course is if Mr. Shabazz were a student your comments would be considered "online bullying."

Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled as to why no one is concerned about the outing of the three kids of color who, the way it sounds, purposely sought someone to target and then beat up as a racist. They must be just as well known in the school community, no?

Correct, and the three SC chairs were/are concerned, and that's why their letter to the Equity Task Force members states:

"This particular incident, and the identity of the aggressors and the victim, was well known throughout the school community. As an official of the Regional School Committee, the Chair (Shabazz) risked violating the FERPA rights of all these students by making this public statement."

Anonymous said...

Shabazz wrote that one of the priorities of the Equity Task Force is to discuss ways to support Carolyn Gardner...

...but apparently not to discuss ways to support a young white student who was seriously physically assaulted by three black kids because of the color of his skin, or another white kid who was so relentlessly bullied by three black kids that he felt he needed to resort to anonymous online threats...

Instead they will focus on supporting the adult teacher who was the victim of bathroom graffiti...

Anonymous said...


Amilcar Shabazz to Dylan Akalis on facebook: Dear Dylan and members of your family. You have my sincere apology for what you went through. I do not support the hipster use of the N-word but you did not deserve what happened from some of your peers nor our school system. Take care and try to learn from the past, the good and the bad of it. /az

So then, can we just tell Carolyn Gardner, "Hey, sincerely sorry. Try to learn from the past. Take care." and be done with that whole episode? Or do we need to have more rallies, and more highly organized discussions about how we can support her, and further outcries against institutional racism and in support of the adult bathroom graffiti victim?

Dr. Ed said...

Folks, FERPA doesn't apply. There is an explicit exemption "health or safety emergencies" and here is OCR explaining it:

FERPA allows an educational agency or institution to disclose personally identifiable information from education records, without prior written consent, "in connection with an emergency [to] appropriate persons if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons." 20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(1)(I); 34 CFR §§ 99.31(a)(10) and 99.36.

Congress added this exception to the written consent requirement when FERPA was first amended, on December 13, 1974. The legislative history demonstrates Congress' intent to limit application of the "health or safety" exception to exceptional circumstances --

Finally, under certain emergency situations it may become necessary for an educational agency or institution to release personal information to protect the health or safety of the student or other students. In the case of the outbreak of an epidemic, it is unrealistic to expect an educational official to seek consent from every parent before a health warning can be issued. On the other hand, a blanket exception for "health or safety" could lead to unnecessary dissemination of personal information. Therefore, in order to assure that there are adequate safeguards on this exception, the amendments provided that the Secretary shall promulgate regulations to implement this subsection. It is expected that he will strictly limit the applicability of this exception.

Joint Statement in Explanation of Buckley/Pell Amendment, 120 Cong. Rec. S21489, Dec. 13, 1974. (These amendments were made retroactive to November 19, 1974, the date on which FERPA became effective.)

Section 99.31(a)(10) of the regulations provides that the disclosure must be "in connection with a health or safety emergency" under the following additional conditions:

An educational agency or institution may disclose personally identifiable information from an education record to appropriate parties in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.

34 CFR § 99.36(a)(emphases added.) In accordance with Congressional direction, the regulations provide further that these requirements will be strictly construed. 34 CFR § 99.36(c).

See: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/library/strayer031105.html

Oh, and Maria, OCR are the folks who get to define what FERPA means.

Dr. Ed said...

There is also a FERPA exception involving crimes of violence and sexual offenses -- this is exactly what ED says:

to the victim of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense concerning the final results of a disciplinary hearing with respect to the alleged crime; and
to any third party the final results of a disciplinary proceeding related to a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense if the student who is the alleged perpetrator is found to have violated the school's rules or policies. The disclosure of the final results only includes: the name of the alleged perpetrator, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed against the alleged perpetrator. The disclosure must not include the name of any other student, including a victim or witness, without the written consent of that other student.

See http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/students.html

Dr. Ed said...

The fact that this is a HATE CRIME makes it worse, but as I have shown above, Congress explicitly mandated that FERPA *not* preclude the release of information necessary to preserve public health or safety.

If there was a physical assault as defined by FEDERAL law, they absolutely can (and should) release enough information for parents to be able to protect their children and if that "outs" the perps, so be it.

A hate crime like this -- and it's still a hate crime even if he is a racist (read the MGL definition of "hate crime" -- needs to be stomped on with the perps severely punished (with appropriate due process, please).

What the Maria G approach will eventually get is a victim who gets a gun (not difficult), some live ammo, and the next day things become a lot more "interesting." Particularly as in this case it would be a White perp only shooting Blacks -- above & beyond the human tragedy, can you see the racial implications?

What Team Maria have to understand is that they can't let their hatred of White Males preclude their doing the "right thing" and punishing the perps who CRIMINALLY ASSAULT one because otherwise all the White kids are going to gang up together for self-protection and that sort of thing gets really nasty rather quickly.

Dr. Ed said...

Anonymous said...
can someone please tell me what school this incident happened at- ARMS or ARHS? anon@12:1 says "arms". About when did it happen? I ask bc my child became inexplicably afraid of school in late Feb/March.
July 4, 2014 at 9:22 AM


Students should not be afraid in school -- and I've got a pretty good idea the runaround a parent would get trying to deal with what is described above.

Larry knows how to reach me, I really do have a Doctorate in Education and if you aren't able to get this resolved on your own, I'd be happy to help.

Anonymous said...

Ed once again fails to get the point of this whole discussion and offers NOTHING useful. What a clown.

Anonymous said...

Just so that no one confuses Ed's cited portions of FERPA with what could or should go on in any of these cases.

The FERPA exemptions do not make student information public. They expand access to the information to those who are affected or can affect the situation. A classic case is that parents of adult students (i.e., college students) cannot have access to their kids' records (even their grades) without those kids' consent.

If administrators see a compelling reason (health and welfare of that college student) to share those records (e.g., of behavior on campus) with their parents, they may (usually after consultation with university or college counsel).

The town cannot make information public about students because of FERPA. They can only widen the circle of who may know. And, the town would need a compelling reason to do so. Their is no compelling public interest in know the names of these kids who are minors and have FERPA rights.

That is not to say that there isn't a public interest in knowing what happened and how the schools responded. The adults who run the schools don't get to wrap themselves in the students' FERPA rights. The administrators owe the town an explanation of what happened and how they responded.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7/5/14 10:57 AM:
Dr. Shabazz's CV cites numerous publications: book chapters, referred articles, and more. All you have to do is look:
http://people.umass.edu/shabazz/index_files/AZcvnew.pdf

.... and if we are looking at CVs, we could take a look at those of the district's administrative leaders and the other school committee members. What would we see there?

Anonymous said...

The administrators actually don't owe the town an explanation of what happened.

Larry Kelley said...

Spoken like an Amherst administrator hiding under the cloak of anonymity.

Anonymous said...

I did look. Lots and lots of entries in that CV.

But once you wade through all the one- and two-page reviews and encyclopedia entries, then try to find anything of substance written (not edited) by Shabazz (and by Shabazz alone) in the past decade, you will find... nothing.

Anonymous said...

I am not and administrator. I am a parent. Schools don't usually as a rule issue a press release every time there is a fight at their school. No the town does NOT have a right to know.

Larry Kelley said...

When three minority youth seek out and assault another youth because of the color of his skin that qualifies as a "hate crime."

The District Attorney should have been notified.

Anonymous said...

At least Dr. Shabazz's CV is available for scrunity.

and for the record editing a book with chapters from different researchers is must more challenging and time-consuming than writing a single peer-reviewed article.

Anonymous said...

this is an AP story now
(http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/25949356/amherst-high-school-probes-racial-assault) not the AP story has much information.

This incident wouldn't even be in the news without last week's memo to the Equity Task Force.

Larry Kelley said...

And notice they don't even mention the smokescreen about what Dr. Shabazz should or should not have said at the 6/18 Equity Task Force meeting.

They simply report a racial incident that the schools purposely covered up.

Anonymous said...

Good...then Shabazz should continue with his editing career and resign from the committee that he "doesn't have time" for.

Anonymous said...

The school administrators are educators and workers, not cv entry and conference photo collectors.

Anonymous said...

Interesting wiki article with a section on Classification of Crimes Committed Against Caucasians:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_crime_laws_in_the_United_States#Classification_of_crimes_committed_against_Caucasians

"The FBI's hate crimes statistics for 1993, which similarly reported 20% of all hate crimes to be committed against white people, prompted Jill Tregor, executive director of Intergroup Clearinghouse, to decry it as 'an abuse of what the hate crime laws were intended to cover', stating that the white victims of these crimes were employing hate crime laws as a means to further penalize minorities."

Anonymous said...

Professors are educators and workers too....
and now we've come full circle.

Anonymous said...

And notice they (FOX News Boston) don't even mention the smokescreen about what Dr. Shabazz should or should not have said at the 6/18 Equity Task Force meeting.

They simply report a racial incident that the schools purposely covered up


But the much more complete and professional reporting of the events on MassLive certainly mentions it, even includes it in their headline.

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/07/amherst_school_committee_membe.html#incart_2box

Anonymous said...

Full circle like a sphincter.

Dr. Ed said...

Folks, this is fairly clearly written -- protected information can be given "to any third party the final results of a disciplinary proceeding related to a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense if the student who is the alleged perpetrator is found to have violated the school's rules or policies. The disclosure of the final results only includes: the name of the alleged perpetrator, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed against the alleged perpetrator."