Monday, November 17, 2014

Regional School Committee Fireworks

RSC meeting 10/14: Rookie Chair Trevor Baptiste (rt) Maria Geryk (left)


UPDATE 3:20 pm
The School Committee meeting was not properly posted in Pelham (one of the four towns making up the Region) so it has to be postponed.  Stay tuned for new date. 
#####

Looks like tomorrow's Amherst Regional School Committee (with a "police presence") is going to be, um, interesting ...




Click to enlarge/read

153 comments:

DaveMB said...

I'm curious -- is Mr. Shabazz often addressed as just "Shabazz"? Out of context, it looks like deliberate disrespect on Ms. Geryk's part, but different people have all kinds of different ways of using their name...

Anonymous said...

Shabazz shows utter disregard for the responsibilities inherent to his position as a member of the School Committee. Honestly, he should be removed for his missteps. 100% in Maria's corner here. This Gardner case is asinine, and I became convinced completely when I read the substance of the "racial" incidents alleged. Most of the things that happened did not address race at all. I am all for action and activism when someone is actually wronged, but the complaint shows no colorable case. But it will not be dismissed tacitly by MCAD because someone is crying racial discrimination. Shabazz is an embarrassment, an instigator, and he polarizes the community.

Anonymous said...

He signs his emails that way, so that is how she responds.

Anonymous said...

Will this be live on ACTV?

Larry Kelley said...

Mr. Shabazz is well regarded at UMass/Amherst, which everyone seems to think makes this town what it is.

Anonymous said...

Well regarded at Umass? According to whom? Shabazz himself?

Anonymous said...

check out Vira's facebook posts over the last 2 or 3 days:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003098497029&fref=ts

Anonymous said...

One does get the impression that we have some School Committee members who play by their own rules.



Anonymous said...

This statement by Shabazz when he apologized for how we misunderstood his comments ......

"To make it veryclear, I called no one a "racist." I did not use innuendo to do so by implication. People who were there, who heard me and who know me better than those who were not there that have sought to reprimand me, know that I did not imply such an odious thing. My comment at the June 18th
Equity Task Force (ETF) meeting were to say our district needs help with
racism on all sides of the fence, not just with white students."

...... does not seem to jibe with his written statement that he published on faceboook about his fellow SC members ......

"I have faced white supremacy from day one on the school committee from the words and deeds of some of my fellow school committee members. Such behavior is unacceptable to me and I have had to fight to not be dismissed, disenfranchised, and just plain, ol’ dissed. Some of my white colleagues on the town and regional school committees like to talk about modeling civil discourse but some of them have not “walked the talk” by me."


Shabazz called fellow members of the school board "white supremacists" prior to his saying that people who know him know he would not "imply such an odious thing" as to call someone a racist.

Anonymous said...

Once again, this does appear to be a kind of comeuppance for Ms. Appy, who told us four years ago that the School Committee was "dysfunctional", and how she was going to bring some new and cleansing with her higher sense of decorum.

Now that same School Committee, and its membership, is developing the misty glow of fond reminiscence. Remember when we argued vehemently about the actual classroom experiences of the children?

Anonymous said...

Actually Shabazz (and yes everyone refers to him by his last name) is NOT highly regarded at UMASS. I'm not sure he is highly regarded any where.
His students regularly give him VERY low grades as a teacher. And his colleagues also view him in low regard.

Anonymous said...

DaveMB, I met a member Shabazz's immediate family at a school event and when I said to that person "Hi, you must be Amilcar's ------", the family member said to me "Just call him Shabazz, that's what everybody calls him." This family member also told me that Shabazz "is second in command" on the school committee.

Also, the SC meeting for Tuesday night 11-18 has been cancelled because Pelham (SC Chair Baptiste's town) did not post the meeting within 48 hours of the start time of the meeting.

Anonymous said...

A police presence at the next SC meeting will likely be necessary, as former SC candidate Vira Douangmany has invited more than 1,000 non-Amherst residents, through a social justice activist's listserve, to the SC meeting to demand Justice For Carolyn. Several student activities are scheduled to be going on at the same time as the SC meeting she invited 1,000 strangers to, and in the same building.

Anonymous said...

For the good of students, teachers and taxpayers alike, the school committee should: 1) buy out Ms. Geryk's contract, 2) fire the school attorney, 3) negotiate a fair and honorable settlement with teacher Gardner, and 4) commend Chair Trevor B and Mr. Shabazz for their leadership and courage.

Anonymous said...

My question is who gave up all the emails? It looks like very unprofessional conduct on everyone involved. Confidentiality is no more, then trust is long gone too.

Anonymous said...

Where is the sarcasm font for Anon 345 because there is no way that comment is a true reflection of how anyone thinks.

Anonymous said...

The emails are public documents so when someone requests them, like Larry, they must be released.

Geryk was smart to document the school board's actions and statements within public documents ...... a lot smarter than the Justice For Carolyn group, definitely! members of that hat group are obviously becoming desperate and going way off the deep end.

Anonymous said...

the ARPS SEPAC officers have been calling for Attorney Tate to be fired, and also have attended the most raucous sc meetings, demanding justice for Ms. Gardner and displaying contempt for the sc and school administration (except for Baptiste and Shabazz), so anon 345 is probably one of them, likely Malulani Sherlock.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Say what you will about Maria G's performance as super, but I certainly would not want her job....

Anonymous said...

Ms. Anon 4:05,

In opposition to your post, I honor Anon 3:45 and agree with his/her position: "For the good of students, teachers and taxpayers alike, the school committee should: 1) buy out Ms. Geryk's contract, 2) fire the school attorney, 3) negotiate a fair and honorable settlement with teacher Gardner, and 4) commend Chair Trevor B and Mr. Shabazz for their leadership and courage."

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Larry K for piercing the veil of school secrecy. I'M going to vote for Larry to win a Pullitzer for investigative journalism!

Anonymous said...

I certainly would not want her job....

think about that when geryk retires once her contract is up and it's time to search for another supt.

Anonymous said...

It's important to note that the reason the meeting was not posted on time was because Trevor did not send the info about the meeting out in time. The fault lies entirely with Trevor Baptiste. He is a disaster and should be removed as chair.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:32 PM, you should post that anonymously like ten more times and we'll think the comment has widespread support.

Anonymous said...

So if Larry requested the emails, he got them pretty quick. How did Larry know what to ask for and how far back to go? Also, how do we know all the relevant emails were released? I'm not asking you Larry, to "out your source" just wondering whats going on...I smell a rat.

Anonymous said...

It's important to note that the reason the meeting was not posted on time was because Trevor did not send the info about the meeting out in time.

Thank You, that is important to note, because Vira will certainly attempt to convince everyone that it is part of a conspiracy to silence "the people" who want to speak "the truth" at next school board meeting.

Anonymous said...

All is Fair in Love and War, 4:45 PM.

Anonymous said...

This is payback for the hubris of School Committee candidates (O'Brien, Appy, Hood) who ran against the "incivility" of prior School Committees. Now they have to figure their way out of this.

Anonymous said...

Can we hold a Special Town Meeting in Amherst to take a "no confidence" vote in this School Committee?

A sorrowful Amherst payer said...

The real victims in all this shit are all the school children in Amherst. What a circus! Shame!

Anonymous said...

O'brien, Appy, Hood, and Geryk are getting exactly what they deserve. None of them did a thing to make the schools better over the last 6 years. Lots of fluff no substance. It created a vacuum of good SC candidates and this is what you are left with.

While I don't agree with 90+% of Shabazz's thoughts, I really don't see why he can't talk to a member of the public about buying out Maria's contract. It is his job to work with her or get rid of her. He is clearly choosing the latter.

Oh an I support getting rid of Appy, Hood, O'brien, Shabazz, Babtiste, Geryk, Mazur, Tate, and maybe Jackson. Gardener should get nothing from the district. They tried and she refused to find common ground. I am no fan of the administration but in this case I just don't see what they did wrong after reading Gardner's complaint.

Anonymous said...

o'brien appy and hood just need to keep behaving like the adults on the board, that's their way out.

Walter Graff said...

"Where is the sarcasm font for Anon 345 because there is no way that comment is a true reflection of how anyone thinks. "

Geryk is a disaster and any means to get rid of her will only benefit the school system and the children. $500k isn't enough to get rid of her! That she even has to say she is ignoring the public outcry is a true indication that there is a serious problem and she is going to act as if she is now a lone-wolf working "for" the children while everyone else is working against her. We've heard this from much higher people than her lately and the transparency is laughable.

I don't know about firing the school attorney, they are all criminals.

Gardner is a lottery ticket scratcher and she will walk away with some money, like it or not. Give it to her and get rid of her for good.

Trevor B and Shabazz are useless and the sooner they are eliminated from the school committee the better. About the best thing they both did was to reveal the real dysfunction and outright polarization that exists.

The Amherst school system is broken and needs to be scrapped. Fire them all and let's get involved, figure out ways to strengthen this system and not destroy it as is being done now by selfish and power hungry individuals. We need to help our children to make it in what will be a very tough world to live in and with how this system works now, they will not have a single advantage.

Anonymous said...

I'm so surprised to hear Walter's viewpoint.


"Lots of fluff no substance" Don't you mean "window dressing" like you said the other night at the justice rally where you accosted a white woman who attended and was trying to speak her mind, and where you called her a member of "the white support group"?

Anonymous said...

Ms Gardner's "claims" (incidents) of discrimination and a hostile environment simply pale in comparison to those endured by all types of kids in school today (both number and severity). Should we provide a settlement and PTSD treatment for all of them? I hope everyone reads her report. She doesn't deserve a settlement. She doesn't just get to write her own position, which seems very much what she wanted. Shabazz's request at the last taped SC was shocking in its intent- he wants all the information about past payouts and insurance coverage. Like we are supposed to think this is coincidental to the Gardner efforts towards a big payout???

Vira has just destroyed any hopes of a position on the SC by her blind support (verging on insane) of this issue.

Too bad the admin gave her professional status so quickly- seems like a huge mistake in retrospect.

Anonymous said...

Dear School Committee--
Thank you for taking the attention away from us.
--The Planning Board

Larry Kelley said...

I actually miss the days (NOT) when the Select Board was the most whacked committee in town.

Well, except for Town Meeting of course.

Anonymous said...

So, let me get this straight. You elected this guy? Seriously?

https://www.facebook.com/ElectShabazz

Richard Marsh

Anonymous said...

Hoping the SC gets its act together soon starting with removing Trevor as chair immediately. He is a disaster and as long as he is there nothing will be accomplished by this committee. What will it take to wake up the members of the SC? What are they waiting for? Rick? Lawrence? Kathleen? Katherine? Sarah? Dan? Steve? What will it take for you to remove the chair so you can start doing the work the voters elected you to do?

Anonymous said...

Step down Trevor. Step down Shabazz. Vira stay the hell away. We want a sane and functional school committee and you three have turned it a circus (again).

If they won't step down, the other committee members need to remove them.

Anonymous said...

What makes this nuttiness different from past outbreaks of nuttiness is this time it's all mixed up with race.

And that means this nuttiness has its own mighty fortress.

So this could go on for awhile.

Anonymous said...

I don' t like Maria geryk. But, do I trust shabazz to bring me a new superintendent? Nope, I won't trade incompetence with bigger disaster. This is the state of Amherst school. You have to choose the less of the evils.

Anonymous said...

Flush those turds from the school system. asap.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust the new superintendent shabazz will bring in. Maria. Vs. shabazz, choose the less of evils. That is the sad stateof our district.

Anonymous said...

Shabazz , vira, etc. has turn the school district into circus. Vira brings thugs into the SC meeting and disrupt it. Shabazz points to the thugs and call for listening to the voice of people.

The silent majority, what are your responsibility?

Anonymous said...

Watch an entire town rush into the arms of its very own Earth Mother Superintendent, the same one it shunned and mocked just days before.......just as soon as we get our brains around the vision of these clowns engaged in a search for her replacement.

Maria, I'm so sorry, I repent! I didn't mean it, not a word of it!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 1013 I don't see you showing up at SC meetings. You are also part of the silent majority. It's also time for you to show up.

Anonymous said...

I hate to break it to all of you but most of the people in Amherst are pretty gutless, silent majority or silent minority. It is only a few who will speak up about whatever their issue is.

Most of the people want to keep up the appearance of being polite and nice no matter what the cost.

The liberal do-gooder mentality is used against residents of this town on a daily basis, whether it is a corrupt school administration crying about how tough it is to raise excellent students of a meager budget (their words, not mine) or people playing the race card and causing the well to do to scurry into the corner afraid of being labeled a racist. Its been going on for decades and is not about to stop.

Enjoy the drama of the month or year. Only the substance or issue will change, the drama will go on.

Dr. Ed said...

I do hope that Team Maria was bright enough to have Inspectional Services tell them the capacity of the room *and* that Team Maria was bright enough to conspicuously post it. In at least 60 point font -- twice that would be better.

Then when the mob of hooligans arrive, you are less likely to have people getting hurt. Your detail officers have something to work with.

Fun things you learn when you are adviser to the UMass Republican Club.

And as to UMass....

"Mr. Shabazz is well regarded at UMass/Amherst,"

By whom? And are people free to be honest with impunity (NOT!)

It is not healthy to do anything other than speak highly of the AfroAm Dept.`

Anonymous said...

I hope Amherst parents arent turned away from the meeting because the room is already full of protesters from other communities.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually the meeting, conveniently, has to be rescheduled because it was not properly posted in Pelham.

Anonymous said...

Did I read somewhere that a misguided student wrote the famous bathroom note? Has that been proven? Did I also read that there was some doubt as to who actaully DID write that note? Not sure justice is served for Carolyn or for anyone until these things are definitive.

Anonymous said...

Again it is important to note that it was not properly posted in Pelham because Trevor did not release the needed information in a timely fashion.

Anonymous said...

Remember when the phrase ..."without regard to race, creed, color, national origin..." was drilled into us? Nowadays it seems that all we DO is regard these things. And we say we celebrate diversity.

Anonymous said...

Look at the front page of today's Gazette. AP Biology at Northampton HS being taught by a Smith Biology professor. Right next to that story is one about ARPS administrators warning teachers and others not to discuss the Gardner case. That's the two towns in a nutshell. It's all politics and intrigue in Amherst where people argue with a straight face that AP classes are "racist" -- seriously they say that. In Northampton, they have AP classes and some are taught by college profs. Where would you rather send your kid to school? (BTW, Gardner used to teach in Northampton and there weren't any reported problems with her or against her.)

Anonymous said...


The school committee meeting has been cancelled, however we will be holding a candlelight vigil for Carolyn in front of the H.S. at 5:30 pm.

Anonymous said...

WHY?

Anonymous said...

"The school committee meeting has been cancelled, however we will be holding a candlelight vigil for Carolyn in front of the H.S. at 5:30 pm."

Is this serious? If so, why post it anonymously? WHO is holding the vigil?

Sincerely,
CAN (not holding vigil)

Anonymous said...

No "reported" problems with her in Northampton. Reported being the operative word here. Would love to know what her time there was like from an inside perspective.

Anonymous said...

A candlelight vigil for Carolyn? Give me a break! A lousy teacher pisses off a few students who get back at her the only way they know how (assuming that that's what really happened), and the race card is played to the hilt. Now she gets her very own "vigil?" She had been offered compensation and a new position and turned them down, full well knowing that this held the promise of escalating into a financial windfall. A vigil for Carolyn? Hah! Don't think I will be attending.

Larry Kelley said...

I'm sure it will get better attendance than the protest in front of Rt 9 Diner on Sunday, or the peace protesters who stand in town center EVERY Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Yea let's hold a vigil for someone who is blackmailing the school district for $500K. That money could buy about 10 teachers for a year. And you can tell me with a straight face that Carolyn Gardner cares about the kids? We all know who she cares about.

Anonymous said...

satire

Activist: Super, it has been six years, and you have done nothing to help our activists' students and reduce the achievement gap.
Super: We have done what we could to accommodate your activists' students. I can give you some examples...
Activist: Not enough! Your school still offer racism curriculum, I mean those honor courses and AP courses in high school, where our activists' students find them too hard to take.
Super: There are a lot of students, including some of your students, taking those courses. It is public offering for all students, fair and equitable.
Activist: A few of our students doesn't mean much. If all our activists' students cannot take a course, that course is racism course. or better, call them white supremacy course.
Super: We already eliminated some of the advanced courses in middle school last year. That turns out to be a disaster! Many parents and students complains.
Activist: We don't care about them if they are not one of us activists. If they complains, just label them white supremacist. "White Supremacy" is a powerful, effective words, where I routinely label white SC members to strike them down.
Super: What is more, quite some families have left school district after the disastrous experiment in middle school. As a matter of fact, in 7th grade, we only have two middle school student teams, instead of regular three teams in every year before due to reduced enrollment and family defection.
Activist: What's the big deal?
Super: The cost of educating each student goes much higher this year due to failed experiment.
Activist: I don't care. You have done nothing in high school yet. I want to see all honor and AP courses eliminated from high school, and dramatically simplify all course offerings. so everybody is able to study the same course, and everybody will get A.
Super: If we dumb down all the courses, most of the students will not learn enough to prepare them for college, or work and careers.
Activist: Super, you are as dumb as ass. At time of college entrance, all our activists' students have a Affirmative Action ticket in their back pocket. Just by showing that AC ticket, all our students will be lifted to the front of the line, and way ahead of all their white classmates in college admission. Our activists' students will all go to better colleges.
Super: ahh?
Activist: Achievement gap will then finally be achieved. We will set an example for the whole nation to follow.
Super: There is already community uproar over last year's middle school curriculum experiment. I am wounded by the public opinion.
Activist: Do as we told you, then we will continue to sponsor your millionaire dreams.
Super: At heart, I don't really care how much these kids will learn. But my husband, who did a secret poll of community opinion, told me that I will lose my job if I did that.
Activist: Do it, or we will get rid of you and find another super who will follow our instructions.

Anonymous said...

By the way, whatever you do, DO NOT use the term blackmailing in this case. Shabizzle will definitely get into a tizzy over this obviously racial term. I think you should swap blackmail out with.... africanamericanmail.

But then the feminists would object to the homonym "..mail" in there. So probably africanamericanperson. But "homonym" would upset gays, so none of those.

Let's just call it what it is, "bullshit."

Anonymous said...

BTW
The Gazette has it wrong again. There is no gag order at the high school. The teachers can't discuss the specific MCAD complaint because it is litigation. They can certainly talk about Carolyn Gardner generally with students and others of they wish. They can talk about racism or any other ism. The only thing they can't talk about is the MCAD complaint. This is pretty standard and would apply to any litigation the district is involved in. Leave it to the Gazette to fan the flames.

Anonymous said...

The Gazette might be fanning the flames, but the Justice for Caroline group lit the match.

Anonymous said...

anon @920am:
while some of us feel Ms Gardner's claims are baseless based on info provided directly from her. It is idiots like you (WTF!?) who flame the racism issue and add to some (misguided) folks' belief that Amherst has got some asshole racists floating around. Really, what do you think you add to the "conversation"??

Anonymous said...

The Gazette used to be a pretty down-to-earth publication, but now there seems to be some desperation to sell papers setting in.

Is this blog starting to drive things at the newspapers, so, once Larry's posted something, they feel obligated to put something related in print, even if it's sloppy, or just plain wrong?

If so, what a hoot!

Anonymous said...

"Really, what do you think you add to the 'conversation'?"

Levity. And a shot of truth.

Anonymous said...

We need to take back our schools and our town. We can't allow these folks hijack our town and schools for another year. Enough already! Go away!

Anonymous said...

Why, oh why is the town meeting referred to as "Town Meeting" without the "the?"

Anonymous said...

Excellent point. And it realy IS why we come to this blog. The rubberecking.

Anonymous said...

I am appalled to hear Mr. Shabazz refer to White Separatists on the board he's on. Is it devoid of Black Separatists? Brown ones? I wish he'd name them so we can heap on the shame.

Anonymous said...

AP? What's that? When I took biology it was all just biology.

Anonymous said...

Assuming? I, for one doubt that's what really happened. Has it been proven that a student or students planted any notes or graffiti?

Anonymous said...

"I am appalled to hear Mr. Shabazz refer to White Separatists on the board he's on."

Dude, he said WHITE SUPREMACIST. There's a big (BIG) difference!

Anonymous said...

I think The fine peoples of The Republic of Amherst should get with the majority of the nationand support the new Republican congress.

Anonymous said...

The Gazette is predictably liberal. Infantile political cartoon of a paper. I yearn for the days when journalists at least gave an apearance of political neutrality.

Anonymous said...

The Gazette is just reporting what's going on in the two towns. One is gripped by politics, warrior weeks, middle school kids being subjected to discussions of school shootings, the dumbing down of the curriculum by grouping honors students in the same room as kids needing remedial work, a dysfunctional school committee, and a super way over her head. In other words, little discussion of education while Northampton just teaches kids without all the other craziness and political distractions. Oh, and you pay much, much more for the privilege of living in Amherst.

Anonymous said...

I think deliberate disrespect is preferable to accidental.

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

What time is the "Get A Life, Carolyn" Candlelight vigil to be held?

Anonymous said...

Oh. Ur right . Much better. And please... It's dudette.

Anonymous said...

Amherst Does have some asshole racists floating around. Does anyone deny that?

Anonymous said...

And we welcome both.

Anonymous said...

Vira and Company have finally overplayed their political hand. It was a very good hand because they claimed to speak out against racism.

As soon as teachers speak out, perhaps anonymously on this blog, that they are having difficulty doing their jobs amidst all this controversy, then I think you are going to see a rapid mobilization against Vira and Shabazz et al hijacking the educational agenda in our schools. It may result in parents shouting at each other at school committee meetings: not a welcome sight.

It's a mobilization that's been delayed to date because we all so reluctant and polite about race.

Remember those angry moms whose kids were traumatized by our recent outside facilitator? Those angry moms are still out there, and they're not afraid of anything.

Anonymous said...

What time is the "Get A Life, Carolyn" Candlelight vigil to be held?

Not sure, but I think it's directly followed by the "Vigil for Vigils" vigil, seeing as this vigil phenomenon is really taking the wind out of all the legitimate vigils. We should be mourning the passing of actual tragedies, not this trumped-up sideshow of a grievance.

By the way, Ferguson decision... that should definitely add some positivity to THIS conversation.

Anonymous said...

LOL Best comment I've read yet on this topic!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the enrollment in Amherst has gone down by 17% in Amherst over 8 years and only 1% in Northampton in the same period?

Amherst reduced teaching staff by
23% over 10 years and Northampton by a little under 10% in the same time period.

Funny cost have gone up by 29% over 8 years in Amherst and 23% over 8 years in Northampton. Looks like someone is padding the pockets of the Administration.

Shabazz, keep up the good work of driving kids out of the schools. Eventually Maria will have to make some serious staff cuts and save me lots of money on my property tax.

I would recommended to anyone with the credentials to get an Admin Job in Amherst while the getting is good. This is a gravy train worth riding.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, ur right!

Anonymous said...

Caroline was forced to go on unpaid medical leave,(essentially getting fired) after repeated incidents of an intimidating, racial nature and a breakdown in negotiations. The settlement offered was inadequate to her. But instead of negotiating more, she was put on unpaid medical leaving her and her child without any means of support. It's about how she was and is being treated people. A candlelight vigil and delivering a petition to the School Committee seem to me to be very reasonable responses to injustice.

Anonymous said...

This morning I saw two Bement School vans down at the University Drive CVS waiting to pick up kids.

The parents are voting with their kids' feet and going elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I love "Frozen" title song, especially this multi-language version. It is beautiful, it is contagious, it is powerful, the soaring of human spirit! and set our children free!
Here it is, see whether you can have some creative lyrics,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS0T8Cd4UhA


"Suppress yourself in school, pretend to be dumb,
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, you are already guilty,
since you know more."

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

Let it go. Let it go.
Don't hold our children back any more.
Let them fly. Let them fly.
Let our children fly sky high.

I don't care
Political Correct they say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

Anonymous said...

"Caroline was forced to go on unpaid medical leave,(essentially getting fired)..."

This is not true - she has OPTED to go on unpaid leave. Hey, I'm all for sympathizing with the mistreated, but you lose all credibility when you LIE to garner support.

Anonymous said...

Nothing in Anon 144 post is true.

Anonymous said...

ANON@144: that is your interpretation. To many who have read her description of events, they neither seem especially intimidating nor overtly racial (or at least no more so than those that students endure daily). That is the school climate for everyone (and she was getting paid to do her job in that school). Many find it likely that other teachers face similar situations- kids are going to act out in the most effective ways they know how. Kids are going to use whatever they think might hit a vulnerable spot. The idea that she would fall victim to PTSD given the events described just doesn't pass the sniff test. This petition and vigil is simply blackmail. If she has a case, then MCAD will find in her favor (perhaps even if she doesn't).

Anonymous said...

Will you be at the vigil tonight Larry to capture all the wailing and gnashing of teeth and hand wringing? I wish I could go but heck it's right in the middle of my dinner time.

Anonymous said...

I keep reading about her supporting her child. Isnt he 21? If he has a disability, wouldn't he be getting financial support from state?

Anonymous said...

Bring 1000 thugs from outside Amherst to SC meeting to support her cause? Vira is really a piece of work! Don't continue to shit and pee on us just because you think you can play race card and divide our community. You have shoot yourself in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Timeline of events


Carolyn Gardner began to teach full-time at Amherst Regional High School in September 2013.


Shortly after her arrival, several events occurred:

- In September her cell phone was stolen from the classroom.

- On October 30, Ms. Gardner found a note in the girls’ student bathroom written in pink ink that said, “Every time this class seems unbearable I picture horrible things happening to Ms. Gardner and it makes me feel better.”

- On that same day, Ms. Gardner returned to her car and found she had a flat tire. She was told by the mechanic later that her tires were bald. An inaccurate news story claimed that her tires had been “slashed” although that was not true.

- On October 31, Ms. Gardner found a note on her nameplate that said “Roots” with a picture of a crown. The meaning was not clear.

- In November, Ms. Gardner’s classroom chair broke. Ms. Gardner suspected that someone had loosened the screws, although no evidence was found. The ARHS janitor in the building told her that many chairs in the high school were in disrepair and fell apart.

- In March 2014, again in the girls’ bathroom, graffiti was discovered that said “F**k Ms. Gardner,” and then underneath it, “N**ger 8.”

- Later in the spring, graffiti was discovered in the boys’ bathroom that said “F**k Ms. Gardner.”

- In May, after a very contentious School Committee meeting the night before in the high school library, a note was found the next morning addressed to Mark Jackson. The author made appear as though it was from Ms. Gardner although it was not.

A young female student was identified as the author of the pink graffiti in the girls’ bathroom. The individual(s) who wrote the other notes were never identified.

Anonymous said...

Beginning in March 2014, Ms. Gardner requested a security guard. The school district hired a private security guard who met her at her car in the morning, walked her to her classroom, remained with her all day in the classroom and then walked her to her car after school.

Ms. Gardner was traumatized by the events. She was given paid time off when she requested it, including over six weeks of paid time off toward the end of the school year, and the district hired another teacher to teach her classes.



Near the end of the school year 2014, The Massachusetts Teacher Association lawyer met with the local Amherst Pelham Education Association leadership, (the local teachers association), along with Ms. Gardner to review her situation. It was determined at that time that the district had gone above and beyond its responsibilities in responding to Ms. Gardner’s complaints.



Anonymous said...

When school ended in June 2014, the school district offered Ms. Gardner two other teaching positions if she did not want to return to her job at the high school. Ms. Gardner rejected both of these other positions. She did not state whether she would be returning to her job at ARHS.



All returning staff were required to sign a contract with the district by the deadline of July 1. Ms. Gardner was notified of this deadline. Ms. Gardner was late in signing her contract and did not respond to phone calls from administrators. She was eventually allowed to sign her contract late without penalty, and she did so.



In August 2014, Superintendent Maria Geryk reached out again to Ms. Gardner after she failed to respond to her colleagues in the Math department who were meeting to plan for the coming year. Because she had signed her contract, her colleagues and the Superintendent assumed she would be returning to her job at ARHS in the fall of 2014. The Superintendent emailed Ms. Gardner asking her to meet so that they could discuss the upcoming year. Ms. Gardner did not respond to the Superintendent’s email or phone calls.



Shortly after the Superintendent’s attempts to reach Ms. Gardner, the district office heard from lawyers retained by Ms. Gardner, who informed the district that Ms. Gardner was not able to return to work in the fall.



Following this communication from Ms. Gardner’s attorneys, the district followed up by asking what Ms. Gardner wanted to do. According to all teacher contracts, there are two possible options when a teacher is not returning to work (and has not been terminated): either the teacher is taking a leave of absence or is resigning. When the district asked the attorneys for Ms. Gardner which of these options she was choosing, per the contract, their response was that she was not opting for either one. The attorneys for Ms. Gardner said they would seek an “alternative” to the options available. The school district’s attorney suggested that Ms. Gardner’s attorneys send a proposal with their request for “alternatives.”



The proposal by Ms. Gardner’s attorneys included a request for a settlement of $500,000 for Ms. Gardner, which would come out of school district funds.



The district responded with an offer of $69,000, approximately one year’s full salary, to give Ms. Gardner a year to find new work. The district clearly stated to Ms. Gardner’s lawyers that her claims provided no basis for a discrimination suit against ARPS, and that the district went above and beyond its legal responsibility in this case but was nevertheless willing to support Ms. Gardner in getting back on her feet with a year’s salary. The district also made clear that this was the district’s best and last offer. Ms. Gardner refused this offer through her lawyers. At this point, after Ms. Gardner had refused to teach and refused the settlement offer, the district put Ms. Gardner on unpaid leave in order to hold her position for her while the litigation continued.



Following this exchange, Ms. Gardner’s lawyers filed an MCAD (Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination) complaint and released it to the newspaper on the same day that it was sent to the district.



Ms. Gardner still has a job in the district. On November 14, 2014, the district sent her a letter requesting to hear whether or not she plans to return to teaching in the district.

Anonymous said...

No one ever held a candlelight vigil for me. How do I get in on this? As a person of color, I've been intimidated many times. I knew it! I shouldn't have kept it to myself! Is it too late to get an offer?

Anonymous said...

Hear! Hear! The key word: opted is correct.

Anonymous said...

Once more with feeling: are we sure it was kids??

Anonymous said...

Where's Judge Judy when we need her?

Anonymous said...

CG and Vira and their gang have awakened a sleeping giant - the silent majority. I hope Vira was not planning to run for SC again. There is no way she will get elected. Shabazz will also have a hard time getting reelected. The veils have been peeled away.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks 2:50 PM for the detailed timeline. It does put things into perspective.

Yes, those were some pretty egregious things that happened to Ms. Gardner. No one is arguing that. The fact of the matter is that ARHS has bent over backwards to help her recover from what a couple shitty kids did to her. They are not at fault! Her claims against her employers are baseless!

Either she's lashing out, or she's greedy. YOU DECIDE.

Anonymous said...

I bet KURT would know what to do!

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if some better quality SC candidates step forward from the silent majority to help Shabazz depart from his mess on SC.

That is to say, will any one have the courage to run against the African American man who has the potential to call them on their unintentional racism. This of course assumes that no one of color will step up.

Anonymous said...

Kurt would, but he's under a gag order.

Anonymous said...

" ...... repeated incidents of an intimidating, racial nature ......"

Only one incident was of a racial nature, which was when someone wrote graffiti in a bathroom that said the N-word. None of the other incidents she cites are of a racial nature.

Anonymous said...

" ...... the African American man who has the potential to call them on their unintentional racism."

White Supremacy is not "unintentional racism", it is an overt philosophy that states that white people are superior to black people and that white people should dominate black people.

Shabazz did not say his fellow white school board members are "unintentionally racist", he said they are White Supremacists, and he said he has known that from his first day as a member of the board, and he knows it because of their "words and deeds". As odious as that is.

Anonymous said...

Remember how the state put Springfield into recievership for a few years?

Could DESE do something like this for the Regional Schools?

Where did Dr, Ed go now that we need his advice?

Anonymous said...

On October 31, Ms. Gardner found a note on her nameplate that said “Roots” with a picture of a crown. The meaning was not clear.

Roots? A crown? Isn't it obvious? A dentist must have left that note, probably as a reminder about some work Ms. Gardner needed.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of nasty, self-serving, black-femaile-teacher-hating, paid-by-Maria liberals live in this community!

Anonymous said...

"will any one have the courage to run against the African American man who has the potential to call them on their unintentional racism. This of course assumes that no one of color will step up."

Bring back Irv Rhodes.

Anonymous said...

I received this letter today from Carol Ross, doesn't sound very nasty or hateful to me:

Dear ARPS Families & Friends,

Over the past several months, I’ve had many opportunities to listen to people from across our community, including students in our public schools and in our institutions of higher education. I’ve heard many amazing stories and many creative and wonderful insights and ideas. I’ve heard fears and frustrations and hopes and dreams. However, there has been one distinction between the voices of adults and the voices of students, in our community. Among our youth, the one word I have heard most often is “wish.” Among our adults, the word I have heard most often is “racism.”

As a mother whose skin is brown, I have asked myself which of these words I will choose to use most often. Which word would I want my son to carry into his future? Do I prepare him for a world that appears not to have his best interests at heart? Or, do I prepare the world for a young man whose dreams are intact and inspired by nurturing the desire within him to fulfill his “wish”? This decision remains a delicate balance between choice and circumstance. However, if I do everything I can to motivate change within his community, my wish is that the community will, in turn, support his aspirations and the possibilities of his potential.

Does racism exist? Yes. Does racism exist in Amherst? Absolutely. Oppression, in all forms, is real but the question remains—What should we do about it? Should we continue to pass down our historic burdens with toxic contempt, or should we transcend them with compassion and love for ourselves, our children, our community and humanity? Should we view one another with disdain, upheld by archaic social paradigms, or should we inspire one another to see and reach beyond those perceived limitations? We can wait for the rest of the world to change first, or we can each take responsibility for our own individual choices and contributions.

Each day and every moment provides an opportunity to make new decisions about who we are and about how we are going to share this planet and this community. As our schools prepare our students to envision their future selves, in tandem, I will be asking this community to envision its future self by continuing to ask “Who are we, really, and how are we going to live together?”

Let’s take care of our community, our schools and each other, Amherst. Let’s listen to our youth, because their wishes are their future—and ours. We are over 30,000 people. We need to hear from you! Please visit us online at www.amhersttogether.org for upcoming events and daily updates, or to contact us to share your thoughts or to join our mailing list. Together, we are better. Let’s love where we live!

~Carol Ross

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:41 PM

This is simply not true! Nobody get paid to post on this blog, except obvious Larry got ads. revenue. And Maria Geryk, no matter how much you don't like her, you can say she is incompetent, but she doesn't hate black female teacher, nor did any of us who post on this blog. What Maria Geryk actually was at fault was to try to bend education policy and practice of the whole district just to satisfy a few racist activists unreasonable demands at the expense of the most of the students. The irony is that Maria still failed to meet that unreasonable demands miserably and faced purging by the those racist activists.

That doesn't mean I endorse Maria's leadership. I think she lacks the vision and spine to lead this school district to move to a great school strict. 6 years of failed leadership is a proof.

Maria is disaster and tragedy that the future leader of our district should learn. Raise your spine, share your vision, overcome special interests group, provide academic challenge to each child to its ability and aspiration, and lead the school to the greatness.

Anonymous said...

Carol Ross - You are a blessing to this community. Thank you for your efforts in bringing Amherst Together. We need you.

You really paid the price, didn't you? said...

March 24, 2010 at 6:41 AM
Rick said...

Don’t blame the turnout; pretty much the same as for the last override: 31.6% versus 31.5% in 2007.
I look forward to working with all school committee members. I don’t think any of them are about “reigning me in” (whatever that means). We are all about focusing on problems to be solved in a constructive manner in order to “delight our customers” – parents and students – while empowering our teachers and staff to do so.
We have a great SC to go forward with this mission, a great set of principals, a great interim superintendent, voters and teachers who have stepped up to the plate; in other words, no excuses. Let’s do it.


LOL!!!


Morons.


-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. Fools.

Anonymous said...

The people who claim Geryk has failed or that her tenure has been a disaster never back up their claims with anything tangible, no specifics. Ever notice that? They can never point to anything in particular, while she can produce an overabundance of artifacts and documentation of progress and of achievement of the district's goals, year after year. Must suck to be a hater.

Aw, look at you... said...

"They can never point to anything in particular, while she can produce an overabundance of artifacts and documentation of progress and of achievement of the district's goals, year after year."


God damn that's hilarious!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=953PkxFNiko


-Squeaky Squeaks Forever


p.s. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:43

You are the joke. It's the people who believe in Maria who have never once told us what she has achieved. The MCAS data supports her continued failure. Our bloated budget along with the number of kids leaving the school system also prove it.

Your side has been asked over and over for concrete data to support successful programs. Not one of you has every spoken up *&%hole.

Just because you post it does not make it true. Nice try.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately racism is inherent in humans. You can not unteach what is programmed from birth. All the joining of groups like amhersttogther.org will not change that.

Anonymous said...

I guess as a supporter of the district, principal, and superintendent on this issue, I won't have a chance to speak up at Thursday's meeting. I know a number of people who are like me, but sadly haven't talked enough in public.

Larry Kelley said...

Sure you will. But you would have to give your name, so you won't.

Anonymous said...

> Sure you will. But you would have to give your name, so you won't.

Nah, I just choose when to be anonymous depending on the audience. Your blog: hostile and unsafe. SC meeting: relatively safe

Anonymous said...

Larry,
There are CG supporters who post anonymously here but I've never heard you disparage them. I guess this shows where your support goes.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who legally emigrated from Haiti many years ago, now work in a large corporation. He has a house, and nice family with beautiful children.

One day, we shared some of our own life journey and experiences. He told me that when he came to this country, he has nothing beyond his bare hands and feet. But he has a blessing.

He explains that his blessing is that he doesn't have victim mentality nor entitlement mentality. He just has a dream, a strong will to survive, and firm belief of himself that he can make a good living using his brain and hands.

He worked his way from survival to prosperous. He has my utmost respect.

Anonymous said...

In our community of Amherst, we have many Elsa with white, black, brown, and other shade of tone of skin colors.
Divide them? Put gloves on each of them so they are appear to be equal?
Please, untie them, un-glove them, set them free to pursue their wishes and their dreams.
Encourage them, support them and let them be the people they aspire to be!

Anonymous said...

You are the joke. It's the people who believe in Maria who have never once told us what she has achieved.

At each of her yearly evals Geryk has provided an overabundance--more than any supt. anywhere else in the state--of artifacts and data that support progress toward the districts goals.

Do you know what the district's goals are, anonymous?

The artifacts and data, as well as the district goals, are all available online. But I'm sure you won't be looking for them because what you'll find won't support your narrative.

Oh, and the bloated budget? Blame the school committee, they're the ones who pass that. Also, numbers of students in public schools are dwindling across the state with more options available to everyone. And no one around here looks to high-stakes test scores as a measure of success but you. Those things aren't part of what we evaluate the supt. on, silly.

You'll have to provide some real, fact-based, data driven arguments, anonymous.

Anonymous said...

YES, 9:06. I've wondered how well Vira's and Carolyn's and Sonji's constant protests and complaints and cries for Justice would go over in the countries they immigrated from to live here in the USA that they seem to despise so much.

My immigrant relatives are/were grateful for what was available to them here even though it is/was a tough row to hoe sometimes.

Anonymous said...

wondering is anon@334 knows what the word artifact means? Placing it in the post as such does not support his/her position (it contradicts it). ummmm

Anonymous said...

"November 19, 2014 at 3:34 PM"

"Geryk has provided an overabundance--more than any supt. anywhere else in the state--of artifacts and data that support progress toward the districts goals."
These paperwork are merely paperwork, to paint rosy picture of the school to school committee to help the retainment and promotion of current superintendent. They don't hide the fact that our school is still in decline.

"Oh, and the bloated budget? Blame the school committee, they're the ones who pass that."
oh oh. you agree it is bloated budget? Yes, number talks. You cannot hide it. Then who come out this budget, is it superintedent's central office? Don't blame school committee, they merely rubberstamp it.

"numbers of students in public schools are dwindling across the state with more options available to everyone."
Yes, the private school around here has been here forever. That doesn't explain the dwindling of student population in ARPS in recent year.
Some of the charter schools are relatively new, and still bootstraping. They are up against ARPS, which is considered well established. The fact that community families choose to pull their children from "well-established" ARPS to expensive private school, or uncertain upstart charter school and stay there is a clear indication of quality erosion of ARPS.
It is great that private school and charter school private our families with options, so the kids don't have to stuck in ARPS if things don't work out.

"And no one around here looks to high-stakes test scores as a measure of success but you."
That is another false statement. People look at MCAS score as an important factor when comparing schools. It is state standard. You look like a school insider, or employee. Don't bash MCAS scores. You know very well that low MCAS score, or no improvement over prervious year will make Maria Geryk nervous.

"Those things aren't part of what we evaluate the supt. on, silly"
Silly, those part should be part of the criteria to evaluate superintendent if we want concrete results for our children, not "overabundance" of central office paperwork for school committee.
Our school committee should set standard that measure how ARPS retain community kids in the school system. How our budget is inline with neighboring town, and state. How our MCAS score compare with other towns.

"You'll have to provide some real, fact-based, data driven arguments, anonymous."
Again, you, as a school insider or school employee or their friend, STILL don't provide any "real, fact-based, data driven arguments", cough, cough.

Nice try.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if one of the reasons people are pulling their kids out of the Amherst schools is all the "racial" turmoil perpetuated by CG, Vira, Kathleen Anderson and the like.

Anonymous said...

and the district admits that the number of homeschooling families is up in Amherst (though they haven't provided the exact #'s). Families are leaving because they are not happy. I have heard of a number of families leaving even since the start of the school year to homeschool. That is not a good sign.

Anonymous said...

I don't have to provide data, the super does every year at eval time. An overabundance of it. The data is irrefutable.

Yes, data and numbers often appear on "paperwork", that's how the central office communicates facts to the school board. How would you prefer the super to deliver the data and facts?

The data supports the district's yearly goals, and that's why the super receives positive evals each year. Maybe you should run for school committee (again?) and then you can do your best to refute the hard facts and give the super a negative review. Then YOU can have some input into what we evaluate the super on, but until then you'll have to go with the what our democratically elected officials say, which you are clearly not.

Good Luck in your pursuit of happiness.

Anonymous said...

School committee member please take notice:

Retainment of community kids in our school system should be part of evaluation of goal of superintendent.

ARPS is a community school funded by community property tax. ARPS should serve the needs our community kids, first and last.

Every year, superintendent should report to the school committee enrollment change from previous year and the reason for those change.

Anonymous said...

Ummmm, 4:09 PM, I wonder if you know that all schools use "artifacts" to support implementation of programs and goals.

http://boston.schoolwires.net/Page/265

http://www.uft.org/our-rights/teacher-evaluation/artifacts

https://www.google.com/search?q=school+evaluation+artifacts&newwindow=1&espv=2&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=IhhtVIm5JcL2yQSV_ICYCw&ved=0CDoQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=979

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't hurt to brace diversity. By that I mean diversity of ideas. Liberalism is finished . Except for those who will--ahem-- bitterly cling to it. Did anyone wake up after the midterms? Join the party of Lincoln. The great Republican who freed the slaves.

Anonymous said...

Black School Committee incumbent Irvin Rhodes lost his bid for a second term in 2012 election to Amilcar Shabazz.

Do over 2015!

Anonymous said...

Irv has to much common sense to rejoin that circus.

You idiots said...

Even Squeaky fondly remembers

that ole version of Uncle Irv

(the one backing Dr. Sanderson).


Remember?


He was "the man",

for a short while any-way.

(I met him at Crocker once)


-Squeaky Squeaks


p.s. You friggan betcha.

Anonymous said...

"Black School Committee incumbent Irvin Rhodes lost his bid for a second term in 2012 election to Amilcar Shabazz."

Who wrote letters and signed ads supporting Shabazz in 2012? Who was on his campaign committee?

Anonymous said...

And today Shabazz is comparing himself to Catherine and Steve on his Elect Shabazz facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ElectShabazz

Amilcar, you can't just show up late, be disrespectful in tone to the administration and all your other committee members except Trevor, and that makes you a "change agent", you have to actually do WORK and be on COMMITTEES.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:34 wrote:
"At each of her yearly evals Geryk has provided an overabundance--more than any supt. anywhere else in the state--of artifacts and data that support progress toward the districts goals."

This is just so Amherst. Maybe Maria is great and ARPS are wonderful, etc., but how on earth would you know that Maria puts out more data than any other supt. in the state? Have you literally examined the websites of every single school district? Of course you haven't. People in Amherst (lived there and left thank you very much) always say and think stuff like this. "Oh, our Gay and Lesbian Lit course was the first of its kind in the nation!" How do you know that? Do you know if such a course was offered 30 years ago in Santa Fe, NM or St. Paul, MN? Of course you don't know, how could you. Why not just like your Super and your courses. Nope. Not in Amherst. There's such a massive ignorance of life outside of town mixed with a bizarre collective sense of insecurity that people always have to claim that Amherst has the best, the first, the most progressive, etc.

Guess what, people in progressive places like Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Madison, Ann Arbor, Berkeley, and, yes, Northampton, just live their lives and and practice their politics. They don't waste their time claiming to be the best the first the smartest. That's so Amherst and so, so sad.

But, you should be proud. Amherst no doubt does lead the state in dysfunctional SC's, school lockdowns, overpaid administrators, declining public school enrollment, and candlelight vigils. Way to go! Keep up the bizarre work!

Anonymous said...

In order to emulate Sanderson and Rivkin, Mr. Shabazz is actually going to have to do the job.

One gets the impression that being on School Committee is turning into a heavy lift for him in terms of time and energy expended.

It's not just a platform for provocation; it's a place to exercise some oversight. Yes, there's homework. So far, he doesn't seem to be up to it.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, two and a half years in and he's "trying to learn" how to do the job we elected him to.

Shabazz dropped off the one committee he was on because "he didn't have time". Shabazz is the one committee member who didn't take part in the supt.'s evaluation because "he didn't have time". Doing sub-committee's and evaluating the supt. are sorta big parts of the position. Every other candidate I can remember in the last ten years at least had the time to do the job they ran for and we for which we gave up our valuable vote.

This from a gazette article last year: "Shabazz said he is honored to be named to the position (faculty adviser for diversity and excellence at UMass) and will serve half time and teach one class instead of two. The appointment is for three years."

C'mon, classes are in session for 8 months out of the year, he teaches one class, and he "doesn't have time" to be on the school committee? Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

anonymous 8:31 PM, show me ONE Massachusetts town's superintendent evaluation from the last three years where a superintendent provides more data and artifacts that support progress toward the district's and superintendent's goals than Geryk, and I will admit you are correct.

They are all public, go ahead and prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

The name Shabazz' mother gave him was Eric Frank.

Anonymous said...

why would anyone want to be a school committee member (or a school administrator) in this town with all the circus and fireworks we have going on?

and, as a parent, I can't help but think that maybe a school/district without all this tension and in-fighting would be a better place to educate my kid.

In discussing school choice enrollments at School Committee meeting, Kathy Mazur has mentioned what a desirable schools we have and how there are 100+ school choice applications submitted each year to attend Amherst schools. Let's see if that trend continues.

Anonymous said...

Schools here wouldn't be too bad if the admins would stop trying to cram their liberal agenda down the kids throats. I guess that's what comes from all that "Teaching As A Subversive Activity" nonsense from the 1970's. Must we appeal to the. Lowest common denominator ?