Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"We're # One!"

Last month I stated that unless a major catastrophe occurred which, thankfully, did not,  the March 8 Blarney Blowout would be my 2014 "story of the year" -- as it was for the year 2013.  And indeed it is.

But because the aftermath of that debacle has been so subdued, with our college aged youth falling in line through better behavior, I have great hope -- matched by confidence -- that it will not repeat in 2015.  After all, a third time is not very charming.

Thus what was to be my #2 story climbs into a tie for #1:  When Political Correctness collides with teen-aged angst under the roof of the Amherst Regional High School.

Specifically the way school officials treated Dylan Akalis, a white kid from Holyoke who dared like a lot of kids do to use the (modified rap version) N-word with an African American friend, who took no offense. 

Other African American kids did, however, and responded with bullying both online and in person that was reported to school authorities, who did nothing.  Dylan, in self defense, took matters into his own hands and made a "threat" on Facebook suggesting he came to school packing a pistol. 

In a panic, the school was closed for a day.  Dylan was summarily suspended, but his tormentors were not.  His father who worked (with his hands) for the schools was later fired for using a common electrician term in front of an African American school employee. 

Although his diploma reads Amherst Regional High School, officials would not let Dylan march in his cap and gown with fellow students and friends at the June 6 Mullins Center graduation ceremony, or attend the senior prom the week before.  Although a young woman who violated his privacy rights with a public Internet petition was allowed to march in the graduation ceremony.

Had Dylan not been white, the story would have played out in a radically different way.

From cancelling "West Side Story" because it was "racist" to allowing kids to perform the R-rated "Vagina Monologues," ARHS is a shining example of the mayhem that results from Political Correctness run amok.

As usual the response of school officials is to throw money at the problem:  They spent $38,000 enlisting smooth talking  Calvin Terrell, who terrorized 7th and 8th graders back in October and should have been instantly fired.  He returns next month.

The schools spent $48,000 hiring a "Media & Climate Communications Specialist" (fancy term for PR flack) to deal with racial issues, and the first thing she does is get into an embarrassing public fight with a long-time prominent local radio station over transparency.

And of course the  Carolyn Gardner affair was mishandled at the start when school officials kept the original graffiti incident in October a secret, something that could come back to haunt them when the Mass Commission Against Discrimination takes up their investigation. 

No, I don't have high hopes that 2015 will be any better when it comes to the race game played in our little "college town."


Anonymous said...

Where did the notion get started that Dylan "bullied" the other(s)?

Larry Kelley said...

I think that came from the young lady who started the online petition (which also had inaccuracies).

Anonymous said...

Before he was fired (and before Dylan acted out in pure frustration)

Dylan's Dad informed the school of the bullying.

In a truly unbelievable act of punishing the messenger- Dylan's Dad was suspended from work and the bullying was not addressed in anyway.

It was after all this that Dylan reacted on Facebook.

Anonymous said...


The injustice this family has suffered through at the hands of administrators is profound and corrupt. It astounds me that in a town like Amherst that is supposed to believe in Justice and truth that this entire episode goes unchecked.

Do you know or can you say if anyone has ever been held accountable for the 3 students or the corrupt administration.

For people in Amherst to hold the schools on high is simply deplorable when you look at the facts of this case. Certainly Dylan Akalis has some responsibility for what happened but has paid more than his fair share for his action.

The other students and highly biased administrators have never been held accountable and that speaks loud and clear to the corruption, bias and incompetence of Maria Geryk. She did not cause any of this but at the end of the day it is her job to make this right. If she does not, then it falls to the SC to fire her for inaction in the name of justice.

It is a sad day when people at the top prove that no one is safe in our system. That they can not and will not protect the masses. This could have happened to anyone and will happen again now that opportunists know how weak our leadership really is.

Maria, Kathy Mazur, and the like aught to hold their heads in shame. Their incompetence, prejudice, and corruption seem to know no bounds.

Opt Out Now! said...

My son went through bulling at Amherst and I tried to go through the proper channels with little or no action from the Amherst School System. In the final meeting where it was obvious they had no intent on fixing the situation. I finally told them it was a now a matter of self preservation, and they told me that if my son approached the bullies he would be punished. Good job Amherst Regional Schools protect the bullies and punish the victims. I am happy to say my kids are now being educated in the next town over at Amherst's expense, and are happy and thriving in school.

Anonymous said...

"Maria, Kathy Mazur, and the like aught to hold their heads in shame. Their incompetence, prejudice, and corruption seem to know no bounds."
Mary Custard needs to be added to this list for ignoring Dylan and his Dad wen they went to her for help with the bullying.

Anonymous said...

Kinda makes you want to believe in civil rights, doesn't it?

White people don't have rights, why should black people have rights?

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is time to form a Klan chapter in Amherst....

Anonymous said...

Rights are inalienable and granted by our creator. Government doesn't give 'em to you.

Anonymous said...

I wish 20,000 people would read and digest this post, and that they would publicly speak out. What happened overall in 2014 is a horror show and an embarrassment. Hypocrisy at its best. The Akalis family suffered severe trauma if all this is true, and my understanding is that Mr. Akalis has no legal recourse.

Anonymous said...

20 thosand eh? So does Larry! Maybe we could collaborate on a screenplay, the six of us.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually the 3,650+ (and counting) is good enough for now.

And if you look over on the right under "Popular posts" (which has a minimum threshold these days of 25,000 reads) you will see one of the many posts I did on this sad story.

Anonymous said...

I can hardly believe all that's happened in this happy little valley high school. It is a travesty all around--that this child Dylan was 'punished' to this extreme--but I do believe his tormentor(s) received punishment as well--and the Calvin Terell episode had better not repeat--what a colossal waste of money! All of it! Get rid of incompetent teachers/administrators--there are plenty of them--and while those who know better than to teach with a prejudicial hand--there are far more who don't! :( The adult business will take care of itself--but who will take care of our children?