Wednesday, January 14, 2015

First Amendment Warrior

Calvin Terrell, Social Justice Warrior

Yes I did feel a bit like the school kid squealing to a higher authority about an altercation on the schoolyard that left you fuming, even a couple days later.

The Chair of the Regional School Committee, Trevor Baptiste, did not seem to initially understand my complaint with School Superintendent Maria Geryk.

Obviously she did not pay the woman to snatch my iPhone (last words, "no videotaping" is Maria Geryk) but she did give verbal commands -- before and after the incident -- declaring a ban on videotaping.

And the Superintendent did not seem overly concerned about the physical nature of the altercation brought on by her edict. 

To ban journalists from recording an event should always make you wonder:  what is it they don't want you to know?


Anonymous said...

Maria says next topic and everyone mores on. Need more proof that the Amherst school system is a fraud?

Walter Graff said...

From one journalist to another - next time at the meeting, don't bring up the woman. Don't bring up the heat, or the lights, France or anything else. Rather focus on your denial of rights by Maria Geryk. Makes no difference about anything else and it only deflects from the real subject.

Try this - I want to make a complainant concerning my rights being violated recently at a school sponsored public forum. I want to know how a public servant during a (here is the important phrase) public forum public property can demand that I, a representative of the press is not permitted to film excepts of a presentation. I was there filming and gathering information for the purpose or reporting on the event. Ms Geryk state there was no filming to be done by anyone in attendance before the event began. I stared to film an except to use as material in my reporting. A member of the audience made a scene when she saw me recording, to which Ms. Geryk specifically told me I was not to record. Please explain to me what rights Ms. Geryk has in preventing a member of the press from recoding a public event.

Want clarity for next time? Before the event make it known that you are there as a representative of the press and that you will be filming excepts for the purpose of your reporting. You have now notified the public servant of your purpose. You did not make yourself known so you could have been deemed a parent simply recording for yourself (doesn't matter if everyone knows who yo are). When confronted by the Superintendent you should have stated your purpose (yes, even in front of the audience).

Here's the sad reality - the Supreme Court has stated newsgathering deserves some First Amendment protection but it has never really defined clearly the scope of that protection, nor restrictions that may be placed upon reporters’ activities so it's not a simple proposition.

You can call The Reporters Committee Legal Defense Hotline at 1-800-336-4243, 24/7 to get free legal advice as to your next move against the town and your rights as a reporter. If anything call to learn what is proper procedure and your rights when confronted in such a situation so it does not happen again.

If you let the parties involved get away with this, you set a precedent which is very bad for you as a reporter. Fight Larry. Mild manner reporters who let themselves get pushed around end up like Clark Kent minus the alter ego. Not a god thing.

Walter Graff said...

Sorry, of course I meant excerpt but my computer auto corrected all the words to a misspelling in my personal dictionary. Fixed.

Fight Larry. Worth it for your credibility as a reporter in town.

Larry Kelley said...

As Yogi would say, "It ain't over till it's over."

And this is far from over.

Anonymous said...

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Maria has decided that she is the authority on everything- even if she has no personal experience on it. This extends to controlling freedom of speech and calling major curriculum modifications "schedule changes." Gone are the days of accepting public or even teacher input. It is well past time for her to move on before she further damages this school district.

Anonymous said...

Hello Larry,

Wondering if Terrell is in a position to claim violation of the Massachusetts WireTap Law when you were recording without his knowledge? Especially since Terrell is a private citizen. Also, didn't Geryk just state that it was Terrell who did not want to be taped? How is she responsible for what he wanted or for that matter, the woman who grabbed your phone? I am confused.

Not sure if this paragraph applies but obtained it from

"This law applies to secret video recording when sound is captured. In a 2007 case, a political activist was convicted of violating the wiretapping statute by secretly recording video of a Boston University police sergeant during a political protest in 2006. The activist was shooting footage of the protest when police ordered him to stop and then arrested him for continuing to operate the camera while hiding it in his coat. As part of the sentencing, the court ordered the defendant to remove the footage from the Internet. From this case, it appears that you can violate the statute by secretly recording, even when you are in a public place."

Time to run the friggan show again said...



one of them:

----> sssshhhhhit.


I gotta come back there

and take these fkers on.

Christ almighty.

-Squeaky Squeaks

p.s. Like old times, only better.

Muuuuuuch better.

Dr. Ed said...

First and foremost, why not file a criminal complaint (assault, theft) against the woman who obtained possession of your property via force?

Second, to put "First Amendment Warrior" on that schmuck's face makes me want to vomit. Yes, he is a schmuck -- and little else.

A real "warrior" would be willing to defend what he said and hence would want it well documented what he did (and didn't) say. The only reason why you don't want clear objective evidence is when you are going to be denying having said things that you actually did say -- and don't want to be proven to be the liar you are.

Does anyone actually KNOW if the parent-only performance bore even a scintilla of resemblance to the infamous child abuse session? All you have is Maria G claiming it does, and do you exactly trust the accuracy of anything she says?

The "no recording" was to prevent a child from being able to point out what was missing from the presentation made to the parents.

Larry, I would openly accuse that shmuck of *not* giving the same performance that he gave your daughters and let him prove otherwise -- pointing out that it was HIS choice to preclude any objective means of doing so.

Kinda like what the IRS would say if you claimed all kinds of deductions but had intentionally shredded all your receipts and the rest. Think they'd believe you? And why should you believe him???

Anonymous said...

"It is well past time for her to move on before she further damages this school district."

Move on to WHERE?!?!?

This is the best job she is ever going to get -- and at this point, she is both over-qualified & under-qualified for anything else, even without the inevitable baggage she'd be taking with her.

She may be angling for some consulting gig with a curriculum development corporation -- hence her willingness to adopt their stuff -- but she'll be sadly mistaken when she realizes it is "Maria Who?" when she's out of office.

No, this is the last job that she'll ever have -- and she'll milk it for all she possibly can. Concern about the students or the district -- she hasn't shown any yet and it really, truly, is all about her.

Anonymous said...

If I was you, and the supt. had asked me to refrain from videotaping, I would have just kept videotaping. When someone says "Please don't", and you comply, that's your fault.

The word "ban" was never used by Geryk. You chose to comply with her request, and that's hardly a violation of your first amendment rights.

Just like when a cop says "Stop video-taping me RIGHT NOW", you can choose to comply or not; if you comply, that does NOT mean that a cop violated your First Amendment Rights, rather that you did not know yours or chose to not stand up for yours...

Anonymous said...

Anyone have $930,000 for the shortage in our schools? (Gazette)

Shall we start making a list of things (and personnel) that can go?

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah I can tell you are a brave warrior who would have stood his ground.

By the way you leave your name over such a Cowardly Anon Nitwit comment.

Anonymous said...

It's 2015- I'm sure you have access to technology that would keep a device out of sight while videotaping/ recording a presentation.

Walter Graff said...

"It's 2015- I'm sure you have access to technology that would keep a device out of sight while videotaping/ recording a presentation."

In Massachusetts, that would put you in jail reporter or not. If you are a reporter, it's best to have something that identifies your organization (even a jacket with an emblem), and a simple notification to the organizers that you are covering an event. And cell phones are convenient, but a more professional looking camera (even with ID on it too) will help you stand out as a pro for the crowd.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Your headline, "First Amendment Warrior," does that refer to YOU, LK?

Larry Kelley said...

Well it obviously does not refer to a Cowardly Anon Nitwit.

Anonymous said...

Ah god, kelley. Why be such a jerk all the time? You really have something good going here that you've invested a lot of time in and it really could BE something. But you perpetually crap on it with your pointless, childish namecalling comments.

Such a waste.

Anonymous said...

Here is what we do with Maria G...,37763/

Anonymous said...

If I never hear the word warrior again it'll be too soon. And I'm begging you: enough with the term "social" justice. Just use "justice." It's all-encompassing. Give 'em Hell, Larry.

Anonymous said...

Larry, I'll admit that we anons are Cowardly. But not necessarily Nitwits.

keithw said...

Anon 6:31

I don't see how wiretapping applies here. Terrell is in a public space giving a talk by choice. Citizens have the right to record so long as they do so openly. Judging how the phone was moving with Terrell as he was speaking, it's pretty obvious that Larry was not covertly recording him.

The point is, these people are making up rules as they go that fly in the face of certain freedoms and that's wrong.

If this guy wants to be a public speaker he'd better get used to being filmed.

Anonymous said...

Imagine what woulda happened if you held up one of these.

You'da seen some warriors...

-Squeaky Squeaks

p.s. Ye$$$$$$$ we can!

VoiceOfReason said...

Lol you can see at the beginning of the video when the school committee sees Kelley one of the guys mimes killing himself. Also half of them were laughing most of the time. But they wrote it down! So i guess you really are super serial Larry

George Plowman said...

Huh? I don't see anyone make that gesture. Can you be more specific, CAN?

Anonymous said...

Time to move on to the more than $900,000 deficit Amherst schools are currently facing
Articles at The Gazette and WWLP-
and folks are already mentioning an override vote!

Larry Kelley said...

Without the guaranteed transparency of the 1st Amendment, how does one cover anything?

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with Graff, 4:28

You lost me on France.

Vous n'êtes pas Charlie

Anonymous said...

So Maria is complicit in an effort to cover up a racial indecent against a teacher last year. Then she is complicit in allowing 3 bullies to terrorize a fellow student with out punishment, She is complicit with allowing her Human Resources director bully and fire an employee over an alleged racial incident without any proof, she has been complicit with giving away taxpayers money for years to hold her position, and now she is limited 1st amendment rights.

If this is not enough to show cause to investigate corruption then I don't know what is.

She has become a dictator, maybe a fascist, but she does it with a smile.

Sell your houses and get your kids out while you still can. This party will end, its just a questions of when, and most important for Maria, How.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the no video edict was from CT. This is typical from a professional keynote speaker to help them protect their intellectual property and that someone does not simply use a video of a speech instead of hiring him. That edict should not be interpreted to mean that "Fair Use" by the press is not allowed. If you notice, CT does not seem to have a problem with it.

Now MG could have simply said, "CT asks that there be no videotaping, so I ask that you respect that." This is probably what she actually meant, but she instead stated it as a command from herself. If she sated as above, I do not think that would have been any sort of violation.

I agree with Larry's characterization based on the way the order was given.

Of course, CT could always halt his presentation if he finds the video objectionable.

In any case, I think Larry was right to bring his complaint.


Anonymous said...

We have a school budget deficit because amherst kids are school choicing out of this district. Every public/charter school they go to, that district gets $20k from Amherst. This is why we are in a hole. Instead of cutting teachers, how about we improve the district with a strong curriculum and then families will want their kids to stay?

Anonymous said...

"how about we improve the district with a strong curriculum and then families will want their kids to stay"

Sure, just get rid of the people managing the system and put people in who know what they are doing and actually care about education. Geryk is the Obama of Amherst. She has no experience but is put in a job she can't handle. And like Obama, ask people about it and they either don't want to talk or deny it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:56,

We tried that already. Any one involved were called difficult, poor tone, they don't understand, teacher haters, racist, etc.

We had good SC members pushing for better curriculum and education in Amherst. It was a 3 year push with very limited results, but at least it proved change won't happen in Amherst until the cronies are out.

The SC is a rubber stamp, the administration is a corrupt bully organization. Follow the lead of those getting out. Choice, Charter, private school, or home school. If you are going to get out I recommend Charter as it hurts the schools deeply in the pocket book. Choice hurts them much less.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

Well put.

Anonymous said...

I guess I still don't understand why Larry stopped videotaping just because the superintendent told him that filming was not allowed, at the request of Terrell. Was he scared? Did he not know for sure whether or not he had the right to?

I had a cop tell me once that it was illegal and that I wasn't allowed to videotape him arresting a guy at a concert. I simply said "Actually, it's not illegal, and I have a right to film." The point is that someone telling you you can't film something, with no enforcement or intimidation, isn't a violation of your first amendment rights. The fact that you complied with the request, (and then continued to illegally audio-tape the guest speaker,) is no one's fault but your own.

In legal terms, you don't even have one good leg to stand on, Larry.

Larry Kelley said...

Sounds like you're nervous I'm going to file a lawsuit.

Paid off in South Hadley now didn't it?

Interesting how you say that it was not a violation of the First Amendment but you still call the audio-taping "illegal".

Anonymous said...

Quaking in my boots.

Larry Kelley said...

CANs usually do.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing makes the liberals in Amherst wet their panties faster then seeing Larry Kelly come through the door."

^^Comment from Masslive..
LOL Right on!

Also, I'm so SICK of Maria Geryk!

Anonymous said...

Do the Amherst schools benefit financially if there is a pre-k through 6 regionalization with Leverett & Shutesbury elementary schools?

Larry Kelley said...


The initial figures presented last summer showed Amherst paying an extra few hundred thousand.

Richard S. Bogartz said...

I regard myself as to the left of liberals. With respect to Larry tape-recording a public meeting I am in total support of his doing so. It is outrageous that a public official decided to try to prevent it. Had I been there I would have risen to Larry's defense, and thereby, to the defense of us all.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 8:57,

There are no real benefits for any of the town in the regionalization agreement. The cost benefits are marginal at best, to many unknows to be sure. All towns loose control of their schools, though it is not easy to close one. The curriculum will be what ever the district wants. If you like what is happening now great. If you don't then vote against it. If we have a K-12 region all the teachers will be under the same union contract. The teachers of Lev & Shute. are paid much less than the region This agreement would give them all a raise. Any savings from busing or admin overlap would be lost.