Thursday, May 5, 2016

"Narcissistic and Self-aggrandizing"?


Regional School Committee Chair Trevor Baptiste (rt) Maria Geryk (left)


The past 25 years of requesting Public Documents has illuminated some interesting written exchanges, but none quite compare to this one, which takes the cake -- icing, candles and all.

Did Superintendent Maria Geryk overreact by banning single-mom Aisha Hiza from all Regional School property back in March for advocating for her bullied elementary school aged child?   Well, yes.

Is it wise to threaten the Regional School Committee Chair for allowing public comment to take place during the "public comment" period?  Probably not.

As my Chinese friends would say with a tinge of snark:  "May you live in interesting times."

148 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is insane. Does the town pay for the costs of this lawyer? I'm appalled by this lawyer's lack of professionalism. WTH! Irregardless of blame, this letter is inflammatory and unprofessional and hope we aren't paying the bill.
BTW, does the SI contract PROHIBIT the SC members from soliciting public feedback on the SI performance? I doubt it... how could it?

Anonymous said...

I say let the mother give permission to release all of the background information and then let the public really see what transpired. She should stop hiding behind her "attorney's advisement" and then creating her own version of the "story" for the public.

Baptiste should be held accountable and I so appreciate that someone is in a position to do so. School officials often have their hands tied from telling their truth and experience for a variety of reasons (such as confidentiality, school committee as the employer, etc.). It is time school committee members are held accountable and especially this one.

From what I heard his wife spoke publicly at the Pelham meeting last night and cried. I feel bad for her. However, I don't understand why she said something that suggested her family was being impacted by what he / they have had to endure because of his service as a school committee member. It sounds like she does not fully understand the impact of the families of school officials, especially the supt, when the community, blog, etc. can be horrific in their commentary. Baptiste can resign - he does not depending on his volunteer role to support his family nor is this his livelihood or career at stake. And, Baptiste puts himself out there in a very tenuous, deliberate and undermining manner.



Larry Kelley said...

He is representing her as part of her association with Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.

Anonymous said...

Larry, if you read the letters carefully, you will see that it was Mr Baptiste who broke the law. First, he allowed public comment and engaged in discussion that was not on the regional agenda and was not a regional issue. Then, he threatens the Superintendent's evaluation to her lawyer and speaks for the regional committee completely without the committee's knowledge-All this noise is to cover up his own actions. And by the way, it looks like he has a very close relationship with the mother in Pelham. Major conflict of interest. Ethics violation-probably

Mark Warren said...

Wow....I would comment but I don't know if I legally can.

Larry Kelley said...

Yes the First Amendment also comes in to play in this sad saga.

Anonymous said...

Whew! Shi* just got real y'all

A few possible descriptions of Baptiste's performance in relation to Long's legal response to the former's actions so far, especially if his wife cried at the meeting last night:

reach exceeding grasp
stepping in it with both feet
up a creek without a paddle
playing checkers while your opponent is playing chess
bringing a knife to a gunfight

The end game may be right there in Baptiste's closing words "In service to my community"

The Akilis family may need to buy more popcorn...

Anonymous said...

Baptiste is toast! He is a renegade who never understood his role as a SC member or as chair. He never understood that as chair he does not have absolute power. No one has any power individually on the SC. The power rests in the body. It will be interesting to see how he acts as he chairs the next SC meeting. Will he continue to allow public comment on the pelham bullying situation? Will he act as though nothing has happened? It will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:03 pm - She wasn't speaking as Baptiste's "wife", she was speaking as mom to kids in Pelham Elementary, and discussing the racism they've seen. It's on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH6NvVnWJKc

Dr. Ed said...

Question: Did Geyrk trespass Hiza from the REGIONAL property? If so, she did THAT as the REGIONAL Superintendent, and the entire attorney's letter is moot. The regional committee has perfect right to review their supt.

Question: Can Pelham fire Geryk independently of the Region? Does she have three separate contracts? If not -- then again this is attorney bullying and nothing more.

Question: What about "conduct unbecoming?

Say Geryk had been tagged for OUI in Pelham -- or Pelham, NH -- the regional committee couldn't let concerned citizens ask the committee to look into it?

Really.....

And unless Baptiste KNOWINGLY & INTENTIONALLY violated Geryk's civil rights, he is indemnified. Pursuant to the Mass Tort Claims Act, the district must pay any judgement against him.

Also, Incompetence & Stupidity are not violations of the state ethics law.
Unless Baptiste was bribed (more than $50), there's nothing the ethics commission can do. I know because of some of the things I asked them to deal with at UMass.

Maria is crashing & burning....

BTW, where is Bill Newman on this?

Dr. Ed said...

Baptiste ought to file a complaint with the bar association...

Larry Kelley said...

She was banned from Pelham school "or on any school or ground of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School district."

Anonymous said...

Why are you engaging this nutjob.

Anonymous said...

Baptiste was a nightmare as chair from the minute he took over. Just watch any random meeting to see that he over reaches and completely doesn't get that he has no individual power. He proves his ignorance(or arrogance) around this issue again and again. It has caught up with him and the regional committee now. I can't believe they elected him twice!

Anonymous said...

Translation:

Baptiste: "Your father was a hamster, and your mother smelt of elderberries!"

Geryk: "I spit in your general direction!"

Baptiste: "Begone, or I shall taunt you a second time!"

Dr. Ed said...

The ONLY way Geryk could do the latter is as regional supt.

SHE, not Baptiste, is the one who ought to be worried about the ethics commission because in doing this, she used her authority as a public employee (regional) in an unrelated matter.

ALSO one may only hold one public position at any given time -- that is one of the ethics laws. So her lawyer's letter explicitly states that SHE is in violation of the ethics laws.

Wonder why she didn't attend town meeting????

Larry, this is now worse than the B'Town Police Chief mess....

Dr. Ed said...

http://www.mass.gov/ethics/laws-and-regulations/conflict-of-interest-information/holding-a-2nd-public-position/section-20.html

Geryk can't have 3 contracts.

Anonymous said...

Any violation of Federal law or regulation is not covered by the Tort Claims Act. The attorney is clever enough to cite relevant sections of the USC.

Dr. Ed said...

It appears gratuity has gone up to $100.

Dr. Ed said...

"Any violation of Federal law or regulation is not covered by the Tort Claims Act. The attorney is clever enough to cite relevant sections of the USC."

Wrong. Are you familiar with the 11th Amendment to the US Constitution?

The only exception is "Violation of civil rights under color of law" which is Section 1983 except you have to know you are doing it and that means prior explicit precedent. Otherwise, Asai Hiza could bring a Section 1983 suit against Maria Greyk.

There is also a high bar to such suits, including something similar involving a UM student and the APD.

Rereading that lawyer diatribe, it almost appears to be a threat to trespass Baptiste from his own meetings. THAT would clearly be both a violation of the state ethics law ans a violation of her contracr -- grounds for termination without payout.

If she's stupid enough to do that -- and I think she well may be -- all he has to do is move the meeting to another venue, eg Town Hall, the Bangs Center, or even a lecture hall at any one of the colleges. As long as the room is ADA-accessable and located within any of the towns that constitute the district, and has a seating capacity at least roughly equal to Maria's venue, there is NOTHING she can say about it -- the Chair has the right to move a meeting in response to unanticipated factors.

After all, say there had been a fire in the building that day and the electricity was still shut off -- of course they'd move it somewhere else and the public meeting law permits this as long as you make a good faith effort to tell people. Likewise when you move a meeting to a bigger room.

As to items not on the agenda, if public comment is on the agenda THEN IT WAS on the agenda. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Maria...

Larry, as an educator, I am offended by what she is doing.

Dr. Ed said...

Hey Maria, can you say "insubordination"?

Anonymous said...

Ed, how can you be an educator? You are a wannabe educator. To be an educator you need a job in education.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:07 - Please watch that youtube video again. She states it very clearly later in her comments as the wife of a school board member.

Anonymous said...

Larry - Wondering if Massachusetts Wiretap Law was violated at the Pelham School Committee Meeting last night. Can you find out if the Chair gave permission for it to be video taped and by whom? I spoke with two people from that meeting and neither recall the Chair giving any type of notice. Yikes, yet another violation and the video needs to be taken down if that is the case.!

Public Meetings

Massachusetts open meetings law expressly permits sound and video recording of public meetings (i.e., meetings of a governmental body required to be open to the public by law), except for executive sessions, by anyone in attendance. The statute provides that:

After notifying the chair of the public body, any person may make a video or audio recording of an open session of a meeting of a public body, or may transmit the meeting through any medium, subject to reasonable requirements of the chair as to the number, placement and operation of equipment used so as not to interfere with the conduct of the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting the chair shall inform other attendees of any such recordings.

See Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 30A, § 20(e).

Anonymous said...

The Tort Claims Act (MGL 258) applies to state statutes, individuals can be held liable for intentional torts in some circumstances. Fishing through correspondence might furnish interesting info.
It's commonplace for lawyers to try to find potential federal law violations to up the ante. I'm not saying these claims are valid, just that the attorney found what he believes to be a federal angle.
"Section 23(b)(3) requires a municipal employee to consider whether her relationships and affiliations could prevent her from acting fairly and objectively when she performs her duties for a city or town." (Ethics Commission, on their website). Again, the basis for the threat, not an endorsement of its validity.
Substantial value (268A/3) is still $50. Not indexed for inflation, either.

Anonymous said...

"Did Superintendent Maria Geryk overreact by banning single-mom Aisha Hiza from all Regional School property back in March for advocating for her bullied elementary school aged child? Well, yes."

Wondering why you're so certain that Ms. Geryk's banning of the parent referenced above was "overreactive", given that confidentiality laws prevent any of us from knowing the details about what transpired.

"Is it wise to threaten the Regional School Committee Chair for allowing public comment to take place during the "public comment" period? Probably not."

Also wondering why you're so certain that it is beyond reproach for the chair of a school committee in one jurisdiction to allow pubic comment about issues transpiring in a separate jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

I don't get this. We get an incomplete version of the story in the newspaper, along with what appears to be a normal and reasonable looking woman and her beautiful child, but no information on what barred her from school grounds in the first place.

I click on Larry's website in hopes of a more complete version of this story and all I get is Geryk bashing?

Now everyone is mad at Geryk for her ban of this woman? Again, no ability to mention what this woman did to "advocate for her child."

The bigger story here is why the race card and the NAACP are a involved in this whole fiasco. Talk to Pelham parents to hear more about what led up to the order barring her from school grounds. Would we all be talking about this if the newspaper article and Geryk were able to mention a valid reason? Imagine if it involved use of weapons or some sort of physical threat on the Pelham principal. Would you all still be standing behind this parent advocate? I can't imagine what you would have to do to get yourself barred from picking up your child at school, but as a parent in the diversified ARPS school district, I know it would have a lot more to do with my actions than my skin color.

Anonymous said...

How can Maria'actions not be a regional issue..If nothing else it shows gross negligence and puts the town of pelham and ARPS at risk of a lawsuit and awful publicitythat effects all schools in Amherst as she is the leader

Anonymous said...

I would like to know.. Phone calls have been made to Bill Newman we need him cuz no one is seeing the larger picture..Civil Rights of a mom and a 7 yr old

Anonymous said...

The issue here is bullying and Ms.Geryk's banning of the victims mother. The threats against Mr. Baptiste are for allowing public comment! It pales in comparison. Time for the school committee to ask for her resignation...or termination

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Because she's not a nut job.. I have watched this unfold for two years. She is a living mother who decided enough is enough. She is a shining light for all the parents this have been blown off od this same topic and they gave up.. HATS OFF TO LARRY FOR HAVING THE GUTS TO COVER THIS

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Personally I think she SHOULD SAY I RESIGN. Maybe she stop being too sick to attend her public meetings. The job is wss to syressful forvher simcevshe has finally met a couple people she cant push around or manipulate

Anonymous said...

I think it is our tax dollars paying him

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

If Team Maria would allow the v mother to see the documents she would release them . Of course of Maria resigns along with Tate, Hall, Guerva, and Brady the lawsuit goes away.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Nothing happened on school grounds accept she threatened to report the principal to DESE. The rest happened on chestnut st. She used 4 "bad words" NAACP, ACLU, PROTESTS, LAWYER

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Homestly it my Team Maria tesigns .. All of them .. The v lawsuit will go away... The mom doesn't want money she wants justice.

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to see that Superintendent Geryk has some good strong attorneys speaking up for her. And, yes, sometimes attorneys need to speak plainly on behalf of their clients.

Thankfully, I'm encountering people in town who understand the considerable constraints on the Superintendent's ability to comment in the face of some of the harshest of criticisms, some which go straight to her character. These folks know instinctively that the press coverage has therefore been unfair to her: extremely unbalanced.

These town-wide and region-wide elected jobs really require something akin to judicial temperament, which is frequently put to the test by our residents. So far Mr. Baptiste has been failing those tests, including in the way that he speaks to fellow Committee members with whom he disagrees. I get a kick out of his chastising an attorney for commenting to the press on Ms. Geryk's behalf. Yes, the hypocrisy there on his part is "mind-boggling", because he seems to be incredibly sloppy in conducting the public business. It's important to remember that appointed officials like Ms. Geryk are accountable to us, we pay them well, but they're not punching bags.

Rich Morse

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Homestly it my Team Maria resigns .. All of them .. The lawsuit will go away... The mom doesn't want money she wants justice.

Anonymous said...

I would settle for resignation

Anonymous said...

Anyword on the Pelham School Committee executive session ?

Larry Kelley said...

That will take many, many months for the minutes to be released.

Anonymous said...

She didn't attend a meeting because she was sick again like the last Regional school committee meeting she was sick I'm beginning to think that her migraines are making it incapable of her to do her job and make her public commitments she hasn't been around much even before this all started

DOCTOR Ed said...

Ed, how can you be an educator? You are a wannabe educator. To be an educator you need a job in education.

OK, penis breath, it's now personal: That bitch needs to go!

You have no idea where/how I am employed (notwithstanding Planet umASS), nor how much money I am making because it isn't relevant. And notwithstanding that, you don't need a "job" in education, you merely need to know the rules.

Larry, If I saw an ARHS teacher raping a student in the high school parking lot, would ANYONE EVEN INQUIRE as to my employment status when I filed the 51A (and made the 911 call)?!?!?

Conversely, were I to do nothing, would not having (whatever) job be an acceptable excuse for my inaction?

Sorry Kurt, maybe this wasn't you -- but you crossed lines in the past and your wife is gonna be gone...

Anonymous said...

Dear Sckened by Admin...

Either you don't know what the parent really did or you are trying to divert the attention away from the truth to meet to your personal agenda - one that includes an obsessive focus on the supt (like that poster Ed) and compromising our community with and by diminishing real cases of racism. It is sad to say this, but this feels yet again like a case of boy (or in this case same group of misguided, hateful community member) crying wolf (racism). Never understood why all those people got up in public comment and continually referenced Amherst when it is a Pelham situation. Pelham is a lovely community and school! Take your agenda elsewhere!

Anonymous said...

Does the Pelham SC have the power to override the stay away order if they determine the order was inappropriate?

Anonymous said...

She didn't attend a meeting because she was sick again like the last Regional school committee meeting she was sick I'm beginning to think that her migraines are making it incapable of her to do her job and make her public commitments she hasn't been around much even before this all started

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

One more point she had tate issue that letter to Aisha but never told SC how can she hold trevor accountable when she didn't inform him

Anonymous said...

Ed needs some serious help and his posts are getting progressively more scary and insanely obsessive of the supt.

Anonymous said...

Wow Ed you sure got your panties in a twist tonight!

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

She was barred from all arps propety. That means iit's a region issue.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

I have zero agenda. I know pelham is great thats why im upset that the super can put the town in this situation.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

I do know what she did. She asked for help. She got ignored. She asked again. She asked Maria for help. She got brushed off..She went to school committe members for help prior to march 15.. SHE GOT FRUSTRATED AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF.. GOT MAD..stated using words like protests NCAAP, She reported school to board of education , reported maria.. And got banned and the secured a pro bono attorney. During this time she made frustrated threats regarding legal action that taken by themselves out of context can be twisted to sound like she meant something else..

Anonymous said...

"I have zero agenda", but you call yourself "Sckneded by admin in Pelham"?

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

I have never publically said any of this is racism. I dont believe kids at that young age are racist. They just need be taught right from wrong. I do believe banning Ms Hiza or any parent without due process in front of a court of law is against that persons civil rights. Based on a simple Google search of federal court findings across this country. Im have lost faith in Maria's judegement based on this and the situation that we are in now because she didnt take the time to actually look at what the outcome could be and how her actions will effect t our town. I dont believe she even cares how it will effect the pelham school or the community.

Anonymous said...

The Superintendent has done nothing wrong. I'm sickened by you and your agenda.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

As a taxpayer I think I have the right to be sick and when things are happening that are completely ridiculous and a situation that could have been handled was blown up out of proportion because our leaders made bad decisions

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Well when this ends up in federal court and when we see what the school committee decision was we'll see if people think Maria did nothing wrong and if the courts think Maria did nothing wrong and whatever those two bodies decide I'm more than welcome to agree

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Maybe I should change my name to be sickened by Chestnut Street because I'm not necessarily unhappy with the principal

Anonymous said...

Larry,

Ed's 10:26 post should have been deleted. And should now be deleted. Completely repulsive.

I believe I may have made my last visit to this blog.

Anonymous said...

The superintendent hasn't been at Town Meeting and missed the last two School Committee meetings. I am sorry that she has been sick but wonder if there is something more. Neither of her kids are in the Amherst schools anymore as they are now being homeschooled (by whom is a good question... ). Yes, its ironic. But really I just hope the family is doing okay.

Anonymous said...

Good to see that Pelham SC chair Luce recused herself from last night's exec session. I can't imagine that it would easy for her to be involved at all in discussing her own boss' conduct with regards to a Pelham family. How is Luce serving on the SC not a conflict of interest?

Anonymous said...

I just love all these people taking pot shots at the superintendent when they only know part of one side of the story. Stay away orders are not given lightly. And at the same time our district is not the only one to do it from time to time. Remember this action was taken in consultation with two police departments. Every time something happens to a person of color that they don't like it agree with they pull out the race card and start yelling racism! It's not always about race. That mentality in itself is racist. As a parent of kids in the Amherst school system I want our administration and SC focusing on how to give all our kids the best education possible. Not on drama seeking folks who are stirring up a tempest in a tea pot without knowing the whole story.

Anonymous said...

Ed, why do your rants and examples usually contain sexual references? Something is amiss if that's where your thought process takes you. Get help.

Anonymous said...

"As a parent of kids in the Amherst school system I want our administration and SC focusing on how to give all our kids the best education possible."

I agree!! and it saddens me that Amherst districts fails so miserably at this. Many families I know have taken their kids out of the Amherst schools because they feel they can get a better education elsewhere and my family is thinking of doing the same. I went to public schools as a kid and like to believe in them. but I no longer have much faith or trust in the Amherst public schools. Though there are some wonderful teachers, staff members, and yes, even a few of the administrators, the system itself seems broken.

Anonymous said...

9:42
Before issuing a stay away order email - the school department should have consulted their attorney.
To send a stay away order via email indicating "credible threats" as the reason (with no clarification and no means for a parent to address it) is wrong. Was a more formal order presented to Aisha? It is interesting that the Amherst PD did not receive a copy of the email.
With the Pelham police department next door to the school- that should have been the drop off and pick up location for the child (school employment bringing child to and from school building)
To give a noncustodial parent (court decision) free reign in the school building (and making him the sole contact for issues regarding the child during school hours) was wrong.
Aisha may have recourse via the courts for this wrongdoing.
Maria needs to focus on correcting the wrong- not punishing all involved in trying to resolve this!

Anonymous said...

Why do you assume the school's lawyer was not contacted before the stay away order was issued. We do not have all the facts. And I think it's highly suspicious that the mother involved does NOT want all the facts to come out.

Anonymous said...

Maria is scared, very scared of losing her job now. What has she achieved in her role as SI in Amherst school district? Under her leadership, Curriculum rigor, curriculum choice, academic excellence become dirty words, which disappear from school goal/agenda. Teaching each child to its ability becomes dirty sentence. In its place, the systematic dumbing down of curriculum is at full throttle. Bullies intimidate other students without fears or consequences. Under such wonton policy, all students, regardless of its academic spectrum, are left behind. Families have no choice but take their kids out of this school district. School leaders play game on political correctness, and refuse to take the real responsibilities to run a rigorous school district. In a rudderless school district, all nasty things will catch up on ya. racism, classism, you name it.

By the way, an expensive mega school building plan will not distract people's attention.

Dr. Ed said...

"Does the Pelham SC have the power to override the stay away order if they determine the order was inappropriate?"

Actually, no. But they have the power to FIRE her for not doing so at their request, they have the right to establish policy.

Likewise, DESE doesn't -- but they both have the right to yank her certificate and/or put Pelham into receivership(like Holyoke).

Anonymous said...

I wasn't looking for an answer from you Eddie. You don't know what you are talking about.

Dr. Ed said...

Maria's hiding behind FERPA is unmitigated bullshite because FERPA has a threat to public safety exemption, and DESE policies were also changed after a teacher was raped & murdered in Danvers (?) a couple years back.

Furthermore, FERPA protects the CHILD and not the parent, there is no way you (us educators) could file 51As otherwise. The parent has no right to privacy (under FERPA), except as to that which would identify the child (it's complicated but doesn't apply here).

Notwithstanding that, let's look at this logically: whatever was said or done either was criminal or it wasn't. The parent either a threat to the community or she isn't.
If she is, Maria had an ethical and legal duty to pursue the matter with the police & courts -- and she hasn't. And if the parent isn't a threat, or if those qualified to make such decisions determine she isn't, then Maria's trespass, while technically legal, is reprehensibly unprofessional behavior.

Checkmate.

It doesn't matter what the parent said/did -- Maria's in the wrong either way.

Maria and her minions have a professional/legal duty to the Hiza family, to all the other families, and to the public at large. If she actually had earned the doctorate she was supposed to earn, she'd have known this and perhaps not done something quite so stupid.

Oh, and Maria's a public figure -- if nothing else, being the highest paid town employee makes her that. Google NY Times v. Sullivan -- which means she can't sue for libel or definition. As Former Governor Ed King found out when he tried to sue the Boston Globe. Now as to threaten to sue your boss, well, "only in Amherst..."

Dr. Ed said...

"I wasn't looking for an answer from you Eddie."

Nor from anyone else, either.

"You don't know what you are talking about."

Really....

Anonymous said...

As any reader to a forum like this knows, there are certainly folks that come to post not with any regard to the facts before them, but rather to lay forth on their own personal agendas (Here's lookin' at you Sckened!) Of course those are also the most entertaining posts... However there are a few facts that should not be overlooked by someone who takes the genuine time to carefully read the content of these letters.

First, re-read that April 15 letter from Atty. Long. When Ms. Hiza professes feigned ignorance and outrage about why she was restricted from school properties, realize that an action as significant and dramatic as that by a School Superintendent is not undertaken without exhaustive and extensive documentation. Atty. Long makes that direct point not once, but twice in his communication with daily Hampshire Gazette writer Ms. Drane.

As some of the actions in question relate to a student and parent, "in the absence of a parental agreement authorizing full disclosure of all the facts..." the ability of Superintendent Geryk or Pelham School administration to discuss or release information to the general public is prohibited as a matter of law. Ms. Hiza knows precisely the reasons she was banned, to wit--"after a series of needlessly belligerent and contentious confrontations, all initiated by ". Tough time filling in that blank anyone?

Ms. Hiza, and Ms. Battle-Baptiste are very interested in a hugely public discussion surrounding what they perceive as their persecution at the hands of a systemically racist school administration. Yet, Ms. Hiza is completely unwilling to let the actual facts be known. A 5 second of pen to paper is all that would be needed and, well, let's just say it's evident that she's resisting signing with more vehemence than heat miser resisted snow in Southtown. I have no idea what the facts actually are regarding Ms. Hiza's repeated "objectively unreasonable and belligerent conduct", but she has zero interest in that coming out into the public. For her to publicly claim innocent and shocked ignorance in this regard is deliberate and manipulative at best. Read into that what you ought.

Second--regardless of personal feelings one way or the other on Superintendent Geryk, to have the Chairman of the Amherst Pelham Regional School District (Mr. Baptiste) so willfully unknowlegable on proper procedure and ethics in a delicate situation like this is nothing short of disturbing. The contempt of due diligence displayed regarding this is what one might expect from an armchair quarterback sniping in from the sidelines, (or to be fair, a half-wit commenter snarking on a local blog!) but certainly not from the Chairman of the entire local school district.

That leads to my final take-away from all this. When Mr. Baptiste uses his position as Chairman to bulldoze this item onto the public agenda over the concerns of other school board members and grants the floor to his wife to basically speak for the innocent and unjustly maligned Ms. Hiza--the impassioned pleas from Ms.Battle-Baptiste that we investigate the deep, unending racism pervasive within this Elementary School ring hollow and false to a reasonable observer.

I'm not Superintendent Geryk's biggest fan by any means, but in this situation, a careful reading of these letters leads to the unfortunate conclusion that, Yes Virginia, there is bullying going on. That bullying and objective belligerence lies however, squarely and directly at the feet of the accusers. That's pretty clear.

If Ms. Battle-Baptiste, Ms. Hiza and Chairman Baptiste seek with all their hearts to have this unjustice aired in the court of public opinion, then have the decency and courtesy to the public to let all the facts be known regarding Ms. Hiza's actions--whatever they may be. That's 5 seconds of Ms. Hiza putting pen to paper. That's not the way they want it to work, so better believe that has zero chance of happening.

In Service to MY Community

/mic drop

Anonymous said...

anon@3:18, I think your analysis of the situation is fair, but I'd just like to add that this entire episode seems to have begun with very real bullying of an elementary student.

I'm sure there are plenty of parents out there who feel that the response of the Amherst District to bullying has been far from appropriate or effective and often ends up with the object of the bullying feeling much worse having reported....the district does a really shitty job addressing 'school climate' problems, yet another reason for families leaving. Amherst has created a bizarre approach 'restorative justice' that meets no ones needs except the administration's need to add the term 'justice' to yet another program/initiative.

Anonymous said...

Bravo

Anonymous said...

I would love to have seen a SC meeting from 100 years ago when people could just discuss things without lawyers.it is getting to a point where self-governance is all but impossible. Maybe all local government should be paid professional lawyers and not average citizens!

Anonymous said...

I was just shaking my head as Mr. Baptiste allowed the public to continue talking about the situation at the regional meeting. He knew it wasn't allowed, he even said so. He either has no backbone or was allowing it on purpose. Once again he has shown he can't handle the position as chair.

Anonymous said...

Well stated @3:18

People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. So far Hiza, Baptiste, and others are trying to have both.

At this stage in the proceedings. you could call it an old fashioned Mexican standoff, but that might be misconstrued as cultural appropriation.

Anonymous said...

Someone please explain why it was wrong or illegal or improper to allow members of the public talk about the banning of this parent from Pelham and ARPS properties? Why couldn't the public raise it and talk about administrators? This happens all the time at school committee meetings. This isn't the same as school committee members talking about administrator's actions, which they do all the time anyway. How else would anything get done if you couldn't mention anyone's name or talk about something they did?

Anonymous said...

@ 3:18 pm:
"When Mr. Baptiste uses his position as Chairman to bulldoze this item onto the public agenda over the concerns of other school board members and grants the floor to his wife to basically speak for the innocent and unjustly maligned Ms. Hiza--the impassioned pleas from Ms.Battle-Baptiste that we investigate the deep, unending racism pervasive within this Elementary School ring hollow and false to a reasonable observer."

I am confused. I wasn't present at the recently Pelham School Committee mtg. However, isn't Ms. Luce the chair of the Pelham SC, and in that role wasn't Ms. Luce running the Pelham SC mtg at which Ms. Battle-Baptiste spoke so passionately & the video of her doing so was released on the masslive site. Ms. Battle-Baptiste didn't speak at the Regional SC mtg chaired by her husband.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone say with certainty that "real bullying was going on". We are talking about children 5, 6 and7 years old (kindergarten and first grade). Come on! Children in these years are learning the social ropes. They make mistakes, they have conflicts, they need guidance and support to develop greater social understanding. That doesn't mean that they are racist bullies. There seems to be a bigger, misguided and adultified agenda going on here.

And, what parent who truly wants to protect their child assents to having that child's name and photograph published in the local newspaper? That alone points to questionable judgement as well as motive.

Anonymous said...

anon@6PM, this is 3:32, didn't say 'racist' bullying. I totally believe kids that age can bully. Yes, it is a mistake and offers the opportunity for intervention, and kids are still learning. From my following of the story, it seems there is no question that there was some inappropriate behavior (let's call it bullying, for simplicity) and that it was wide spread and many parents reported their kid was also targeted. What happened after that seems less clear, and less substantiated. I remember reading something indicating mother (Ms Hiza) was gracious with the 'bully's behavior and recognized the ages involved etc, and that she just wanted improvement (for her kid and the other kids in the class).

However, I stand by my claim that the Amherst District does a crap job dealing with bullying.

Anonymous said...

"I remember reading something indicating mother (Ms Hiza) was gracious with the 'bully's behavior and recognized the ages involved etc, and that she just wanted improvement (for her kid and the other kids in the class)."

If you "remember reading" then you do not have first hand knowledge of what transpired. We should all just take a back seat, resist judgment and let due process--based on factual evidence--take its course.

The public speculation and jumping onto bandwagons, whatever they may be, is not helpful and only serves to fuel a fire of uncertain origin.

Anonymous said...

We are not allowed to have first hand knowledge and we can only speak when spoken to.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You sound pretty disenfranchised, Anon. 6:57. Would you like to elaborate? And, are you the same Anon. who "remembers reading something" or do you have more first hand knowledge of this particular instance?

We have a terribly racist and stifling legacy as a nation. But, that doesn't mean that every interaction between children of a tender and inexperienced age should be viewed from that particularly loaded and accusatory lens.

Anonymous said...

What will the consequences be for the current Regional SC Chair if/when he does not comply with the SI's lawyer's public records request for "any and all documents, emails, text messages, blah blah blah, between you and any other individual, blah blah blah"?

Larry Kelley said...

Pretty much nothing.

Public Documents Division in Boston has no enforcement powers.

Anonymous said...

So when you make a public documents request Larry perhaps the school should just ignore you from now on. After all no one has enforcement powers.

Larry Kelley said...

Public shaming works pretty well.

Anonymous said...

Then public shaming should work for Trevor.

Anonymous said...

After the meeting with the chief of police in Amherst there was no consultation he admitted he received an email he wasn't consulted at all get your facts straight

Anonymous said...

She does want the facts to come out but the truth is Maria won't show her the file for her attorney the file without her releasing them and she has no trust based on everything that has happened so she does not want them released until they review them because she doesn't believe they are factual and Maria is credible witness is a schizophrenic bipolar crazy person who has their own agenda in this situation basically to punish the mother

Anonymous said...

Very muffled her they wouldn't allow her to talk to anyone who could help her she had no choice but to go to the papers because no one was listening no Administration was listening meanwhile the non-custodial parent runs around the school Maria changes the communication order so they're talking with the non-custodial parent as assigned by the courts the school doesn't allow the seven-year-old to call the mother when she's sick due to a memo from Chestnut Street this mother had no recourse other than to find Outside help and she's not the only parent that has had problems with not being listened to in multiple schools aCross the District you can see that in the other blog banned in Pelham I don't feel comfortable withb the non custodial parent due to his past around my child but im letting it go because he is there supporting his daughter and as a parent I get that

Anonymous said...

They are fishing. There are no text/ emails between ms hiza and mr baptiste after she was told she wasnt allowed to takk to her elected public official

Anonymous said...

Too many.women in charge who think they can manipulate a situation to have the outcome be whatever they choose as long add they all cover for each other.. In the end we will see how many of Marias teaM gets thrown under the bus to save her ass.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

I AGREE 100 percent

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

No formal notification only an email telling her no communication, no scjol grounds and they were changing the communication line to the non custodial parent

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

When over 50 local arhs graduates sign a petition and present it they need to listen

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

A group of ms Hizas supporters spoke at the regional SC meeting

Anonymous said...

The racism comes more into play at older ages.. Honestly if the race card needsto b played to fix it then so be it

Anonymous said...

As well as the superintendent it so seems

Dr. Ed said...

"Would we all be talking about this if the newspaper article and Geryk were able to mention a valid reason?"

Which, of course, presumes that Ms. Geryk actually HAD one.

"Imagine if it involved use of weapons or some sort of physical threat on the Pelham principal."

Imagine if it involved a threat to report embezzlement to the FBI.

For that matter, imagine if it involved a threat to reveal that Geryk is a transsexual space alien from an alternate dimension of reality on the far side of a wormhole. Heck, imagine that Maria's Minions are some alien race of vampires, intent on sucking the blood out of the helpless children held captive in their custody.

Anyone with a vivid enough imagination can imagine all kinds of things -- anyone with a firm grasp on reality can also understand that the mere fact that one can imagine something doesn't inherently make it true.

For that matter, a basic logical fallacy:
Drones are being used to smuggle drugs into prisons.
Larry has a drone.
Does that (alone) mean Larry is smuggling drugs into prisons?

"Would you all still be standing behind this parent advocate?"
Would you still be supporting Maria Geryk.

We can argue if there should be, but there is a legal "duty to warn", and this duty both supersedes and is an exemption to all confidentiality laws/regulations, including FERPA.



I don't get this. We get an incomplete version of the story in the newspaper, along with what appears to be a normal and reasonable looking woman and her beautiful child, but no information on what barred her from school grounds in the first place.

I click on Larry's website in hopes of a more complete version of this story and all I get is Geryk bashing?

Now everyone is mad at Geryk for her ban of this woman? Again, no ability to mention what this woman did to "advocate for her child."
IF "it involved use of weapons or some sort of physical threat on the Pelham principal" THEN Ms. Geryk (not Dr.) would have an ethical, professional, & legal "duty to warn."

Hence, it doesn't matter what the facts are, in that Maria is in the wrong either way.

"I can't imagine what you would have to do to get yourself barred from picking up your child at school,

I don't have to imagine, the archives of this blog document a real example: Documenting that the school didn't have hot water. Yes, that's an incident that "involved use of weapons or some sort of physical threat" as we all know that a thermometer is a deadly weapon.

Reality is that Maria can ban anyone she damn pleases, a point her attorney made the mistake of pointing out. The check on that is her having to justify it to the community, which she is refusing to do. That's unprofessional, reprehensibly so, and it's why she's gotta go.

It isn't like this is the first time there's been a situation like this -- she's already expended "the benefit of the doubt" with situations of this sort.

Dr. Ed said...


"[Dr.] Ed, why do your rants and examples usually contain sexual references?"

Because "sex sells" -- say what you wish about our society, "sex sells."
In some cases, the sexual references are the only remaining absolutes in a profession adrift, rape of a child is probably the only thing that everyone still agrees is inherently, unquestionably "wrong."

Anonymous said...

Actually no they don't.

Anonymous said...

What are you selling here Ed?

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, I need to say this: While it is an understatement to say that I am not a fan of Maria Geryk, I don't like seeing psych diagnoses thrown around. Accurate or not is irrelevant, it's a line that I don't want to see crossed -- ever.

Yes, certain things have come to mind as factors, but my issue is job performance.
My issue is the arrogance & ignorance -- as it affects various decisions she's paid to make -- and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

"I don't like seeing psych diagnoses thrown around... it's a line that I don't want to see crossed -- ever" So intones Mr. Ed, ever the guardian of the moral high ground.

"what if she really is mentally ill?" Oh, wait: that's Mr. Ed too, in another post!

Is there a psych diagnosis for Mr. Ed's own behavior? Maybe multiple personalities? Or is it merely a case of spewing so much nonsense that even he can't keep up with it?

Anonymous said...

From the Agenda:

“…or to discuss the discipline or dismissal of , or complaints or charges brought against , a public officer, employee, staff member or individual”

Doesn't it seem the A-P School Committee, when in executive session, is simply planning to discuss "or complaints or charges brought against" Maria? That just doesn't seem to be a portent of doom for Maria...

Dr. Ed said...

One again,I am quoted out of context.

Please re-read the agenda item -- discussing the mental health of an individual is one of the reasons given for having the executive session. In listing all of the reasons why they could have an executive session, they raise the possibility of ant one of them being the reason.

(This is illegal, BTW, you gotta tell people which reason it is -- unless it actually IS all of them.)

Here is the entire paragraph, with emphasis added:

"I'll add this: all the gratuitous attacks on my mental health got me thinking -- she's done some jaw-droppingly stupid things that I attributed to a combination of arrogance & ignorance, but what if she really is mentally ill? Has she been to work? (Like her salary, her timecards (including use of sick & vacation time) is a matter of public record."

1: "what if she is mentally ill" has a hell of a different meaning than "what if she is mentally ill" "But" is a conjunction, the six words serving as a dependent clause in contrast to the primary thesis -- that she's arrogant & ignorant.

2: The fair reader will both note that I was responding to a statement that she hadn't been seen in public since March, *and* that I inquired as to her attendance. An objective performance criteria -- a legitimate one when you realize that we are well into May...

3: Above and beyond the context I used it in, "mentally ill" is not a psych diagnosis.

4: I don't like psych diagnoses being thrown around in public, which is something far different from asking if one of the possible reasons given for an executive session might actually be the real one.

5: I actually was defending Geryk -- pretty much for the reason John Adams defended the British soldiers after the Boston Massacre. My issue with Maria Geryk begins & ends with her job performance, which, in my opinion, sucks.

6: I actually have the Doctorate which she lacks -- it's been Dr. Ed for over four years now.

Dr. Ed said...

Anon 12:34, when they list all possible reasons, any one reason listed could be the real one.

That's why you are supposed to announce which one it is.

However, one of the reasons you list above is
'...to discuss the ...dismissal of...a public officer, employee...."

Reality is that we have no idea why the AR committee is having this meeting, which is why we are forced to resort to "Kremlin Watching."

As there are lawyers involved (and who's representing the district when Geryk is the adverse party) there probably is a reason why there are two general reasons mentioned -- negotiating a contract (i.e. "buyout") and discussing her.

My fear is this will become like the Jason Vassell farce -- Larry, over/under $500K?

Dr. Ed said...

Typo -- "but what..." -- "but" is the conjunction.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Ed - I hope Ms. Geryk sues you to the moon and back for your personal attacks and defamation of character! And, that she gets a restraining order because your obsession with her is scary!

Anonymous said...

"What if Mr. Ed is an obsessive, mentally ill fool?" has a hell of a different meaning than "But what if Mr. Ed is an obsessive, mentally ill fool?"

Doesn't it?

Disclaimer: In this context, "mentally ill" is not a psych diagnosis. Mr. Ed should seek professional psychiatric help to obtain a specific diagnosis.

Dr. Ed said...

"I hope Ms. Geryk sues you to the moon and back for your personal attacks and defamation of character!"

She can't -- not only is she a "public figure" but truth has been an absolute defense since before the American Revolution.

However, were she stupid enough to try, you can only imagine what I'd get in discovery. In addition to everything else, I'd get the IP address of EVERYONE whose ever posted on Larry's blog, along with the IP address of every publicly-owned computer -- that alone might be interesting.

I'd get all the secret settlements and the rest, and who knows what else.

Absolutely everything negative about her would be publicly disclosed in open court. Larry would be able to report it -- and THEN she'd have to prove....

" And, that she gets a restraining order because your obsession with her is scary!"

I'd be in Malden the next day, demanding her certificate be revoked for misconduct. It'd be on the front page of at least the Boston papers -- and then things would probably get quite interesting. DESE would at least have to hold a hearing, this in a building a couple hundred yards from a Boston (MBTA) subway station where women ought not be alone after dark -- I'd love to see Geryk explain how I'm a threat to her physical safety.

I could, and likely would, sue her for defamation as I am not a public figure.
Any attorney stupid enough to bring the suit would likely be disbarred, etc.

It might surprise people that you have to have grounds for this sort of stuff, and that we actually have the right to criticize public officials.

Come next January, with President Trump, you'll be glad you have that right...

Dr. Ed said...

And, that she gets a restraining order because your obsession with her is scary!

May I suggest that the concept that Aisha Hiza is a "threat" be viewed in this context?

How the Fire Truck am I a threat to Maria and/or her Minions? "Threat" has a very clearly defined legal definition...

I consider Maria Geryk to be an embarrassment to my profession, and I have some clearly articulated reasons why. The circular reasoning that twists this around in circles is itself scary, and should terrify all Amherst Leftists because I somehow think that you are going to have issues with President Trump.

Never forget that the "Alien & Sedition Acts" was Jefferson. Never forget Andrew Jackson's "John Marshall has made his decision, now let's see him enforce it."

You need to say this is bullshite now, or you won't be able to say it then...

Bill Newman, this means you...

Anonymous said...

is simply planning to discuss "or complaints or charges brought against" Maria?

I don't think there are any current complaints or charges against Maria, are there? So, that's probably not it. Hmmm.

Dr. Ed said...

How do we know that there aren't any complaints or charges againdt Maria when everything is secret?

Anonymous said...

Ed ...being a know-it-all you should check your info on the "alien and sedition acts"

Anonymous said...

I'm sure a creative photo display or a video would help this situation...
Where is the always mum Amherst Together Initiative?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ed - It seems like all you do is have time to comment, obsessively, on blogs. Do you have a job? Do you have a life? Yup, I visit some times, read and occasionally comment, but every time I do, you are there over and over again. Do you have friends to talk to or do you just need attention?

Anonymous said...

Ed, ever heard of slander. You're getting very close this time.

Anonymous said...

Pitchforks & Torches!

Anonymous said...

Ed said, "I consider Maria Geryk to be an embarrassment to my profession"
That's really funny, Ed. Unless she's taken up obsessive blog commenting, you don't share the same profession.

Dr. Ed said...

1: "The Court held that the First Amendment protects the publication of all statements, even false ones, about the conduct of public officials except when statements are made with actual malice (with knowledge that they are false or in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity). Under this new standard, Sullivan's case collapsed."

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1963/39

2: Notwithstanding everything else, slander is verbal, moron.

3: Circular Logic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning

4: Yes, it's personal or me, not because of Maria but her UMass supporters.

5: Anyone who thinks that I intend to reveal any personal detals here is truly living in an alternate dimension of reality. One does, however, *find* time for things of importance.

6: I always did say that Geryk would implode spectacularly.

Dr. Ed said...

Ed said, "I consider Maria Geryk to be an embarrassment to my profession"
That's really funny, Ed. Unless she's taken up obsessive blog commenting, you don't share the same profession.


I don't have any desire to be associated with any aspect of the profession as Maria Geryk and her Minions define it.

I earned my doctorate, under adverse conditions[!], so as to be able to defend what the profession should be, and I don't want her to be able to do what Jason Vassel did.
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant", and her "professional" conduct cannot withstand the light of public scrutiny.

Never forget that the Battleship Bismark was sunk after a torpedo dropped from an obsolete biplane jammed her rudder.

Anonymous said...

Larry, why don't you just block Ed? Has he threatened you or something? His comments are beyond horrible. You are held responsible for posting them.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you are.

Larry Kelley said...

Was UMass responsible for the Westboro Baptist Church when they stood on their property with hateful signs?

Anonymous said...

They would be if they invited them (and they accepted their invite and provided them a platform to speak from) like your invitation to "Leave your comment" on YOUR private blog. You are indecent, at best.

Anonymous said...

Promoting slander only includes you in the lawsuit, nothing else. Keep posting Larry, you have nothing to lose. Notice Ed lose is spelt with only one 'o'.

Larry Kelley said...

Over the past nine years I have published 56,350 comments and I'm quite sure I disagreed with more than half of them.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, nothing to worry about.
Ever heard that before?

Larry Kelley said...

Not nearly as often as I've been threatened with lawsuits for libel, slander, invasion of privacy, or bringing on the rainy weather.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, bringing on the rainy weather actually causes people harm... :)

"Promoting slander"

What part of this do these morons not understand? SLANDER IS VERBAL SPOKEN SPEECH, anything reduced to writing inherently can not be "slander." Perhaps one might, oh, look up the definition of the word???

"Notice Ed lose is spelt with only one 'o'.

While archaic, it can be a verb with two: "They loosed the dogs on the burglars."

Furthermore, I can see four clear grammatical errors in your sentence, along with a bunch more possible ones.

Larry, I think that Team Maria is running scared.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Whatever works the parents that have pulled their children due to this admin needs some justice

Anonymous said...

Nothing for you to concern yourself with Ed.
Just keep throwing gas on the fire.

Dr. Ed said...


I more see it as using sunlight as a badly needed disinfectant.

Anonymous said...

Did the certified letter Aisha received from the district on March 18th present any additional information?
The email of March 15th seems to separate (protect) the principal from Aisha (stay away, do not email her...) I would be pissed if the principal ignored my requests for help with my child- wonder what the principal told central office...
When was the central office first contacted about the situation at Pelham?

Dr. Ed said...

Even better 6:22, was the state/federal mandated bullying protocol followed? Is there a paper trail documenting that the admin jumped through all the hoops it should have jumped through?

I somehow doubt it.

Also, while Geryk has the legal right to arbitrarily ban Hisa from being physically present on the property, she does not have the right to prevent her from sending emails to whomever, etc. Doing that would require the court order that Maria didn't get (and I presume could't/wouldn't be able to get).

Let's face it, IF Maria had the grounds to do anything legally, she would have, QED....

Dr. Ed said...

The other thing here is like Ferguson -- in addition to this one situation, you look at all the other situations over the past 5 years or so.

Anonymous said...

Guess you'd have to ask Ms Hiza about that. If she'd sign a release it would clear everything up. It would also show when she first threatened legal action, which means she can only talk through the schools lawyers.

Dr. Ed said...

Threatening legal action does not negate a schools duty to a parent or student.

What I meant was all the other situations over the years, involving other people.

This is really starting to smell quite badly -- and this part about a release is bullshit.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Where her lawyer can talk through school lawyers which I think is a better course of action for her at this point at least her lawyer isnt costing anything because he knows he's going to win unlike Marias who's costing all of us the taxpayers

Anonymous said...

Sickened by admin...

The supt's attorney is her own through her association of supt in MA. The schools and town don't pay anything. Once again, you just write false information to perpetuate misinformation.

Dr. Ed said...

Actually, Maria has a lawyer through the Suptd Assn -- kinda like a union.

BUT if Amherst pays her membership dues, that could be interesting....

Anonymous said...

Public shaming. What year is this, 1620?

Anonymous said...

Horrible comments must be defended. Free speech must not be abridged.

Anonymous said...

Okay--back to subject at hand. If slander is the spoken word--what is it called when this attorney calls a school committee names? Character assassination? It's awful! Baptiste did nothing wrong (entertaining public comment on a regional matter at a regional school committee meeting (the stay-away-order is for all 3 districts which includes the regional district)is hardly a breach of anybody's contract)--no more than Aisha, or Carolyn G., or A. Shabazz--yikes! Me thinks me sees a pattern here. How ugly--how reeking of --let's see, what is it they call it to further protect themselves--implicit bias?? Oh my--a racist by any other name is still a racist. :(