Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Violation of Journalistic Ethics?

Select Board reading draft doc written by Temp Town Mgr Peter Hechenbleikner

So yes, more than a few people have asked how I came in possession of a "draft" document that was being discussed at a public meeting (although in a hard-to-find room) where a public official later refused to release it to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.


 Draft Select Board response to Vira Douangmany Cage email last week

First off I'm aggressive about getting the story but I always keep in mind the ethics involved, because a good reporter is only as good as their reputation.  And ethics violations are a quick way to forever destroy a reputation.

Although these days, with the blinding speed of digital reporting, the line between right and wrong is sometimes a tad blurry.

Cut to the video replay:




As you can clearly see I borrowed the document (with permission) just long enough to photograph it, and since the Select Board was discussing said document in a public setting it is most certainly going to become a public document in the very near future.

In fact the draft of the document I published would also be subject to Public Documents Law which acting SB Chair Doug Slaughter seemed to acknowledge.

This exceedingly sad case of single mom trying to protect her 7-year-old daughter from bullying only to be bullied in return by the public schools has embroiled the Pelham, Amherst and Regional School Committees, Amherst and Pelham Police Departments and now the Select Board in a no-win quagmire.

It should NEVER have gotten this far.
 #####

Aisha Hiza at Monday's Select Board meeting

Statement from Aisha Hiza after last night's Pelham School Committee meeting:

"The Pelham chief said that he had spoken to the school but had come to a conclusion that it was a school issue. The Amherst Police said that it was a Pelham issue, as did the Amherst town manager. 

Both have made these statements, but the superintendent in her statement said that she placed the stay away order because of the advice and guidance of both town's police departments. 

So who is telling the truth and who is lying? Who will take responsibility? 

Over 80 something days I was banned with no due process and no actual reasoning or explanation. 

Can you even imagine the amount of stress this created for my child and myself? 

Even with the ban lifted I will not able to enter the school unless I have someone with me as a witness because I have lost trust ... and for good reason. 

The abuse of power continues: they are withholding my daughter's complete school records, which I have requested from them more then once verbally and in writing. Records that as a parent I have the rights to according to state laws. 

Instead all they will give me is a log of her visits to the school nurse. This stay away should never have been placed. Instead of handling the real situation of my child being bullied, the superintendent and her administration irrationally and hastily made decisions and decided that my daughter's well being and safety at school was not important. 

The use of a stay way order was placed intermittently is questionable. How is safety conditional if my behavior/actions were such a concern that warranted such an order but I was okayed to attend events.

Hell, even a court ordered Restraining Order has an expiration date to revisit and have an appeals process. Seems to me like a misuse of power without admittance to their fault."

138 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad you are continuing to cover this story. thank you.

I wonder if/when the public will ever hear more from the superintendent & if she will ever explain the discrepancies between her version of the police dept's involvement in her decision to issue the stay away order and what the police are saying. I am not holding my breath.

RKA45 said...

I Have to be honest Larry when I saw you take a picture of the draft I was like wow.. What is Larry doing ?? It is obviously not ready..
Rebecca

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure she probably did or said something to warrant the stay away order. She's not giving all of the facts about the situation, most likely, but there's almost certainly a strong reason unknown to us all that forced Maria to take this step.

Anonymous said...

Yes, don't hold your breath because the superintendent is prohibited from releasing information about the situation until Ms. Hiza signs a release allowing her to....

Anonymous said...

that may be, but it would be illuminating to know why the superintendent interpreted her conversations with the Amherst and Pelham PDs so differently than she did.

Anonymous said...

To 10:25 am:

"the police determined that the safety concerns were credible and a stay away order was recommended."
https://www.scribd.com/doc/314292751/Maria-Geryk-statement

From Masslive (6/2/16)
"Pelham Police Chief Gary Thomann said police met with school officials but did not generate a written report. He said it was a school issue."

I don't think there is a discrepancy. The key word here is "written report". The Pelham police Chief may not have generated a written report, but he could have issued a verbal recommendation. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

And that's fine, 10:55AM. It probably should remain confidential. But this lady making such a stink and bringing race into it. She knows what she did!!! And if she's completely without blame, then yeah, she should spill the beans about what really went down.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Pelham PD saying it was a school issue could be interpreted as meaning it was not a criminal matter for the police to investigate or pursue on their own. It was rather an issue for the school to handle internally.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, anon 11:23. I have yet to read any statement from police saying they did NOT give her that advice. I think they'd be pretty quick to clear that up if it were the case. Lack of written report means nothing.

Anonymous said...

She knows what she did! Until ms hiza gives an accurate accounting of her behavior I can't sympathize with her situation.

Dr. Ed said...

I'm pretty sure she probably did or said something to warrant the stay away order. She's not giving all of the facts about the situation, most likely, but there's almost certainly a strong reason unknown to us all that forced Maria to take this step.

Yea, Maria's a fascist (small "f") bully who can't tolerate being asked to justify what she does & doesn't do.

Dr. Ed said...

Yes, don't hold your breath because the superintendent is prohibited from releasing information about the situation until Ms. Hiza signs a release allowing her to....

Much like the superintendent's MD is prohibited from telling us how much the superintendent weighs -- NEITHER OF WHICH ARE RELEVANT TO WHAT GERYK DID!

Larry, did I read this right: Aisha still can't get her daughter's school records? What part of FERPA do those idiots not understand?

THIS, if true, is something that the school committee needs to worry about as they can be sued personally for it. The school nurse can lose her Nursing License for this, and as FERPA, not HIPPA applies to school medical records, there are NO EXCEPTIONS to access rights.

What alternative version of reality do these people inhabit? It's like not stopping for the flashing red lights of a school bus, you can't deny a parent access to ALL of the child's records!

As ab aside, FERPA requires you to tell ALL parents which kinds of files are kept, and by whom. This can be buried in with everything else, but you gotta tell them annually.

Dr. Ed said...

Exactly. Pelham PD saying it was a school issue could be interpreted as meaning it was not a criminal matter for the police to investigate or pursue on their own. It was rather an issue for the school to handle internally.

Post Columbine, Virginia Tech, & Sandy Hook, threats of violence, particularly when perpetrated by a non-student, ABSOLUTELY are a police matter, and are NEVER handled internally. QED, there was no credible threat of violence.

And threats of violence, as opposed to MCAD complaints, is a criminal offense.

Dr. Ed said...

She knows what she did! Until ms hiza gives an accurate accounting of her behavior I can't sympathize with her situation.

Kinda like we can't sympathize with ms geryk until she tells us how much she weighs?

BULL-BLEEP!

I neither care what Aisha did nor how much Maria weighs -- my issue is what Maria did.

Look -- Aisha's not in jail, so her behavior was within legal standards. Likewise Maria's not in the hospital, so her weight is within medical standards. That's all the rest of us have any right to know!

My issue involves things like an ongoing FERPA violation.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so now we can all Fast Forward to this woman filing a lawsuit for racial discrimination against the town and then receiving a generous payment, because if we don't pay it, well, we must be racists, right? That's the only possible explanation. And there will never be any investigation into the woman's behavior at the school. It will be accepted that she has been a "victim" and of course, she must be because she is the one who mentioned "lynching" in one of her many public statements as soon as she hired lawyers. When is this town going to stand up and stop the madness of knee-jerk political correctness to anyone who utters the word "racial discrimination". By doing so, we cheapen people who are genuine victims of discrimination. Yes, I believe that sometimes the way a person is treated may be because of racial discrimination... and sometimes the way you are treated is not because of racial discrimination. Sometimes it's just because you acted like a jerk. Ok, now hop into my time machine for a peek at the future: The next high profile hire by the school administration will be a minority, qualified or not, to prove that the administration is not racist... only proving that they are racist. The worst kind of racism too. And so it goes. Welcome to the Town of Amherst.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, we know that one Pelham official received a threatening letter from Geryk's attorney.

I know of situations where UMass remained silent because of threatening letters from an attorney, like back in the Spring of 2000 when they couldn't tell people that the pape accusations were hoaxes and she'd cut herself because her attoorney threatened to sue if they did.

Do we know that the Pelham PD didn't also get a threatening letter from Geryk's attorney?

A police chief saying nothing means nothing unless we know that he is free to speak.
Unless we know that Geryk's attorney hasn't muzzled him.

Anonymous said...

Dr ed is sooooo right...I don't need to know what happened to know what happened...huh..AND ED YOUR LAST POST at 1:39 is all but incoherent...but I guess crazy people understand themselves....how much do you weigh ed?

Dr. Ed said...

1:38, you have a right to be a jerk -- I don't approve of it, but you can not "deny civil rights under color of law" because one is.

Welcome to a free country, having to tolerate jerks is one of the prices we pay for freedom.

And the only reason this will be paid as a racism claim is that the only defense would be to prove that what was done was legitimate and they can't do that.

Anonymous said...

Larry you are not a reporter. You use this blog to get up on your soap box and preach. Reporters don't say things like, "it should never have gotten this far." You are biased in the most obvious ways. For example, you hate the town of Amherst because they opened Leisure Services and put pressure on your martial arts studio, which has long ago gone out of business. You hate Maria Geryk for whatever reasons, but your bias couldn't be more obvious. Most of those who spew venom on this blog also hate the town and the schools for whatever reasons. So, you can try to tell yourself you're a reporter providing the news but most people in this little town, or any town for that matter, are a lot smarter than to believe such nonsense.

I cannot understand why anyone would want to spend their life angry all the time and out for blood as much as you are, but I'm not a psychiatrist. I find it curious that of all the things one can do with this life, you spend yours in pursuit of tearing other people down.

You may see yourself as Woodward and Bernstein, but I'm guessing you were defending Nixon when those investigative reporters were uncovering the truth behind that drunk when he was in the white house.

Larry Kelley said...

No actually not. Even at the tender age of 17 I knew the difference between right and wrong.

And from that particular episode I learned to appreciate the power journalism has to change the world. For the better.

Anonymous said...

LBJ made RMN look like a Choirboy, W&B/Deepthroat interfered with an active FBI investigation, arguably corrupted it.

Anonymous said...


Anon 2:34

Larry is delusional. Like you said he is not a reporter. He also isn't a Armed Forces veteran, A fireman, a policeman or a first responder. I guess he wanted to be one growing up in hard knocks Amherst but he was to busy I guess defending himself with his karate skills from those bad bullies that Amherst spawns like corn flakes in Iowa. When 9/11 occurred he ran down to ground zero to pose with an American flag and an NYC cop. Then quickly got out of there before he breathed any toxic dust. He can't accept what's happened to his little town and all those taxes he has to pay. So he flies his drone and basically is a pain in the ass to anyone who puts up with his bullshit. Reporter? hah he's just a tired old man with an ax to grind. He should be banned from all public meetings as a menace to society.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Pelham have a Select Board?
Why are they haranguing the Amherst Select Board, when it was a Pelham issue?

Anonymous said...

Me thinks anon 2:34 & 4:19 are the same person having an imagined discussion!

Anonymous said...

Ed is definitely having an imagined discussion with himself

Anonymous said...

Help me understand this....

The Superintendent's public release said, "With their knowledge of information not available to school staff or the public, as well as their expertise, the police determined that the safety concerns were credible and a stay away order was recommended. As school of´Čücials have a primary responsibility for safety and security in the schools, the decision was made to have a stay away order for one parent along with other steps taken by the police to monitor safety."

Where in the first sentence does it say the police recommended a stay away order? It says the police "..determined that the safety concerns were credible..." the second half of that sentence says, "and a stay away order was recommended."

It does not say the police made that recommendation. That recommendation could have come from anyone involved in that discussion or to the superintendent as a result of that discussion. The following sentence follows that point precisely when it says, "As school officials...".

And, why would the police "...along with other steps taken by the police to monitor safety," if the threat was not credible. The police were a presence at the time around the school grounds. That sounds like the concerns were real.

Think people, think!

Anonymous said...

anon 5:28 I have no idea what your are trying to say but I was never good at diagramming sentences. So I can't help you understand but I will try to take your advice and think!

Anonymous said...

Mass Live Headline:

Parent's stay-away order recommended by police, Amherst Superintendent of Schools Maria Geryk says.

Dr. Ed said...

Anon 5:28, if you were to walk into the school and pull the fire alarm, would there not soon be a significant Fire Dept (and likely police) presence? As there should be, they take the safety of the children seriously, and hence they presume it's a legitimate call until they learn it isn't -- and even then may hang around for a while "just in case', particularly if you aren't confessing to having maliciously pulling the alarm.

This doesn't mean there was a fire there, only that they are exercising an abundance of caution. Likewise here-- even if the cops quickly concluded that Geyrk was out to lunch, it'd still have been prudent to hang out there for a while, more to appease Geyrk than anything else.

Anonymous said...

If you read the letter drafted by the select board the police say it was deferred to Pelham. The stay away order is legal she had the right to ban anyone of us, I don't argue that the ban was out of Maria's limits. I argue that when they took away All avenues of help and banned her from speaking to or emailing elected school committee members, limiting her communication to in writing only through the school attorney this was a violation of Aisha's rights through Federal Law. The school committee skirted thecissue of placing protocols around stay away orders saying it was state legislation. Yes it is. However, it is recommended by the NW district attrny and the ACLU and The Fed court precidents that clear policies are in place. Examples how long is the initial stay away order for, the offense that was committed, access to records, a appointed third party reviewer. The Fed courts also recommended outside community involvement to solve the issue. There is no reasonable explanation for this situation to have escalated to the level it did, for it to have lasted as long as it did - the bullying and the order. I hope we all regionalize in Union 28 make our own middle school and HS and Amherst can keep Maria and her pals on the School Committee that think they are there to support her versus oversee her. The job is to set policies so there is a clear path for evaluating and accountability it is not to agree with everything she says and does like puppets.

Anonymous said...

Agree... But since our selectboard was never brought in the loop by Maria. Never asked can your town financially handle losing your school choice children, we have at least 7 children either left this year or are leaving to school to choice due to bullying, thats neg $35000. They were never asked are you insured to handle a few hundred thousand dollar civil rights law suit. They wre never given the opportunity to chime in in the stay away order being issued. Yes it's a oelham issue and we are writing to and calling our selectman. However, it is an Amherst issue because Maria brought it to APD. It is an Amherst issue because residents want answers as to how so many mistakes could have been made. It is regional issue because she is the leader and face of the region and her actions portray on all the committees and all the towns in The district.

Anonymous said...

Please send me the link.

Anonymous said...

As we all know, newspaper headlines are very often misleading. They are misleading for a purpose. To sell papers. The Gazette is famous for shocking headlines meant to sell papers.

Anonymous said...

"Parent's stay-away order recommended by police, Amherst Superintendent of Schools Maria Geryk says"
http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/05/amherst_superintendent_maria_g_2.html

Anonymous said...

She was given guidelines for lifting the ban. And when she finally followed them by having the meeting facilitated by Paul Wiley, the ban was lifted. Pretty simple.

Anonymous said...

Are you really quoting the newspaper for information? What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:02 There were plenty of avenues for the stay away order to be lifted. The mom refused them all. The ban could probably have been lifted quickly if Ms Hiza had agreed to talk with Paul Wiley and the principal in Pelham a long time ago. If this was really about what was best for your child, why wouldn't you do that? Instead you decided to put your young child on the front page of the newspaper ( repeatedly) and completely expose her to the general public. Incredibly bad judgement and very sad.You saw this resistance to resolution just recently after mom received a notarized letter and still said she didn't consider the ban lifted. Give me a break. She is being used by a small group of "activists" who decided to make this into their cause of the day to further their own personal agendas. When it didn't pick up steam, they escalated the situation by sending things to Larry's blog, the select board in Amherst (why not just Pelham?) and the newspaper. Most of the community realizes this tactic now. We've seen it before. Just watch, as soon as this quiet down, Vira et al will drop Ms Hiza like a hot potato.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain why Aisha continued to claim she had not been notified about the ban being lifted when she clearly had been notified? She received written and notarized notification from Maria on May 31st. But she continued to claim she hadn't been notified for quite a while after that. Then she said she hadn't "signed for" said notification. So, is she claiming that since she hadn't signed for the notification she hadn't been notified??? Really?

And at some point after receiving the notification she called the Super's office and received mixed verbal messages about the order. Aisha interpreted the conversation she had with an admin person to mean that somehow the order was still in effect. This, after she had received the notarized notification. So, she has the notification in hand but because the admin person she spoke to was vague, Aisha continued to claim she had not received the "official word" from the Superintendent.

Anonymous said...

I admit it. I like my race best. Anyone feel the same way? Remember James Brown? "Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud."
What's wrong with racial pride?

Anonymous said...

And perjuring rapist Clinton was worse than either of the afore-mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Aw, lay off. Larry has my support. Even if he does rank on us CANS.

Larry Kelley said...

Only when they say things they would never have the balls to say in person.

Anonymous said...

Nobody said anything was wrong with it. Why bring it up here? So weird.

Katrina van Pelt said...

policies, protocol,trust and absolute power. Maria has absolute power and has demonstrated that in various ways. First and foremost was enacting the stay away order (power) without any transparency. The parent gets an email telling her all the things she suddenly can't do. no explanations as to the specifics of the charges (reasoning behind the stay-away) no avenue for redress or appeal, just an insinuation that the parent presents an imminent threat and it is therefore justified. That part of this whole situation makes me so sad. That is the part that would hurt any one of us. Maria took away her dignity at that moment, and left her in limbo with the words "until further notice" Those first days of the order were extremely confusing, it was hard to get information of where to turn for help. I called a community leader and had to dig to find a contact for an advocate that could help mediate. soon after, the order was modified for special events, the imminent threat suddenly not a factor. (hint: it never was) An offer was made to enter into a process in good faith to resolve the issues, except it was conditional. It left Maria in charge of determining whether or not Aisha was in compliance of the process she proposed. I believe Aisha was indeed ready to sign on if the order was first lifted. for it to work, they would both need to enter the process as equals. That's when Aisha took back her dignity, and brought it to the committees. interestingly the power dynamic re-emerged in the dealings between The SI and the Pelham committee chair. Again, no clear protocol for addressing the issue or policies surrounding channels of communication and appropriate forums. Aisha's situation has exposed the places where the system has broken down. Making clear to parents that an ombudsman will be used as an impartial liaison and a way to address grievances. Better information about under which circumstances an order would be placed and protocols for addressing the assumptions or charges, would be incredibly helpful.

Anonymous said...

Your are exactly right Katrina
Rebecca

Anonymous said...

You make it seem as though there were but one encounter between aisha and the administration where as there were many and I feel that aisha knows she got out of control. There is a reason she was band and angry black woman isn't it. Just angry person! You know ...staff should be allowed dignity too!

Anonymous said...

Good post Katrina.

The phrase "until further notice" wasn't used just once- It was repeated four times within the stay away order.

Katrina van Pelt said...

i agree, everyone deserves dignity, but i think you are talking about respect (in regards to school staff). i never claimed that Aisha acted calmly, respectfully, and predictably in all her communications. obviously it got out of hand. anger and frustration cause people to act outside of normative communication. A few parents have admitted they acted outside of normative behavior because they were angry and frustrated without being banned. I think Maria was satisfied with how the school handled the underlining bullying issue, and just wanted to silence the complaint. she interpreted the insistence on aisha's part that it wasn't satisfactory as belligerence, and wanted to control the dialogue by saying who could talk to who and how they had to act to be able to do it. This is of course my opinion, but i don't think i'm so far off from what went down.

Dr. Ed said...

So we violate civil rights to make school employees feel good about themselves?

And then propagate some fabricated hoax about public safety?

And you wonder why I call her Caligula....

BTW, a neutral ombudsman works for neither party.

Katrina van Pelt said...

Ed just said it way more succinctly than i did. but I reject the name calling, i see no need for that.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can give just so much time to someone berating you day after day. I know some people can take somethings way too far. I don't know that is the case here and I will probably never know. But having dealt with the public I know how difficult it can be. And no I am not talking about occasional confrontations but what if it were happening day after day taking up big chunks of time? I don't know without seeing any records of the encounters.

Anonymous said...

She wasn't allowed to speak directly with people because she threatened a lawsuit. Plain and simple. Once done, you get to communicate through lawyers...

Anonymous said...

Katrina (and Rebecca),

"I think Maria was satisfied with how the school handled the underlining bullying issue, and just wanted to silence the complaint. she interpreted the insistence on aisha's part that it wasn't satisfactory as belligerence, and wanted to control the dialogue by saying who could talk to who and how they had to act to be able to do it. This is of course my opinion, but i don't think i'm so far off from what went down."

You are very far off and once again assume knowledge where you have none. It takes a lot to assume you know why the Superintendent did something without speaking to her about it.

Tell me why the police would be a more active presence around the school if that mother had not done anything of real concern.

Why are you and other continually positioning yourselves in this, when you were not part of the situation?

Heck, most of the people commenting have not been directly involved or present and that mother REFUSES to sign a release. If you are so sure she was so wronged, have her sign a release and let the real story come out.

Otherwise, please stop reiterating inaccuracies - you were not and have not been involved nor has anyone or almost everyone posting including myself!



Katrina van Pelt said...

3:06 Are you Maria or one of the administrators? I'm standing up for my friend and having known her for quite a while, find it hard to believe she's lying to me. I was involved to the extent that i have been witness to emails where she asked a series of legitimate questions, and did not receive a timely response. i have been present at the first meeting with the ombudsman. I am entitled to my opinion and can freely state it on this blog. I have owned that it is my opinion, and you can not intimidate me by saying i'm spreading inaccuracies. I care because this could have happened to me and i am trying to shine light on how to get better info to parents about their options when they feel the schools response is inadequate. I don't hide behind anonymity for a reason. I am willing to stand and be counted and defend the ones i love. Raheli is special to me.

RKA45 said...

As a parent and a former teacher I understand respect needs to go two ways. My question how long is deemed reasonable for the school to handle a problem ? What is a reasonable time frame for response? Is it the end of the day ? Is the next say? Is it a week ? A month? A year ?? Longer? I know where my tolerance level is. recently I had a problem with my daughter getting hurt at school. I was not notified because the teacher didn't allow my daughter to finish explaining what had happened to her. I reported when I found out on a tuesday. I followed up on Wed. and then didn't hear anything for 8 days.. Is that acceptable?? I don't think think that is acceptable. It was around a bullying issue. So if I am frustrated and we are giving the the school one more year before we choice/ charter out. How should Aisha have dealt with the frustration of happening over and over again for a two full school years? Talking nicely didn't work, filing complaints didn't work. After that length of time and all avenues tried and failed isn't she allowed to get angry ? If it was your child how long would you deal with such concerns? Another couple has pulled their child out of the class after this year. The bullying problem isn't handled. The program of we have is either not be used correctly or doesn't work. When first graders say " what's the point in telling the teacher they don't do anything" There is a problem.

Anonymous said...

If things are as you say rka45 then I agree but I don't know any of those supposed facts.

RKA45 said...

anon @306 We are both part of the situation. The situation affects my town, my school, my kids school, my taxes, and my friends and my daughter's friends on both sides. I have read all the emails, Like Katrina I have seen the generic skirted answers. Another question regarding the stay away order. We learned Amherst has not to their knowledge imposed a stay away order in a very long time if ever.. Neither officer remembers.. but with that in mind looking at your post above do you think that any parent that decides they need a lawyer it would be justified for Maria to impose a stay away order? ant what is best for my town period I don't Maria had the financial best interest of my town when this happened. I think as the leader of our district of our school she has a responsibility to descalate a situation by whatever means necessary. I don't think she brought the Restorative Justice System in soon enough. I don't think she took Aisha's concerns seriously. As someone who's life is has been effected by the bullying of Aisha, the bullying of Trevor and having rearrange my life to transport Raheli to school. I am involved and know enough details to support the mother and my town. I am mad only at Chestnut St for their inability to solve the bullying problem in the first grade at PES and other schools in the district. I am frustrated none of our selectman were brought into the loop by the administration. I called Richard Martelle to tell him this was a problem in March. Pelham doesn't have money for a lawsuit which could have been avoided. I still don't understand how we can let a parent threaten a child.. at recess and it happened, the parent that did it bragged to me. How is that less serious then Aisha saying she was getting a lawyer? Or being angry ? Isn't another family in Pelham one of a third grader also filing a lawsuit ?? Have they been banned? Probably not. Just fix the bullying problem , treat parents like they are customers, call them back timely, and keep our kids out of harms way when they are at school (emotionally and physically)

Rebecca

Anonymous said...

Katrina -

Sorry not one of the administrator or the Superintendent, but thanks for the compliment. I wish I was that smart and courageous, but you could not pay me enough to be in any leadership position in this school district.

I choose, yes choose, to be anonymous because we all know what happens on the blog and in the community when you ask reasonable questions that are neutral and that are not negative towards the administration. And heaven forbid if you actually agree with them.

This blog has a one track orientation and it is clear from FB that many of the folks involved including Larry are friends which brings in to question objectivity. (Larry would not post that the last time I raised it.)

Supporting family, friends and loved ones is what life is all about; however, it should not be done on the backs of others who are not able to tell their side. Again, ask your friend to sign a release so it will all come out. What is she hiding from?

I am a parent, an active community member, and a tax payer who also has the right to ask and push back. It is my tax money, my community, and my family that will be impacted if your friend pursues a lawsuit that is unfounded or manipuated. I dislike lawsuits and those who say it is not about the money when it is ALWAYS about the money.

Anonymous said...

RKA45 - Rebecca,

What have the parents done as group around the bullying in that classroom? Where do many kids learn their basic behaviors from? I am not blaming any parent but we have a very real role in the conversation. Why haven't the parents asked for a meeting with the teacher, counselor and principal to discuss the issues and brainstorm options as a community? Why does it always fall to the school? Why isn't it a partnership in failure and success?

I love Pelham Elementary School and this situation has brought the public perception down. That breaks my heart.

I worry that the anti-racism machine in AMHERST is manipulating your friend and that they do not care about what they are doing to a very good school with very real problems.

They have an agenda and the situation with your friend does not look like racism to me but a convenience for the machine to grab onto.

In almost every public comment, the machine had made reference to Amherst - not Pelham - Amherst. They don't know Pelham or its community.

No wonder everything has gotten so confused. As far as I understand, the other night Trevor said he supported Lisa and she acknowledged that there is a lot of work to be done.

I am sorry that your child was hurt and that you did not get a call; that should never happen. However, it does sometimes. The question for you as a parent is that a regular pattern for you or atypical. That is informative in making an assessment of the failings.

I do hope your friend and her child heal and get better, and that things improve.

Anonymous said...

and that's fair you you haven't lived through it, ried to give advice, tried to encourage understanding and tried to find every Avenue for your friend to work through her issues with the school at some point you just need to support her Nd be there for her and whatever choices she makes even if you would make different ones and that's what I'm doing because that's what friends do

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt Larry posts everything short of inciting violence....

Dr. Ed said...

Tell me why the police would be a more active presence around the school if that mother had not done anything of real concern.

Because the protocol is to do so when Team Maria cries "wolf!" -- and sooner or later they are going to stop taking this stuff seriously, and then when there really is a wolf.....

"...that mother REFUSES to sign a release. If you are so sure she was so wronged, have her sign a release..."

She refuses as she should, much like Maria doesn't tell us how much she weighs.

Folks, every time there is a demand that Aisha sign the release, I'm going to demand to know Maria's weight. Let's revoke every scintilla of personal dignity -- for everyone.

"and let the FABRICATED story come out."

Anonymous said...

Argghh, this whole thing is so frustrating. I wish all the Pelham parents who watched what happened this year stepped up to speak. We keep hearing about a 7 year old being bullied, which sounds so horrible! But you have to put it in the proper context. "Bullied" by one of her very own friends, who is also 7, in a grade single classroom.
Since no one can talk about what happened, I have only more hearsay to offer, but I haven't yet publicly heard it. I heard another 7 year old said something about the child's skin looking dirty and/or her hair being different and that was called racist. If an adult said it, YES, if a small child said it, it's a teachable moment/misunderstanding. The 7 year old is not a racist bully!!!!
I heard the teacher tried to deal with it, the school brought in a new "kindness curriculum" and rearranged lunch and recess schedules as well as brought in additional adult help. But, the "bullied" (7 year old) child's parent only wanted her child to be kept separated from the bully (her 7 year old close friend). Can anyone explain how they would handle this situation if they were in charge? Any parent who has ever witnessed 7 year olds at play knows they say and do things unpredictably. Should I demand the school keep my child away from their friends when they challenge my child's weight, beauty, or strength? Do I have a lawsuit against the school system when my 1st grader is fat shamed, put down for their physical weakness, or "bullied" for that "chocolate" spilled on her neck (birthmark)? No, I talk to my child about the misunderstanding, and if it persists I talk with the other parents, and if that fails I talk to the school.
The fact that this is being handled as a problem of racism in our schools or community is just so wrong. This parent who was banned from school grounds was threatening and out of line. Jumping to her side without all the facts is really sad and detrimental to our diverse community.

Anonymous said...

anon at 10:42

You are absolutely right with your very measured and common sense comments. This town has been taken over by politically correct people who only want to appear better than the rest of us with their embrace of every perceived insult and slight as being racist or some other form of discrimination. They don't care about the children at all. It is this pathetic need for attention and adulation that keeps this atmosphere of no one ever looking further for the actual truth in a situation like the one that took place at that school. The problem is furthered by a town that clearly encourages people with transparently bad motives to hire lawyers, threaten lawsuits and engage the services of people whose profession is some phony-baloney CV filled with "achievements" based solely on their own minority status and their discovery that they can actually make a living by pretending to be experts on racism. In fact, they have no interest in defusing situations or actually being honest in admitting that a particular situation may not have been racist because that just shines a light on their fictional expertise and threatens their livlihood. This is all about attention, headlines, self-importance and money. And it is a shame because it only devalues and marginalizes people who are genuine victims of racial discrimination. I don't think there is ever going to be a solution because the town of Amherst has committed itself to being the politically correct capital of the universe, so we pay our outrageous property taxes to fund the hiring of these "experts" and payments for lawsuits that are just greedy grabs for money. Our town has become an embarrassment and every fair-minded reasonable person who lives here understands that and is disgusted by it.

Dr. Ed said...

If the Amherst Housing Authority banned every tenant who was out of line, there'd be an awful lot of vacant apartments....

Dr. Ed said...

I agree, 7:48 -- but it doesn't justify Gereyk's actions.

Rick Hood said...

“This town has been taken over by politically correct people who only want to appear better than the rest of us with their embrace of every perceived insult and slight as being racist or some other form of discrimination.”

Is it the town that has been taken over, or the media? The town is a lot of people. I don’t think they have all been taken over. I am sure the vast majority of people in town are just scratching their heads and wishing there was an authoritative source that could provide “the truth”.

But there isn’t. If media (e.g. Gazette) had the budget to do it’s job (they don’t) they could do more than report on only incidents that get so much attention, like this one, which takes very little effort to report on. And on those incidents, there is sometimes no real truth to be found because of facts that cannot be uncovered, apparently because of confidentiality constraints. Rather, we generally get just the reporting of opinion, which is very weak journalism, but common these days.

What’s a person do do? Use your common sense. It’s common sense that this school system, like any school system, has a certain level of racism, bullying, sexism, pissed-off parents and other bad things going on. It’s not common sense to think otherwise. It’s also not common sense that this school system is somehow worse than others. There is a ton of work the school system has been doing on these issues, outlined in part by the recent letter from Carol Ross. And before you shoot that messenger (Carol) as someone just defending the administration, look at the facts of what she said - they are true - the efforts she’s cites are accurate. Those efforts are not something that would be done by an administration who does not care about these issues. Are other schools that are putting this much effort into these issues? Ask the students what they think. My view is that these efforts make us better than other school systems, not worse. But that’s my opinion. Don’t believe me, go find out for yourself.

The fact is, we are like so many other places, with good intentions and good works, but sometimes failing. When we fail that should not be an reason to “throw out the bums”, but rather to look at what failed and see if we can change policies, procedures or something else to try to make sure it does not happen again. But it will happen again, and when it does, how we deal with it will measure what kind of people we are.

I have no idea if this incident was a failure or not, because of not having the facts. But I do know we have failed at other times, and we will again. If this was a failure, could institutional racism be a part of the failure? Absolutely it could be. And it also could not be. It’s not “politically correct” to think racism could be a factor when a Black person is involved. It’s a good thing to be aware of that possibility, especially if you are white. But it’s bad thing to assume racism is a cause without really knowing facts.

Facts matter. If you cannot get them, be very suspect of hearsay and opinion, and use your common sense.

Anonymous said...

ANON 1042 I agree that the school has tried to change things and make it more manageable. With talking with Aisha she doesn't think the bullying is the racial component. I think its really important that people understand that she doesnt think that. She knows 7 yr old are going young children are trying to find there way in the world and guidance in situations from everyone involved, modeling etc. Im may misspeak here but I think her frustration is having incidents (physical) happen and not hearing about it, asking the school for specific steps in how they handle the situation and getting generic answers, and the situation continuing for so long without improvement between these two children. Aisha's feelings of discrimination are mostly directed toward the ban and Chestnut st. She is particularly disturbed by the fact that she followed the complaint protocols,and when she she still satisified with the results she was told by admin her next steps were to get lawyer and the ban was placed on her. After so long of course she got mad, forceful with her emails, blunt directed to administrators that they were not able to do their jobs. After the in icident three weeks ago during recess that confirmed Ausha's feeling that she was treated differently because she was black. So not banning that parent didn't help Aisha move forward from her feelings of discrimination. I know our school PES is a great place. I know the teachers are wonderful, I know they try hard and the dynamics in the class are tough. I don't think the current policies in place work well. I am a,big fan of getting the children together, in my experience with my own daughter at 7 she was given the choice of having a talk with the child that hurt her. I funny think that's s choice a 7 year old should make I think the kids with adult present should sit and talk. So the sdult can truly read the situation. That wasn't what happened for my daughter

Anonymous said...

I tried to get the parents together we got 5 patents to meet Abt the issue I invited everyone. Some ppl felt it was a witch hunt .. Which wasn't the point but since the situation is so controversial I understood. We outlined 6 changes we c would like the school to consider and forwarded it to the school committee and Lisa. I even paid for 2-adult sitters at my house so ppl could come with out their children. I have been talking with Lisa regularly and trying to support all sides. Mine, the classroom teacher, Lisa and Aisha's trouble with the ban and admin at Chestnut st. The biggest problem was the baN prohibiting her from communicating with anyone on school committee that may actually be able to help her after she lost committee faith in The system
Rebecca

Anonymous said...

I can honestly tell you this is not about the money for Aisha but everyone will have to wait to see that for themselves.. It will be a money issue for us because we are losing children and probably school choice children because of the whole situation ( bullying and bad press)
Rebecca

Rick Hood said...

”I may misspeak here but I think her frustration is having incidents (physical) happen and not hearing about it, asking the school for specific steps in how they handle the situation and getting generic answers, and the situation continuing for so long without improvement between these two children.”

@9:44 that was a very helpful post, and what you said above rings true with my common-sense-meter. Failures are often related to bad communication. Quality of communication varies a lot. Parents have told me about teachers who (wonderfully) over-communicate and are in touch all the time, and then others who do not communicate at all. Worth looking into how to improve that district-wide.

Rick Hood said...

" We outlined 6 changes we c would like the school to consider and forwarded it to the school committee and Lisa."
@Rebecca - that sounds great. Positive suggestions for change are what we need.

Larry Kelley said...

Takes lots of coal to produce the occasional diamond.

Anonymous said...

The castigation of our superintendent over this issue has been just terrible. The superintendent isn't at the school. She was merely responding to a request by the school's principal in dealing with a parent that let her anger over what she felt was bullying of her child (by another child) spill over into abusive behaviour of school staff. Issuing a stay-away order is within her powers, and it unreasonable to hire a superintendent and then castigate her for just doing her job. Schools issue stay-away orders all the time. look how many are give out in Springfield. No racial motive for this action has been shown in any way, but people have jumped on the bandwagon to promote their own agendas. And, mean-spirited people like Ed, who doesn't live in Massachusetts and is actually two states away, have inflamed this for their own sadistic pleasure.

Katrina van Pelt said...

I really appreciate all the posts, opinion or those that offer suggestions for improvement. constructive dialogue is all we get to work with here, but if you skip or wade through the divisive trolling, it isn't hard to see that people are trying to help resolve the underlying issues.

Dr. Ed said...


Rick, my issue involves what Geryk did -- this time, and the last time, and the time before that....

Geryk's edicts, her own words, are grounds for her to be fired. You simply can not do some of the things she did. No matter why....

Anonymous said...

Rick, how can parents in the community effectively communicate that the "restorative justice' policy that has been in place for the last few years is an utter failure and needs to be changed? That is at the heart of the Hiza issue. Good intentions but bad and worse than ineffective policy/program. This needs to change now. You can't just claim that the current 'bullying community climate' is the major problem, there is VERY real issue of policy decisions that have been made by the SI that are failing our students every day, with no end in sight. Its time to reassess this policy and admit it's been a dismal failure. It's time to offer explicit guidance to our students and not place the responsibility for fixing the situation on the victims. Wrong, wrong, WRONG. The SI bears responsibility

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

I get it that Aisha was perceived and verbally abusive towards adults and staff. I dont think that warrants an 81+ day stay away order. Banning her from sc meetings having no access for anyone to help her not ok. The sc ban breaks a fed law. How Trevor has been treated not ok. The superintendent did not think about the end result of her actions and the effect in pelham school, school choice, taxes, etc. She consulted none of our selectman. Then she didn't issue a ban for a parent that threatened a child in school property. As far as Pelham goes she has not done her job. Even though she is not there everyday she is the boss. She takes responsibility.

Dr. Ed said...

Where Ed lives or what Ed is doing is something you will never know, but I've made it clear -- my interest in Chestnut Street is that it is an extreme example of what is wrong in/with American Education and hence my "case study."

I will go away when I get what I want.

Superintendents, like police officers, are given extralegal powers and trusted to use great restraint in using them -- if a police officer repeatedly shot prople -- well, look at Ferguson...

No racial motive must be shown in a discrimination issue -- see _Gregg v. Power Systems_ -- all one has to do is show disparate impact. That's the law -- I didn't write it, I'm just telling you what it is.

I've been taught some of the same stuff Maria, et al, have been taught. If I wanted to inflame this matter, I could - trust me, I could! 11:10's self-righteous pablum is a low-hanging fruit that I could have great fun with, were I so inclined.

IMHO, the problem is that you have a Principal who came out of the mental health field, where you can bully people around with impunity, and hence her first instinct is to bully. Perhaps without even thinking of it, but still...

And a Superintendent who isn't competent -- if she were, this stuff wouldn't keep happening...

Dr. Ed said...

And placing the responsibility upon the victims is what led to Columbine.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Ed I like Lisa She got a great school from Rena. I think she has potential to be great but hasn't received the proper support from above. It is frustrating that at least two former principals have offered free mentoring for our current new principals and it was refused

Rick Hood said...

"Rick, how can parents in the community effectively communicate that the "restorative justice' policy that has been in place for the last few years is an utter failure and needs to be changed?"

With facts. Either the facts of this incident or facts of other incidents, if we can't get the facts here. What exactly went wrong? Where exactly did things go wrong in whatever process took place? Just saying something is an "utter failure" is meaningless. Also, it has not been “the last few years”. The Superintendent’s 2013-2014 End-of-Year Update said this:

“We will be implementing differing strategies for responding to student behavior including restorative practices and adherence to Chapter 222 regulations. Our full administrative team will meet with Quabbin Mediation to plan for implementation of and additions to our code of conduct. Our school district’s legal counsel will meet with our administrative team to train them to implement the requirements of Chapter 222” Chapter 222 was effective July 1, 2014.

Having said that, it seems like we could use some kind of better fact collection mechanism, like an issue tracker.

@ Katrina van Pelt 11:17 +1 to that.

Anonymous said...

I agree.. Completely.. I love my school , my town, and the teachers, and my friends on both sides.. The superintendent .. I am not happy with and if we could fire her.. Actually I would like to join 28 and figure out financially and logistically make our own highschool
REBECCA

Anonymous said...

Once again ed is showing disdain for the mental health field....very telling. Dr did you just challenge us to find where you live and what you do?

Dr. Ed said...

The reason why Ed Reform gave the Supt so much authority to do her job was the expectation that she'd no longer be doing it if people weren't happy with how she did it, or with the outcome.

It's also why she gets paid so much.

Ed Reform was written with the Boston Public Schools in mind, which is part of why TSLC is evaluating Maria's Fiefdom, Pelham is perhaps the smallest town in the Commonwealth to still have it's own school committee.

Anyway, if someone as unpopular as Geryk were Supt in Boston, she'd have been gone LONG before now. Justifiably so or not -- look at Michelle Rhee in DC where the mayor who'd appointed her 3 years earlier was defeated in an election that was largely about her. Someone like Maria would simply have been dumped.

Likewise something like the MegaSkool -- that'd be a Mayor decision.

And Larry, making Amherst a city won't fix this -- it's an inherent problem with multi-town school districts. (Question: Can a city even be in a district -- I don't know.)

In any case, there isn't the one mayor's career on the line -- and the ultimate irony is that it was Pelham that made Geryk the Superintendent in the first place -- this was back when Catherine Sanderson & Steve Rifkin represented Amherst. Memory is that while the Amherst reps were split, Pelham voted unanimously for Geryk which gave her a majority.

Pelham thus got Maria hired....

Dr. Ed said...

The superintendent .. I am not happy with and if we could fire her..
The solution to that, on the K-6 level, is to abolish the Amherst/Pelham shared supt arrangement (that predates school districts) and for Pelham to run it's own elementary school itself.

You have one of two options, the first would be to have a combined Principal/Superintendent, the other to "contract services" from another district. Hence you pay Amherst and they hire Maria -- you don't get a choice in that, but your choice is which district you hire, you could "fire" Amherst.

(Personally, I think Pelham would be better off hiring Hadley.)

Actually I would like to join 28 and figure out financially and logistically make our own high school

I don't know if the academy/contract arrangement is still permitted in MA (it is in ME, e.g. MCI) and Hopkins academy is so old that it is something else, but high schools used to be private, the way colleges are now, and then high school, like kindergarten became public. When a town had a good private academy (high school) they simply contracted for the academy to educate their children.

One option is to have a district charter school, there are others, and I believe a district can contract with another district for high school.


Anonymous said...

Unpopular on this negativity filled blog, you mean. A lot of people like and respect her.

Anonymous said...

ed ...what do you want? please tell us....

RKA45 said...

Rick does facts include parents with stories from multiple grades in Pelham in a meeting with Maria or a representative to bring up all the times the restorative justice system hasn't worked. I have to look more into to the restorative justice program. It seems to me from how it is functioning or not functioning that it is a ABA based program that is not being run properly,. Based lined properly rewards (attention) for those needing it ..Can someone actually explain ina nut shell how this program works other focusing on the victim ?

Anonymous said...

One of the ideas out of the small attended 1st parent meeting we had. We presented to SC and Lisa.
Rebecca

Dr. Ed said...

The two problems I have with "Restorative Justice" is that it is value neutral,as opposed to the binary good/bad, right/wrong mentality. Problem with this is that nothing is actually "wrong" qua "wrong."

The larger issue is that the group, the collective, supersedes the individual. Anyone who is different becomes an outlier rather than an equal amongst individuals.
Hence this could very quickly create ugly dynamics of racism, as there is the collective and the person who is somehow different.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Larry, we have been doing what we can to help things move forward positively so that next year will be better. I would also like to see a SC that actually suoervises and sets policies. I have not been involved in these things before but the morec attention I pay looking back at older Regional meetings.. Wow I appreciate the sacrifice they make but I wish they had a clearly followed mission. It seems the Regional SC all have a different understanding of their roles. Are they there to support Maria or supervise Maria or are they supposed to be guiding policies for our schools? Im completely confused what their purpose is based on the videos.

Anonymous said...

Thanks

Rick Hood said...

"Rick does facts include parents with stories from multiple grades in Pelham in a meeting with Maria or a representative to bring up all the times the restorative justice system hasn't worked."

Yes, facts from "parents with stories from multiple grades in Pelham" would be part of that, if those parents are willing to document those facts, as they see them. Written documentation is key. Hearsay stories are useless. Then the administration could be asked about a specific list of concrete complaints. The documenting of facts is part of the problem, it does not seem to exist, which is why I said we may need "some kind of better fact collection mechanism, like an issue tracker."

Anonymous said...

I actually like the Superintendent and think for the most part she is doing a superb I job. Are there areas she can improve upon? Of course. There are areas everyone can impetus improve upon. I haven't bumped into any one who is perfect yet in my 65 years on the planet. I commend Ms Geryk on the work she is doing around equity issues. We are lucky to have her.

Anonymous said...

we asked for3 part discipline tickets 1 teacher, 1 office, 1 parent. A common language for bullying for home and school and the protocol for handling a such incidents so we would know the process. We asked for them to try to find grant money for the better program. We asked the senior teachers that worked the old program be mentors for the newer teachers in PES around this issue, we asked to be notified during the same day if there was a situation. There may have been one moreI don't have my notes.
Rebecca

Anonymous said...

"ed ...what do you want?"

That's easy. He wants validation that someone -- anyone -- besides himself is to blame for his failures. So I guess we'll finally hear the last of him if Donald Trump is elected president.

Anonymous said...

Anon8:35...the perfect summation of ed....

Dr. Ed said...

No. He wants "never again", an assurance that no one else will be subjected to what he was.

Donald Trump destroying the mASSgop would be no small portion of this, but I want certain reprehensible practices ended.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca - feel free to join Union 28 - it will be the shock of your life and a decision that will impact Pelham long after your kids are done there...

Anonymous said...

Union 28 can't be worse than Maria.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

My one vote won't make that happen.. But I was raised in 28 through 6th grade.. It's much better than getting scooped by amherst having our our kids pushed into the mega school.. That will also change our lives forever as well.

Anonymous said...

Im sure it would. Im.not sure what the good choices are for education anymore.. It really hard to measure where a school district will be down the road..on all the issues we face today and will face tomorrow. I would only entertain 28 if we could have our own hs worked out. That sound like an expensive project that the small towns probably can't afford.
Rebecca

Dr. Ed said...

The market for a charter high school arises...

Anonymous said...

Here's your assurance, Ed: No one else will ever be subjected to what you were.

So will you go away now?

I didn't think so. You're asking for something no one can or will ever give you, and even if they could, who's to say the assurance would be honored forever?

But you know all that, of course. And because you know it, it's just an excuse, a pretext for bitching and moaning and whining for the rest of your life about how the world has been mean to you.

Everyone suffers setbacks; life treats everyone unfairly in one way or another. It's your choice to dwell forever on past injustices, but don't pretend that anyone but you has the power to put them behind you.

Dr. Ed said...

...a pretext for bitching and moaning and whining for the rest of your life about how the world has been mean to you.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and I seek to drag certain people & practices out into the light of day. I want the parents & taxpayers to know the sordid side of education on both the K-12 & Higher(!) levels. I want people to be accountable for what they do.

I'm a "muckraker."

That's a little bit different from complaining about how the world has been mean to me.

If you can't understand that -- whatever.

Dr. Ed said...

Rebecca, et al -- My take on the small towns bordering Quabbin is no young families, QED no children. Any thought of a high school has to involve the children attending it.

The wild card in all of this is where UMass will be 10-15-20 years out.

First, MA High School graduates will decline by 11% over the next 12 years.
Second, yield on out-of-state students is declining -- over half of the acceptances this year went out of state, but a lot of those were declined.

And third, there's talk of a higher ed bubble.

IF there is a significant downsizing of UMass, then what?

Anonymous said...

So Larry where is your coverage of Carol Ross' s letter about adult bullying in town and also covering all the wonderful initiatives around equity going on in our schools this year. You and Vira both who are usually all over equity topics in the school, you here and Vira copying and pasting Gazette articles on her FB page have been totally silent about Ms Ross' s letter and the Gazette article about it. Seems quite evident to me neither of you are at all interested in tackling the issues of equity in the schools. You're both just interested in unwarranted criticism of the Superintendent. Both of your agendas are so evident. The broader community has had it with you Larry, and Vira and Trevor and Shabazz and your campaigns to gin about a false "racist crisis" where none existed. Y'all are only interested in tearing the community apart and we in the broader community won't stand for your divisive tactics any longer. We stand with Carol Ross in her efforts to bring the community together. We stand with Maria Geryk in the equity work she is doing in the schools.

Anonymous said...

I've been paying particular attention to the rankings over the last couple years of high school and surprised to see Hadley has skyrocketed to the top which is really great for a small High School however when you have a town like Pelham and Hadley that are small the kids know each other forever and there are drawbacks to either scenario you just have to decide what works the best for your child marhar has also risen in the ranks which really surprises me I'm very impressed of all the work that they've done and Amherst has gone down a little bit so I'm not sure what the best course of action is or what the measurements are for choosing the best place but I do like the idea of a Charter High School that sounds very interesting to me

Larry Kelley said...

Anon 1:18 PM

And you are?

Anonymous said...

Why is my identity important? The identity of Anon folks who agree with you is never questioned, is it? Another way you bully those who disagree with you.

Larry Kelley said...

Just hard to take seriously an Anon with strong opinions (those who agree with me usually do it in a less acerbic manner.)

For all we know you are Carol Ross or Maria Geryk.

Anonymous said...

I am not Carol Ross or Maria Geryk. Just call me Sick and Tired in Amherst.

Anonymous said...

Since anon 1:18 speaks for the "broader community" he/she should reveal themselves. Very convincing when they insist they are not carol or maria. I do feel bad for adults who allow themselves to be bullied!

Anonymous said...

Allow themselves to be bullied? Blaming the victim much? It's like saying you feel bad for adults who allow themselves to be raped.

Anonymous said...

Maybe another Daniel's Shays Rebellion is in order

Anonymous said...

Yes Shays rebellion went well....

Anonymous said...

HA! I love it... Carol Ross "Media and Climate Communications Specialist in charge of "Amherst Together". What a laughable, made-up, horse-shit job title and is probably siphoning off $50-$75,000 from the school budget that could be going to the kids or teachers. This town is hilarious!

Larry Kelley said...

$48,000.

Anonymous said...

Ms Ross position is partially paid for by the Town and partially by the schools. Her position was created in part due to the made from whole cloth Carolyn Gardner crisis.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, another top notch hire based solely on her impeccable credentials and no other basis whatsoever. Am I the only one who sees how ridiculous this town is in the way it does business? 2% property tax rate very well spent. Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

And who the hell do you think pays for this, TAXPAYERS Duh!

Anonymous said...

Your not the only one sees the ridiculous money we waste .. But we have to be positive I dont want to make all the extra administrators to cry like Whitney did when Trevor and his family were threatened to be personally sued by Maria's lawyer. School enrollment down number of non direct teaching staff up?

Anonymous said...

Gee, if only Ed were our biggest problem.

Anonymous said...

BS. Try to get your facts straight. Trevor and his family were never threatened to be personally sued by Ms. Geryk's lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Equity. Whenever I hear that word, I hang onto my wallet.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

http://onlyintherepublicofamherst.blogspot.com/2016/05/narcissistic-and-self-aggrandizing.html?m=1

Anonymous said...

You are correct, 5:48. The lawyer mentioned filing a complaint. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

As a parent I did sympathize for a time with the Pelham situation....until it was disclosed that she knew the order was lifted several days before she allowed supporters to go to a meeting to advocate on her behalf. These supporters were passionately vested in the situation and gave of their time-many away from their own children- to act in solidarity with this parent. I lost a great deal of respect for her at that moment, because she acted in a way very similar to the shady way she accused Geryk of acting. Shame on her.

Anonymous said...

I am Carol Ross or Maria Geryk. No wait...I am Spartacus. Never mind.

Anonymous said...

And I do.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand this situation is not only about Ms Hiza. There are long standing concerns with the policies of the schools, the bullying problems across the district, this may have started as a bullying issue then skyrocketed until deeper concerns that are against our very constiution. Ms Hiza and Ms Geryks relationship is unhealthy aNd Aisha feels she can trust no one that represents the school including a piece of paper she was given in private the day after it was dated, prior to her meeting with the principal and Paul Wiley. When a person is accused of trumped up accusations and publically shamed such mistrust happens.

Anonymous said...

No, Trevor and his family were threatened with criminal prosecution.
Your point being?

Anonymous said...

The Gazette is the most infantile newspaper I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

I wish i had a dime for every time some self righteous prig hurls a charge of of racism here. I could then join Bernie, Hilly, and Trump as a proud 1%-er.

Anonymous said...

That is utterly false.

Anonymous said...

"Ms Hiza and Ms Geryks relationship is unhealthy aNd Aisha feels she can trust no one that represents the school including a piece of paper she was given in private the day after it was dated"

Huh? What exactly was she unable to trust about "the piece of paper"? Was she worried that if she entered school grounds the police would somehow be called and the notarized document wouldn't suffice to clear up the situation? Please. Aisha is entitled to her feelings, but it doesn't mean they make any sense. And certainly they shouldn't be used as an explanation for Aisha keeping mum about the stay away order being lifted. That's just a bit too convenient and disingenuous for me.

Has anyone stopped to wonder why Maria, after being publicly lambasted for her "treatment" of Carol Gardner, would issue this stay away order against a black woman? She MUST have known the shit storm that would come her way after such a decision, but she did it anyway. Let's look at motive. Perhaps it's exactly as she said it was, boring as that may be. Maybe Maria really had no choice but to issue the order based on the information she had - something that was verbally recommended by the Pelham and possibly Amherst police. But alas, we simply do not have all the information (still). Aisha is extremely quick to accuse Maria and others as racist, but not willing to release information.

Everyone keeps referencing an incident where a white parent went onto Pelham school property and "bullied" a child. This sounds absolutely awful but it's not an apples-to-apples situation unless we have all the facts about Aisha's actions, which we don't. And, not defending anything here but possible alternate scenarios - what if the white parent happened to be picking up her child, saw a child being mean or bullying her kid, and decided to march over and tell the kid to stop? It might (or might not) be an inappropriate act, but not necessarily one of bullying.

Maria has made many decisions I do not agree with, but this reactionary jump to scream "Racism" at every turn does a real disservice to actual victims of racism.

Anonymous said...

Huh? What exactly was she unable to trust about "the piece of paper"? Was she worried that if she entered school grounds the police would somehow be called and the notarized document wouldn't suffice to clear up the situation?

I would want some assurance that it wouldn't be retroactively rescinded.