Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Walk The Walk

Amherst Select Board reading draft of response written by Temp Town Mgr Peter Hechenbleikner

While the all-white Amherst Select Board was reading a proclamation designating June 12 "Race Amity Day," a small mixed gender group -- black, white and somewhat in between -- who had turned out to support Aisha Hiza, the single mom banned from all school grounds for advocating on behalf of her bullied little girl sat stoically in front of them. 

 Aisha Hiza 2nd from left Vira Douangmany Cage (behind her to left) Amilcar Shabazz far left


The main reason Aisha and her supporters showed up to this Select Board meeting tucked away in a back labyrinth of the Regional Middle School was to hear the response penned by Temporary Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner to Vira Douangmany Cage's volatile email the week before, branding the Select Board as enablers of social injustice by not addressing what many see as just such a case with Ms. Hiza.

Click to enlarge/read
 Draft response from Select Board to Vira Douangmany Cage

The draft letter was -- to say the least -- disappointing.  A classic dodge simply saying it's not our department.



But the Select Board will take it up again at their next meeting back in Town Hall, and now that Town Meeting is dissolved they will also be taking Public Comment at the start of that meeting.

I'm sure the public will have lots to say.


53 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can the SB make any kind of meaningful statement when they aren't privy to all the information? How can they determine if any kind of social injustice has taken place without all the necessary facts?

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sickened-
Actually this SB statement differs from Maria's official statement that the police recommended the stay away order

"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."

and this Select Board document indicates that APD declared it a Pelham issue.

So- looks like neither the Amherst nor Pelham police departments recommended the stay away order.

Sckened by admin in Pelham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sckened by admin in Pelham said...

Yes I agree I missed a word it looks like police involvement was inflated by the SI.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between social injustice and injustice?

Anonymous said...

I hate this NWO bullshit. I am an American. Not an African or a Swede or a North Korean. One World government is yet another way to deprive you of your hard-earned money.

Anonymous said...

Larry you don't point out vira and vince? By the way what is your favorite flavor of koolaid?

Larry Kelley said...

Actually I did. Behind and to the left of Aisha. Pay attention.

Grape is my favorite.

Larry Kelley said...

And I just featured Vince front and center in the previous post.

Anonymous said...

never enuf vinc

Dr. Ed said...

I think it is time to play hardball -- to not only protest "Race Amity Day" but to arrange for the TV cameras to be on the Town Common covering the protest. This would be the classic "man bites dog" story that'd be covered even if Sunday wasn't a snow news day and late June a slow time of year.

Aisha, if you want to do this, you have my email address -- I'll draft the press release and tell you whom to send it to -- I still have all the contact info from when I was routinely bringing TV cameras to campus.

Three other things:

1: Why can't Vera write in her capacity as an elected official -- not as the committee but as an advocate for a constituent? Kinda like folks elected on the State & Federal level routinely do? In theory at least, each & every person who poke at Town Meeting waa speaking not as an individual, but on behalf of his/her/its neighborhood.

2: The Amherst Selectboard became involved the minute Caligula banned Aisha from property located within their jurisdiction, let alone involved the Amherst Police Department -- remember that all the authority the APD exercise is granted to them by the Selectboard (i.e. who hires the Chief...). So yes, anyone aggrieved by anything the APD has or hasn't done, or is alleged to have done (i.e. Caligula's claim) has a perfectly legitimate right to ask the board to address the matter.

3: Under the Mass Constitution, the selectboard members are personally responsible for providing K-12 teachers, and hence Caligula is technically their agent. Well, you are responsible for what your agent does, regardless of where she does it.

Latty, that letter is bullshit -- please tell me that it didn't get sent....

Anonymous said...

"The school will not let me on school grounds to see my child or participate in our public school process, these people are showing poor judgement and do not follow a moral code I can agree with"

....

"Thus, I send my kid there every day to get an education."

....

Is the solution not obvious?

....

But it gets better.

....

"I write regularly being critical of the schools on many levels."

....

"Thus, I send my kid there every day to get an education."

....

Let's end the welfare for all mentality and then public school parents can stop acting the way most people on welfare act when they do not actually need it....like lazy bums who have no incentive to do more, these are your kids for goodness sake and you send them to spend their days with those that cannot, thus they teach.

Two 20 years old apply for a job at your company.

1. Amherst HS grad.
2. Amherst home school grad.

If this is the only qualification, who do you hire? I would say #2 by leaps and bounds. I would hire #2 based on the fact that #2's parents were paying attention to details and not forcing their neighbors to pay against their will. The parents of #2 were willing to invest more in their child. #1 is run of the mill, dime a dozen, only worth 5c.

Anonymous said...

just curious the gazette said the draft was not going to be released...did they give you an exclusive ?

Anonymous said...

just curious the gazette said the draft was not going to be released...did they give you an exclusive ?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they did recommend the order during the discussion. It just says they didn't generate a written report. Both sides lose out for the lack of a report.

Anonymous said...

Out of the blue- the order is lifted.
Announced in the news by the Amherst Interim Town Manager who (just) said that it is not an Amherst issue?

http://www.gazettenet.com/Stay-away-order-against-Pelham-parent-lifted-town-manager-says-2675012

Rick Hood said...

People have continued making assumptions about this incident without knowing all the facts. Most are probably doing that because they feel the need to do something. That is understandable, but not necessarily helping, other than perhaps bringing pressure on both sides to resolve this issue, which is maybe not a bad thing.

But in my view a helpful inquiry would be this:

1. Is there some way that facts can be made known more than they have been? Certainly information about student activity cannot be released per FERPA without parental approval, but it does not protect parental records, only student records. Perhaps there are other laws that protect information schools hold on parental activity, I don’t know. It would have helped the public to have had statement from the Superintendent on her view of the facts, and one from Hiza on her view of the facts. Those views may or may not match, but would be better than nothing.

2. Is it worth looking into improving the process by which issues that parents have get processed? What is the flow chart when a parent has an issue? What is the hearing process and how does it work? Can it be improved? How about bullying issues in particular - what is the process for that? This surely all exists and it’s just a matter of publicizing it, having a look at it to understand it, and where needed, make suggestions for improvement.

Personally I am more interested in fixing any institutional issues there may be with how we deal with issues than on any one incident, because that is the best way to insure things work better in the future. That could be a topic for the Policy Subcommittee of the Regional School Committee (Amherst and Pelham uses the same subcommittee). If the Equity Task Force is to take this up, making suggestions on this would be more helpful than anything else.

In that work it would be really nice to get releases needed to get the facts on this incident to see what might have been done better, to use as an example in thinking about how the process might be improved. If not all the facts, at least facts around what process was followed in this incident.

Larry Kelley said...

I believe at the last RSC meeting they did decide to turn it over to the Policy Subcommittee.

Rick Hood said...

OK good. Things can sometimes die there due to inaction, so we need to make sure that does not happen.

BTW the subcommittee work of the SC's is really where actual work can happen. I think an improvement in SC function would be to focus on that work and make SC meetings a lot more about reports form those committees. That happened for a bit while I was on the SC, but fizzled. My bad on that, along with the rest of SC members for not pushing that.

Dreaming with King, Imagining with Lennon said...

The Gazette story reports the stay away order has been officially lifted! Congratulations to the courageous protectors (Aisha, Vira, Shabazz and many others) of our schoolchildren and civil liberties. "When from the depths of his/her heart man/woman desires something more lasting than wealth, something more real than material power, the wave of destruction will recede."

Anonymous said...

Larry, do you think that the police departments never recommended a stay away order and that the superintendent is lying about this?

Katrina van Pelt said...

Rick
There are more and more people in the community thinking, wait a minute, what IS going on here? not everyone will look past the surface assumptions and seek to understand despite the limitations of access to facts. There are some, however, who are doing just that. All of your inquiries in 2 are being posited and a resolution pursued by those with the courage to step forward and research and aggregate the facts we do know. Aisha has support in this regard, but the stress and pain she and her daughter have had to endure these past 10 weeks is a very real experience. For those of you who think it's of her own making, in my opinion, you fail to see the incredible strength it takes to withstand the onslaught of ignorance. She knows her story is not insular, there are many families that have lived her frustration with bully incidents and the policies used by our schools to address them. It's not just about Race, It's not just about sides and facts, It's not just about right and wrong, it's not just about policies, power, attorneys and money, It is the ven diagrams of all those things and how they affect an awesome little Girl who is so deserving of an educational system that loves and values her , and by extension, her Mother.

Anonymous said...

Statements made public by the Pelham and Amherst police departments confirm they never recommended a stay away order and the superintendent is lying about this.

Dr. Ed said...

If I were a member of the Amherst Select Board, I'd be VERY worried right now.
TM says order lifted, Geryk not commenting -- all you need is her being arrested by an AMHERST officer and not only is the town getting sued, you're getting sued personally -- in Federal court on a 1983 suit.

IF
it has been lifted, I'd want written documentation that every APD officer knows that.

Anonymous said...

Katrina - You have painted a very poetic picture of pain for this mother with your words. However, you have failed to acknowledge her very real role in the situation - and, yes, she has been verbally aggressive and threatening which is not something that all women do, let alone all black women do, to protect their children. Talk about a stereotype that this community wants to use or abuse when the agenda fits.

I also wonder if you, the mother and other supports have any idea of the pain they have put others through. I would venture to say school personnel have undergone a lot of strain, stress and pain as well. Why is that the parent or school committee member is the victim but never the school staff? While I understand why Trevor's wife spoke up, it was presented and heard without recognition of what this community, school committee members like Trevor and hate mongers have done to staff, their children and their families. Yes, it is a choice to be a public employee or figure (including school committee members) but that does not give anyone cart blanch to attack relentlessly the individual person or speak about their families. (Mr. Ed, the horse's ass, is a classic example of that and his obsession with the superintendent is scarey.)

In addition, you have failed to acknowledge the fact that the mother has put her child in the spot light as a means to garner support and sympathy. This little girl does not need to be mixed in the public assessment of the situation and division of the community. That is the mother's own failure to insulate her child. And, please don't confuse my words by assuming that I don't think the mother has a right to pursue and protect her child with the adults.

Your use of the term bullying needs to be defined. It seems like anything and everything that is said or done now a days is bullying. That is not consistent with the state definition.

And, any educator (and hopefully parent) understands that little children in the lower grades especially need to be taught and learn from their mistakes. If not, we continue to silence the confused and misinformed and thereby, further racism.

How can you or anyone throw out the term bullying in a vacuum without knowing what has happened in response in each circumstance? Bullying does happen. There is a protocol in place - Rick should know that and you can easily find that out yourself.

Please engage in a little perspective taking folks.

Dr. Ed said...

Rick,I made the point about Geryk having to reveal her weight prior to every SC meeting for a reason -- no decent person would expect her to have to submit to that.

Likewise, anyone with any sense of decency can understand the difference between telling Hiza what it is she's accused of doing and on what basis -- and telling everyone else. FERPA does two things -- demands parental access to information AND restricts public disclosure.] of the same.

Above and beyond that, however, Hiza does not have to prove her innocence, Geryk instead has to prove her guilt. That goes all the way back to the very founding of this country. To install any due process protections in the Star Chamber Lynch Mob procedures employed by Geryk would obliterate them -- and when it comes out what they are, Enku Gelaye's in trouble too, as she's doing the same thing on a larger scale over at UMass.

And Rick, anyone can accuse anyone of anything -- remember when the ACTV guy was reported to the FBI as being a terrorist? It's what you can prove, not just what you can fabricate.

Anonymous said...

This is starting to be like grant writing. 1000's of hours invested. One or no winners. Society looses again.

Perhaps it is time to recognize the public schools are a joke because the concept of public schools are a joke.

When you design a system for public employees to benefit while sacrificing your children, why do we expect fairness or education? Those are just the marketing buzz words they use so you don't resist paying more and more taxes for this stuff.

Just go calculate what we pay for primary and secondary public education in a year and compare this total to the GDP, you will be blown away.



Katrina van Pelt said...

I never relentlessly attacked any school or public figure and spoke about their families, please specify who you are addressing your points to, as this starts out addressed to me. I've never advocated for anyone to do that either.

Anonymous said...

Confrontation is mother's milk for certain grandstanders in town: Vira, Vince, and Larry, with their various forms of "look at me" piety.

Deliberation, which makes for very lousy TV, is what actually makes the Town function.

Rich Morse

Larry Kelley said...

Sticks and stones ...

Dr. Ed said...

"(Mr. Ed, the horse's ass, is a classic example of that and his obsession with the superintendent is scarey.)"

1: It's "Doctor", I have a piece of paper that says so.

2: The adjective is spelled "S-C-A-R-Y."

3: It applies far more to Maria G than to me.

Anon9:51 demonstrates the same sense of fascist entitlement of the "safe space" crowd in academia. A parent not willing to kiss your a** was so traumatic...

"And, any educator (and hopefully parent) understands that little children in the lower grades especially need to be taught and learn from their mistakes."

To this educator, that statement is the "fire siren in the night." I've seen all kinds of abuse justified with that attitude, I've even heard of situations where it has been used to justify the sexual penetration of a child.

Perhaps a child's inappropriate response to provocation may need to be addressed, but you don't ignore the provocation.

Anonymous said...

Ed, you are vile.

Dr. Ed said...

"she has been verbally aggressive and threatening"

Which is as loosely defined as being a Communist was in the 1950's.

A lot of bureaucrats seem to think they have a God-given right to treat people like shyte and expect them to meekly walk away into the night. It's a really scary attitude.

Dr. Ed said...

Ed, you are vile.

And people complain about personal attacks....

Anonymous said...

Ed....Remember The Maine!!

Anonymous said...

Katrina - "Maria Geryk is incompetent in doing her job. plain and simple." Sound familiar? How are you in a position to assess this and to be so firm in your stance? Do you have one iota of a clue as to what has been successful under the superintendent's leadership? This statement in writing is likely only one of many you have made about the superintendent in the community. It is part of the relentless attack! Have you ever personally met with her and had a real conversation? Or are you just comfortable making a public assessment of her work from afar? Most of your posts are neutral but it is important to recognize that this type of statement without factual accuracy is reckless.

Anonymous said...

Bullying, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, means the repeated use (NOTE REPEATED) by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:

(a) causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target's property;
(b) places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or damage to his or her property;
(c) creates a hostile environment at school for the target;
(d) infringes on the rights of the target at school; or
(e) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. Bullying shall include cyberbullying.

Dan Olweus defines bullying as repeated exposure, over time, to negative actions from one or more other students. Negative actions can include physical, verbal, or indirect actions that are intended to inflict injury or discomfort upon another including hitting, intimidation, taunting, exclusion, or spreading rumors.

According to Olweus, "While one-time incidents of taunting, exclusion, or aggression between young people who are peers tear at the fabric of your community, they do not in themselves constitute bullying."

Katrina van Pelt said...

I will own that statement publicly, I am a parent in the district, was a pre-school teacher outside the public schools for 12 years, one of my children has been bullied into pulling down their pants by another child (victim) and has been the aggressor (bully) in another incident. in fairness, i have not met with Geryk...and you are right to call me out that i'm not qualified to asses her competence, but my opinion of her competence stands.

Anonymous said...

Amherst appears to make everything about skin color.

Dr. Ed said...

Well I am qualified to say it: Caligula Geryk is not only incompetent but unprofessional as hell.

Laura Quilter said...

I should have said this before, but like another commentator, I find it inappropriate, unprofessional, and harassing to engage in name-calling. We can critique the policies of the Administration -- there's lots to critique -- without engaging in name-calling. Dr. Ed is the primary or perhaps only person who does it, but it taints the entire discussion.

I'm fine with snark. I'm fine with heated debate. I'm fine with reasoned critique, or appeals to emotion. But the name-calling has got to stop. It's harassment. I come onto the blog to correct misstatements or to add substantive points. But if others are engaging in this puerile and sexist name-calling, then my participation in the discussion is complicity with that.

Anonymous said...

It's "Dr." Ed "sex sells" Cutting. We have to just ignore his shock and awe.

Anonymous said...

I see you don't have much experience with Ed, Laura. He is mentally ill and we all pretty much ignore or skip over reading his posts. They don't contribute anything to the conversation. What many of us don't understand is why Larry Keeps publishing his comments. They are ruining this blog. But he does. And we just skip right by them.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bullying, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71, §37O, means the repeated use (NOTE REPEATED) by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:"

Interesting. This petty law blatantly violates the first amendment of the constitution (our top set of laws restricting the tyrants that would be commonly attracted to govern).

Of note, the constitution makes restricting your speech a big deal. It does not even mention rape or murder....

Dr. Ed said...

"I should have said this before, but like another commentator, I find it inappropriate, unprofessional, and harassing to engage in name-calling. We can critique the policies of the Administration -- there's lots to critique -- without engaging in name-calling. Dr. Ed is the primary or perhaps only person who does it, but it taints the entire discussion."

Laura, did you happen to read the posting that followed yours? That's not "name-calling"?!?!?!?

It's actually a bit more, and also not true, but, ummmmm.....

Furthermore, I wasn't the one who started it, nor did I initially respond in kind, nor even now do I stoop to the levels of base abuse that is routinely hurled at me, both here and elsewhere. And Laura, there's been a lot of "elsewhere", dating back more than a decade now -- and I tried to keep it about policies & practices while being subjected to a gauntlet of vicious bullying and I've had to fight back.

So I'll call her Caligulia, I consider it justified in that I'm making an analogy between his young age and academic credentials she lacks, as well as the ruthless manner in which both consolidated personal power.

Anonymous said...

Ed,

Maria Geryk has never done anything to you. She doesn't know who you are. The fact that you believe otherwise is evidence of your delusional thinking.

RKA45 said...

June 8, 2016 at 9:39 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said... Do you know when Whitney was taking about the threats her and family were receiving in her speech she is talking about the Superintendent, her Lawyerand others in the district ? (Not the community members of Pelham and Amherst) At least that is how I understood it in our conversation after.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ed proves that having more education does not make you more educated. In his case, he demonstrates time and again how little he knows. Between his obsession with the Superintendent and his constant posting on this blog and every other electronic forum, he demonstrates his desperate need for attention, to be involved, and his unhealthy thought processes. If you know him personally Larry, you should be a friend and support him in getting real help.

Anonymous said...



Agreed. Ed is not a well person. Ed needs help.



Anonymous said...

The only thing worse than Dr. Ed is the gang who complain about him. So predictable and boring.

Dr. Ed said...

"Dr. Ed proves that having more education does not make you more educated.
Wrong adjective as one inherently is more educated upon being more educated. Now as to smarter, that may be something else, but when you are starting with a MENSA IQ, well....

In his case, he demonstrates time and again how little he knows.
Right. And the earth is flat because you decree it is.

Between his obsession with the Superintendent
So now I'm obsessed with her again? Kurt, she ain't my type...

and his constant posting on this blog
Give me what I want and I'll go away.

" and every other electronic forum,"
NAME ONE....

he demonstrates his desperate need for attention,
I'd really rather be anonymous

to be involved
No, I'd actually prefer not to be,

"and his unhealthy thought processes."
As defined by whom and on what basis?

If you know him personally Larry, you should be a friend and support him in getting real help.

Because, after all, anyone who disagrees with us is crazy -- because we say so.

Anonymous said...

Sure, I can "NAME ONE." These are just some of the sites that Mr. ed posts copiously on:

newbostonpost.com

Central Maine

Inside Higher Ed

I-TO

P J Media

National review online

Breitbart News Network

The Bowdoin Orient

Trscoop

WNCN

Wwlp 22News

The Federalist

IEEE Spectrum

WMUR

Bangor Daily News

Pioneer institute

The Washington Times

Twitchy

The Brown Daily Herald

Bloomberg View

The Black Sphere

the daily Collegian



...there ya go!!!