I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Crime on Campus--Email of Concern and My Response

I received the below email this morning.

>>> XXXXXXXXXXXXXX 04/08/11 9:13 PM >>>

Dear Escambia County School Board members: I am a parent of a XXXXXXXXX school student. I want you to know that both me and my daughter want you to work on developing a plan to address violence of any kind in our schools. I also want to be very clear in that I demand to know immediately if my XXXXXXX is suspected of either committing a crime, or being the victim of one, a crime of ANY kind. All crimes which happen on your campuses should be handled in the same way they would be handled should they happen at a local hospital, restaurant or home. Local law enforcement, the public servants our tax dollars train and depend on to be knowledgeable and experienced in responding to crimes, must be notified immediately.
I also want you to know that if my XXXXXXXXX is sexually assaulted and proper procedures are not followed (meaning a trained investigator be called immediately) I will hold each and every one of you personally accountable for that crime. I do not know if you are parents or not (in which case the depth of my feelings may be misunderstood); I mean no personal offense by these words. I just want to be clear in my expectation of you, our elected officials charged with educating in a safe environment the most precious part of our society, our children.


My response: (redactions to protect writer's identity)


Thanks for your email of concern.

We report crimes, we do not condone or attempt to cover-up crimes. A fringe element of our local so-called media has reported erroneous data in his publication which becomes dangerous; He essentially said we broke the law by not notifying the DCF about the Tate H.S. Incident. Of course he was proven wrong when our attorney confirmed that we had followed the law and the statutes he quoted were inapplicable to the Tate HS incident. Now this same individual is hurling new allegations our way that are incorrect regarding protocols for SESIR reporting. He will be proven wrong on his allegations here as well-at a special board meeting this Thursday at 3PM. Of course I do not expect he will retract his allegations when they are found to be baseless--he will then move on to some other topic he can sensationalize for maximum hit counts on his blog.

XXXXXXXX--We care about all of the kids in this district--and I can say that to the best of my knowledge on our campuses if crimes are committed and discovered--these crimes are reported, that is the law and it aligns with our school board policies on reporting of such incidents.

The guilty are punished, and Escambia Schools are, save for the isolated random incident, safe.

XXXXXX--I, too, have a student at  XXXXXXX, and my XXXXXXX went there for three years. My wife and I are in the XXXXX  PTA(XXXXXXXXXX) My youngest son XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. I have three kids in this school system, one of which is at PHS (a school I graduated from in the 80s) and believe me, I care about student safety. I'm the driving force behind a drug awareness program that has cut expulsions for drug possession in half. (Ironically, the same media personality that is attempting to demonize us for the Tate incident and SESIR reporting DISAGREES with drug dog searches and random testing of athletes for student safety--pretty ironic. He feels that this is simply too "invasive") But the truth, XXXXXX, is we expel students who are violent or who harm other students, period. That is the way this works.

Bottom Line: We have great personnel in our schools who care about kids. My advice to you would be to be involved, go to the schools, meet the faculty, and observe the environment for yourself. Don't allow third-hand, unreliable and inaccurate souces to frame your opinion for you; I would also strongly caution you against putting too much stock in believing in the paper monsters that one local newsblogger attempts to incarnate in order to vent some sort of passive agressive disdain he has for our current elected superintendent of schools and school board.

Jeff Bergosh

Jeff Bergosh
Escambia County School Board, Dist. 1


Anonymous said...

Your response is rather mater factually speaking that there is nothing wrong, and everything is a-ok.

When current events state otherwise, like how it was concluded by your investigation, that the mentioned sexual assault was no assault at all and suspended the victim. Now its known that a crime WAS committed and the perpetrator arrested and will plead guilty to the crime.

You subjected a student to intimidation by allowing her agrressor on campus with her, and shame by claiming she was a willing participant and suspending her for 13 days,

The criminal in this case is pleading guilty and taking responsibity for his actions, when will the officials at Tate and the SB follow suit?

Anonymous said...

p.s. You referenced your own blogpost as proof of this media blogger being "Proven wrong" very tasteful....

Jeff Bergosh said...

Yes, I did reference my earlier post because it has the links to the documents that prove my point.

sterlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

No actually the post you referenced has a snippet (quote) of a alleged report that has been deemed Attorney work, so you referenced document that only you are allowed to see......the only link to anything is to Ricks blog.

Jeff, you could go along way to easing our minds if you would explain your positions a bit better here. Really, thats all we ask, is to be informed by you of your actions, and for you to hear our concerns.