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.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Emails Shed Light on What Prompted Memorandum
I have been provided a large stack of emails that I requested regarding the events leading up to a memo that was sent to me by School Board Attorney Donna Waters last week.
The emails shed light on a lot of different aspects of what apparently led to the creation of the memo that was sent to me, the memo that was improper, unprofessional, and badly flawed in my opinion.
Sadly, it appears as if several social justice groups and at least one parent prompted this memo to be written. I'm posting those emails here.
The Superintendent of Schools has told me flatly that he did not request a memo be written by Mrs. Waters regarding my conduct.
I certainly did not request it--I did nothing wrong. Mrs. Waters certainly knows how I feel about this matter upon reading this response and this follow up.
So who requested that the Board Attorney write this memo to me, copied to multiple others?
Here is what I believe...
It appears as if the attorney had done a significant amount of research in order to write and submit a "Viewpoint" to the Pensacola News Journal. Whether or not this was ever submitted, I do not know.
Apparently, possibly, A radio interview by the father of the victim of the WFHS bus incident may have circumvented the need for this "Viewpoint" to be submitted. Who knows?
The radio interview totally destroyed the PNJ's characterization of this incident and a lot of district employees were happy that this parent spoke out. This parent heralded the actions of the board and district, while simultaneously chastising the PNJ for their horrible straw man hatchet job editorial of 10-18-2015.
So with all of the research on FERPA compiled, and after the father of the victim spoke out, why would such a memo subsequently be sent by an attorney to her client? Why not a phone call or a discreet conversation. Why?
It appears that I was excoriated because some parties outside of the school board, the Board Attorney, and perhaps even the chair of the board did not like the fact that I commented on social media.
Apparently they didn't like me countering the apparent propaganda and hearsay published on the PNJ with hearsay from constituents that I was receiving about this WFHS bus incident that was totally opposite of the narrative the PNJ was trying to create?
But at the end of the day, I have yet to be officially briefed on this matter. I have not seen any videos, documents, or hearing transcripts. I've yet to even receive an official discipline recommendation for any students involved in this incident. I do not hold any student records I do not have access to any student records, and I have divulged no records to anyone and I certainly have not violated FERPA! If anyone at the district thought I had violated a law, they should have reported it! I didn't violate any law, and I don't violate laws.
That is why I feel the written memo was wrong, boderline libelous, and the situation was badly handled by our legal office and others; the memo never should have been written. This memo is nothing but a dog-whistle being blown loudly that could embolden enemies of me in particular, and the school board generally, to investigate and dig further and make this situation much more complex for the client.
What attorney in his right mind would write such a public record memo that could potentially bring harm to his/her client or a part thereof of his/her client?
Why so quickly and prematurely write a legal opinion that one part of her client must recuse?
This was outrageous.
This MESS will be discussed at the next board workshop, and hopefully a better, more focused board policy will be forthcoming that will speak to the when, where, and how written memos about the client or parts thereof are created and disseminated publicly by the School Board's General Counsel going forward.