Guidelines

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, June 1, 2016

While I was Mentoring, They Were Doing What??



At a recent statewide virtual townhall meeting with an influential Tallahassee lawmaker, the subject of individual school board member autonomy was briefly discussed.

The lawmaker that was our special guest was somewhat unusual in that he had served as a school board member prior to his service in the state legislature.

"One of the new rights that was put into legislation this year was something that initially I did not feel was necessary.  Now, however, I know and understand why it is necessary and important." Said this legislator.

The new language in statutes beginning July 1 allows for and authorizes individual school board members while acting in their official capacities, to go to any school in their district, any time, to independently observe the operation of the school and walk the grounds.

In my ten years on the school board, I must admit this was never an issue.  I have gone to individual schools often and I have always conducted myself as if I was a "guest" on the campus---signing in and acting in a professional manner.

I've mentored in multiple schools and I have always come to these schools with that as the purpose---not observing the schools and/or the operation of the schools.

But yesterday I received an email that concerns me, and frankly reinforces what I believe is a need for school board members to have the right to come to any school, any time.

As a mentor at one of our Middle Schools this year, apparently while I was mentoring I was being watched by administration out of an apparent paranoid fear that I was actually there to "spy on" this school.   To say this is outlandish is an understatement.  Not only is it outlandish, it is also UTTERLY DISRESPECTFUL.  Along with a host of serious matters that transpired at this school this past year, according to this long email that I am still going through in an attempt to process exactly what I need to do with this information------ This is what I was told about me by a very credible and  now FORMER employee of this school:

 "September 2015 Jeff Bergosh came to mentor his student. XXX XXXXXXX called me in XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX office. They were watching him [Bergosh] on the camera. XXXXXXXXXX said he [Bergosh] was there for two hours. XXXXXXXX had XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX bring the sign in sheet. XXXXXXXXX asked me what day and time 


he would be mentoring his student. I went to my office to get the times. Afterwards XXXXXXX called me out to the courtyard and told me he [Bergosh] was trying to catch XXXXXXXX doing something wrong. XXXXXXXX told me Mr. Bergosh accused XXXXXXXX of telling teachers to give students a minimum grade of 50%. XXXXXXX told me he was a school board member and to watch him. XXXXXXXXXX told me to go to the main office when he shows up so we will know when he comes and goes. I did not do this. This is not part of my job, nor is it ethical."

This is what I have been told by someone that has nothing whatsoever to gain by sharing this information with me.  Instead of worrying about what I am doing when I am on this campus, this school's leadership ought to worry about getting discipline, bullying, and other serious transgressions under control and in alignment with school board policy----and quit the dysfunctional weirdness directed at volunteers who are there one hour a week to help a student!

3 comments:

Greatful said...

What does it matter if you were there to spy on them? I believe you weren't, but if they weren't doing anything wrong, they shouldn't be so worried. Their paranoia makes me wonder what they are afraid you will find and what are they hiding? I believe that a school district board member should be welcome at any of their district schools at any time. Perhaps if this had been the case at Newpoint Academy and Newpoint High School, the alleged chaos and illegal criminal activities they were just indicted for may have stopped instead of continuing for four years costing Escambia County tax payers lots of money. You are the most conscientious, dedicated, honest, and bold board member we ever had. You were the only board member who had the Moxy to take action when the Newpoint whistle blower called all of you. Go to the schools! Go to ALL of the schools! Our children had one guy who did the right thing for this county and that's you! You pulled everything out of the drawer that Malcolm Thomas had been hiding for a year regarding those two schools. This county owes you a huge thank you for taking steps to rip that locked drawer full of incriminating reports out of Malcolm's hands and pour those contents on the floor and call the state law. We needed more board members to find some courage. They were called before you were and none of them did anything.

Greatful said...

What does it matter if you were there to spy on them? I believe you weren't, but if they weren't doing anything wrong, they shouldn't be so worried. Their paranoia makes me wonder what they are afraid you will find and what are they hiding? I believe that a school district board member should be welcome at any of their district schools at any time. Perhaps if this had been the case at Newpoint Academy and Newpoint High School, the alleged chaos and illegal criminal activities they were just indicted for may have stopped instead of continuing for four years costing Escambia County tax payers lots of money. You are the most conscientious, dedicated, honest, and bold board member we ever had. You were the only board member who had the Moxy to take action when the Newpoint whistle blower called all of you. Go to the schools! Go to ALL of the schools! Our children had one guy who did the right thing for this county and that's you! You pulled everything out of the drawer that Malcolm Thomas had been hiding for a year regarding those two schools. This county owes you a huge thank you for taking steps to rip that locked drawer full of incriminating reports out of Malcolm's hands and pour those contents on the floor and call the state law. We needed more board members to find some courage. They were called before you were and none of them did anything.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Greatful------Thank you for your very kind assessment of my work on the school board. I appreciate the compliment. That said, the Newpoint issue would never have been known had it not been for a few brave souls that put their jobs on the line and told the truth. The Newpoint whistleblower is the real hero; she refused to let these numerous issues be swept under the rug and it is ONLY because of her that people are just now being investigated. I give her all the credit. About being spied on at a school where I mentor, this is creepy and I think it is weird---but it won't stop me from my mentoring. Next year I will start my 9th year mentoring a student one hour a week at our schools---I'll continue this even after November when I am no longer on the school board. There is too much need out there to walk away, my only hope is that mentors that take time to volunteer district--wide are welcomed and treated cordially at the schools----as is the case in the vast majority of the schools. I just don't know, I'm still scratching my head over the dysfunctional weirdness at this one particular middle school........