Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Liars, Damn Liars & School Officials Part 2

Region 10 Propaganda,
With Commentary In Bold. A.T.

September 10, 2007

From: Beth Duffy, Chairperson of the Region 10 Board of Education

On August 31st U.S. District Judge, Mark Kravitz denied the injunction requested by Avery Doninger and her mother to void the election of senior class secretary at Lewis Mills High School. Until the case documents became public, Region 10 officials and board members were restricted by privacy laws from publicly discussing the case. The press has done a great job of covering Avery's version of the story. However, there has been very little coverage of the district's side. Now it's time to set the record straight.

The injunction would have recognized the write-in vote -- suppressed by school officials -- that elected Avery Doninger. The injunction would have allowed Avery and the administration candidate to serve as co-secretaries. The referenced documents became public records on Aug. 22. If school board lawyer Christine Chinni or Superintendent Paula Schwartz wrote this press release, how could it possibly set anything straight? They have a documented history of deep issues with candor. For example, they denied in writing that the write-in ballots existed and that there was a retainer agreement for the back-up law firm in the civil rights case.

Despite what has been reported in the press, Ms. Niehoff and Mrs. Schwartz did not infringe on Avery Doninger's First Amendment rights. Judge Kravitz ruled that they acted appropriately in rendering Avery ineligible to run for the office of senior class secretary because she deliberately and publicly circulated information that was vulgar, false and incited members of the community to disrupt the central office. Avery took her action after Ms. Niehoff had addressed the issue of appropriate behavior of class officers with her that same day. Ms. Niehoff then withdrew her support of Avery's candidacy only after it was clear that Avery did not understand that her conduct was unbecoming a class officer.

Kravitz did NOT rule that Niehoff or Schwartz acted appropriately. Douche Bag means contemptible person. The actions of the contemptible persons in this case are vulgar. Schwartz and Niehoff cancelled Jamfest and they are trying to get away with denying it. This school district is becoming famous for its position that public oversight and accountability are tantamount to disruption. How dare the taxpayers call the woman behind the curtain! Niehoff has not demonstrated the intellectual capacity to understand appropriate conduct.

Holding the position of class officer at Lewis Mills is not a right - it is a privilege. The definition of privilege in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is "a right or immunity granted as an advantage or favor esp. to some and not to others". At Lewis Mills, the privilege of running for class office must be earned through good citizenship, and appropriate behavior. Mrs. Doninger has admitted publicly that she believes her daughter's behavior was neither appropriate nor acceptable. That means she agrees with the assessment of her daughter's behavior made by the Region 10 administration! She just disagrees with the consequences imposed by the school district, and that is why this matter was in federal court.

People who tamper with student records, back-date files and subvert the democratic process are not role models for citizenship. In the United State of America, government cannot be allowed to punish citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights, no matter how small the punishment.

I should point out here that Region 10 did not start this lawsuit. It was filed by Avery Doninger, her mother and their lawyer, in spite of numerous attempts by the school district to work out a compromise. Our administrators have acted and continue to act in a professional, ethical and responsible manner. We have tried to settle this matter on at least two occasions and have been met with unreasonable demands by the Doningers. We will continue to defend the administration as long as necessary.

The school district should admit various civil rights violations and apologize. What's unreasonable about recognizing the actual election results and having co-secretaries?

Citing Constitutional rights as protection for bad behavior does that incredible document a grave disservice. This is an issue of standards. We have high standards for our students in Region 10 - good behavior, strong academic achievement, good sportsmanship and civil behavior to one another. Sometimes students make bad decisions because they are young, inexperienced and impulsive. When that happens, we should attempt to help the student learn from his/her mistake. That was done in this case. When a student repeatedly makes the same bad decision, it is the school's responsibility to impose consequences. That was also done here. But if our school system backed down on a fair and just consequence for bad behavior, then we would be letting down the other 2859 students in our district and our communities as well. Judge Krawitz recognized that in his ruling. We have high standards in Region 10, and I for one am proud we do.

Obviously the Bill of Rights has been suspended at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington, CT, making this school district a national poster child for vouchers. The illegitimate authority pulling the levers of power must be removed.

There are many opportunities at Lewis Mills for an intelligent, passionate, determined young lady like Avery to hone her leadership skills. Class secretary was just one of them. I know that both Ms. Niehoff and Mrs. Schwartz would like nothing better than to find an opportunity for Avery to shine in her senior year. I hope that she opens the door to that opportunity.

Cut the patronizing crap. You are drowning in it. If you knew what you were doing, you would not be in this position now.

  • Another Perspective

  • Liars, Damn Liars & School Officials Part 1

  • Appeal Filed


    Anonymous said...

    This commentary is like reading an 90 year old senile person speak. Do you have anything new to say Andy or just ranting and raving without direction?

    Aldon Hynes said...

    One can only assume that the anonymous commenter is unable to dispute any of the assertions that Andy has made since they resort to personal attacks instead of providing information contrary to what Andy has written.

    Yes, I would prefer that Andy didn't need to reiterate points he has already made before, but when the Board of Education issues a press release full of unsupported assertions and contradictions to other information, people like Andy do need to respond.

    Anonymous said...

    Region 10 No stranger to injunctive relief lawsuits
    Register Citizen Staff
    HARWINTON - The Region 10 Board of Education is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Monday after more than 100 residents signed a petition requesting it over the conduct of the schools chief.

    An elementary school student was allegedly able to access pornographic material on a school computer in February, but parents say Superintendent of Schools Paula Schwartz refused to inform other parents about it when she was told of the incident.

    The public hearing is scheduled to take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Region 10 offices on Lyons Road in Burlington after the board meets in executive session from 1 to 1:30 p.m., school board attorney Christine Chinni said Friday.
    When asked whether parents would have an opportunity to speak about the February incident or about Schwartz's handling of the issue, board Chairman Beth Duffy referred to the board's attorney.
    "All comments go to our attorney at this point," Duffy said.

    By law, the board is required to schedule a public hearing within three weeks of receiving a petition, Chinni said earlier this week, but she declined to comment specifics about the hearing. Neither the board nor Schwartz were making any comments to the public or to parents of school children in Region 10, Chinni said this week.
    Schwartz did not return several phone messages left on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday.

    "This is in regard to the suitability of Paula Schwartz as superintendent of Region 10 school district," parent Fred Boland read from the petition. "The reason for such a hearing stems from her actions since parents reported pornography on Region 10 school computers as well as the failure to implement appropriate safeguards and policies to protect the school children of the district."

    Boland submitted the petition, which had 113 verified signatures - 54 from electors in Harwinton and 59 from Burlington - to board Treasurer Paul Omichinski while he was chairing a School Building Committee meeting on April 17.
    Boland said Friday he is unhappy with the date and time the board set for the hearing because it "does not encourage the greatest degree of public participation."

    "Most people are working in the middle of the day and every other board meeting is held at 7 or 7:30 at night," Boland said.
    This is being held in the middle of the day when people can't be there," he said.

    "Shame on them for conducting this hearing like a back-alley deal," Boland said. "Shame on them for abridging the people's right to be heard on the matter by holding the hearing at a time that discourages public participation."
    An ex parte temporary injunction was filed by Boland on Friday asking the court to grant the injunction, which would have had the board change the date or time of the meeting. It was denied because it did not prove "irreparable harm," Boland said.

    "Boland was told he was not entitled based on what he submitted and they declined to give him a hearing," Chinni said.
    Boland said he is able to refile an amended complaint and that he is considering filing an emergency injunction on Monday.

    Ok so what do we have here?

    A superintendent who thinks that parents should not be notified of anything ....unless it involves herself being called a name she doesn't like.

    A chairperson who thinks an attorney who bills out at 220.00/hr is a board answering service.

    A board who thinks that they will win any kind of lawsuit... (But then again it seems that’s the case)

    A board who will spend money on legal fees like a normal person would buy a candy bar.

    I think it's time to publish the names of those who are running for the region 10 school board.

    I have googled it and can find more information on the mating habits of weasels than this board...which is the way they seem to like it and will spend any amount of legal fees to keep it that way

    Anonymous said...

    It's a shame that something so trivial has been allowed to fester into a controversy.

    The only person who has brought wisdom, reason and civility to this discussion is Judge Mark Kravitz.

    To call the judge a "douchebag" demonstrates the same poor judgment and boorishness that Avery displayed in her blog entry.