Archive for the School Buses Category

Campbell Jr. High Bullying Video

Posted in Bullying, Campbell Jr. High, Dustin Howard, Michael Kuduk, Mike Menchen, School Buses, Schools with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2014 by Joan Graves

bullyingRecently, a video was posted on Facebook showing a brief altercation between two students at Campbell Jr. High School. The video was taken and posted by a student who was tired of seeing a fellow student bullied. The video shows a girl, Trinity, standing next to an unnamed male student. In the background students can be heard encouraging the students to fight. As the frenzy grows Trinity suddenly grabs the boy in a headlock and drags him off.

There are multiple problems in this situation. The trigger point for parents was the lack of Campbell staff. Superintendent Paul Christy stated it was “a small area” in front of a large school. He also stated that a minimum of 10 teachers and 2 administrators are always present during dismissal, when this video was shot. Even with the noise of dismissal I can’t imagine how that many employees could miss the sounds of a brewing fight.

According to Trinity’s mother, April, Trinity is special needs. However, she states the school has labeled Trinity a behavior problem. Trinity does not have an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in place, that all special needs students have.  Because Trinity’s disabilities don’t create a learning deficit, an IEP wasn’t needed. However, based on information provided to me, a 504 would have been appropriate.

A 504 refers to Section 504 of the 1973 Federal Rehabilitation Act. It essentially states that no one with any type of disability may be discriminated against. A 504 in place would have meant the school recognized Trinity as being special needs and certain protections, such as an escort to the bus each day, could have been secured. It is extremely interesting or highly questionable, depending on how you look at it, that Trinity did not have a 504 in place at the time of this incident.

Citing privacy issues Christy couldn’t specifically comment on this issue. He did explain steps he has taken to help curb this type of behavior in the future. High school students will no longer be allowed to exit the bus at Campbell. Buses will be assigned specific parking spaces so they are in the same spot each day, keeping students from wondering through the crowd. The most effective prevention however, has been in place for a year.

Affixed inside the front of every bus are two phone numbers. One to the Clark County Sheriff’s office (745-0290) and the other to Winchester Police (355-7443). A student or parent may call either and provide bullying information anonymously. According, to Christy this is the 2nd year the numbers have been available with only a single phone call going into them. With all the bullying allegations why is no one calling?  I hear repeatedly how the schools don’t do enough to stop bullying. This is your way to bypass them and go directly to law enforcement. Parents instruct your child to report bullying to the school first. But if he/she isn’t comfortable with that, or the school doesn’t respond then call one of the numbers listed above and get it stopped.

Here is where the story takes a turn. Prior to the altercation, April had been informed that the district was filing legal papers to have Trinity removed from Campbell citing she was out of control. The posting of the fight video changed everything. When I met with Christy he was clearly angry over the video being shared online. He had contacted Facebook to have the video removed but Facebook declined, saying it didn’t violate their terms of use. According, to Christy he wanted the video removed because “innocent students” were caught in the middle. I saw and shared the video because students circling around and encouraging others to fight are not innocent. Furthermore, you would be hard pressed to identify anyone by the video alone.

The video was allegedly used as a bargaining chip in a meeting between April, Christy, Campbell Principal Dustin Howard and Assistant Principal Mike Menchen. According to April school officials agreed to remove legal filings forcing Trinity from Campbell Jr. High into the Phoenix Academy, if April would remove the fight video from YouTube. April agreed.

The student alleges that she was “forced” by Christy to remove the video from her Facebook page. By doing so it would remove it from everyone’s page who shared it. The moment I received word of this I sent a text to Christy asking him about it because quite frankly, I didn’t believe it. But when he failed to respond I knew chances were high he did. Why else would he not respond?

I then contacted Board of Education Chair, Dr. Michael Kuduk, who, unlike Christy, will respond to inquiries even if he doesn’t like them. Kuduk was in agreement with Christy that the video should not have been online. However, Kuduk stated that Christy had no authority to “force” this student or any other to remove something from his/her personal Facebook page.

It is a shame that Paul Christy resorted to such excessive lengths to have the video removed. This could have been a post about the positive changes he made regarding bulling but instead we are left to wonder why Christy would invest so much time and energy into trying to get rid of a video everyone has already seen? It begs the question, what is he getting rid of that we haven’t seen? Let us hope, nothing. Because the First Amendment of the US Constitution is nothing to be trifled with.

In the future, Superintendent Christy, allow me to save you some time. I always download, save and back-up any video that comes into Stand Up Clark County. So, if I’ve seen it, all your efforts in the world won’t make it go away

Stand Up Clark County for free speech and downloaded videos.

New School Start Times A Flub For School Board?

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, Board Meetings, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, School Buses, Schools with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2014 by Joan Graves

374837_2066137873001_485897450_nI am hearing everyone loud and clear. So, please don’t send me anymore emails in an all caps rage. These school start times are for the birds. No, wait. The birds won’t even be up when the littlest kids are sent out the door.

As I’ve said, many times before this board has been left with a mess to clean up from the previous board. I’m fully aware that this board spends more time making decisions along the lines of, “Is it better to shoot our selves with this gun or stab ourselves with a knife?”  We have people like Judy Hicks to thank for that. However, that doesn’t give them a free pass on all of their choices.

Yes, they were left with an atrocious facility plan they had to clean up but did that lead to this decision about start times?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, because schools had to be closed and others opened because the state refused to allow us the freedom to toss the entire plan out the window and begin again. The state eventually conceded on some items but refused to budge on others. That left us with a less crappy facility plan than we originally had but not a great plan by any means. Now, we have too many kids, in too few of schools, in too large of an area, with too many obstacles for it to make any kind of sense.

I am certain there were many things to consider in making this decision.  But the only true vision of what they have done can be obtained by actually walking in the shoes they forced on our kids feet, especially the little kids.  I challenge every board member, with the exception of Ashley Ritchie (she voted no) and our superintendent Paul Christy, to get on these buses and ride them. Each of them need to be endure the sentence they have placed on our kids. And after they served their time on the bus that’s on the road the longest then go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan.

While we wait to see if anyone actually has the courage to take up this challenge, I challenge all of you to contact them and tell them exactly what you’ve told me. This board may make ridiculous choices sometimes but I do believe that they will actually listen.

Stand Up Clark County and say no to these new start times

School Bus Fight

Posted in In The News, Point of View, School Buses, WLEX with tags , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2014 by Joan Graves

NOTE: This post is the opinion of Joan Graves and may or may not make up the entire or partial opinion of other Stand Up Clark County associates. 

schoolbusSadly, it’s not an uncommon event.  Out of the blue a fight starts on a school bus.  The driver of the bus must make immediate choices about how to handle the situation.  Recently, this transpired on a Clark County school bus traveling down Lexington Avenue.  Now the driver of the bus is under fire by the mother of one of the students involved.

My heart goes out to that mother.  It’s a sickening feeling to think of your child being in a fight.  The mother is questioning why the driver didn’t stop the bus immediately when the fight started.  As terrible as this is going to sound it is the absolute truth.  A bus load of students cannot have their safety jeopardized for the safety of one, even if that one was my own son.

Lexington Avenue is extremely busy.  Bringing that bus to a halt in the middle of the road with no warning to other drivers, puts not only the students on the bus at risk but also all other drivers around the bus.  And since people frequently walk on Lexington Avenue, pedestrians could have been injured should an accident have occurred.

When you encounter a school bus you expect it to put its stop sign out before it stops.  A stopped bus without its stop sign out will confuse drivers.  They won’t know whether to drive past it or stop.  They won’t know if students or getting off or if the bus has a problem.  Confused drivers cause accidents.

It’s unsafe for any car to suddenly stop in the road. That’s why police officers, pulling over a car for a traffic violation will have the driver move the car if they stop in an unsafe area and they have blue lights to signal them.  It’s also why, if there are no injuries, cars in an accident are told to move their cars out of the roadway.  The road is for moving vehicles not stopped ones.  In this case the bus driver acted appropriately.  However, it should be noted that if the bus driver saw the other student take off his shirt to fight she should have began searching for a place to pull over and perhaps she did.  I don’t know.

Now, for the real issue.  This fight was a 10th grader pounding on a 7th grader.  The problem is the alleged “parenting” of the 10th grade thug.  It takes a real spineless coward to pound on someone so much younger than him.  The thug’s parents should be brought up on charges and he should be completely banned from EVER riding on a Clark County school bus AND not be allowed to drive to school next year. ( See the video of the fight here. www.lex18.com/news/clark-county-bus-fight-caught-on-camera)

It’s time we start getting our schools thug proof.  If this kid wants to act like a thug then let’s treat him like one.  He should have every single extra-curricular activity removed from him, though doubtful he’s involved in anything except himself.  We cannot let people raise their bullies, take no responsibility for them then inflict them on the rest of us. I am sick of it and it’s time we deal with them with a very heavy hand. I encourage Superintendent Paul Christy to deal swiftly and mightily with this thug and boot him out of school for the rest of the year before he unleashes his unconstrained ire on another kid much younger than him and hurts him significantly.

Should this thug act again the school system is now liable because they know they know they have a loose cannon.  We cannot allow thugs and poor parenting to hijack the education and safety of all other students.

Stand Up Clark County and demand that Superintendent Paul Christy put an end to this thug’s brutal rein.