Archive for the Schools 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

My Final Thought In Song For Tonight’s Meeting

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, BJ Swope, Board Meetings, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Deanna Wolfe, Debbie Fatkin, Dr. Michael Kuduk, Elaine Farris, Encouragement, Judy Hicks, Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, Point of View, Schools with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2014 by Joan Graves

keep-calm-and-love-toby-mac  I find the words I long to say to my community in the lyrics of a Toby Mac song.  I ache for our school board struggling to make decisions for the common good of everybody.  But my heart also aches for those, few as they may be, who will feel disappointed.  My prayer is that we all find a way to look beyond ourselves and go back to being the family of a community.  It was Winchester that taught me the meaning of community and forever changed my life.  I pray for us to once again become the family we were meant to be. After all, as Toby Mac says, “If we’re gotta start sometime why not now?”  Well, I’ll let Toby tell you the rest.  Just know I love you Clark County – ALL of you.

If you gotta start somewhere why not here? If you gotta start sometime why not now? If we gotta start somewhere I say here. If we gotta start sometime I say now. Through the fog there is hope in the distance, from cathedrals to third world missions. Love will fall to the earth like a crashing wave!

Tonight’s the night, for the sinners and the saints. Two worlds collide in a beautiful display. It’s all love tonight. When we step across the line, we can sail across the sea to a city with one King. A city on our knees

Tonight could last forever. WE ARE 1 CHOICE FROM TOGETHERas a family. We’re family.
Oh Tonight couldn’t last forever, we are one choice from together. You & me. It’s you and me.
IF WE GOTTA START SOMEWHERE WHY NOT HERE? IF WE GOTTA START SOMETIME WHY NOT NOW?
Stand Up Clark County & be that City on our Knees. A city willing to start here and now.

Death Threats, Rivals, Ghosts & The Way To Make It Right.

Posted in George Rogers Clark, Point of View, Schools, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2013 by Joan Graves

My last post, “Beyond Friday Night”, generated heated responses from people calling themselves Tony and Jessica. Their remarks indicate they are friends with GRC Head Football Coach Steve Collins. They defended Collins vehemently and I actually applaud them for standing up for their friend. The manner in which they do it however, is highly questionable.

Tony and Jessica went to excessive lengths to hide their identities. They set up a dummy email account, which both used to access the comments section of the blog. Their IP addresses indicate they are in the same network. Which means Jessica and Tony either is the same person or is closely connected.

If you have followed this blog or read the Lexington Herald-Leader, you are aware of death threats made in the past. What you may not know is that a few weeks ago I received a threat, which basically said for me to stop Stand up Clark County or die. I was not impressed. People against Stand Up Clark County have long tried to silence me by using disgusting, perverted, and threatening remarks. The only common denominator is that each time the attack came after a post about the football program.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am in absolutely no way saying that Coach Collins or his staff is responsible for death threats or verbal attacks. What I am saying is that it is the topic of Collins’ football program that triggers the venom. I have no idea if it’s a coach, fan, parent, player, cheerleader, or community member launching the assaults. What I do know is whoever it is they are extremely passionate about Collins’ football program.

From my point of view, this is what I see. Paul Columbia’s firing was not the fault of Coach Collins, though Collins and his staff like to use that as an excuse for their shortcomings. Collins took a job he knew was in drowning in controversy so none of this is a surprise to him. What is surprising to us, however, is that Collins has invested more in our rival Montgomery County than he ever has in the community of Clark County. He made the decision early on to place himself in opposition of the majority of the community. Little did he know the previous board of education would fall and the superintendent who hired him retire, leaving him at the mercy of the very people he has shunned.

One of the first things Collins did, as football coach was take business away from Clark County’s long time small business staple, South Main Grocery. He immediately ended the team’s tradition of having breakfast there. Many saw that move as self-serving because Collins failed to realize the importance of tradition in the midst of turmoil. Since then, Collins’s program has been embroiled in controversy surrounding the treatment of players.

Collins has failed to ever address the concerns or even as much as attempt to interact with the community. Instead, he opted to take money from our small businesses while investing in Montgomery County golf scrambles. Collins appears to be heavily involved in the community in which he lives but not in the community who pays his salary or in which the kids he interacts with live. If Collins does not produce well-rounded individuals, what concern is it of his? Clark County is a paycheck not an investment.

Collins’s divided mind has cost him greatly but us even more so. While he spent his time trying to defeat the ghost of Paul Columbia, his team logged one of the worst seasons on record. Now, rather than focus on the players and how to make them successful he has opted instead to spend his time and energy into making PR rounds for an Astro Turf. When what we really need is a leader.

Clark County takes pride in our heritage and sense of community. We are not like other counties. We still stand for “old fashioned values”. We do not want new flashy things that spend our money but produce nothing. We prefer to invest in people not things.

We do not want to oppose Coach Collins but we must protect our core values. We have an obligation to the future of our kids. Therefore, we must insist Coach Collins invest in Clark County, speak out against those creating turmoil and crime in his name and begin building a bridge that will improve the lives of all Clark Contains.

Stand Up Clark County for all we are, have been and will be.

Peeing Under Construction

Posted in George Rogers Clark, Point of View, Schools with tags , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2013 by Joan Graves

Students at GRC are required to wear bright orange construction vests if they leave class to go to the restroom. I am torn between laughter and shock. It is bad enough to think a single person’s brain neurons could so disturbingly malfunction that this would actually seem like a good idea, but this is the action of more than one person. Not to mention I am pretty sure shockingly bright orange vests with reflector strips are restricted under the dress code rules. Well, maybe not. It’s unlikely it ever occurred to anyone to forbid the wearing of construction gear.

School supply lists include hand sanitizer as a means to reduce the spread of germs. But somewhere in the war on germs sharing glowing vests became acceptable. And what about all those letters are sent home every year advising kids NOT to share clothing in order to reduce the spread of lice, the flu and even the potentially deadly MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aurous)?

Then there are all the health risks that come from resisting the urge to…..ummm…..pee all over everything. Isn’t someone in a fancy new science classroom teaching about how the bladder is a muscle and repercussions of stretching it? Do they know what happens when the bladder and urinary system is mistreated? Isn’t there a health class that explains how voiding dysfunction (a fancy term for not going potty) can lead to very serious life-long conditions such as urinary retention?

When Dalton was five, he constantly had to go to the bathroom. We would get ready to leave the house, make him go pee and sternly tell him we absolutely were not going to stop for him to go to the bathroom. Without fail 15 minutes into the trip and he had to pee. We thought it was behavior. We had not a single warning sign there was a dangerous, under-lying condition that had steadily been building for years; until the pain came.

You know that thing a doctor does when he places two fingers on your kid’s tummy and taps with another? As an EMT (emergency medical technician), I learned the typical sounds a body makes when tapped like that. So, when I heard the sickening thud during Dalton’s exam I knew something was bad wrong. It was so distinct his doctor whipped around and looked at me. We did not need words between us to know something was very, VERY wrong.

A whirlwind of tests later, we learned Dalton’s kidney had been dangerously expanding from an inability to empty his bladder. At five, his bladder was three times the size of an adult’s. The specialist explained that even a slight fall could have been catastrophic and we had no inkling. Fortunately, surgery corrected the problem but he is still very susceptible to any disease involving the urinary system.

My best friend, Janeen, had no inclination she also had a “sleeping” kidney condition. Though she had a few urinary tract infections, she was in good health. While undergoing fertility testing, it was discovered she had one kidney. She had no idea the stress her other kidney was enduring by doing the work of two.

My son DJ was in the hospital thankfully when the effects of not urinating hit him. His urine backed so far up into his kidney that an ultra sound technician alerted an urologist that there was an emergency. The doctor ran past me without ever slowing down while spouting our “stat” orders and scaring me to death with words like kidney failure. In his case, we did know there was a problem but our concerns were dismissed. We were told that when he had to go bad enough DJ would go. Their mistake could have cost us DJ’s life.

Wow, that was a turn from fun to scary wasn’t it? I do not say these things to incite fear but rather spread education. Sometimes what we think is minor can be huge. Most kids are not going to suffer these types of problems and some will use a bathroom break as a means to avoid class and do who knows what. The point is that educators teach not doctor. Furthermore, medical privacy laws make it possible for a student to go to the restroom without providing specific reason and in defiance of all school policies. All school officials can do is require a doctor’s note. However, I am thinking that won’t be a problem once the doctor hears about all the threats to the kid’s health from sharing the vest.

As always I recommend, you attend school board meetings or contact your board representative to voice your concerns. I can’t imagine that with all the HIPPA regulations, threats of lawsuits, questions of civil rights and parental pressure, the “Peeing under construction” rule will stand. But then again, I would have never imagined I’d be blogging about peeing in orange vests. However, I do have an idea. As long as students have to wear the orange vests, I think those who agree with or enforce the rule should have to wear this.

Image

Since a leader is always responsible for decisions made on his watch and the fact that they should always be easily identified I think Principal David Bolen should wear this. 

Image

Stand Up Clark County for the prevention of disease, humiliation, and utter stupidity.

The remarks in this blog are the expression of opinion.  

 

Possible Child Abduction Attempt At Central Elementary

Posted in Central Elementary, Schools with tags , , , , on May 3, 2013 by Joan Graves

Several years ago I petitioned for a district wide reverse 911 notification system. The intent was that in the event of an emergency parents could immediately be contacted via text, email or audio message. It was not suppose to be a system that sent out so many non-emergency messages that they lost their power and parents became immune to them. The idea was for parents to immediately respond to the message rather than disregard it as just another message from the school.

This morning at Central Elementary a man attempted to pick up a child without proper identification. It was an excellent example of when to use the emergency message system. Thankfully, the diligent staff at Central thwarted what could have been a dangerous situation. Central’s quick response resulted in the police making contact with the man by noon today. Yet, the district message wasn’t sent out until 4:00 pm. Why did it take over four hours for the message to go out?

We all know that in any type of emergency the quicker the response the better the outcome. We have a system in place to get information out quickly and it works well if utilized properly. The system should be reserved for true emergency messages that arrive immediately. And when the message does go out or a letter is sent home, there should be someone to field calls from concerned parents. In our current troubling and unsettling world it is imperative we have a notification system that is accurate, prompt, and used appropriately.

Stand Up Clark County for the outstanding staff at Central Elementary.