GRC Principal David Bolen Releases Football Coach Steve Collins

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by Joan Graves

George Rogers Clark High School Principal David Bolen, has removed football coach Steve Collins of his duties.  Collins has been the subject of extensive controversy since taking the position as coach two years ago.  Bolen and other officials afforded Collins significant leniency in the face of multiple allegations.  That leniency stems from the fact that Collins was inserted as coach during a significantly controversial time.  However, since that time Collins has fallen short of what many expected him to do.

Within months of his arrival allegations surfaced of Collins and/or his staff bullying players, cursing them and at one point calling one a F#$%ing retard.  That led to a firestorm of emotion from parents of players and the special needs community.  Collins was never criminally charged or reprimanded by the school system, in response to those allegations. Months later Collins attempted to repair his image by lobbying for improvements to the football field but those efforts never got off the ground.

Collins’s inability to win on the field and the constant rumors and allegations off the field combined to become his ultimate demise. Preserving and repairing the image and integrity of GRC must be Principal Bolen’s first priority.  He is in a new building, with a new board and superintendent.  He is acutely aware of the community’s overwhelming desire and strong commitment to replacing failing programs, leadership and other venues that hold our students back.  This community is greatly invested in the overall improvement of every school in our county.  And they have proven they are in this for the long-haul.

It should never be underestimated what a grass roots effort of a very concerned community is willing and capable of doing for the benefit of our students.  Stand Up Clark County for giving ample opportunity but never being willing to settle for second best.

(Once again, I must remind all readers that this blog is considered an opinion piece.)

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.

Facility Plan – What Are We Made Of?

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, BJ Swope, Board Meetings, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Deanna Wolfe, Debbie Fatkin, Encouragement, In The News, Judy Hicks, Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, Point of View, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Joan Graves

the-future Tomorrow night the Clark County School Board will vote on which facilities plan to accept.  Each plan has its strength and its weaknesses.  Each plan will make some pleased and leave others mad.  That can be said of any facility plan in any school board room in any town USA.  Clark County will no doubt have double the emotions simply because of all we have been through prior to this point.

Our facility plan drama began years ago with a highly controversial plan cloaked in accusations of wrongdoing and corruption.  From the moment the ink was quietly placed on the contract, the deal immediately began treading water in a pool of innuendo that immediately divided the community.

It had been quite some time since several of those school board members had been challenged so apparently they were under the misguided notion they could do as they pleased.  They simply did what they had always done.  They counted on the community’s outrage to play itself out and citizens to lose their steam.  When instead the community rallied together to fight for the common good of everybody then things changed.

behind clouds  The previous board’s inability then and even now to consider that they made terrible mistakes, disregarded community opinion, failed to weigh all the options or even begin to have the courage to stand up for the least of us, proves how grossly inadequate they were to represent the greatest of us.  Therefore, they brought shame and suspect upon all of their actions most notably the notorious facilities plan.  In an outrageous show of unification, the community made clear their disgust of being muted and voted out the old and in the new.  Now, we turn to a new era.  It’s a new time and opportunity.

This is the first time that any board member, with the exception of Judy Hicks, in this entire facilities plan drama, has taken time to consider all angles.  This board heard the community loud and clear.  They fought the state.  They have labored, sweat, prayed, talked, lost sleep over and contemplated beyond the realms any of us wish to consider.  This board has taken on what everyone wanted changed but few dared to tackle.  This board, with the exception of Judy Hicks, stepped up to the mound in the last inning with everything lined up against them and nothing going for them but an overwhelming desire to take one for the team because it’s the right thing to do.  Could you do it?  I couldn’t.  That’s why I didn’t run for the board.  images (18)

So, on this eve that changes everything I am asking you, Clark County, what are we made of?  This facilities plan is more than about a mere vote on metal and steel.  It’s a vote on the kind of people we are.  Are we selfish people willing to turn on one another if we don’t get our way?  Are we weak people willing to flaunt that our vote won over the plan that didn’t?  Or are we people with backbone, people who reach deep and know that regardless of what tomorrow holds it is a new era?  It’s a time of when we say all that is gone before, matters no more.  We have a board that will never again put our kids or their own reputations on the market to the highest bidder.  There is no more secret meetings, over-paid bureaucrats, over inflated egos or nauseating misuse of the media.

Life has shown us that more often than not to find what is keeping we must first sift through the rubbish.  To find a hidden treasure we must get dirty digging it from the dirt.  To find a diamond we have to travel the blackest coal shafts.  And if we want real gold then we have to spend hours on our knees shaking it from the imposters and fool’s gold surrounding it.  Finding what is real is important but what becomes more important is how do we treat what is authentic when we are not accustom to seeing it?  Now, is our time Clark County.  Stand up for your school board and say we respect your effort you have put into this decision making process – thank you for having the courage to do the job no one else wanted.

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Bad School Administrators Are Everywhere

Posted in In The News, National Stories with tags , , on January 21, 2014 by Joan Graves

Bad Administrators Are Everywhere

marcella_sills  Follow the red-lettered link to a story in the New York Post about a principal accused of biased hiring, racism, poor leadership, intimidation, harassment and more. Across the country, schools are dealing with these types of situations. In each and every case what finally got things changed were people willing to stand up to the head bully in charge.

Stand Up Clark County and never be willing to take a seat at a child’s expense.

Rolling Stone Magazine Report Includes Stand UP Clark County

Posted in In The News, National Stories with tags , , , on December 2, 2013 by Joan Graves

Stand Up Clark County has been receiving a lot of attention lately from various media sources including national outlets. The latest comes from Rolling Stone Magazine. Rolling Stone did a lengthy piece on Deric Lostutter the local man at the center of a federal investigation involving KY Anonymous hacking allegations. The article outlines Lostutters claims of assistance to various groups including Stand Up Clark County, which was already reporting on the school board issues when Lostutter got involved. Read the full article here. http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/anonymous-vs-steubenville-20131127

 

Partial Lawsuit Resolution

Posted in Lawsuit with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Joan Graves

In the multiple pages of documents filed by former superintendent Elaine Farris, there was mention of only one specific. Farris stated that Patti and Paul Columbia and I filed false criminal charges against her niece, Tiffany Davis. The charges against Davis stem from an incident during a board meeting when Farris was still in charge of Clark County Schools.  Patti filed criminal charges against Davis after Davis walked by Patti and nudged, kneed, kicked, pushed or whatever verb you prefer to use. Neither Paul nor I had a hand in filing those charges. I, however, was listed as a witness due, in part, to a snippet of video captured on my phone. Davis denied all of the charges and Farris filed her civil lawsuit within a day or so of Davis being criminally charged.

In October, Davis and her attorney met with Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas. After months of delaying Davis’s trial resolution finally came. In a plea bargain, Davis agreed to a peace bond. While it doesn’t necessarily indicate Davis is admitting guilt it certainly makes the statement that she opted not to take her chances before a jury trial. The peace bond functions as a type of restraining order in which Davis agrees to stay away from the Columbias and therefore avoids further court appearances and possible jail time.

Why did you not read this in the Winchester Sun? I asked the same question. The Sun’s response was that since Davis didn’t live in Clark County they didn’t report on it. Yet, the crime occurred in Clark County, the trial would have taken place here and the plea deal was struck by our tax paid county attorney, thereby providing a steak in the case to every tax paying citizen in Clark County. The Winchester Sun is filled daily with car accidents, crimes and other stories regarding individuals that do not live in Clark County. So, we must ask ourselves why the Sun has “rules” that apply to some but not all. Then again, considering comic books are larger than the Winchester Sun these days I don’t think it matters much.

Stand Up Clark County and demand truth and disclosure.  Image

 

Your Help Urgently Needed

Posted in In The News, National Stories, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , on November 18, 2013 by Joan Graves

The mission of Stand Up Clark County has always been that of good and that has never been more true than today. A community is known by it’s backbone and our backbone is strong in both giving and receiving through STRIDE. For those that don’t know STRIDE serves individuals with intellectual disabilities by providing them the opportunity to serve the community by volunteering and by being better educated in order to live independently. STRIDE participants learn social skills, how to take care of themselves and participate in Special Olympics. But the greatest thing STRIDE gives to those in the program is what we all take for granted – friendship. This video shows that.

Today STRIDE has the opportunity to win a much needed van from the Toyota 100 Cars For Good program but it can’t be done without you. Please go to https://apps.facebook.com/carsforgood/?fb_source=search&ref=br_tf and vote for STRIDE. This is the only day of voting so don’t hesitate a moment longer. On behalf of all of STRIDE participants, thank you for Standing Up and being a friend.

 

KY High School Athletic Association – KY’s Black Eye To The Nation

Posted in In The News, Louisville Courier Journal, Sports with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2013 by Joan Graves

Regardless of what local and state leaders would like us to believe, The Kentucky High School Athletic Association did in fact, ban postgame handshakes. When the bonehead move hit the national news, the back-pedaling started. Now, the KHSAA states that though they banned handshakes they do not intend to enforce the ban. Wow. Way to lead. Make a rule, do not stand by it, and do not enforce it. It is ridiculous and shameful to say the least.

What we now know is that the purpose of the ban was only to free KHSAA from being at fault should a fight breakout during the “good sportsmanlike conduct” of the postgame handshake. Without a doubt sports game violence is on the rise. Rather than actually address a problem KHSAA opted to find a loophole that might clear them of at least a little liability. KHSAA sent their message loud and clear, “Let the kids fight but don’t blame us”. And sadly, the entire country heard.

Violence in sports is a chronically unfolding disaster in our country that few are willing to tackle. I find it profoundly sad. From Little League to high school, regardless of what sport I was playing, not one of my coaches would have ever accepted fighting under any circumstances. I think we can all agree that I am more than a little sassy. Yet, it took only once for me to be benched by a coach to shut me up. Sure I was mad about it but when I complained to my mom she informed me that I would either listen to the coach, quit the team or be kicked off, but she would absolutely not go against any coach teaching me respect. The lesson was well learned.

KHSAAIf the KHSAA truly wants to curb fights at games, they could require higher standards from the coaches. Rather than attach a higher standard clause as a means to clear KHSAA from liability perhaps they should actually investigate claims made against coaches. What would happen if a questionable coach was forced to wear a microphone during games AND practices?

Too many coaches tolerate a bad kid who is a good player because of the pressure to win. What if we recognized coaches for forcing their star player to follow the rules despite a losing season? What if coaches receive bonuses based upon the moral climate of their team and their overall positive influence in the community? What would happen if a coach’s pay grade was determined by his/her positive interaction with players, parents and the community rather than how many games they win? Here is the magic of it all. When we take the time to build good, moral players they naturally morph into a good, winning team. Yet, even if they don’t we must become a society more focused on winning in life rather than the fleeting, good feeling of winning in a moment.

As long as we allow the KHSAA to acknowledge the problems such as Sanford but act only to protect themselves, then we allow them to hold Kentucky to longest, disreputable, shameful and wholly destructive losing streak of all time. The KHSAA has turned KY into a laughing-stock of the entire nation once again. How many times are we going to tolerate this? How long are we going to allow our kids, schools, and ourselves to be led by individuals who seek only to relieve themselves of liability? Until we get serious about leadership, no one else will take our leadership seriously.

Stand Up Clark County and have the courage to lead KY in athletics.

 

Parent Arrested For Challenging School Board

Posted in In The News, National Stories with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by Joan Graves

http://video.foxnews.com/v/2687140351001/why-was-a-parent-arrested-for-protesting-common-core/

So, who has seen this? I’ve known about it for a couple of days now but just watched it. From what I understand there is more of the video floating around but this is the crucial part. I love that this man is shouting for parents to stand up for their kids even as he is being dragged out & falsely arrested. FYI – police dropped the charges today.

Forget Halloween, This Level Of Hypocrisy Is Truly Frightening

Posted in BJ Swope, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Emails with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2013 by Joan Graves

Former board of education member, BJ Swope recently decided to “get a few things off his chest”. Recently, he posted this to his FB.

“My view on the local politics. Some decisions were made 4-1/2 years ago for the safety of students. The new board is elected and they did not address the safety concerns that was brought up in 2008. The concerns was a “game changing” enough that I changed my stance on a topic in April 2008. I lost “friends” and the trust of the people around me because what I found out but kept my mouth shut, hoping and praying that the problem will get solved. I will not go into detail but am very disappointed in the direction of this new board. The new board has chose to play politics and hire someone that was the least qualified candidate academically. The new board members ran on the platform of “we want to save small schools & were against the merged middle school,” yet hire the one candidate that voted twice in a sub-committee for the current facility plan. Way to “stand up Clark County” for the best interests of students and not your own political desires.”

BJ was my board representative and I trusted him. Due to the ongoing litigation I cannot get into the specifics of what BJ told me but suffice it to say, he was not a fan of Elaine Farris’s nor Judy Hicks. In fact, he was not a fan of anything that was taking place or so it would seem. In January 2011, BJ voted against accepting a personnel package that contained the firing of GRC’s head football coach. Later, I would learn through legally obtained emails that BJ was not only telling me what the board was doing but also he was telling the board what I was doing. I thought I was talking to a trusted advisor. I had no way of knowing he was playing both sides against the middle. I feel I must now apologize to the community for the faith I had in BJ Swope. I was duped once but I will not be again. BJ Swope is the absolute last person who should be discussing student safety or anything else about our schools. However, you do not need me to tell you that. Just take a look at his remarks in his own words.

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This email was retrieved through Kentucky‘s Open Records Law, which is ironic considering there is nothing open about it. While it seems BJ had concern for the kids, it should be noted that the school in question was already housing students. Which means he knew of a direct threat to our students and did not report it to the public. He opted instead to continue chasing down answers from people he believed was being evasive. The email dated September 23, 2010 but according to BJ’s recent FB post he knew back in 2008. The post states it was a “game changer” as he reversed his opinion on building the new high school. According to BJ himself, he opted to build the new high school because of safety issues at the old GRC building.

BJ openly admits to “keeping his mouth shut” about the safety issues. Which means he knew for YEARS students were in danger and did not a single thing to protect them. How many students were in jeopardy? How many still are in danger? Even now, he will not come clean. He openly admits to endangering the lives of thousands of students and did nothing but “hope and pray” the problem resolved itself. Are you kidding me?! How in the world could doing absolutely nothing to protect students ever be a good idea for anyone, most especially a board of education member? What about the students in the building now? Is the danger still there? Considering BJ’s level of resentment against the new board, it is a safe assumption to say he has not revealed his safety concerns. I suggest the parents of Conkwright Middle School students explore this safety threat.

The Kentucky School Board Association (http://www.ksba.org/) defines the code of ethical conduct a school board member should have and there is an oath of office each member takes. I have no idea what the repercussions are for a public official who confesses to violating his oath of office, voting against his constituents, failing to advise students of potential danger and deceiving the public,. What I do know is the current board of education is working hard to dig us from the muddy mire in which the previous board dumped us. They are performing their job in the face of great adversity with integrity, commitment, courage and a level of transparency we have not had in years, if ever.

Stand Up Clark County and so no more hypocritical leaders for our schools.