Archive for George Rogers Clark High School

Misinformation Regarding New GRC Football Coach

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2014 by Joan Graves

George Rogers Clark Principal, David Bolen and a hiring committee he selected, recently named Mike Riddle as head football coach. On June 3, the Winchester Sun ran the story about the hiring stating Riddle lettered for four season (1995-1998) at the University of Kentucky. According to the University of Kentucky that is not true. A listing of UK Lettermen lists Riddle as lettering in only 1998. A phone call to the University of Kentucky confirmed the information.

This is not believed to be an error of reporting on the part of the Winchester Sun. The information can be found in Riddle’s bio. It is the same bio information reported when Riddle was hired at Georgia State. Most notable about that position is that Riddle was hired by his former UK Coach Bill Curry. Considering Curry coached at UK 1990-1996 he would have been well aware that reports of Riddle lettering four years were incorrect. Curry’s role in the incorrect information being widely reported in Georgia is unknown.

What is known, is that as principal David Bolen has the final call in hiring. It is his responsibility to verify all information regarding prospective employees. It took less than 30 minutes from the time the information was reported to Stand Up Clark County until it was verified. This event raises questions regarding the hiring and firing practices at GRC.

Superintendent Paul Christy has been notified of the discrepancy. It is now up to him as to how he will handle Bolen and Riddle. One thing is certain. Christy absolutely cannot ignore this. This community, our schools and our players deserve transparency from our school administrators. We demand thorough background checks, biography confirmations and every reference checked for every potential school employee, every single time. We will not be deceived. 

Stand Up Clark County and demand immediate action in this matter.

 

Resources

http://www.georgiastatesports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=12700&ATCLID=1515564

http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/hou/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2011-12/misc_non_event/week_gastate.pdf

http://www.centralkynews.com/winchestersun/sports/high_school/grc/riddle-hired-as-new-football-coach-at-george-rogers-clark/article_df198819-5262-5fc7-82c9-f1574b8cf84e.html?mode=print

http://billcurry.net/biography

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.)

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.

Beyond Friday Night

Posted in In The News, National Stories, Point of View, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2013 by Joan Graves

GRC Football Coach Steve Collins has recently been requesting media interviews regarding money for an AstroTurf football field. I was dismayed to hear Collins say, that a new field would, “mean a lot” to the players and that “was the most important thing.” That type of statement can project the image that our school system centers on football rather than education.

By investing so much time and energy into obtaining the field, Collins is making it clear an Astro Turf field is a priority for him and the community has a major hand in whether his priority becomes our reality. Players naturally adopt the priorities of their coach. In this case they may cast a negative eye on a community they have been deceived into thinking is against them.

The football program is very valuable and we need to invest in it as we can. Nevertheless, the program is not nearly as important as the players themselves and their peers. It is the responsibility of coaches to graduate balanced, fully educated players with a strong sense of community. That recipe is what transforms a student into a successful adult. What the current football team is receiving is far from what they are due. They deserve more than adults who strive to pit them against their community.

The nightly news is filled with the tragic outcomes of kids being taught their wants and needs are paramount over everyone else’s. The Steubenville High School rape case gained national attention but it was not a lone case. Nor was it something that happened unexpectedly. The situation grew naturally out of an environment of players believing football is the most important thing and having adults cover up their crimes and infractions, depriving them of the positive life experiences that come with accountability.

The mental grooming in Steubenville took place over a period of years. Steubenville was like a cancer tumor growing quietly within while the symptoms were covered up. By the time it was discovered, the roots were so deep it threatened the very life that maintained it. The players’ sense of entitlement was so complete they failed to see the repeated rape of a drunken, passed out girl a problem. In a sick and perverted video frenzy, they documented and shared their crimes.

The few players who knew rape was wrong turned away or gave a half-hearted effort to stop it. Parents try to instill a morale sense in kids but frequently their kids spend the majority of their time with people opposed to those morals or at the very least ignore them. The negative input overrode the positive parenting. Students testified in court, that the high school focused on football and the rules that applied to the general student population did not include football players. Football players had a staff of coaches and others willing to cheat, lie and cover-up crimes for the sake of a win.

Is that what we want for our kids? Do we want to be the next Steubenville? Do you want your kid to be the next to commit suicide over his/her treatment at school or be the next rape statistic? Cases like this happen in Anytown USA. The difference between us in them is that we cling to our fundamental morale foundation.  Steubenville adults taught those kids they did not have to take responsibility. That is a very poisonous lie. Responsibility will come. The only question is, when? Two players sit in prison, for all of their life branded a sex offender while the adults who traded their future for a Friday night win go scot-free.

Clark County has a strong sense of community. When tragedy strikes, we pull together as a single powerful force. Many don’t understand our “small town ways”, including the small towns that surround us. What may work in another county will fail here and vice versa. That is why we should always promote the hiring of Clark County citizens over outsiders. It is important to explore new ideas and ways of doing things. But if those ideas are in direct opposition of our community’s core values then we must stand against them. Clark County has consistently focused on turning out graduates who have learned the importance denying self to help another. We have seen previous GRC students travel hours on a brutally cold winter night just to give a two-minute speech about how a Clark County educator made a positive life changing impact on his life. No one forced them to come. They came because the values they learned taught ran so deep they simply could not do anything else. That is truly the most important thing.

I agree with Collins that we have endured a season of change. For that reason alone, we must demand coaches cater to the needs of the whole child rather than just those of a player. Tragedies such as Steubenville occur when we stop viewing players as evolving individuals who need strong ethical guidance to achieve their full potential.

We need a community supportive of the football program and a football program involved in the community. We want our players hungry for a win but we want them starving to positively impact their community. When the whole child is attended to, games are won, students become high achievers, and communities prosper. We can climb out of this pit of controversy, celebrate great wins in sports, bridge achievement gaps and soar to the top rather than continue to dangle at the bottom of the educational food chain. However, it will only happen when we start looking beyond Friday night.

Stand Up Clark County because life is more than a game.

NOTE: This blog post represents the views and opinions of Joan Graves.

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.

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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. 

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

The remarks in this blog are the expression of opinion.