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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

#SpyGate Shhh! I listened to WVNN AM NewsTalk so you won't have too

Secret Keeper

What is the first thing you do if you are HCS Superintendent Casey Wardynski, and HCS Board President David Blair,  and you are facing a PR nightmare over Operation #SpyGate, and you can't hold a staged protest on the steps of the Annie Merts Center?

Run as fast as your short, little, legs will carry you over to  The Attack Machine to save the day!  (Cue in Mighty Mouse theme song)

That's right (pun intended),  the best way to make your case is to take it to Radio Boy, aka Dale Jackson.  I mean, who better to make your case for spying on some students social media accounts than the person who used the official state seal on a memo telling Democrats to vote the day after the election, and called State Representative Laura Hall a racist coward

Anyhoo, here is what I learned on WVNN News Talk today and other places around the web regarding  #hsvboe Operation #SpyGate:

1.  Racial Profiling is OK.

2.  No amount of money is too much if it results in putting black/brown students out of school.

3.  The students should have called their social media post a parody and called it a day.

4.  Real Gang members don't post on Facebook.

5.  The NSA is in Maryland.....not Washington D.C.

Welcome Back Merts Center Monitor!
 If you are here, I expect you already know about the latest crock of lies, evasions, deceits, illegalities, and violations of civil rights on the part of Wardynski and his henchmen: the May 2012 NSA tip-off (which the NSA denies) about a so-called immediate threat of danger (aka juvenile last day of school humor) with a foreign connection: one of the 100s of people following then junior Auseel Yousefi’s Twitter feed was a Yemeni (and thus, it seems, presumed to be a Muslim Jihadist terrorist) and how this tip-off led to the never-spent-a-day-on-the-battlefield retired colonel forming a surveillance project that the Board of Education maybe did or maybe didn’t know about (damn! who was responsible for delivering the scripts last week?) two months before the Yemeni non-event occurred.

You were missed.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

#SpyGate "Casey Wardynski totally believes NSA contacted HCS" ... because Al Langford

HCS Security Chief Al Langford (L) HCS Superintendent Casey Wardynski R)
Question:  Why would an "unidentified person from the National Security Agency" call Al Langford to warn of the "potential of a violent threat"?  Did he fall for a prank?   I'm just asking....

Imagine this scenario: Cue in music from Get Smart


Al Langford , Huntsville's longtime security officer, sitting at his desk doing long time security and the phone rings:

Ring! Ring!

AL Picks up the phone and says:  Hello, this is Al Langford, longtime security officer for Huntsville City Schools.

Mr. AL Langford, this is agent 00something from the NSA in Washington D.C. Look at your caller ID for verification. (snicker)

AL:  Hey, how are things at NASA?

Agent 00something:  Not N-A-S=A.....N-S-A as in the National Security Agency.

Al sits up straighter in his seat and says  Oh!  Yes Sir!  How... what can I do for you?

Agent 00something:  *Ahem*, well we've been *ahem* monitoring the Facebook accounts in your area and I'm calling to warn you of the potential of a violent threat against a teacher by a  student with a *ahem* foreign connection.  Your mission, if you decide to accept, is to notify your Superiors and commence rounding up the potential threats ASAP.

Al stands up, salutes and says:   Yes Sir, I will get on this right away!  Good bye Um ... Your excellencies or  sirs, or brothers, people ... um ... !

Langford hangs up the phone, sprints down the hall of the Merts Center, notifies his superiors of the phone call and Viola'!.....  Operation #SpyGate is born! 
 The schools started tapping into students’ Facebook and social media postings to check for photos of guns and gang signs, threats of violence and anything else that could give clues of looming acts of violence, the Daily Mail reported. They conducted the surveillance as part of a program called Students Against Fear, or SAFe,Mr. Wardynski insists the NSA got involved because there was a “foreign connection” — that a student in Huntsville who was found to have made threats had previously engaged in an online chat with an individual in Yemen.
Um...about that student in Huntsville who was found to have made potential threats...
 Auseel Yousefi says he did it. He sent the tweets that school officials say led to a warning from the NSA which led Huntsville to begin monitoring student Facebook pages.
But he says it was all a joke, a bad one -- a stand-up routine that would cost him the first semester of his senior year at Lee High School.
On the day he got in trouble, Yousefi says, he was taken into a room full of administrators and shown emailed photos of a series of jokes on his Twitter feed. He says the administrators alternately referred to reports of threats forwarded by "the NSA" or an "NSA affiliate."  
"It meant absolutely nothing to me at the time," he said of the  National Security Agency, the U.S. government's global spy network. Instead, Yousefi was focused on defending the humor in those tweets. Then school security searched his car. They found a jeweled dagger from a Renaissance fair in the glove box. Yousefi would be expelled for one semester.
Superintendent Casey Wardynski has said the NSA contacted the system because of the foreign connection. Yousefi, now a student at Birmingham-Southern, said he was born and raised in Alabama, but his parents were from Yemen.
So Operation #SpyGate was created because of some tweeting gone bad by a student whose parents are from (not to be confused with IN) Yemen?
It was his last day of junior year at Lee High School. Yousefi said he woke up early and decided: "How funny would it be if I tweeted last day of school jokes?"
He announced a list of what he would do that day. He sent four or five tweets.
"In retrospect, it was a very dumb thing to do."
The first was the most problematic. Yousefi said he wrote" "I'm going to chop (his biology teacher) in the throat." To his mind, it was harmless. It was an inside joke, he said, as the female teacher had used similar language to get the class to be quiet. The students thought it was funny.
Yousefi was her student aide. He called her "adorable."
The second was the one he regrets most. But it contained nothing that could be misconstrued as a violent threat. He tweeted something about a female administrator's "balls of steel." He said that tweet made him feel the most awkward when confronted later.
Third, he tweeted he would sweet talk an attractive young teacher and get a kiss. "Total joke. She's 24. It's never going to happen," he said.
Next, he tweeted: "I'm going to get in a fight today." This joke, he said, was funny if you knew him. Later he would try use his own tweets espousing pacifism to explain the irony. It didn't work.
"This is 6 in the morning in my bed. I didn't think about it afterwards."
Remember that time Huntsville High Students posted pictures of their Senior Prank and their reaction on the Web?  
The Huntsville High School students have had their punishment handed down. As we dig deeper into this story, WAFF 48 News wanted to tell you about some of the things we found on the web about the prank.
Many of the messages on message boards, including the one on WAFF.com , seem to be in support of what these teens did.
We found comment after comment in support of these Huntsville High teens. And we found pictures of the man in the halls of Huntsville High.
Photos were posted on the www.facebook.com by 19-year-old Huntsville High student, Charles Bendall.
It shows a man in a hallway partially dressed. The title reads: Huntsville Hobo Fans with a description that says: "This is for all who thought our senior prank was hilarious, and that think it's bull**** that they are making such a big deal over it."
Other pictures show a homeless man, with Charles Bendall and Travis Bridges.
And what punishment was handed down for these students you ask?
According to school officials, the students were apprehended soon after the event. They have been prohibited from Senior Activities and may, yes may, face community service hours.
WHAT?! They dehumanized a homeless man. They shred his dignity. They took advantage of his situation. They put him in harm as an intruder in the school that could be dealt with by force by the police. Why are there no criminal charges? Surely, the D.A. could charge them with abuse or criminal negligence or criminal mischief. Was it because the students are trying to be naive in the fact that it was a "harmless" prank? I don't know, but if there was ever a need for a "trading places" experiment- it's with these young adults.
Big difference from the punishment some students faced for allegedly posting pictures of themselves on social media with sub machine guns and fists full of $100.00 bills.
Wardynski said the city used the SAFe program to break up a gang called the Wolfpack, with six or seven members -- all related to each other through family -- in various schools. The students were expelled and placed in alternative school and boot camp programs.
Wardynski said Huntsville schools have seen sporadic gang recruitment and what he called "wannabe" gangs. "We don't want them to get into the major league," he said.
Acting on tips from students or teachers or others, schools security staff scour numerous social media sites, including Facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, and more. They look for evidence of imminent threats to the schools or of gang activity. Wardysnki said the program has led to about a dozen expulsions each year so far and that security is actively monitoring social media at all times.
So let me see if I have this right (pun intended), post the potential of an imminent threat on Facebook you get expulsion.  Post a picture of a naked homeless man, you get banned from Senior activities, community service, and you get to go on with your life.  Oh, OK.

Don't get me wrong,  I am glad this little "youthful indiscretion" didn't ruin the Huntsville High School students lives, or destroy their future. I think the punishment they received was appropriate, compassionate, and fair.  Hopefully they learned a valuable life lesson and went on to become productive citizens. The victims of #SpyGate, not so much.
 But consider those kids who weren't so "lucky" and because they posted pictures of themselves as wannabe toughs with guns ended up at the Pinnacle Boot Camp (aka the teepees aka therapeutic wilderness camp aka private prison) with no contact with the outside world, no lawyer, and no release date, or at Pinnacle's Huntsville campus where one of the guards was indicted (and I presume is still awaiting trial) for torturing students.

The motto of Huntsville City Schools  used to be Education is the Hope of the Republic, with the dismantling of the Fletcher Seldon Center and other radical changes, this motto is no longer true for black/brown/poor/special education students because this superintendent,  enabled by this school board, is systematically destroying any hope for the future of our republic, choosing to fuel the cradle to prison pipeline instead.

Operation #SpyGate recap:
 HCS school superintendent Casey Wardynski decided it was within his power to set up a super secret  surveillance program of some students' social media accounts , based on an alleged call from an unidentified caller who said they were from the NSA, placed to longtime Huntsville City Schools  security officer Al Langford.

Oh, OK.

RedEye Roll

Saturday, September 27, 2014

This is not the first time Casey Wardynski has used media driven, racial stereotypes, to skeer the BeJezzus out of white folks to get his way

student1.jpgstudent3.jpg

Internal documents explaining Huntsville Superintendent Casey Wardynski's supper secret spying without a warrant program, obtained by AL.com, show examples of four different students posing on Facebook with handguns. None are on school grounds. Three are listed as expelled. One was referred for counseling (I wonder where?).  All the students are black/brown.

Students posing potential problems have already been identified before their social media accounts are reviewed, Wardynski said.

IMG959694.jpg 
Students like Auseel Yousefi, who Wardynski claims the NSA (National Security Agency) contacted him about because of his foreign connection, which he admits set Operation #SpyGate into motion. 
The district says they've monitored students' Facebook pages since the start of the year, saying a security officer got a call from the NSA about a student threat to a teacher.(Source: WAFF) 
With the lone African American School Board member ( who didn't know nothing until she did know something) at his side, Wardynski skeers, I mean defends Operation #SpyGate, also known as the social media monitoring program.
"Children are very brazen about the information they put on Facebook. It is stunning to watch a video of a child, who is 13, do a beatdown on a 12-year-old." said Huntsville City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Casey Wardynski. "The child's comrades have submachine guns and handfuls of $100 bills while making threats. When you see that as a superintendent, you don't let that come in your schools. It poses a threat to your school order, discipline, and safety."
The superintendent said he didn't mention the program to students and parents because it would undermine what the program was used for.
Un Huh.  My question is where are 12 and 13 year old children getting submachine guns and handfuls of $100.00 bills from in this economy?  And why weren't parents and law enforcement notified of these brazen acts?
Lee Neighborhood
Here’s the picture that accompanied the text that Dr. Wardynski was using to justify the $600,000 fence around Lee High School
Evidently Dr. Wardynski didn’t see it as he didn’t comment on it, but I see a faceless figure, probably male, approximately six feet tall wearing stained jeans, a dark tee-shirt underneath the scariest item of clothing known to at least parts of America: the Hoodie.
Yes, in order to convince the board to support the new fence around Lee High, he showed them a picture of a person in a hoodie. (Truthfully, I think the board had already made up their minds on this matter. I think this was intended to drive the need for a fence home to the general public.)
Eye report. You decide.
#hsvboe

Friday, September 26, 2014

RedEye's Weekly Rundown: What we know about #hsvboe SpyGate so far

9-21-12Wardzynski.jpg
Fist Dap Crowblog

What we know.

We know Huntsville City Schools, under the control and command of military colonel, turned superintendent, Casey WARdynski, has been secretly spying on students, and probably yours truly and who knows who else, since at least January 2014 and possibly since as early as May 2013

We know Wardynski said a call from the NSA, via a call to Al Lankford, tipped the school district to a student making violent threats on Facebook.

We know Wardynski said, "There was a foreign connection,"  explaining why the NSA would take time out of their busy day to warn HCS, Wardysnki said the student in Huntsville had made the online threats while chatting online with a group that included an individual in Yemen.

We know as a result of this "call" a student was expelled after HCS security searched their car and found a large knife, not a gun and a knife as originally reported, and it was not the student who was making violent threats while chatting online with a group that included an individual in Yeman.

We know  the student wasn't chatting on Facebook with a group that included an individual in Yemen, it was a student from Yemen,  and said student sent tweets (not to be confused with Facebook)  HCS say led to the warning from the NSA, which led Huntsville to begin monitoring student Facebook pages.

We know the Al.com editorial board tends to believe Wardynki over the NSA, and wants Congressman Mo Brooks to get to the bottom of this. 

We know some school board members said they didn't know about the spying program before they said they did know about the spying program.

We know this issue didn't come to light until after the school board election, and the District 3 board candidates facing each other in a runoff  have somewhat different takes on the Huntsville school district's secret surveillance of students' social media accounts.

We know candidate Elise Ferrell said the information she gathered indicated that a second call came to the district about that threat, from a company called GEOCOP, a cyber security software company, among other things.

We know this covert spying program, that may have cost taxpayers as much as $1,050,768.67, has not been overseen by anyone.

We know Casey Wardynski is doing the job he was hired which is to stand up to the aclu (sic) types, and, the ACLU  submitted an open records request to Huntsville City Schools in June seeking information about how the system monitors its students on social media, concerned blacks were being disproportionately punished. We also know Huntsville City Schools spokesman Keith Ward (not to be confused with the Director of Community Engagement) is "working on a response.

We know in a presentation about the monitoring system obtained by AL.com, photos show three black males and one black female. We also know all of the students that have been nabbed by the program are black and brown.

We know all of these dangerous gang members were either expelled or sent to the Pinnacle program.

We know taxpayers have been censored and silenced.

We know Big Brother isn't coming, he's already here.

Are we safe yet?
I was asked an important question yesterday by a good friend: “Do you ever worry that your activism will result in retribution against your kids?”
The short answer to that question is, simply, yes.
Next:   What we don't know about #hsvboe Spygate

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#hsvboe...Anything "some students" say on Social Media can, and will be, used against them



National Security Agency.svg
Seal of the National Security Agency

I have a ritual to help me decide the topic of my daily blog post.  First, I log on to my blog and scroll down the blog roll.  Then I log on to Facebook, followed by Twitter,  and lastly,  Al.com.

What I saw posted in the Alabama Today section about HCS Superintendent Casey WARdynski   made my Eyes get bigger,  the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and had me pacing the floor muttering expletives. 
A secret program to monitor students' online activities began quietly in Huntsville schools, following a phone call from the NSA, school officials say.
Huntsville schools Superintendent Casey Wardynski says the system began monitoring social media sites 18 months ago, after the National Security Agency tipped the school district to a student making violent threats on Facebook.
There are so many things wrong here I don't know where to start, so I guess I will start by saying Freedom isn't Free.

Since the inception of the Patriot Act and the revelations of warrant less surveillance, I've long held Big Brother  is watching every move we make, but like a good citizen I adopted the if you aren't doing anything wrong you don't have anything to worry about meme.  To my knowledge, expressing opinions via social media, blogs or forums is not against the law.  I falsely assumed we had this little thingy called freedom of speech in the United States of America, and anything we said in these forums couldn't/wouldn't be used against us.   Wrong.
Regardless of how the program started, Huntsville City Schools began scanning Facebook and other sites for signs of gang activity, watching for photos of guns, photos of gang signs and threats of violence.
This superintendent is consumed with the idea of gangs and considers himself an expert.
The four students from Lee High School who filmed a fight in a school bathroom and posted the video to YouTube did so as a gang initiation, Huntsville's superintendent said.
Dr. Casey Wardynski said the fight, which came to light Jan. 20 after the video went viral, wasn't an ordinary skirmish between students. 

"It was a gang initiation; these students went to lunch together afterward," Wardynski said.
 The superintendent said there is zero tolerance in the district for gang activity.
"There will be no gangs in our schools," Wardynski said.
Gang is the new Black 
When asked at a community meeting why students in north Huntsville are required to wear school uniforms,  in a rare moment of candor the superintendent said that was the only way school administrators could tell the gang members from students.
Here's the school district's explanation of how the program got started:
About a year and half ago, Wardynski said, the NSA called Huntsville and reported a high school student had threatened on Facebook to injure a teacher.
Al Lankford, the city's longtime school security officer, told AL.com that he took the NSA phone call. He said security officers went to the high school and eventually searched the boy's car.
Huntsville City Schools
"We found a very good size knife and the student was expelled," said Wardynski, a former U.S. Army colonel appointed as superintendent in Huntsville in 2011.
Big Brother isn't coming, he's already here.
Why was the NSA watching what this student posted on facebook?  The above article says the knife was found in his car but that's not what the initial news reports said.
 A Huntsville City Schools spokesperson said security workers found a knife and gun in a student’s possession Monday at Butler High School.
Additional search procedures were implemented, and no other prohibited items were found.  The male student was charged with two Class III violations of the Huntsville City Schools Student Code of Conduct.
So which one is it, was the knife found in his car (perfectly legal), or in his possession?
The NSA is focused on foreign intelligence. Vines said any information about a domestic safety issue would be sent to another federal agency, like the FBI. "Moreover, NSA does not make recommendations regarding school safety programs," said Vines via email.
"There was a foreign connection," said Wardynski, explaining why the NSA would contact Huntsville schools. He said the student in Huntsville had made the online threats while chatting online with a group that included an individual in Yemen.

There is just one little problem with this scenario...the NSA denies they contacted Huntsville City Schools .
NSA did not acknowledge placing such a call. "The National Security Agency has no record that it passed any information to the Huntsville school district, and the description of what supposedly occurred is inconsistent with NSA's practices," said Vanee Vines, public affairs specialist with the NSA, on Monday.
The NSA is focused on foreign intelligence. Vines said any information about a domestic safety issue would be sent to another federal agency, like the FBI. "Moreover, NSA does not make recommendations regarding school safety programs," said Vines via email.
So who are you going to believe Casey Wardynski, or the NSA?  I'll take the NSA for 100 Alex.
 Board members Topper Birney and Laurie McCaulley, contacted for this story last week, said they were unaware of the monitoring program and the board was not briefed. The city system web site contains no operational information on SAFe, but displays a logo and lists three staff members. Those include two security officers and consultant Chris McRae.
What did BOE members know and when did they know it?
I can understand the weakest links Birney and McCaulley) not having a clue about this program, but what about David Blair, Dr. Jeannie Robinson, and Mike Culbreath?  Did they know?  Did they authorize the hiring of a full time staff to do nothing but investigate what students and other private citizens do online ?
There is disagreement on the Huntsville school board about whether or not Superintendent Casey Wardynski informed board members that the district had begun secretly monitoring student activity on social media.
Psst! The key word here is SECRETLY.  If you tell people what's going on it's not a secret.
Both Blair and McCaulley voiced concerns about the information provided to AL.com and the subsequent media attention the program is receiving.
Blair said students intending to do harm at school might be less likely to put information about their intentions online if they know the district is watching.
"This kind of stuff puts kids in danger," Blair said.
McCaulley said that whoever leaked the security presentation to the media may have broken Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) laws because the presentation included pictures of students.
She said, however, that the program itself has worked by letting the district know about students who may have been planning something dangerous on campus. The documents obtained by AL.com showed pictures of four different students posing on Facebook with handguns.
Three of those students were subsequently expelled and the fourth was referred for counseling.  
"This is a program that works to save kids," McCaulley said
Preemptive Strike!
Are they out of their cotton picking minds?  Do they honestly believe this program has saved kids?  Saved them from whom?  Saved them from what?  Expelling students who may (or may not) have been planning something dangerous and referring the counseling isn't helping them, or anybody else.   And why weren't parents notified of any potential threats of violence?

Although this information is just hitting the fan, it's not new.  CaseyWardynski is doing the job he was hired to do. 
Casey you have to break the mold and prove you're not afraid of minorities, democrats, liberals, aclu (sic) types and the entire entitlement crowd! Do that, and you'll be doing the job you were hired to do! Oh yeah, not to mention striking down all racial transfers. And that includes allowing not allowing whites to racially transfer either. If you don't like where your child goes to school, move to where they can be zoned into a school of your preference, that's what I had to do!
The Alabama ACLU asked Huntsville City Schools about their social media policy  three months ago.
The American Civil Liberties Union wants to know if Huntsville City Schools is snooping on students.
The group published an open letter (PDF) to Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski Tuesday, which includes a public records request for information on any disciplinary actions taken against students based on their social media activities.
The ACLU said other schools around the country are punishing students for comments made on social media critical of schools, even if the comments are made after school hours on private property.
There is no indication of any specific complaints against Huntsville City Schools at the present time.
Tuesday afternoon, WAFF also mailed a public records request for the same information. We will keep you updated on how the district responds.
The letter said the program can constitute a students right to privacy and freedom of expression online.  It also said suspensions and expulsions are often meted out in a disproportionate manner that negatively impacts student of color.  Look at the pictures presented in the article and you will see this to be true.

It ought to be against the law to lie to taxpayers
Someone is lying about the origins of a secret student social media monitoring program started by the Huntsville City Schools and "needs to lose his job," a national First Amendment expert said today.
"Lying to the public should be a firing offense," according to Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Washington.
Lying to the public is par for the course in Huntsville City Schools, and if that doesn't work, blame it on the black guy.
There's a third possibility, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said today. "The school system is telling the truth as they understand it," but the call "could have been anybody, misrepresenting their status."
"If there is proof that the NSA actually made the phone call," Brooks said, "it would behoove the Congress to ascertain whether the NSA has a program consistent with that phone call."
To start an inquiry, Brooks said he'd need the name of the person who called and that person's phone number, "If he's keeping good records, he should have that phone number and that name," Brooks said of schools' security officer Al Lankford.
 Why the Pinnacle Hypocrisy matters:
Wardynski said the city used the SAFe program to break up a gang called the Wolfpack, with six or seven members -- all related to each other through family -- in various schools. The students were expelled and placed in alternative school and boot camp programs.
"People are very good about 'If you see something, say something,'" said Wardynski.
Wardysnki said the monitoring program is limited to threats against schools, and students are expelled from neighborhood schools and placed into alternative programs. Asked if school officials are also searching online for photos of alcohol, drugs and sex, Wardynski said: "None of that."
One of the many, many, things wrong with the Pinnacle Policy is the denial of students right to equal protection under the  law and due process.  I turn the floor over to The Mertz Center Monitor.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

THIS is the Media we have, said in my best James Earl Jones voice

Fist Dap Give Em Hell

As they have repeatedly demonstrated, the mainstream media continues to push media driven racial stereotypes. Or as I like to say, Faking the Funk when the narrative doesn't fit the facts Sigh

The case of the 14 year old rape bait victim at Sparkman Middle School  has garnered national media attentionFinally!
CNN and Fox News both reported the story over the weekend, as did several other news outlets. CNN anchor John Berman did a segment about the case this morning on @THISHOUR, where he was joined by Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor and adjunct professor at the New England School of Law. The law school cites Murphy as a nationally-recognized expert on child abuse and interpersonal violence. 
So naturally the first thing the nationally-recognized expert on child abuse and interpersonal violence does is liken this case to Ray Lewis and the NFL ScandalI kid you not.
Murphy likened the situation to the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse case, in which the league took little action against Rice until video footage of him punching his fiance unconscious in a hotel elevator surfaced months later. 
Call me crazy, but I don't see likeness.   In this case the school district still hasn't taken action. 
"A school board cannot avoid summary judgment as a matter of law when a school administrator willfully ignores a plan to use a 14-year-old special needs student as bait to catch a student with a known history of sexual and violent misconduct, and as a result, the student is sodomized," reads the federal brief filed in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals late today.
The U.S. Department of Justice argues administrators at Sparkman Middle School near Huntsville knew the boy was dangerous and showed "deliberate indifference."
 As a matter of fact, parts of this case were thrown out by a federal judge last year,  and  the powers that be still aren't convinced they have done anything wrong
Eric Artrip, a lawyer for the girl and her father, said a criminal investigation was conducted after the incident, but that prosecutors declined to file charges against the boy or the teacher involved. "With rape cases, sometimes there are problems associated with the evidence," Artrip said. "And there are issues involving her ability to articulate what happened to her."
Once the tapes were released to the media, by the media, for the media,  punishment for Ray Rice, and repercussions for the NFL ,were swift and sure.   The #SparkmanMiddle School rape bait sting gone bad occcured in January 2010, the lawsuit was filed in September 2010, U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Michael Putnam dismissed the lawsuit in July, 2013, and the Justice Department sided with the the girl, in September of 2014So where is the "likeness" Ms. Murphy?

Why is the public just now finding about about this case 4 years after the fact?  As noted in a previous post, The Principal involved in the case was almost elected superintendent of Madison County Schools.

Al.com Education reporter Crystal Bonvillian offers this...excuse (for lack of a better word).

 I was aware of the lawsuit during the election, but when I checked on the status and saw that it had been dismissed, I believed the entire thing had been dismissed. I did not realize that it was just the federal claims that had been thrown out. If I had known the case was still pending, it would most definitely have been covered then. 
And believe me when I say that I kicked myself harshly when I learned it was still active. 
Uh, even it had been dismissed, don't you think it was revelant information voters needed to know in order to make an informed decision about the candidates vying be the instructional leader for the Madison County School System Ms. Bonvillian?
Madison County superintendent candidates Ronnie Blair and Matt Massey sat down with AL.com on Monday to discuss the race leading up to the June 3 primary. The two men face incumbent Superintendent David Copeland, who, despite being given several choices of times and dates for the sit-down, declined to participate in the conversation. Copeland cited the end of the school year, including graduations and other events, as his reasons.
This is a classic example of the media telling us what they want us to know.... instead of what we need to know.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#hsvboe Standing in the front door by going around to the back door.

Former Alabama Governor George C. Wallace standing in the front door of the University of Alabama June 11, 1963
There is an old saying  "If you can't get in through the front door then go around to the back door", which is exactly what Huntsville City Schools is doing, under the capable control and command of retired Colonel, turned superintendent,    Dr. Casey WARdynski in his continued quest to stand in the front door of the Huntsville City Schools.
After his presentation, the Board of Education authorized Wardynski to file the Motion for Approval of his plan. The City of Huntsville is therefore fighting the Department of Justice in court over which plan should be adopted. This motion will be decided by the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Northeastern Division. You may download the motion here.
There was no discussion of how much this litigation might cost during the board meeting. And they answered no questions from the members of the public attending Thursday’s meeting.  Our litigation happy superintendent and board are taking us into more legal action.
Remember back in June when  U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala dropped the hammer on Huntsville City Schools, saying she could find no evidence they weren't operating a dual school system?
The judge ruled late today in Huntsville's months-long desegregation dispute, clearing the way for federal attorneys to roll up their sleeves, dig deeper and and stay longer.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala didn't approve the city's plan to redraw school zones.
And she didn't approve the Justice Department's plan.
Instead, she appointed Chief Magistrate Judge John Ott to oversee months of mediation between the two as they examine all aspects of racial disparities across Huntsville City Schools.
She also called for appointment of a Special Master to oversee the court's ongoing fact-finding in the case.
Key words:
U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala didn't approve the city's plan to redraw school zones.
And she didn't approve the Justice Department's plan.

So how does HCS go around to the back door?  They rename existing schools after schools that haven't been built yet, and Viola!  Back door open.
The go-to phrases at Ronald E. McNair Junior High's first open house Thursday night was "Team McNair" and "Go Wildcats."
More than 200 parents, students, faculty and staff attended the event for the newly formed school, which combines students from Davis Hills and Ed White middle schools. The school will be located on the Davis Hills campus until the new facility on Pulaski Pike opens in 2016.
All vestiges of Davis Hills are gone, from its name to its color scheme to its mascot. In its place is the McNair Wildcat, prominently displayed throughout the school, and the new school colors of royal blue, black and white.
My sources tell me the facility on Pulaski Pike, you know, the site located less than half a mile from an active rock quarry,  has some ahem issues and it's become the Jemison/McNair Mud project.
THE LAND on Pulaski is>> A MARSH LAND DEVELOPMENT. The dirt is in piles as a future barrier, but the graded soil will not dry! It's going to cost an additional $4 Million Dollars to correct the foundational process of that development. It would have been better to buy a few homes near JOJ and expand the property requirement (acreage wise) and build a whole new school on the existing property then to spend undue dollars on the base of this project.
In the meantime the media keeps praising failure and calling it a success.
As they have repeatedly demonstrated, the Editorial Board of The Huntsville Times knows who they need to suck up to in this town, truth be damned.
On Thursday, September 11, 2014, the editorial board published an opinion entitled, “Transition from Textbooks to Digital Tools, as Led by Huntsville Schools, is Proper Path,” which joined in the chorus started by Dr. Wardynski, supported by Education Secretary Arne Duncan (in town on Tuesday on the public dime for meetings that excluded the public), that the only way forward in education is to continue down the failed pathway of the district’s 1:1 Digital Initiative.
 Some of us tried to tell some of y'all this superintendent would turn this process into a fraud and a farce.
In light of the blatant disregard Dr. Wardynski has for parents, students and citizens concerning transparency as evident in the comments made by Federal Judge Haikala: "The Court strongly suspects that the district has chosen not to share many of the reasons for the choices that it made as it shaped its student assignment plan."
In light of the hostile working environment that Dr. Wardynski has created which has resulted in at least 735 people choosing to leave employment with the district since August 2011;
In light of the declining standards of education that we are seeing in our finest schools as the district transitions to teaching nearly exclusively mathematics and English Language Arts;
We the undersigned respectfully request that the Huntsville City Schools Board of Education request the resignation of Dr. Casey Wardynski as superintendent effective immediately.

Can you hear us now?

#hsvboe

Friday, September 19, 2014

"Rape Bait", handling rape charges, and the man who was not chosen to become the superintendent of Huntsville City Schools redux #hsvboe

ericking.jpg
Dr. Eric King answers questions as the Hunstville city school board begins superintendent candidate interviews this morning. (The Huntsville Times/Glenn Baeske)
So, yesterday residents of Madison County, Alabama and the world learned the Justice Department sided with a 14 year old girl raped by serving as "bait" in a middle school sting  that occurred at Sparkman Middle School  in 2010, after the girl's father filed a lawsuit accusing the school system of negligence.
The brief contends  "...a jury could easily conclude that the school acted with deliberate indifference when, despite two sexual misconduct complaints against (the boy) days before he sodomized (the girl), it provided him unsupervised access to students and failed to protect (the girl)."
"In fact, Sparkman's practice of recording unrevealing and misleading descriptions of past incidents, coupled with its failure to maintain any record of unsubstantiated complaints and documentation for proven infractions beyond the current academic year, amounts to intentionally closing its eyes to (the boy's) dangerousness."

We also learned the boy accused in the rape "bait" incident had a history of sexual assault, and continued sexual misconduct at school after the assault.
 The boy accused in the rape case has a history of sexual infractions at school, both before and after the rape. The girl never attended Sparkman again, but the boy was sent to the district's alternative school for 20 days before being returned to the middle school. 
Court records show that it was at the alternative school in February 2010 where a teacher caught the boy watching pornography on a school computer. He was cited with a violation of the district's policy on profanity and vulgarity and given out-of-school suspension. 
The boy kept piling up infractions for fighting, disobedience and other issues until October of that year, when he was reprimanded for using his cell phone to show other students photos involving nudity. That incident, labeled as a sexual offense, resulted in another out-of-school suspension.
But here's the kicker....despite Madison County Officials outrageous response to the on campus rape of a 14 year old girl,  Sparkman Middle School  administrators kept jobs or were promoted after the fact, with the exception of the teachers aid who first notified administrators of the problem, who was placed on leave and  later resigned.   
Despite the boy's history of violence and sexual harassment, Simpson told the 14-year-old victim, also a special needs student, to go into the bathroom with him so she could catch him harassing the girl. When she failed to follow the teens into the restroom, the boy sodomized the girl.
Blair and the two assistant principals were named in the lawsuit because Simpson had told Dunaway about her plan beforehand. 
"Simpson and (the girl) then went to Vice-Principal (Jeanne) Dunaway's office, where Simpson told Dunaway about her plan to use (the girl) as bait to catch (the boy)," the Justice Department brief states. "Dunaway did not respond with any advice or directive.
"(The girl) left Dunaway's office, found (the boy) in the hallway, and agreed to meet him for sex. (The boy) told (the girl) to go to the sixth grade boys' bathroom and she complied. No teachers were in the bathroom to intervene, and (the boy) sodomized (the girl)."
The brief also states that Blair, when Simpson first reported to administrators the boy's behavior toward female students, rejected the aide's recommendation that the boy be under constant supervision, telling Simpson "that (the boy) could not be punished because he had not been 'caught in the act,' short-hand for the school's policy that students could not be disciplined without substantiation of student-on-student misconduct."
To make matters worse, one of the administrators was almost the superintendent of Madison County Schools.
Sparkman Middle principal Ronnie Blair admitted that there was an incident in January, but would not go into details, citing the pending lawsuit. The principal defended his staff.
"It's a sad situation," Blair said. "At the same time, I feel very comfortable with the way the situation was handled. That's about all I can say."
The lawsuit alleges that on Jan. 22, the girl approached the teacher and told her that a fellow student had asked her to meet him in a restroom for sex. The complaint states that the boy had been harassing several girls in a similar manner over previous weeks, and that school staff, including Blair, knew about the situation.
The lawsuit states that the teacher "coerced" the girl into going into the bathroom with the boy, telling the teen that she would then come in and catch him harassing her.

Now, let's go back to the year 2011,  the list of potential candidates,  and the man who was not chosen to become the superintendent of the Huntsville City Schools,  after the removal of Dr. Ann Roy Moore.....
Dr. Eric King of Indiana.
King has served as superintendent of the Muncie system for about three years. His time overall as a superintendent has equaled 11 years, but his experience in education goes back much longer. He has also served as a director of pupil services, principal, dean of students, athletic director, teacher and director of parks and recreation.
His education includes bachelor's and master's degrees from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, an administrative certification from Concordia University in River Forest, Ill., and a PhD from Loyola University of Chicago.
King is the highest-paid of the candidates, earning $206,000 as head of a system of 7,000 students, according to his application. He oversees 30 employees.
When discussing his hiring practices, King said he has extensive experience hiring at all levels. He said the key is to make it a collaborative process involving many members of the school system, from superintendent to principals. By borrowing from different interview methods and processes, he said, a good procedure has been established.
"Through the process, my hope has been that the best candidate would rise to the top," King said. "We've had pretty good success in eliminating the need to terminate."
Board Vice President Laurie McCaulley asked about his experience transforming under performing schools. By using a systemic process of change that promotes continuous school improvement, King said, his system has seen one of its lowest performing schools recognized last year for making the most improvement in the state.
King sounds like the perfect candidate doesn't he?  He's a certified, experienced educator, with a track record of proven results.  There is just one little problem....the color of his skin.  So what did the powers that be do to make sure the most experienced candidate with a proven track record wasn't selected for the job over a less qualified white candidate?  The media reported on criticism of King for not immediately reporting an alleged rape to police that occurred at a high school in Muncie, Indiana. 
When asked what his most challenging task had been, King told the board about a "situation" that occurred at a high school in Muncie. He did not give further details about what happened, but said it was challenging because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
King may have been referring to a November 2010 rape allegation made by a 16-year-old girl at Central High School. According to reports from local media and the Delaware County prosecutor, the girl approached her principal and reported being raped in a bathroom at the school.
King and the school's administration were later criticized for not immediately reporting the alleged rape to police.
"The determination was made that it could probably have been handled a lot better," King told the board about the situation.
He said the school system has enhanced guidelines and procedures in response to emergency situations, including having a retired sheriff's office captain heading security.
"That's the best I could do with it," King said.
Although the board seemed not to hold it against him,  King was not chosen as one of three finalist, the criticism of his handling of the incidents forced him to withdraw from another position in South Bend, Indiana, and Dr. Casey Wardynski was selected superintendent of Huntsville City Schools.

I say there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy and faux outrage going on.  What say you?

#hsvboe

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Obama, Obama, why have you forsaken us? #BlackLivesMatter






During this time I’ve pulled children out of clouds of tear gas. I’ve witnessed white women who are members of the clergy collectively praying in front of tanks and armored vehicles. One of these women was mercilessly shot with a rubber bullet by the police while praying for peace. Our neighborhood was occupied by the police as if they were an invading army laying siege to their enemy and pillaging the remains. Our basic civil rights were stripped away as we were treated like cattle in the name of a sick, sadistic experiment in martial law. We assumed that our beloved, black president would come to our defense and speak about the perils of police brutality, racial profiling, and Mike Brown’s unfortunate demise. Instead we felt as if he co-signed this unfair treatment and endorsed the brutal show of force the police displayed towards us. We are our only allies. No one in the world will stand up with us against such tyranny.
 This is the moment I asked myself, “Why did I vote for Barack Obama twice? Why are we being treated like this simply for demanding justice for our fallen brother?” I decided it is possible I’ll never vote for another American president for as long as I live. We live in America but we are clearly not included as Americans. Americans don’t unleash a completely militarized force upon other Americans. Americans don’t tear gas other Americans. Americans don’t drive tanks over the front yards of other Americans. By classical definition we are still poor black people who reside in America, but we are not considered equal to fellow American citizens and lawmakers. Our hopes and dreams are not valued or respected. Our worries and concerns often fall upon deaf ears.

 Let's talk about  NFL players so we won't have to talk about the real crisis in America.

When will America declare a WAR on Racism???  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Here is a peek at what's on RedEye's radar #AmnestyforFerguson


 Ferguson, Missouri, or Kiev, Ukraine?
  US, Ukraine or Middle East?  #Ferguson images made it hard to tell.


Only in America can a Lawyers bid to become Americas top Civil Rights attorney fails because he supported Civil Rights.  The fact he is black probably didn't help either.

Debo Adegbile, who previously served as the acting head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is one of the nation’s top civil rights attorneys. He’s also a leading expert on voting rights who twice defended the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court — the first time successfully. He was, in other words, an ideal candidate to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division — the division which, among other things, oversees the federal government’s voting rights work in an era where conservative state lawmakers are currently waging a widespread campaign to prevent demographic groups that tend to vote for Democrats from casting a ballot.
Question:  Is the media cry, to hang them high, really about domesticviolence, or is it about racism

Why is the NFL under scrutiny, when their domestic violence statistics are better than the norm? Why are there no white athletes, who are the focus of media calls for punishment, and impoverishment?
Let's talk about Adrian Peterson so we won't have to talk about real child abuse.
 A young black man with a towering Afro, Hunt stood out in this overwhelmingly white city about 30 minutes south of Salt Lake City. So much so that just moments before officers killed him in a barrage of gunfire on Sept. 10, passersby pulled out their cell phones and snapped photos of the 22-year-old with the big hair, bright red shirt and toy sword slung over his shoulder.

White America's drug problem is getting worse, but they aren't being thrown in prison for it.
 White people have a painkiller problem. According to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, painkiller overdoses accounted for almost 17,000 deaths in 2011. The majority of deaths were among whites, at a rate that’s growing faster than for any other racial group.

What's that you say?  Ferguson Plan for police oversight is derided as "insulting"?  I'm shocked!  Shocked I tell you!  NOT.
 The proposal does not mention whether the board would be empowered to investigate citizen complaints against officers, given resources to conduct independent investigations. The word "review" is not mentioned in the proposal other than to describe the committee as a "review board."

#BlackLivesMatter
#racism