Well, tonight was interesting. It seems that the superintendent was concerned that there might be a video mob of some sort at the board meeting tonight. I wonder why he would be concerned about that?
There were no less that six district security personnel at the board meeting tonight. And even more disconcerting than that, there were at least five marked Huntsville Police Department cars and one unmarked police car present at the meeting tonight.
During the citizen comments, which I think were nearly cancelled tonight as they were left off the agenda, there were approximately 10 security personnel in the board room.
And that was after all the general public entered the building through a metal detector again.
The only time this level of security was present was during the removal of the Lee High name from the new high school. Then I think there may have been three district personnel and perhaps two or three armed police officers.
Oh, and there was no metal detector that night.
I have heard through the grapevine that security was concerned that there might be a video flash mob of sorts tonight
And of course that would have been just terrible. It’s absolutely terrible when the public pays attention to what elected and appointed officials say and do.
There was at least one person there tonight who did record at least part of the meeting in an open way. This person, and no it wasn’t me, was recording the meeting in the full view of district security and Huntsville Police, and yet she/he was not asked to leave or stop recording.
I chose not to attempt to record the meeting tonight as it was fully broadcast on ETV, and frankly, because I wasn’t interested in spending the night in jail.
However, every time I turned around, there was yet another security personnel walking up toward me.
This despite my standing in the hallway the entire night watching the meeting on the TV monitors in the hallway. (I gave up my chair a few times to various people, and so ended up in the hallway.) It was kinda crowded tonight.
I wonder why the board and superintendent would be so worried about people paying attention to them that they would feel the need to have HPD present for additional security?
I wonder why there were so many of them actually in the board room while I was speaking?
It seems that perhaps I was being singled out tonight despite Mrs. McCaulley’s claims on Sunday night via email that I wasn’t being singled out.
I wonder how she feels now?
I was allowed to speak tonight. I believe that the superintendent and the board were genuinely surprised when I didn’t make the entire three minutes about me. If you’re interested, here’s what I had to say:
In honor of the Rave Cinemas support of the autism community at the beginning of the month with their “Avenge Autism” walk, I considered wearing my Hulk Smash gloves tonight, but then I was concerned that Mr. Blair might be the only person here to get the joke.
So I left them at home.
After all, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was intimidating, disruptive or threatening as I have been called.
For the record, it has never been my intention to intimidate or threaten any one, and I’ve gone to great lengths to avoid disrupting the board meetings in any way. I haven’t even allowed my comments to run over the three-minute limit.
I’m not here to threaten anyone. I’m not here to intimidate anyone, and I appreciate having heard from Mrs. Morrison, Mr. Birney, Mrs. McCaulley, and Mr. Blair that they as individuals have not felt threatened by me. It would be nice if the board could publicly state that, but I’ll take what I can get.
I do not, however, apologize for asking questions and expecting answers.
Education without the free ability to question isn’t education. It’s indoctrination. And I’m sure that we can all agree that is not our goal here.
In that light, here are a few questions:
How is it helpful to students to tell their teachers that they’re being moved to another school while the students wait in the hallway? Teaching while holding back tears doesn’t seem helpful to me.
Why are we still discussing Dr. Wardynski’s bonus while teachers’ step raises are still frozen and starting salaries are still set to the state minimum?
Why are we on a pace to spend 7 million dollars less than the published budget on Special Education, which is exactly the same projected surplus that Mr. Spinelli is predicting for the end of the year? In other words, why are you balancing the budget on the backs of special education students?
Questions aren’t intimidating to people who believe they are doing the right thing.
Not one board member spoke to me tonight, and the superintendent chose not to respond to anything I had to say.
I did get a nod from Mr. Lankford at one point, but no direct communication.
There was a significant amount of intimidation, disruption to normal events, and fairly overt threats tonight (and this week). But it didn’t come from me. It was instead the superintendent through his security team who was attempting to intimidate the public into silence.