With the bombshell just "released" (below, from the other string, published by Evening News, front page this week) by Superintendent Cyndy Taymore, it's time for the entire city to address the management (or lack thereof) of its school system. Lest anyone still have any delusions that this school administration is competent and honorable in its managing of the most integral matters, this finding by the federal government sets the record straight. This goes way beyond evaluations, powerpoints, or anything the politicians and administrators use to manipulate the truth. Time for the BOA (and the obviously ineffective "Human Rights Commission" here), and the entire citizenry to wake up and focus on the truth. As another poster rightly put it, it's time for Melrosians to take back their community.
It seems very inappropriate (grossly concerning, actually) that the superintendent is issuing a "Press Release" about this. Where are the Emergency School Committee Meetings? Where are the open press conferences with the public? Silence and spin is absolutely inappropriate for something of this gravity, though this is entirely predictable for this city administration. Why is anyone allowing the apparently guilty parties to "manage" this going forward? Does anyone else see the large red flags here?
This city is now on the national spectrum of those who met the most serious criteria of the Federal Office of Civil Rights, which won't even open a case unless it has extensively investigated the facts first. Apparently Melrose has been found to be in violation of this country's most sacrosanct civil rights laws: "the school district was found to be in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964." Ultimately, aside from the ethical and moral indications, this has serious ramifications in terms of federal funding for the city and its schools.
The BOA should be calling an Emergency Meeting, also, and asking why those providing legal counsel did not appropriately address the civil rights issues when they occurred (and were known throughout the city, by the way), especially now that it is clear that the large legal bills emanating from this mess (and has been revealed that are being actively concealed) should have been a bright red flag to all. This might well be only the tip of the iceberg, which means that the Override or budget discussions could be entirely moot at a certain point if this thing continues to go ahead like the trainwreck it obviously is. If there is an issue of legal malpractice, then it should be investigated. What other legal and financial ramifications for the whole city will this have? These are questions that should be asked and addressed publicly.
The Human Rights Commission should be investigating its own practices and ask itself why it chose to believe the school administration spin when the April 2014 matter was brought to its attention rather than focus its discussions on Melrose Messages and how to stamp out the only source of actual news in the city and how to conceal the workings of its own commission by failing to abide by the laws by posting a full and unfiltered accounting of its discussions and actions.
Here's the "Press Release" as it appeared on the front page of yesterday's Melrose Weekly News (Free Press: What's your problem? Where is the reporting of a situation of this magnitude? Didn't City Hall give you permission to publish the Press Release, because surely you received--and may have even constructed--the same blurb?):
"Feds Find Melrose Schools Guilty of Racist Conduct: Schools in Violation of Federal Civil Rights Act
Melrose Weekly News | Local Headline News
Schools in Violation of Federal Civil Rights Act
Published in the August 28, 2015 edition Following is a press release from Supt. of Schools Cyndy Taymore. Officials would not provide any additional information about the circumstances surrounding the investigation.
MELROSE — In November of 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) notified the Melrose Public Schools that it had opened an investigation into allegations that one of our Melrose Memorial Middle School students had been subjected to harassment based on race in the spring of 2014.
Since the opening of the investigation, the Melrose Public Schools has cooperated fully with OCR’s investigation. Recently, verbal notification was received that OCR has determined that the school district was found to be in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. OCR additionally informed the Melrose Public Schools of its intent to enter into a dialogue with the school district to resolve this matter. At this point, OCR has not provided any written notification or details regarding its determination.
The Melrose Public Schools takes very seriously its legal and ethical obligation to address and redress any instances of discrimination that may have occurred within its schools, and looks forward to this opportunity to work with OCR to continue to improve its practices and to address the moral imperative of providing a safe atmosphere in which all students may achieve their academic potential. It is the explicit goal of the Melrose Public Schools to provide an environment for students in which they may feel safe, flourish, and succeed regardless of their race or other protected status. We intend to work collaboratively with OCR to continue our ongoing efforts to achieve this goal and to comprehensively address any concerns that OCR identifies. Due to the pending discussions with OCR, the Melrose Public Schools will not have any further comment on this matter until after successfully reaching a resolution with OCR."
Yes, this is huge. We are owed a lot more than this pitiful Press Release. This is central to what Melrose is or rather, what it wants to think of itself as (obviously NOT Open to All).
Anyone who doesn't think this is a big deal is exactly part of the core problem. Melrose has a problem with its core values.
That settles it. There is no better proof the city needs the override. It has to pass to pay all the students who were victims of racial discrimination last year. They deserve compensation for the crap they had to endure.
Here is a worthy suggestion - I have just requested of the school committee that they revisit Ms. Taymore's performance evaluation, which was just conducted last week - and which they had given her a superlative evaluation (except of course for CKK). They need to take this latest information into consideration given the extensive and expensive legal and financial efforts required to address this civil rights violation. This is the only fair thing to do to restore some of the public trust and dignity that this school committee has lost. If you agree, please send an email to them about this, Their email addresses are noted below.
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
I agree with the need for the city officials to address this in a straightforward way. That nonsense put out about keeping silent "to protect the integrity of the investigation" speaks volumes (and it is nonsense). There are many ways officials could have approached this that would have demonstrated some real integrity. The way they're doing it demonstrates just the opposite.