More nastiness from the queen of anti-transparency and bullying at the school committee meeting on September 15th. Once again, Ms. Thorpe takes to bullying a fellow Melrosian who oddly enough, was requesting of the the school committee to stop bullying and be polite! Apparently, this did not sit well with Ms. Thorpe who believes she can now even instruct members of the public where they can gaze their eyes during public comment. Honestly, I'm not kidding! Go to 7:00 into the meeting on MMTV to see the insanity. Good riddance Ms. Thorpe!
By the way Liz: Where is the Melrose Human Rights Commission when you need them? The evidence is all right there on MMTV. Lets get a statement from the MHRC for the Melrose Free Press right away. Yesiree.
Mr. Kaynor was absolutely brilliant during public comment. See the meeting at 8:00 in on the MMTV website. I hope his complete statement gets picked up in the two local papers as an opinion piece. Just brilliant.
Sorry to admit it - but Kaynor did what we all should be doing at each school committee meeting until the whole group resigns....except for CKK.
This is the brilliant thing Mr. Kaynor said and then sent to SC:
FYI: I am attaching the draft that I read from at public comment on 9/15/2015. It addresses:
1) the mischaracterization of a press interview with a "school committee member" - since the topic was an action she was required to take as a "member of the public" due to your Norms,
2) the purpose of the Norms (to hinder rather than facilitate),
3) the application of the Norms in discriminatory fashion that targets a certain individual,
4) the proper definition of libel,
5) a call for suspension and revision of the Norms, an apology for discriminatory behaviors, and a plea for literacy if you wish to intimidate one of your members so they don't ask uncomfortable questions.
I am not hopeful that we will see an apology for these actions since I have failed even to get you to ask your exemplary employee to apologize for swearing at someone in a public meeting, but I can try. I assure you that a degree of contrition, when your behavior seems abusive, would go a long way towards improving public relations and perceptions, and restoring any sense of dignity to the important work you do.
Dear Members of the Melrose School Committee,
I noticed that the committee was concerned, last week, that one member was interviewed by the press, and you cited the norms that say that only the chair may speak for the School Committee. Aside from the obvious issues of whether individuals have rights of free speech and whether this one member would ever presume to speak FOR the school committee (I’m sure she is aware that her opinions are not those of the majority), and aside from the fact the OCR is being openly discussed on another School Committee member's blog, I think the real irony is that you can look to your own norms for the reason this happened. The press called this individual because she had filed a public records request; a CITIZEN'S Public Records request for documentation on district matters. Why were they talking to a “citizen” rather than a “school committee member?” Because you tried to prevent the member from accessing information she felt she needed to properly evaluate budget issues, by insisting via Norms, that her only recourse would be to file a CITIZEN's Public Records. If you wish to prevent a member from acting like a citizen I suggest you start treating her like a School Committee member, and not restrict her ability to access documents within her purview. Contrary to the legal counsel you employed for the meeting last week, the MA public records office has on numerous occasions stated that public officials, bound by laws regarding privacy and confidentiality, are entitled to documents far beyond the scope of documents available to public citizens, but your norms apparently do not recognize the authority of the Attorney General and Secretary of State’s Office in this matter.
Norms are a good thing when they are used to facilitate the meeting process and clarify the roles of the School Committee. They are punitive and often discriminatory when they are designed to encumber the activities of a particular member or members who are trying to do their job with a thoroughness the others lack. This is especially true when the norms are applied in a discriminatory fashion to one individual and not equally to all individuals. One stark example presented itself last week, where a member of this committee went on a tangent stating that he viewed "implications of impropriety" as a libelous, and was allowed full reign to expound upon that topic with what sounded to me like threats and insinuations. This was not a topic that was not on the agenda nor is it pertinent to the concerns of taxpayers and educational outcomes for students. The next comment was made by an individual who properly asked “as a point of personal privilege” what were the fees being charged to the taxpayers by the experts brought in for the first hour. Although this is a topic of direct concern to taxpayers and much more relevance to the education of students, she was shut down with an admonition by the subcommittee chair, not to stray from the agenda as this is “one of our Norms that we voted on and the majority approved” so she MUST abide by them. This use of the Norms to persecute one individual and show leniency to the others is discriminatory and not constructive to the process of district management. It harms rather than facilitates communication, it is humiliating and embarrassing to witness, and it reveals the true manipulative rather than constructive purpose behind those Norms.
This School Committee has a lengthy history of ignoring its policies, bylaws, procedures and Norms when it suited the individuals in charge. I have spoken to you about it before and although I complained about it, actually I am fine with the notion that Norms be used as guidelines and not rules. They need to be flexible in instances where they are impractical, contradictory to statute, or undermine the objectives of the body. No matter how carefully they are crafted, you will need to make exceptions on occasion just as it is necessary sometimes to suspend Robert’s Rules of Order. However, when you play favorites in your leniency or strictness or regulate the discussion based on how much you like or dislike the question, that is bullying and treading close to violation of the rights of individuals. I feel this committee owes the public and Ms Kourkoumelis a public apology for its abusive behavior and until there is any demonstration that you can use Norms responsibly rather than punitively, I suggest you suspend them and revise them to be constructive rather than obstructive and while you are at it, make them compatible with Federal and state laws and regulations.
Sincerely, Campbell Kaynor
P.S. Mayor Dolan,
For something to be “libelous” it must be a written statement that is deliberately false and intended to cause harm to the reputation of another individual. Your use of that term in relation to supposed “implications of impropriety” came across as an effort to bully and intimidate, and demonstrates a level of illiteracy that is embarrassing to the Melrose School community. Is this really what you are trying to model for our students?
Our very own "education expert" just got educated. Will the lesson stick? I doubt it. Mr. Kaynor is having a war of wits with an unarmed man. How can anyone wonder why our system is so bad and why the SC acts the way it does when it's being led around by the nose by this blithering nitwit? If it wasn't so tragic it would be funny.
Yup. And you can bet your butt that he already has plans in the works to throw KT, DC, MD, CT and all the rest under the bus. KT and DC saw the handwriting on the wall - a blessing since Alfred E. Neuman and Pee Wee Herman would be an improvement - and chose not to run again. MD either isn't that smart or is angling for a paid school position.
All you MM assailants, remember you heard ALL of this here, first, years ago. There is more truth told on this board than has ever been told by the Free Press - until yesterday.
VuVu, where are you now?