I encourage all the readers of this board to visit School Committee member Margaret Driscoll’s Blog “Taking Notes in Melrose” and read her response to the Office of Civil Rights’ ongoing investigation of racism in our district. It is a pathetic, insincere and morally bankrupt diatribe giving lip service to the notion that the school committee does not tolerate bigotry in our schools. Yet nothing the district did supports her contentious, disingenuous and duplicitous rant. They didn’t fire that teacher as her words would suggest. They moved her to a teaching position at the high school and recently allowed her to retire. Ms. Driscoll is not even a skilled liar of omission. She is just a shill and an ugly sycophant for the second floor of City Hall.
Here is what I posted on Ms. Driscoll’s Blog. It hasn’t been “approved” yet and I doubt that she will “approve” it. Thankfully I don’t have that requirement for this board. Here it is. I also posted on the FaceBook page Real Moms of Melrose:
Ms. Driscoll. I don’t expect that you will reply with any substantive support for my post here. There was a time eight years ago when I had high hopes upon your election to the School Committee. I will always regret and be eternally disappointed by having cast my vote for you. In your hollow words “Melrose Public Schools’ administrators immediately initiated an internal investigation and took corrective and remedial actions.” If by “corrective and remedial actions” you mean that the REAL “corrective” action taken by the district was to move that bigoted teacher to the high school and then most recently allowed her to retire….I find your words to be repugnant and a lie of omission.
I can only hope that as a mother you read the sentiments I recently posted on Real Moms of Melrose and find it in your heart to consider the following:
I was wondering what you folks thought about the ongoing United States Office of Civil Rights Investigations of the Melrose School Department. There is not one but two. The first involves a racial slur made by a middles school teacher against a middle school child. The second involves the separation of children by race in the Arts department.
We are all mothers and I can’t begin to imagine what the mothers of these young children must be feeling at this time. I would imagine they would feel betrayed by our school department by the lack of action in the form of dismissing the perpetrator(s) from their teaching positions in our schools. I would also imagine that they would feel alone and isolated. I know that’s how I would feel if this happened to my child. Would you?
I am only one person but I am doing everything in my power to expose the active and ugly cover-up of this awful tragedy by none other than city hall. To be certain this is something to be ashamed of in our community. If you choose to stand idly by and say or do nothing to condemn this bigotry then you are no better than the perpetrator(s).
Please stand with me at the next school committee meeting this Tuesday, September 15th at 7:30 pm and express your outrage. Support the only member of the School Committee member, Ms. Carrie Kourkoumelis, who has continuously, throughout her entire public career, been the lone advocate for our children and our community. Please help.
Also for the record and for all to know - In Ms. Driscoll's education blog referred to in Patty's comments above, this author specifically asked Ms. Driscoll if the rumor that another similar event in our school system has occurred - she replied she had no knowledge of any such events - a clear lie and deception. This should eliminate her from any public office!
Folks - be aware of the deceptive nature of people you vote into office!
"Please stand with me at the next school committee meeting this Tuesday, September 15th at 7:30 pm and express your outrage. Support the only member of the School Committee member, Ms. Carrie Kourkoumelis, who has continuously, throughout her entire public career, been the lone advocate for our children and our community. Please help."
Were I you, I wouldn't hold my breath.
Corrective action, my foot. If NB had been terminated instead of shuffled off to the HS and then allowed to retire, there never would have been an OCR action. In the other matter, not renewing the teacher who refused the department chair's edict to separate students according to race was exactly the opposite of what should have been done, which was to terminate the department chair. Again, no OCR action would have been necessary. In both cases not only did they NOT take "corrective" action, they took exactly the opposite action that they should have taken. How dumb can you be? Unfortunately, we'll be the ones paying for it.
So far KT and DC have not pulled papers for reelection. Ms. Driscoll has. If KT and DC stay out, and if MD loses, that means Mr. O'Connell would get a seat, unless someone else steps in before the 15th. I honestly can't decide which is worse.
Even though it is a thoroughly repulsive option, it would be far worse for MD to be reelected than to have the convicted felon, who at least has a brain and isn't afraid to challenge the other creeps. It's in his interest to rock it and maybe some good can come of it, as revolting as it is to think this is the best that our community could come up with.
MD has caused incalculable harm in her many years on that committee, starting with making sure CT was hired and stayed employed, despite the most egregious violations and mistakes. She is far more dangerous, as the facts prove.
"Loved seeing KT and DC w/the "rubber duckies" at the MPS table at The Victorian Fair....says it all...TG that they are not running again."
And do we suppose that huge box of Oriental Trading Company garbage in the School Committee booth was paid for by the same taxpayers (us!) who are going to have to pay for all of the outrageous actions of this board and their employee, CT. Sorry, but when we're being required to pay outrageous water bills, athletic fees, music fees, photography fees, athletic uniforms, Ecamp, field trips, for starters, etc., AND for piles of legal bills as a result of gross negligence, incompetence, malfeasance, and most of all, unmitigated arrogance, I do not as a taxpayer authorize the expenditure, however trivial, for bloody rubber ducks! Did they put that under the Toshiba line item, too???? Did they buy only the "white" version of the rubber duckiees or did they diversify and demonstrate their new-found cultural proficiency? Of course they didn't! Gawd!!!!
Unmitigated arrogance of these SC members! How dare they! And then they think we'll all just roll over and buy CT and RD's smelly, sketchy, stupid override. Uh, no. Jen and Martha and Lisa and that bunch must think we're all as gullible or in the tank as they are. What an ugly, dishonest and divisive thing they have foisted on our community!
And there's only one incumbent worth her salt, and she's not even up this year. The rest of them should go down in flames as their terms come due. Sadly, there's no one decent running, only the suck-ups who will continue pandering to the kindergarten mommies and their pathetic issues, or the other two who are equally useless and phony but still a preferable choice to MD who is a proven horrible choice, in thick as thieves with RD and CT.
After that performance of the cabal Tuesday night, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind exactly what's going on. It's ugly, they've made it personal, and these people have no scruples whatsoever. No one with any direct connection will get my family's vote, and certainly the override is Dead on Arrival as far as absolutely every single resident we've talked to.
Let's not jump the gun here. KT and DC still have until the 15th to get papers filed. Why they would wait so long to do so doesn't make much sense, but let's not count the chickens before they hatch.
Having said that, it seems pretty clear that if they don't run, it will be a clear case of the rats leaving the sinking ship. They must see the $hitstorm coming, and are trying to get out from under it all. MD is looking for a paid position down the road, so she's tied to CT whether she likes it or not. Of course, CT won't hesitate to throw her under the bus, just like RD won't hesitate to throw them all under the bus to save his own miserable hide. He will do anything to keep from acknowledging his own culpability in this mess, even though he's the one chiefly responsible. One comforting constant about people with zero principles - sooner or later they all turn on each other. I am really going to enjoy watching that happen.
I'm sure the voters of Melrose all sincerely regret bringing the Mayor onto the School committee as a permanent member. It has been an unmitigated disaster from day one. In addition to abolishing the McCarthyist-like Norms which only serve to centralize power while silencing other members which has led directly to the corruption we have seen over the last couple of years, getting the Mayor off the school committee needs to be priority one.
The whole mess is disgusting, and don't want to stick up for the SC, but the statement on the MD blog is not her take on the issue ( though I am almost sure she agrees with it!). the statement on her blog is just a copy of the statement read at the SC meeting by the super, not a statement by MD.
Neither that statement nor the "press release" are even on the district website. How is it that MD is publishing it? How totally inappropriate all the way around. Yes, and disgusting. And MD should be hanging her head in shame if she had any conscience, not proudly publishing anything!
I am not wrong. If you had watched the SC meeting last week you would know that this is the exact statement the Super read at the meeting. Why this statement does not show up anywhere in the meeting documents is probably another violation by that gang!
Here is one thing to ponder. Ms. Driscoll's education blog is her own - and represents her own opinions about education events and matters discussed in her blog.
She has a statement at the beginning of her blog which includes the phrase: "Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools or the Melrose School Committee - they are hers alone."
I think that this confirms that she believes in the statement made by Taymore and reprinted in her blog - there can be no doubt about this based on the premise of her blog. In other words - she agrees with Taymore's statement - and for this reason alone - she should not be re-elected to her seat on the committee in November. All of us now know that there are other legal cases pending against our school district and Ms. Driscoll has acknowledged total ignorance to me and others of this fact.
Exactly - but she can't be neutral since she refuses to take responsibility for the mess the schools are in - and therefore, needs to support the regime in power. You might say she is a "chip off the old block"- given her family history.
Margaret always talked up she knew everything going on in the schools. Now she wants people to believe she didn't know the federal government was investigating her lovely district.
To MD this all makes sense - absolute sign of a delusional and unwilling to face the truth in facts. I bet if you were her friend and asked her about her knowledge of the racial discrimination going on in the schools, she would act innocent and unknowing of the events - now how delusional is this? MD is in the know when it comes to ALL things going on in our schools!
So, what CKK does is wrong...talking to the media, giving her opinion....but MD can do it in a blog and that's within the "norms". (hate that word, right up there with "rigor").
better yet..."benchmarks" or "data informed adaptations" or "rubrix" which all equal BS !
A possible business opportunity: Tee-shirts that say:
I got "Normed" by the school committee chair.
I spoke at school committee public comment period and all I got was this T-shirt ("I got Normed" by the school committee chair. printed on the back)
How convenient that that the dough boy was missing in action at last night's meeting! So typical and cowardly and his modus operandi when the heat is on.
He is so afraid of this board he knew his previous antics at prior school committee meeting would be called out for sure. Well Dolan you can't hide forever. And what about the Human Rights Commission's special meeting to plot ways to get rid of Melrose Messages? Burying the meetings of those minutes? Hmmmm? Wasn't Liz Beth Deselm on that commission? Seems to me she has found a new friend in Melrose Messages when it suits her.
MB was the chair of the MHRC ( and employee of The Health Department ) when the private session was held and the minutes hidden. I would venture to guess that she was acting on orders.
Why don't you (LdS) post the link to the Minutes? Several other commissions are listed in IQM2, but not the HRC. Why not?
Please post the minutes for the April and May 2014 Minutes.
from district website
Jun 6, 2014 - 8:01AM
Re: HATE CRIMES MSC
Quote: Executive Session
MHRC went into "Executive Session" according to their website minutes.....What/Why ?
Clearly those running this thing don't even know the basic laws concerning running public meetings, since they cannot legally go into Executive Session without specifying why. Clear and obvious breach of the law!
Melrose Human Rights Commission April 8, 2014
Members Present: Karen Andrews, Maureen Buzby, Lizbeth DeSelm, Michelle Dickson, Arnold Fertig, Mathew Helman, Beth Horne, Adam LaFrance, Shawn MacMaster. Kristina Pechulis, Jennifer Thompson, GEM Student Liam Brown Members Absent: Ed Schmitt
Meeting called to order: 7:03 PM Public Participation: None
REGULAR BUSINESS OF THE COMMISSION Prior Meeting Minutes: March 11, 2014 meeting minutes approved
Treasurer’s Report: Karen Andrews reported the following:
Outstanding expenses waiting to be paid out: $312.50 Melrose Public schools for MLK Day of Service $40.52 Ed for Day of Service expenses (water pitcher, poster board, painting supplies) $20.48 Karen MLK dinner paper supplies
The print out from Brigid says we have $1098.74, but after these aforementioned expenses are paid out our new balance will be $725.24.
Hotline message report
No messages on hotline.
[ASK MAUREEN WHAT TO INCLUDE RE: CONTENT REGARDING ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS IN COMMUNITY AND AT SCHOOL – REPEAT INCIDENTS AT SOMEONE’ HOME]
February meeting minutes up & full complement of new members’ bios
Social media report
People are most frequently sharing posts with photos. Event announcements getting some notice, too.
ONGOING PROJECTS / REPORTS / EVENTS UPDATES MAHRC / ECG / GEM / CCM
MA HRC: Shawn reported: Sonia Darai reported on municipality preparedness to address needs of vulnerable populations – very enlightening presentation.
English Conversation Group: Maureen reported: worthwhile to put another ad in newspaper looking for more tutors/conversationalists given high demand of participants
GEM – Global Education in Melrose: Liam reported: GEM meeting Thursday
Community Coalition of Melrose: Maureen reported: CCM meeting tomorrow morning Trivia Bee
The Melrose Human Rights Commission team, the Human Bee-ing, performed admirably, but missed one question in their round, losing out on advancing to the final round. However, the team’s photo was featured on the cover of the Melrose Weekly News.
List up to almost 200 e-mails. Anybody who wants to be added or knows people who would like to be added, let Mat know.
Maureen raised suggestion about spreading responsibilities of Commission through having Commissioners serve as “Chairs” for specific events/duties – sub-committees were assigned:
MLK Day of Service: Ed MLK Potluck dinner/program: Shawn Black History Month – Film Series: Shawn. Ed, Adam, Ellyn Trivia Bee: Mat GEM Liaison / Celebration / Liaison to student reps: Karen Memorial Day Parade: Ed Victorian Fair: Jen MAAV Domestic Violence Candle Light Vigil & Walk: Kristina, Mat International Welcome Reception: Adam New member recruitment/interview: Beth, Arnie
Memorial Day Parade
Will finalize planning at May meeting for Memorial Day parade participation – Ed coordinating, need marchers, banner, photos for posting on social media
HRC annual award suggestion
Beth putting together criteria for award – looking at what other communities (e.g. Newburyport) have done along those lines – questions of stand-alone event vs. folding into existing event; nominations from the public; whether/how to incorporate schools; multiple awards (activist of the year, student of the year, etc.) – members who have participated in similar events will gather criteria from their events
Consider ways of connecting to Victorian Fair table – encouraging people to nominate possible awardees – handing out “ballots” at Vic Fair, getting contact info for distribution list, and posting nominations to bulletin board at Vic Fair
Liam/Maureen: YikYak – phone app that allows anonymous posting; becoming a medium for malicious comments and bullying among young people, particularly among junior high- aged students
Arnold: one of the meet & greets for new middle school principal candidates scheduled for Erev Passover, this coming Monday night – superintendent’s office suggested additional meet & greet event in response; but they should consider re-scheduling altogether, as it’s not appropriate to schedule such a meeting on a holiday occasion; Beth suggested the Commission drafting a letter to lodge a complaint with the superintendent’s office – Arnold moves that we draft letter to Superintendent Taymor communicating that scheduling the event on Passover is inappropriate and that a second meet & greet is inadequate and that the entire event should be re-scheduled; seconded and passed unanimously – Adam drafting letter
Melrose HRC went into executive session at 8:04pm. Exited executive session 8:31pm.
Meeting adjourned at 8:32 PM Next meeting: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Aug 22, 2014 - 6:10PM
Re: HATE CRIMES MSC
Confidentiality is the place where the administration likes to hide its bodies. It'll all come to light eventually, and the attempt to hide what is rightfully a matter of public record will also come to light, making the consequences worse. In truth there is very little that is actually a matter of confidentiality.
Well since this site pretty much fits the textbook definition of cyber bullying I can imagine that the Melrose Human Rights Commission wouldn't approve.
From the Websters Dictionary:
noun cy·ber·bul·ly·ing ˈsī-bər-ˌbu̇-lē-iŋ, -ˈbə-
Definition of CYBERBULLYING
:the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously
And from a cyber bullying website for kids:
"One of the biggest problems with cyberbullying is that the bully can hide behind the mask of electronic anonymity by using false screen names and assumed identities. This makes it difficult, but not impossible to find out who the bully is.
There is a lack of fear that creates a false sense of security that makes the perpetrator willing to do or say things that they would not normally do in public. They feel freed from the normative social constraints on their behavior.
Technology creates the illusion that the user is invisible or anonymous. It is this perceived invisibility that makes it easier for the user to rationalize their harmful actions because they feel as though they cannot get caught."
Oops! It looks like the PC Police have arrived.
FYI KB, most of what is posted here is no more than a good faith attempt to get at the truth, something this administration will stop at nothing to prevent. You want to prevent bullying? Call the Mayor and the SC and tell them to knock it off.
And don't leave out Cyndy Taymore, Kristin Thorp, Margaret Driscoll and the Robert Van Campen
Hi Liz D. Could you please disclose what the topic of discussion was on April 8, 2014 when the HRC went into executive session for 30 minutes as required by Mass OML laws? Also, who was in attendance other than HRC committee members? This would be a good start for you to demonstrate that you are committed to having an open and transparent school committee (something we haven't seen in several years) if you are elected. The first order of business should be a total suspension and redraft of the transparency-defeating "Norms" which were used effectively by the chair to obscure immoral and unethical activities of the committee and school administration fester to the point of intervention being required by the Office of Civil Rights, Secretary of State's Office and Attorney General's Office.
I do consider you a serious candidate for election, however there is much work to be done to correct the damage done by the current school administration, school committee and mayor's office. The new school committee must be fully committed to ensure this type of behavior never takes place again. Are you committed to this priority?
The previous poster is correct Liz. The law requires that you announce one of the 10 stated purposes for a public body to enter into executive session and a roll call vote must be taken prior to entering into those discussions. Out of the 10 reasons for the need to enter into executive session, I don’t see where the commission would have been able to call upon one of them to justify an executive session.
1. To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than professional competence, of an individual, or to discuss the discipline or dismissal of, or complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual. The individual to be discussed in such executive session shall be notified in writing by the public body at least 48 hours prior to the proposed executive session; provided, however, that notification may be waived upon written agreement of the parties.
2. To conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel or to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with nonunion personnel;
3. To discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating position of the public body and the chair so declares;
4. To discuss the deployment of security personnel or devices, or strategies with respect thereto;
5. To investigate charges of criminal misconduct or to consider the filing of criminal complaints.
6. To consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property if the chair declares that an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the negotiating position of the public body;
7. To comply with, or act under the authority of, any general or special law or federal grant-in-aid requirements;
8. To consider or interview applicants for employment or appointment by a preliminary screening committee if the chair declares that an open meeting will have a detrimental effect in obtaining qualified applicants; provided, however, that this clause shall not apply to any meeting, including meetings of a preliminary screening committee, to consider and interview applicants who have passed a prior preliminary screening;
9. To meet or confer with a mediator, as defined in section 23C of chapter 233, with respect to any litigation or decision on any public business within its jurisdiction involving another party, group or entity, provided that:
10. To discuss trade secrets or confidential, competitively-sensitive or other proprietary information
Public bodies are not required to disclose the minutes, notes, or other materials used in an executive session if the disclosure of these records may defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session. Once disclosure would no longer defeat the purposes of the executive session, however, minutes and other records from that executive session must be disclosed unless they fall within an exemption to the Public Records Law, G.L. c. 4, § 7, cl. 26, or the attorney-client privilege applies.
Since it is quite clear that the Melrose Human Rights commission has violated the open meeting law, perhaps Liz you could rectify by this making the minutes of the April 2014 meeting available as required by law.
In the scheme of things another open meeting law violation by commissions or committees in Melrose is just getting to be old hat. And that’s the problem Liz. There are so many now that no one has the time or the energy to file yet another complaint . The most productive use of your time on the commission would be to insist on transparency and not allow a transgression of the law to occur again.
We have bigger fish to fry. I’m sure that the discussion of Melrose Messages in the May 2014 meeting has no place in the commissions conversations unless it is to partner with me to educate this community about the OCR’s investigations and City Hall’s attempt to cover it up.
Margaret Driscoll (along with Dolan, Casatelli and Duggan) are among some of the biggest disgraces facing this city. I have no doubt that you will be ethically, morally and legally challenged by these bunch of thugs. Listen to Ms. Kourkoumelis. Turn to her for guidance and support her in her efforts to lead this community toward healing. You have my vote. But I and others expect great things from you.
Thank you, Ms. Wright, for pointing out that clearly the Human Rights Commission has been violating the law in keeping with all the other public bodies in the city, including the BOA and of course the SC. That "executive session" never had a topic listed, and frankly, there were enough leaks that many know that the topic was not one that was legally allowed, namely Melrose Messages. The HRC has behaved with the same kind of arrogance and ignorance that defines the dysfunction throughout the entire local governance, starting with minimizing the importance of transparency and even openly dismissing it, as was done again at Thursday night's BOA meeting when the order brought forward by Ms. Medeiros was trashed (using trash talk--referencing "rants" etc.) by Tramontozzi et al. Throughout the city there is open contempt and scorn (as Conn himself voiced himself when mocking the posting requirements in 2010) for the "sunshine laws." LdS has been part of this, whether knowingly or not, but not knowing the law is no excuse. Her sincerity is seriously in question already, so she will have a steep curve in winning back credibility she has already squandered by her statements and alliances to date. It's not hopeless, but this business of how the HRC conducts its meetings only reinforces the reasons for concern about this candidate.
Mighty slim pickings here in Melrose for this election cycle, that's for darn sure. It's really discouraging.
Fortunately we have one member on the BOA and one on the SC who have backbone and ethical standards (along with intelligence and humility), qualities sorely lacking in most of the rest of them.
Hmmmm - the HRC calls an illegal executive session to discuss Melrose Messages, the only place issues of harassment, discrimination, and overt racism are discussed openly. Then according to my sources, they lie about it and say they never discussed it. If you're waiting for EO'C or LdS to make any kind of a difference, I wouldn't hold your breath.