Public Illegally Kept Away from School Board Meeting!!! Report by Robert A. Williams

If you go to the Cleveland County Schools Website under Board Meetings you will see no meeting was scheduled for August 14, 2017. If you go to Board.docs and surf around a little, you will find that there, hidden amongst a lot of stuff, was mention of a School Board Closed Session being held at James Love for August 14, 2017. Being as North Carolina Law requires Open Sessions before you go into Closed Sessions, I smelt a Rat. Also the location at James Love School made me smell another rat. Something weird was going on. Being as the location was at James Love School instead of the Central offices, and state law requires notification on changes of meeting time or location and no notifications were given, I smelt another rat on top of all that. I was not going to miss this August 14, 2017 secret meeting for the world.

I got there early too. I suspected that since I had written an article that, in part, reported the school board had not been updated in a public session on the progress at James Love on the new North Shelby School Project the Board wanted to sneak in a trip to the project so they could say that everything was going well, knowing that everything was not going well.

When I got there with time to spare, I walked around the outside of James Love to see what was going on with the new North Shelby Project. It was around 5:30 PM and not much was going on. I walked down a sidewalk to the very end and got a good overview. Since there were torrential rains the night before I knew the school board would not be doing much touring around out back where most of the dirt problems were. I didn’t much care to clean up my shoes either so I limited my inspection to the sidewalk only. I have been on many construction sites. I know problems when I see them. What I did notice was lots of large earthmoving equipment, bulldozers and such. Big and deep ravines too. This place would be a disaster if any handicapped child in a wheel chair ever got loose on this roller coaster terrain.

Then I went back and entered James Love through the front door. The first person I saw was Assistant Superintendent John Yarbro. I asked Mr. Yarbro where the School Board meeting was and he said the “Media Center” right down the hall. As I walked down the hall I saw a room marked “Library” and kept on walking down the hall looking for a “Media Center.” I came to the end of the existing hall, took a turn and on down and on down some more. I had looked at the original new North Shelby School Plans and I knew I was in the connecting corridor between James Love and North Shelby. So, I just kept on walking down that hall too. I was able to look out some windows to see what was going on and avoid the mud as well. I observed some only Hispanic workers (not wearing hard hats) putting some finishing touches on the flashing on this connecting corridor. Little did I realize this short inspection trip I was making all by myself would play big into what would happen later. But that is my MO. Look around as much before hand and make in-depth observations of the details that I see. This approach serves me well as I usually know when I am fed bull loney.

As I get back to the room marked “Library,” but called “Media Center” (No wonder our kids are often confused) I see Superintendent Fisher and he tells me the meeting would be a Closed Session and I could wait in the reception area. It is still a few minutes early so I walk into the Library anyway. I notice Roger Harris, Donnie Thurman and Jeff Jones are not there. Jeff Jones did come in a few minutes later, but Roger Harris and Donnie Thurman did not. I make a quick inspection of the Board Members and Dr. Fisher.

Fisher is dressed in a very nice suit so I know he wouldn’t be going anywhere in the mud or any other dirty places (Clean places are hard to find on a construction site.) Nobody has on shoes that are suitable for a real inspection of a muddy construction site. No safety glasses or hearing protection. All this will become important very soon.

With a little time still, I get up and skim through some of the schools library books. Just what are these young children reading? More important, what are our Cleveland County Schools giving them to read? Every parent in Cleveland County with kids in school should be interested in this. One book especially caught my eye. It was about a fox invading a hen house and the hens attack the fox, threatening to kill the fox and have him for dinner. The book seemed to be justifying violence. A bit of sexism too. Parents, these are the questions you should be asking and acting upon.

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