Just when you think you had heard everything bad about the failing Cleveland County Schools, something like this comes along. An autistic child was allegedly attacked and beaten in gym class at Shelby Middle School. The gym coach was there and perhaps instigated the attack. A “hazing” perhaps. SHS Principal Dustin Bridges acknowledges witnessing the attack on security camera footage and yet no disciplinary actions are known to have been taken. All reported to the Cleveland County School Board at their April 8, 2019 school board meeting, just minutes after the local VFW was recognized for almost $200,000 in donations to CCS to benefit autistic children programs. Lucky for CCS that the VFW reps had just left the building only minutes before this report was given to the school board during Public Participation. But the VFW will soon know about this because I am going to tell them.
I am going to tell YOU too. It’s high time covered-up stuff like this gets exposed and citizens get involved to corral the rogue Cleveland County School Board, who act more like clowns than respectable people.
During the Public Participation section of the School Board Meeting Agenda there is a section for public participation. North Carolina Law requires a Public Participation part be included in public meetings of every North Carolina Governmental Agency. Commissioners, School Boards, Cleveland Community College Board of Trustee Meetings and the like. The law prescribes minimum standards for these Public Participation sessions. Cleveland County Schools make the state mandated minimums into maximums so they can limit the publics ability to speak.
But, at the April 8, 2019 School Board meeting, the public spoke. Clearly and loudly.
Speaker No 1.
The first speaker was the mother of a Shelby High School student, who had never been in any kind of trouble, but was suspended for 10 days for possession of a “pill” found in his book bag. The discovery of the pill in the student’s book bag happened about the time that other boys were smoking marijuana in the Boys Rest Room during school hours. School officials expelled the boy with the pill for 10 days without even determining just exactly what the pill contained. The pill later turned out to be a dietary supplement, an organic vitamin. Legal everywhere. Yet the mother reports those smoking marijuana were all let go with no disciplinary actions whatsoever. The mother requested a formal investigation by the School Board clowns.
Speaker No. 2
The second speaker was a student at Shelby Middle School. The student reported that she had personally witnessed, in gym class, a male AUTISTIC student being beaten up by a group of laughing boys in the presence of and apparently directed by the gym teacher. The student also reported that she had informed the Principal, Dr, Dustin Bridges, about the incident and Bridges acknowledged he had witnessed the incident on a security camera playback. No comments or questions came from any of the School Board clowns. It should also be noted here that the CCS School Board has adopted a policy that they will not make comments or ask or answer questions during public participation. Obviously to give them time to get together (conspire) to come up with a CYA cover-up story.
Speaker No 3.
Speaker No 3 was the mother of Speaker No 2. The mother was obviously incensed at what her daughter had come home from school and told her. The mother stated that she had tried to call CCS Superintendent Stephen Fisher, but Fisher refused to return her calls. Thus, requiring her to come to the school board meeting and speak-up publicly. The mother stated that she knew the mother of the autistic child that was beaten up and the mother of the autistic child had never been contacted by CCS regarding her autistic child being beaten-up at school.
The mother (Speaker No 3.) was not through with the CCS Board by any means. As speaker No 3 had previously reported girls at Shelby Middle School slitting their wrists in school and in class as a ritual. Cutting their wrists and then showing off their scars. Bragging about them to other girls. Yet not receiving mental health services from the schools, even though CCS has received $1.7 million in grants to provide just such mental health programs. (It also makes you wonder, just what is CCS doing with the $200,000 that the VFW has raised and donated, supposedly for the benefit of autistic children.)
Speaker No 3 continues. Stating very clearly that such refusals, as CCS has shown, to do their jobs “WAS UNACCEPTABLE.” And that she had “had enough.” Which brought applause from the audience. Including me. She continued. “We, as a community,” are coming together. WE are going to stand up and We are going to fight you! Five of you are up for re-elections. YOU will NOT be on this Board next year! Dr. Fisher, YOU will NOT have a job!” Then Speaker 3 states that “YOU,” the School Board, “have left us no choice but to hire an attorney.” “And do not think that you as Board Members are ‘Protected,’ because you are not.” Then, speaking about other school board Actions (in-actions), Speaker No 3 stated correctly that, “YOU have falsified legal documents, because you don’t know what you are doing. YOU don’t know how to do your job. Take a good look at us-we will NOT go away. WE will change this school district-as a community we will change this school district. Because, we are going to let the public know what is going on in your schools.”
Editor’s Note: I was impressed with Speaker No 3’s delivery of a well-spoken, well-organized and without notes, such a clear message to the School Board. A message that was jam packed with facts and a clear plan of action. Remove elected officials who won’t do their jobs.
Speaker No 4.
Speaker No 4 was the husband of Speaker Number 3 and father of Speaker No 2. He states to the school board that, at the last school board meeting, he had asked the board a question and that question was not answered. The question was in regard to whether or not the incident of a girl slashing her wrist in class with a razor blade happened or not, an email from Supt. Fisher stated the incident happened but not with a razor knife-it was a pencil sharpener. Speaker No 4 asked why was there so much twisting of words. A pencil sharpener taken apart still results in a razor blade that was used to slash the girl’s wrist.
Speaker No 4 continues with a part 2 of his concern raised previously where School Board Chairman Shearra Miller had stated that the girl that slit her wrist “would receive all the help that she needs.” And also, that the girl with the razor blade “weapon” would be removed from the class to protect others in the class. But the girl was not removed from class and there is no indication that she is receiving any mental health services. A question any concerned parent would have- “Is my child safe at school?” And such a question would arise in the minds of others in the class with a “cutter.” Am I safe in class? Yet no answers from CCS. Only lies and broken promises.
Lastly, Speaker No 4 states that his daughter had also signed up for a “Chartered” bus (with a professional driver) trip to Atlanta and he had signed a consent form to allow his daughter to take the chartered bus trip to Atlanta. But his daughter was removed from the chartered bus and placed in a vehicle with a driver the parents did not know; and they had not signed a consent form for such transportation. This is “WRONG” stated the parent.
Editor’s Note: There were many other things of note in this April 8, 2019 School Board meeting. This article pulls out the beating of the autistic child and the statements of the four public participations speakers as an indication of the numerous examples of very very bad judgement of the Cleveland County School Board in regard to child safety and CCS’s propensity for cover-up!!! The other items of note will be covered in another article.