“People’s Townhall” a Big Success!!!
Report by Robert A. Williams
The People’s Townhall meeting regarding Cleveland County Schools hosted by Landmark Baptist Church this past Monday June 23, 2014 was judged a big success by most that attended. 87 was the official count of attendees. More such Townhalls are planned all around Cleveland County. Channel 14 News and Hal Trammell with CCNCOnline.com (a subsidiary of Shelby News-Opinion) videotaped the entire meeting. The Shelby Star reported on about half the meeting and I am reporting on all the meeting. I don’t know why the Star left out half the meeting in their report. Perhaps the Star Editor just edited away anything that indicated there are major problems at CCS.
The Townhall began by projecting a letter delivered earlier in the afternoon threatening a lawsuit if statements were made regarding water and sewer records or FERPA (Family Educational Records Protection Act) right violations. Everyone was warned that if they spoke about water or sewer issues or confidential student records they were doing so at their own risk. The whole threatening letter originated out of the CCS Central Offices on W. Marion Street in Shelby and was absurd, silly and unsigned. The letter was addressed to Robert Queen, Danny Blanton, Hal Trammell, Robert Williams, the Editor of the Shelby Star and Landmark Baptist Church. Nobody paid any attention to the letter. Later, one speaker-Elizabeth Lari, an Assistant District Attorney in Cleveland County, even mocked the threatening letter saying that she was going to name David Allen whether or not she would be sued. Lari said “I think I can find a good lawyer.” Everybody laughed at that. However, a number of anonymous defamatory letters have been sent from CCS recently, using CCS stationary, materials, time and stamps that indicate the CCS administration does not have adequate control over their staff. All in all, too much time was wasted talking about the silly letter.
The first speaker called from the speakers list, Greg Paysour, described a security issue where someone was firing a weapon into a dwelling that was near a school in Kings Mountain. Mr. Paysour was not satisfied about the security arrangements at that school and stated his discussion with School Board members was not satisfactory in his opinion. This speaker was not reported in the Star’s article.
The next six speakers were CCS employees or CCS supporters who had nothing but songs of praise for CCS. I predicted CCS “ringers” would be dispatched to flood this Townhall with praise for CCS. I also predicted other high level school officials would be in attendance to be on the lookout for CCS employees who spoke of problems at CCS. Those folks were there too. Of all the speakers, CCS teachers, CCS employees and CCS volunteer supporters who spoke, all praised CCS. Several even quoted “talking points” from Superintendent Bruce Boyles that the North Carolina General Assembly had “abandoned education” by making certain budgetary spending cuts. This is, of course, a bald faced lie that is always repeated in the Shelby Star without question. Stay tuned later in this article for another speaker, who the Star never mentioned, that set that record straight.