Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The kicked pig squeals

Last night I attended the postponed regularly scheduled meeting of the Carolina School for Inquiry Board of Directors.  This was a rare privilege because most of the CSI board meeting this year have been specially called, last minute, executive session only, and/or by teleconference.  To be able to actually see the board in action is rare.  Ironically, this is a board that speaks often of transparency and honesty, as if they have it and the boards before didn't.

Last night was not earth-shattering.  The board discussed report card covers they have ordered the Director/ Lead Teacher to buy next year.  They talked about the price of the wand-thing to put letters on the sign the Friends of CSI bought the school.  Too bad they didn't buy the wand too.  They mentioned the new lease with Richland County Recreation Commission, although they didn't seem to want to discuss the fact that although the previous board had negotiated a lease before this board took office, this group signed a different lease that costs the school at least $15,000 more a year and that the current RCRC interim director has ended the mutually beneficial partnership the two organizations have had for five years and basically declared war on the director.  Vision has been replaced with vitriol.  But that's not really what I wanted to talk about, except maybe to point out to the teachers that that is where their raises are.  Oh well.

At the end of the meeting, a board member spoke in what (if they used Robert's Rules) would probably be called a "Point of Personal Privilege."  She called on the audience to remember the mission of CSI, an atmosphere of kindness and respect among other things.  She then went on about e-mails she has received that attack her character and engage in what she called gossip.

First, I know she wasn't talking to me, because I haven't sent her any e-mail.  I did send the board chair an e-mail in which I expressed my concern about the board holding meetings on the phone, calling meetings and the last minute, and cancelling meetings.  I believe I also suggested that they were acting like a PTA rather than a board of a public charter school.  I don't think I called anyone names. 

That is because, I don't call people names or concern myself with someone's character unless I care about them, either in a good or bad way.  This woman is not one of the two board members who have harassed my son, so she is not on my radar.  Not as an individual.

The reason I am addressing this is because I think it is symptomatic of a general cry-babiness and hypocrisy in our world.  What we used to call "dishing it out, but not being able to take it."  We hear it on this board, we hear it in the whining of politicians who don't like advertisements pointing out their past documented criminal or voting records.  I'm just tired of it.

Let's see if we can clarify.  This is not a personal attack.

A personal attack is when a mob of "kind, respectful" people disrupt the operation of a meeting, calling the board members liars and screaming that the director is a witch and should be sent to Hell where she belongs.

A personal attack is when "kind, respectful" people tell others that a person is "cheating" on her husband, knowing it isn't true.

A personal attack is when these "kind, respectful" individuals use innuendo and sly backroom techniques to give the impression that people are operating in an illegal way, even when they know it isn't true.

A personal attack is when "kind, respectful" people tell colleagues and associates of a person that that person is unethical, knowing it isn't true.

A personal attack is when "kind, respectful" people refuse to engage in a civil conversation but prefer gossip and midnight phone calls.

I will not engage in personal attacks.  I will continue to express concern about poor judgement, willful ignorance, and a culture of secrecy that I believe is damaging a school that I hold dear.  To me, it has always been about the children... ALL CHILDREN. 

And to those who may feel personally attacked, I'll quote the great Henry Young: "The kicked pig squeals."