Susan Baker of Chapin voices her displeasure with a member of the Lexington-Richland District 5 board during the Nov. 14 meeting by reading a prepared text that begins, “How do I hate thee, let me count the ways…“
Baker, the chair of School Improvement Council at Chapin High, was speaking during the public participation portion of the board meeting.
“How do I hate thee?!?” This, from the chair of School Improvement Council at Chapin High. The only thing she was missing was a noose, to further intimidate anyone who dared disagree with her. She’s certainly setting a wonderful example for students. What an embarrassment.
If you listen to the whole context of the comments (available on the district website) you will understand that the “poem” was written from Murphy’s perspective. She is not saying she “hates” Murphy, but rather, based upon Murphy’s actions over the last ten years, it is apparent that she has nothing but disdain for the district.
Why is it OK Murphy to spread lies and mistrust but it is not OK for people to call her on it?
The only embarrassment is having a sitting board member flagrantly disregard the will of the voters in the district. The problem isn’t having someone disagree, the problem is having a small minority of people thinking that their votes should count more than the rest of ours. Ms. Murphy and her supporters like to spout about the democratic process but seem unable to accept the results of that process. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.
Like most boards, District Five has guidelines for citizen speakers which state that a speaker is not to make personal attacks on faculty/staff or members of the board. President Gantt admonishes speakers to keep their talks short and to confine themselves to very narrow topics. He is quick to bring his gavel down with a vengence when a speaker does not follow the rules – if the speaker is saying something Gantt doesn’t want to hear.
However when Susan Baker attacked Kim Murphy, Gantt’s gavel went unused. To make matters worse, a large contingent of young people were on hand to applaud Baker’s attack. These young people were high school and college age and one would wonder why they were at the meeting in such large numbers if not specifically for the purpose of a preplanned and coordinated demonstration.
These are tactics of groups such as the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ crowd and have no place in public meetings of elected officials. When Gantt failed to take action, any member of the board could have called a ‘Point of order’ as specified in Robert’s Rules of order, but instead they sat still. By their inaction these other board members made possible this outrageous show of vulgarity.
It is of paramount importance that citizens resolve their differences peacefully in an atmosphere of harmony and respect for those who hold different thoughs on issues of importance. The young people of District Five were taught by this night’s activities that one advances his ideas by shouting down those with different ideas. They learned from the actions of Gantt and the other board members to belittle and to destroy those they choose to deem as opponents.
This board meeting, like is so often thecase at District Five meetings brought shame and disgrace on the community!
You hate to see a community get is such a mess but I think that Mr. Gantt has been very accomodating to Kim Murphy. Remember she is the one that filed the appeal that cost all of the taxpayers two million dollars. As the Chairman he has to look out for what is best for the district and allowing Kim to spread untruths is just wrong. As D5taxpayer above said this poem was from Kim’s perspective. She really does not like the school district and she constantly tries to make them look bad.
I remember a couple of board meetings ago she accused the school district of taking the Pledge of Alegence out of our schools. Do you really believe they want to do that?
I know a lot of the students that were there. Many of them are at the top of their class and they are tired of Kim’s delays in building the renovations that the voters voted for.
Ms. Murphy has no respect for the board or the rules. Go to the board meeting from August and listen to the audio. At the very end of the meeting Ms. Murphy attempts to add a discussion item that is not on the agenda, a clear violation of Robert’s Rules.
Mr. Gantt then notes that Ms. Murphy has brought an audience to see her little show and then rules her, correctly, out of order. Some 70+ year old woman then proceeds to disrupt the meeting. Obviously this woman had no clue about Robert’s Rules, but Kim did. Her action was purely to inflame her supporters against the district and the board.
So much for “harmony” and “respect”.
I have utmost respect for Susan Baker. I have always found her to be intelligent, respectful, and trustworthy. I do not live in the district but I would take Susan Baker’s side on any educational issue. She is not a vindictive person, but she is a caring, supporting, and truthful citizen who the people of District 5 are fortunate to have on their side.
Eagleman – The issue is not about about Kim Murphy or about Susan Baker, The issue is much higher than that – There is a proper way to discuss issues in a free and open democratic society and there are ways to approach issues more fitting to a society that conducts business in the streets.
Board chairman Gantt has an obligation and a resposibility to conduct meetings in a manner different from a street brawl. The rules which cover citizen speakers are specific and to the point that a speaker cannot attack a member of the board – this policy is appropriate and is adhered to at most board meetings whether school board, city council or whatever. The policy does not specify that the chairman can differentiate when the targeted person is favored or unfavored by the chair.
Gantt’s actions were particularly egregious because he allowed young people to be party to a planned and coordinated attack. It was no happenstance that a hundred or more teenagers and college age showed up at a board meeting. Before the meeting commenced it was obvious that this was not going to be a normal business meeting.
Gantt, Hefner and the other five board members by their inaction condoned a circus atmosphere that had similarity to ‘occupy wall street’ demonstrations currently in progress across our nation. Young people came away from the meeting with a lesson in how to shout down those who hold a different opinion, be that opinion of merit or not; they were schooled in the fine art of making demands for things that they will not pay for and with no regard for those who will foot the bill.
It is a serious matter if our young people do not learn citizenship in our schools, but it is a much more serious issues if our young people are schooled in tactics which are part of the underside of citizenship – I think the line was crossed at this meeting and I think Gantt has to be held responsible when he comes up for election next year. I also hold the opinion that Hefner and his crew need to go.
I agree the problem is much higher but the students have been waiting for years to get the renovations started. The students had been planning for this vote for a long time. Why are you surprised at the large turn out? These students don’t act like this all the time. What they see is a person who has used the legal system to drag out appeals and cost the taxpayers a lot of money. They are also frustrated that even though we used a democratic process to get the renovations approved (Referendum vote) one person can thwart the will of the majority.
Dr. Hefner is a fine man and we are lucky to have him. Karl Fulmer is a man full of integrity.
Eagleman – If I am interpreting your remarks correctly, I respectively disagree.
I think you are saying that it is correct and proper to abandon basic rules of public behavior when one feels strongly about an issue. I would argue that when disagreemen is the strongest, that is the time when it is most vital for calm and orderly discussion of ideas free of rancor and with prcticed respect for those we might disagree with.
I further think you are saying that we should not have a board made up of seven equals, but rather we should allow a faction of the board (in this case four members) to make decisions and the ‘minority’ board members should be under the thumb of those with the power. This would not be consistent with my understanding of government.
I further read into your remarks that young people not of voting age and who are not taxpayers should be permitted to come before the citizens of the district and make demands. I am of the opinion that young people of this district should be thankful that they have the fine facilities that have been provided for them and that they should make an effort to to excel in their studies. I am of the opinion that students should not be permitted to wear clothing with slogans or messages of any kind that express political statements – I find it repugnant that students wear the blue shirts with ‘Build our schools’ almost in defiance of taxpayers who might call for a more reasoned approach to how their money is spent by the district.
You refer to the ‘referendum’ almost as something sacrosant – but there is reason to question whether it is even valid given the history of being passed on the basis of the ‘big lie’ of student growth projections that were only a figment of imagination in the minds of those who were determined to spend money – but that is subject for a different discussion though not unrelated to
the show of illicit power at the recent board meeting. Three years ago Gantt and company promoted and championed the referendum with a total disregard for guidelines of behavior just as he allowed the spectacle that went on at the last board meeting.
If I have read more into your remarks than you intended, you have my apologies.
I totally agree. Susan’s character is impeccable!
I respect your opinion. As a strong Republican we probably agree on many issues this is just not one of them. Let me make just a few comments:
I don’t think that it is okay to abandon basic rules of public behavior but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough. Think about how America was born. Thank God that the Fathers of our Country stood up to the British. Going against the crown was a basic rule but I’m glad that some did what they did so that we would have a Democracy of the people, by the people and for the people.
I don’t think that we should have a board made up of seven equals and I’m not sure how I could have conveyed that. It’s okay to have votes split up but once the board has voted don’t go and try to undermine what the board has voted to do. You fix that during the election process. Don’t take the school district to court and cause them to spend over $2 million dollars defending something that as the Judge ruled, “[Murphy’s] claim is devoid of any foundation and therefore fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action, and it is therefore dismissed.” You also mentioned “This would not be consistent with my understanding of government”. I’m not sure what you mean by this statement. All levels of government have Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, etc. The way government works is people vote and the majority wins. It’s that simple. You try to get more votes to go your way by going to the polls. Maybe I don’t understand your point here.
I don’t think that the students of Chapin have made any demands to the School District. You said “I am of the opinion that young people of this district should be thankful that they have the fine facilities that have been provided for them and that they should make an effort to excel in their studies.” Our District has the highest graduation rate in the State and our SAT scores are the 2nd highest in the state so I think they do a great job. This level of performance is done with the 2nd lowest tax rate in the midlands so I think that the District is doing a pretty good job of using our tax dollars. Chapin does not have fine facilities. Chapin High School has the smallest cafeteria in the district and so kids have to eat lunch across several hours just to get them through the lines. I travel to a lot of sporting events across the state and Chapin’s athletic facilities are the worst. Students can wear shirts that say, “Build our schools”. I don’t see any harm in that. They are just wanted what the voters voted for.
With regards to the “big lie”, unfortunately our District has had many Superintendants. I think that over the past 10 years we have had four or five. Every time a new one came on they were asked to evaluate what was needed. Dr. Hefner agrees that we don’t need a new middle school but we do need the CATE center and a Magnet High School. The elementary school will come towards the end. The fact is we are behind.
I have a copy of the original presentation by Dr. Anderson where he shows a graph of expected population. On the graph were several projections. There are many that only want to look the highest projections. Someone used this highest projection and put the graph in a local newspaper. They didn’t even show the other projections that were lower. This was done to try to influence the public in believing the “big lie”. If this isn’t crooked I don’t know what is. When Dr. Berg came on board the first thing that he did was evaluate the growth projections. He saw that due to the economy the projections were not there in fact they were flat but we still needed the schools because we were already behind. The school district announced this before the Referendum (about two months I think) was voted on. No one could project the downfall of the economy. They sure weren’t projecting in 1925 that we would have a great depression in 1929. Dr. Hefner said in a recent board meeting that enrollment was the same this year as last year. There are some that don’t want the schools simply because they don’t want to see growth in their area. I think many of Kim’s supporters feel this way and I wish they would just come out and say that instead of saying they don’t want the schools because of the growth projections.
Eagleman – it seems you know me and I probably know you. But without your name it makes identification impossible.
I would like to meet with you and discuss these things over a cup of coffee. Please give me a call if you are amenable to a discussion, I think we could spend an enjoyable and worthwhile hour of our time. And as you state, there is probably more we agree on than there are differences.
“Three years ago Gantt and company promoted and championed the referendum with a total disregard for guidelines of behavior just as he allowed the spectacle that went on at the last board meeting.”
Totally untrue. You seem to lack any understanding of the history of D5. The referendum that passed was championed by the entire board at the time. That board was made up of members, who at the time of their election were the darlings of the anti-school “putting students first” crowd. Paula Hite, Jerry Fowler, Carol Sloop, and Ellen Baumgarder made up the voting majority on that particular board.
What is most interesting is that although they rose to power on the idea of reigning in a district out of control, once faced with the day-to-day realities of the district they were indeed champions of the referendum. These facts are not in dispute.
In fact, their referendum grew from the original 140-160 million to the 200+ million we ended up with.
We have added 1750 students since 2001, we also grew by some 40 students per the official 2010/11 school year count. Yet Paula Lindler published an article in the Irmo News recently that said we are down by over 200 students. Not only is this false on the facts, it omits the growth we have seen since 2001.
So much for open and honest debate.
I’m sure we could work that out one day. Thanks