“Uh, because it's not Nazi Germany?"
Last night, a group of community members met out of the community in West Seneca to "demand that the education of our kids will be put first." As reflected in the Buffalo News article, "Hamburg Parents Discuss Intimidation in District" and the Channel 2 News segment, "Parents Meet to Move Hamburg Schools Forward", this blogger doesn't think that's what happened. This blogger must admit a bias, as mentioned several times over the years, they absolutely love citizen involvement and they believe a school district is the closest form of Democracy we have in this country. So, kudos to everyone who wants to be informed, involved and active.
That being said, this blogger must address some misinformation spewed at the meeting. It is clear that many blame this very blog for preventing children from wanting to go to school, threatening people's jobs, bullying staff members and citizens, etc.
Two comments stand out in particular: "Somehow that blog is connected the high school or the school district -- It's further than you think. It's affecting children and my daughters don't want to go to school" and "You know its one thing to come at me and call me names, but when you threaten someone's job and children -- we've got to find a way as a community to say enough is enough". Breaking down these comments:
1) "Somehow that blog is connected the high school or the school district"--This blog is not somehow connected to the school or district, it is absolutely connected to the schools and district, and has been since its inception almost 3 years ago. This blog was created to inform and comment about the educational issues in the Hamburg Central Schools, and allow bloggers the right to express their opinions on matters and people related to Hamburg Schools.
2) "It's further than you think"--The District did make the blog national news when they spent thousands of dollars to uncover the identity of the blogger and the courts upheld this blogger's first amendment right to be an anonymous citizen journalist, and the rights of commenter's to remain anonymous. Although this blogger is still anonymous, the District now knows this blogger is not one of the three women they are suing, but yet continue to use innuendo to defy the very matters that were settled in the courts. So kudos again, your hard earned tax dollars ruled out this blogger's identity by at least three people.
3) "It's affecting children and my daughters don't want to go to school"--Anything and everything can affect children. That is why we have parental controls. That is why we have ratings. We can block what programs our children see. We can deny access to what websites our children visit. We can put back the rated "M for mature" video game. We can even censor their dinner time conversations. If anyone's children are being affected by this blog, especially to the point of not wanting to go to school, that is a shame. However, this blogger would respond by saying, exercise some parental control and suggest there are probably other reasons why your kids don't want to go to school.
4) "You know its one thing to come at me and call me names"--if you don't want to be a public figure and enjoy all of the scrutiny that comes with being a public figures, do not make yourself one by standing up and speaking to the press. Interesting though that all of these newly found "concerned parents" were not concerned when the District lost 1.3 million dollars, laid off dozens of teachers, spent thousands of dollars as plaintiffs in a lawsuit, gave administrators huge raises while simultaneously claiming a budget shortfall, received bad audits from the state comptroller, funneled money into the Hamburg School Foundation, continually violated Open Meetings Laws, school taxes increased exponentially, and the district is the defendant in a lawsuit naming the superintendent and staff- by name, to name a few. This blogger must question the motives of these concerned parents and wonder why they started coming to board meetings in the summer of 2013.
5) "when you threaten someone's job and children"--Talk about hyperbole. As to both accusations, this blogger emphatically denies threatening anyone's job and children. Furthermore, this blogger challenges anyone to explain how your job and children were threatened. To be clear, if you don't want any of your information available to the public, do not become a public figure and set your privacy controls on social media sites to "private."
Interestingly it was reported that they only real solution offered was from none other than the former Hamburg Teachers' Association president: get a superintendent with experience and leadership. Maybe if the District employed a superintendent the community, staff and board were behind that would be the first step towards uniting this District.
Although the ultimate end result of the meeting seems to be a lot of people got to vent some steam about this very blog, this blogger does not believe that was meeting coordinator's intentions. He wanted the District to move away from the Drama and get back on track, focusing on the children. Again, kudos to Mr. Piazza for his intentions. This blogger could not agree more. If that were the focus and intentions of the District, there would be no need for this blog. Please take the time to respond to questionnaire below:
1.) Are there problems the community must address
2.) How do you believe the problems can be addressed
3.) What are you prepared to do