Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Board Shreds the Rights of Student Renee Anderson

Edgecomb: School Board Member

Heilmann: River High Principal

Massena River High Vice Principal 

Victim: Renee Anderson

Hillsborough County School Board Jobs Racket
The comment by the reader in the previous post about board corruption adds another dimension to the discussion. One infers that one reason that Ms. Edgecomb ran for the board was to protect her daughter’s career. It certainly wasn’t her goal to help black children. Jack Lamb also has a daughter in the school system administration I believe. Candy Olson is reputed to arrange jobs for people.
One of the perquisites of the superintendent job consists of hiring buddies and hangers on and creating jobs at taxpayer expense. Elia hired the former assistant supervisor Jim Hamilton after he retired, never having learned the difference between “your” and “you’re” for a lobbying slot without justifying with a needs study its need. I heard the pay was between $64,000 and $94,000 a year.
The board never thinks to ask for a needs study for any of Ms. Elia’s jobs-program positions. Hamilton’s wife divorced him because he pushed through doxie Connie Mileto’s candidacy for the Tallahassee position despite her being a kindergarten teacher. A person with a political degree or a history degree should have gotten that job. Now Hamilton and Mileto are back in Tallahassee as a lobbying pas de deux. I guess this means his wife, who had remarried the old goat, will now have to divorce him again.
Ms. Elia’s job lockdown recently resulted in a job created for the principal Smith in the Alafia brouhaha. The parents refused to have Smith principal any more, and even Elia’s promising them that she would send both Smith and her vice principal to Eckerd for a personality makeover at $4500 a pop of tax money if they would keep Smith did not propitiate them.
So because the administration and board couldn’t stand the bad publicity being printed by the usually somnolent press, Elia sent Lie-about-educational credentials Griffin and former board member Motel-breath Jennifer Falliero out to Alafia to a secret rendezvous with Smith to lure her to resign her job with the understanding that Elia would create an empty job but at full principal pay and benefits as compensation. The false job offer worked. Smith got the pretend job and is probably sitting somewhere in the book depository now paring her nails as we speak.
I asked for the job’s description as public information. After about two weeks had given personnel honcho Otero the time to fake one, I got a copy of the job description; then I asked for who inhabited the job before Smith: no answer. QED: it’s an out-of-thin-air job devised by Elia at taxpayer expense to solve a bad-publicity problem. The board has endowed on Elia this create-jobs perquisite as part of the superintendent’s benefits. Why not? We’re talking about taxpayer play money that the board and administration use to preen their power and solve their personnel problems.
The unspoken rule is that administrators never get punished no matter what they do; but if a teacher had been discovered to know about drug activities of another school employee and failed to report the situation--even it were apocryphal as Edgecomb‘s daughter’s case perhaps was, that teacher would be the object of a lightening-fast Professional Standards Gestapo shake down.
But the Edgecomb offspring had not only the tradition of never punishing administrators to rely on but also was a child of a board member. Board attorney Tom Gonzalez would have temporarily ceased drinking soda and eating chips on the podium brought in his mouthpiece bag of tricks to construct a footnote to a footnote to make her not only not liable for covering up a drug danger but also of being beatified to boot along with a Nobel recommendation signed by all the board and administration that have only just recently learned what a Nobel is using flash cards.
One significant way that the board and administration keep teachers oppressed is the tactic of job threats via the Professional Standards gauntlet. I asked for files on teachers’ Professional Standards charges: I got a stack. I asked for administrator files with Professional Standards charged lodged against them: zilch. Thus the board and administration have the power to keep teachers silent for fear of losing their jobs. This sicko sadistic power gives the board and administration the control of teachers’ ability to earn a livelihood. This power renders teachers quiet.
The head of Professional Standards is one Linda Kipley, whom I have observed wearing see-through baby dolls on the job. She was principal at Hillsborough High, but she was bad. Teachers refused to go into a conference with her unless equipped with a recorder so likely she is to lie and manufacture things that had not occurred in an interview.
So bad the situation got at Hillsborough that the superintendent and her thugs switched Kipley into the head of Professional Standards. Kipley has a home-ec degree that went out in the Pleistocene Age in the academic world and occupies a vital, extravagantly paid position that should require a psychology or criminal justice degree. The job description does say it is a master’s degree job, but Ms. Elia can overrule that little prerequisite.
The job got no advertising despite the ubiquitous assurance from the board that it is “an equal-employment-opportunity employer.” This lack of competition violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and violates as well the federal contracts that the school has that all require affirmative action plans for disabled people and equal-opportunity protocols.
But what are federal laws when pitted against the fulsome powers of the Hillsborough County School Board and administration quidnuncs?
Delusions of grandeur are also a side affliction that the board and administration acquire.
Blurb from Riverview school site accompanying Principal Heilmann’s picture with the balloons around his head. This specimen betrays meagre erudition. It is betrayal of the taxpayers that a principal of a high school can’t punctuate at a basic level. This balloon-head tax drain probably makes $70,000 a year nonetheless. The board should be ashamed of rubberstamping the employment of such a ripoff on the public.
Mr. Robert Heilmann
Mr. Robert Heilmann became an educator in 1972, no comma: splits compound verb and has taught Elementary PE, Social Studies, No caps and English. After earning a Masters’ lowercase; singular possessive: apostrophe “s” Degree lower case in Counselor Education lower case and in Educational Leadership lower case; comma: long introductory prepositional phrase he served as a Guidance Counselor lower case and was an Assistant Principal lower case for Student Affairs lower case at East Bay High School.
When the opportunity to help launch a brand new hyphenated adjective high school arose, Mr. Heilmann was instrumental in opening stilted diction: use “helped in the job of launching” our new Riverview High School as the Assistant Principal lower case for Curriculum. lower case After the retirement
Mr. Robert Heilmann became an educator in 1972, and has taught Elementary PE, Social Studies, and English. After earning a Masters’ Degree in Counselor Education and in Educational Leadership he served as a Guidance Counselor and was an Assistant Principal for Student Affairs at East Bay High School.
When the opportunity to help launch a brand new high school arose, Mr. Heilmann was instrumental in opening our new Riverview High School as the Assistant Principal for Curriculum. After the retirement of Riverview’s first principal J. Vince Thompson, Mr. Heilmann became principal in January 2001.
During his educational career, he has coached baseball, hockey, cross country, and track. He has also officiated high school and college soccer games for 34 years. Mr. Heilmann had the distinction of serving on the U.S. international panel of referees for the sport of soccer from 1991-1994 (each country having only seven officials).
Robert Heilmann became an educator in 1972, and has taught Elementary PE, Social Studies, and English. After earning a Masters’ Degree in Counselor Education and in Educational Leadership he served as a Guidance Counselor and was an Assistant Principal for Student Affairs at East Bay High School.
When the opportunity to help launch a brand new high school arose, Mr. Heilmann was instrumental in opening our new Riverview High School as the Assistant Principal for Curriculum. After the retirement of Riverview’s first principal J. Vince Thompson, Mr. Heilmann became principal in January 2001.
During his educational career, he has coached baseball, hockey, cross country, and track. He has also officiated high school and college soccer games for 34 years. Mr. Heilmann had the distinction of serving on the U.S. international panel of referees for the sport of soccer from 1991-1994 (each country having only seven officials).
retirement of Riverview’s first principal comma: nonrestrictive appositive J. Vince Thompson, Mr. Heilmann became principal in January 2001.
During his educational career, he pronoun antecedent has coached baseball, hockey, cross country, and track. He has also officiated at high school and college soccer games for 34 years. Mr. Heilmann had the distinction of serving on the U.S. international panel of referees for the sport of soccer from 1991-1994 (each country apostrophe “s” for noun modifier preceding a gerund having only seven officials). Misplaced modifier: goes after “referees”: ““referees
After the retirement of Riverview’s first principal J. Vince Thompson, Mr. Heilmann became principal in January 2001.
During his educational career, he has coached baseball, hockey, cross country, and track. He has also officiated high school and college soccer games for 34 years. Mr. Heilmann had the distinction of serving on the U.S. international panel of referees for the sport of soccer from 1991-1994 (each country possessive before gerund having only seven officials).
Just what the schools need as principal: an illiterate jock and bigot making over $70,000 a year who--get this--at one time taught English! What administrative ninny hired him for that job? Don’t the people in ROSSAC have literacy tests for educators before they hire them, and isn’t there anyone in the building who can read them? I want to see Heilmann’s transcipts and
Strong Aptitude Test profile.
Dear Ms. Edgecomb, Board Chair Hillsborough County Schools:
After the Professional Standards office framed my friend Bart Birdsall on a cooked-up charge because he participated in the pro-gay community protest of County Commissioner Rhonda Storms’s shutdown of library privileges for gays, I spent over two years sitting in the back of the room observing the board’s behavior. I wanted to know what kind of people sanction such unethical punishment of a school employee.
That scrutiny furnished a Baedeker of evidence for the board’s and administration’s running the schools as if these public institutions were their personal bailiwick. They use their board and administration perches to preen their power and prestige with which to strut around Tampa Bay because they control billions of tax dollars. That control means they can dish out contracts to people who do business to the board. That, concluded for the whistleblower law suit filed and won by Mr. Erwin against the board. The administration-- starting at the top with Dr. Lennard--board, and board attorney Tom Gonzalez conducted a campaign to fire him against for reporting to the board shoddy building practices and asking the board to do something to combat the rip-off of the public.
I read the court files. The jury did not believe a thing the administration collaborators and board liars said. It found for Mr. Erwin. Tom Gonzalez, not a court-room Fred Astaire, blew the case. This bad response from the jury explains why the administration always asks for bench trial. They know they can’t fool a jury or tap into the judicial collaborators as they did in Renee’s two trials.
Mr. Erwin fled to Georgia but can’t get a job because he can’t get the board and administration to give him a recommendation. That’s the kind of petty retaliation at which the board and administration excel. If there were one board member with courage and ethics, that benign renegade would send Mr. Erwin a job recommendation.
Mr. Erwin was a principal in the schools for years and universally liked and respected. Earl the Pearl Lennard lured him into the administration and tried to gut him when he turned out to have courage and ethics. Among the petty crooks who run the schools, ethics and courage are bad politics.
When Erwin asked the board and administration to clean up the the shoddy work on the schools with their payoffs, instead of an investigation for bribe taking and other unlovely perquisites of power, the administration, starting with Dr. Lennard and including the board’s connivance, tried to make the whistleblower’s professional life a living hell on campus and fire him. If you want further evidence of the irregular practices that won Mr. Erwin the case, check the donar lists of Carol Kurdell and Jack Lamb on the supervisor of elections site of the county. In the quirky politics of the state, then Governor Crist appointed Lennard supervisor of elections when Phyllis Bukanski, an honest politician, died in office.
In assessing the board’s conduct, I learned that anyone who threatened this power hegemony--even a lowly gay speaking up for gays in the community as was his First Amendment rights--could expect retaliatory punishment including threatened job loss.
The school administration and board have determined to control their image to protect their power incumbency. Both want to eucher the community about their unlovely covert behavior in order to maintain their image in order to keep the public ignorant and ensure both’s continued lock on power.
In Bart’s case, his public display of being gay messed up their need to disguise that gays worked in the schools for fear that the Paleozoic homophobes in the fens and bogs at the edge of the county beyond the furtherest reaches of Seffner and Turkey Creek would march on ROSSAC in battle formation with axe handles and pitchforks. If a gay’s employment got out, then citizens would understand that the quidnuncs who run the schools don’t practice perfect discrimination against gays, just enough to keep gays cowed and silent and the Yahoos propitiated.
I was eager to see how you, the only black on the board, made sure that black children’s needs got attention, an enterprise not favored by the rest of the board. I wanted also to observe how you used your position to promote community blacks’ participation in the life of the schools.
In my two years’ observation, I never heard you mention black children. You didn’t sponsor a single program for them or bring up one statistic that showed them disenfranchised in any way. I also never heard you support an outstanding community black’s having a school named after him or her. The result of the latter assured that school after school got the name of another mediocre white man--most often a coach who can’t make his subjects and verbs agree.
Your ignoring significant discrimination against black children as the NAACP’s 2003-2004 black-disparity study shows tells me that you have entered the woebegone ranks of Aunt Toms, who want to distance themselves from their own black race to blend in with the dominant white race. I see that kind of betrayal in the Women’s Movement, with a few of us women doing the heavy lifting and the rest joining the sexist males’ declaring that those few working for women’s rights are jackbooted lesbians. But when we open a door for women, guess who rushes through first?
One salient piece of discrimination against black children that took place unchallenged by you is the recent savagery to Riverside High’s black student Renee Anderson. The board and administration railroaded her into expulsion without a fair hearing, including an obligatory hearing before the board.
The board and administration apparatchiks closed ranks to maul and kick out Renee Anderson without giving her the chance to tell her side of the story; the administration and board hierarchs expected Renee to go to the preliminary hearing and admit guilt to things she was not guilty of because that was their routine bureaucratic shake-down in the preliminary hearing: they demanded an automatic admission of guilt from the student at the hearing. Most children are scared enough to comply. They don’t have courageous, protective parents as Renee has.
In the preliminary hearing, Renee’s stepfather, Mr. Walton, protested that the school persecutors were stripping Renee of her Constitutional rights because the board minions were shuffling through evidence at their desks not provided to Renee in the preliminary hearing and wouldn’t allow Renee to see it when he asked for it.
Mr. and Mrs. Walton, along with Renee, thus got kicked out of Renee‘s hearing by the board and administration overlord representatives, including then-board-attorney Crosby Few, for presenting this due-process request to the board biggies. Thus ensued the kick-out. Students don’t get Constitutional rights in the Hillsborough County school system any more than they get filet mignon in the lunch room.
Despite the Waltons’ and Renee’s kickout, the hearing overlords recorded Renee‘s having pled guilty to the aggravated assault charge in that hearing from which they ejected her and her parents. They lied for an official record.
The board routine of that preliminary hearing requires every student to plead guilty of the charge. Renee later maintained her innocence in her deposition for her court case, filed by her parents to protect her from the slander of expulsion that would contaminate her record and make it hard for her to get a job. The school minions had manufactured the guilty plea in the hearing.
The NAACP study asserts “Students of color are being disciplined at higher rates compared to their peers in the Hillsborough schools. For example, in 2003-2004 black students were over three times as likely as their white peers to be suspended out of school, and black elementary school pupils over five times as likely to be suspended out of school.” Renee Anderson ranks as one of those racist statistics.
Moreover, says NAACP research, “Racial disparities in suspension are matched by other key educational indicators. In the school year, a black child is more likely to be retained in grade as a white child and more than three times as likely to be identified as retarded, whereas a white child is more than one and one-half times as likely to graduate from high school in four years and more than three times as likely to be identified for a gifted program.”
This NAACP study confirms disparity in such situations as the case of Renee Anderson at Riverview High. It and other cases result in these lopsided, discriminatory statistics unquestioned by the board and surprisingly by the one black on it: you. This case shows Renee’s being expelled for “aggravated assault” on the 240-pound hulk vice principal Kevin Massena. Renee brushed past this administrative specimen to escape his blocking her from leaving his office after school when her mother told her to come home via cell phone.
My friend, a teacher of the county school says: “…maybe principals are allowed to block a student's path, b/c I do know that they are now telling teachers not to break up fights and to just call an administrator. Administrators are trained in special restraining techniques to help end a fight safely and pull the kids apart. So maybe principals are also taught how to blocka student. I don't know. I just know that we peons [teachers] are told to never block a student’s path. If the student refuses to sit down or leaves the room, we simply call for administration and write the student up. We are told the school board will not support us if we block and then the student gets hostile and hits or pushes us. I think that puts the school board at legal risk if we block the student’s path.But maybe principals are different. I don't know.”
Yes, principals and administrators are different. The Professional Standards office statistics show teachers but never administrators get punished. And in cases of school contretemps, principals such as Heilmann feel free to run after the student and howl, “Get off my school grounds!” Such is the special training for such incidents that principals get but not teachers.
This information came from a teacher of many years who would be fired on the spot if I revealed the name.
Jiu jetsu Menendez claims Renee Anderson performed aggravated battery upon his person by brushing past him to escape when he had her penned up in his office and blocked her exit.
Before we go any further, we must demand that Le Mendez present his scores on the Beery-Buketinic Developmental Test of Visual-Motor skills. These data will tell us whether he is normal in this area as anyone must be who is going to invoke aggravated battery for a student’s bumping into him.
Logic says that the administration’s claim that it knows how to handle fights but that the faculty does not requires this test for all administrators: A Menendez-Beery Bukentinic score is pivotal in a claim of aggravated battery as the one Le Menedez cites. Mr. Heilmann must present the most recent Menendez-Berry-Bukentinc score of his battered subaltern: Menendez.
Mr. Menendez justifies his claim:
-----Original Message-----From: Doris Landis Raskin [] Sent: Sunday, .Doris Landis
-----Original Message-----From: Doris Landis Raskin [] Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 11:16 AMTo: tdecesar@tampabay.rr.comSubject:Renee's case is concluded unjustly and unfairly. The appellate court found a completely new fact, i.e., that the board had offered Renee an alternative placement. If that were true, we would never have filed a case. When a case is decided at the appellate level, the only thing left is an appeal to the Supreme Court. There is no jurisdictional issue for the Supreme Court. The appellate court tanked it by finding a fact not in evidence.Thank you for your kind words. I am not proud of the writing, but I am proud of the content. Cases are not decided on how well the brief is written, but the legal issues, the application of the facts to the issues, and the rule of law. In Renee's case, I believe it was decided on personalities. Susan Bucklew, a favorite of the appellate court, and a former high school English teacher in the defendant school system who had to know all of the good old boys involved, should have recused herself, but didn't. I didn't know about her until I read her wild hair of a decision and did some research.Doris Landis
out his desk exit the premises. Even if he has mopped up the floor with the Menendez-Beery Bukentinic test, he must skedaddle.
Egged on by a call from Principal Heilmann, the police didn’t wait for Renee’s mother to arrive but crammed her in the patrol car in handcuffs and sped her to lock-up.
School officials such as board attorney Tom Gonzalez maintain in PR propaganda that students get solicitous treatment and are given their rights in such situations.
Legal hooey.
Renee’s case shows the overlords don’t. In answer to the question “Do principas get to monitor interrogations?“ a SPT reporter asked board attorney Gonzales. He reaches into his legal sack of mendacity and reponds that the ing. One wishes this were so. Principal Heilmann was in cahoots with the police to deprive Renee of fair treatment.
Then the Board Mouthpiece gilded the PR lie and continued that principals have the duty "if they ever get uncomfortable [with an interrogation]…to” speak up and say, 'You know what, [sic] I think we should wait for that person's parent.'" Absolute hogwash as Renee‘s treatment shows.
Renee’s case belies reality for and press preening. Called by the principal’s factotums or himself, the cops motored up to King High just as Renee was walking toward her home across the street from the school. The piney-woods gendarmes jumped out of the patrol car, clamped Renee in handcuffs, and arrested her with Principal Heillmann’s not only failing to monitor the police interrogation because none occurred, but by Heilmann’s running after Renee in the parking lot hollering after her to “get off my campus!“ and “You’ll never come back here again!”
Renee’s interrogation by the police probably consisted of the colloquy, “You Renee Anderson?” “Yes.” “Then hold out your hands for these cuffs, sister, and get in the back of the patrol car.”
What parent would want a child subjected to this terrorism?
The school board’s PR description of the way students facing expulsion get treated as depicted in school-board false policy statenebt and the wat they get treated in reality are two different things. The board knows this and even encourages it. The board counts to the public about these and other matters as routine politics.
The board never heard Renee’s case as it was obligated to according to board rules, and you, Ms. Edgecomb, didn’t bestir yourself to ascertain why Renee and her parents did not come before the board as such cases are supposed to.
The parents and Renee did not get notice of the board hearing due either to the incompetent hostility of Mr. Otero, vice superintendent, or to the board’s indifference. Instead, board members let this black student slide into expulsion by green-lighting her case on the board see-no-evil consent agenda. Nobody asked what had happened to her. Abused students--especially black ones--are so routine that they do not pique the board’s curiosity and especially not their concern.
All board members and involved administrators were culpable in ignoring this black student’s disenfranchisement by the Hillsborough schools’ racist system of lopsided punishment that the NAACP study documents.
The board apparatus had misinformed Renee’s parents about the hearing. It never bothered to follow up to find out why they and Renee did not show up. Mr. Otero’s office claimed the board couldn’t get in touch with the Walton parents because they had left no forwarding address when the family moved to take Renee to a more wholesome environment in which to attend school after the staged Riverview fracas in which she was accused of “aggravated assault” on the bloated 240-pound vice principal because she squeezed past him to escape his incarceration of her when her mother told her on the phone to come home.
The Walton family had, in fact, left a forwarding address at the post office.
This slovenly treatment of a black student’s rights shows a lackadaisical attitude toward black children by the board and administration. It confirms a blithe unconcern for their wellbeing. Had the child Renee been a white child from South Tampa, one can be sure that a sycophantic board would have hopped to it in ensuring that the South Tampa family’s engraved notification of the board hearing was delivered on a satin pillow.
I believe that vice-superintendent Otero deliberately mishandled the notification ritual for Renee. The narrative of this case shows that this extravagantly paid public employee showed ignorant of addresses’ being left by departing people at post offices. Yet he gets paid what I suspect is close to $200,000 a year since Ms. Elia pulls down $300,000 and rising since the sycophantic board has no mercy on taxpayers when loading on more and more dolllar bills onto Elia’s already bloated salary.
It is not as if Mr. Otero just got off the boat from Bulgaria via the Black Sea and didn’t know the civil rituals of the United States; it is not as if he had no experience in the procedure of forwarding addresses. He has done a plethora in his job of vice principal, ensconced therein since the Pleistocene Age. He should have an advanced degree by now in forwarding letters when students’ families move. Like too many in this C-student administration, Mr. Otero is a slow learner.
I reason Le Otero’s slovenliness was due to Renee’s being a black child and that this dereliction betrayed insidious retaliation in sabotaging Renee’s case by the whole administrative system. Why? Because Renee Anderson’s parents fought back at the discriminatory behavior toward Renee and them by the board and administration. The board and administrative bigots expect that such victims as Renee and her family will take the board and administration’s contemptuous behavior lying down whilst groveling with “Yassir, Mahster.”
One example of discrimination in Renee’s case exists in the assault claim of vice principal Kevin Messena. Mr. Messena and the administration closed ranks, lied also about Renee’s involvement in a school-grounds fight, didn’t give her a chance to refute the charge of participation or assault on the grounds or on Le Messena, and trapped this black student into an ersatz charge of aggravated battery against the 240-pound functionary when she exited his office.
The administrative punishers never allowed Ms. Anderson her Constitutional rights, and the local courts themselves steeped in this complicit punishment choreograph, approved this denial of Renee’s rights in adjudication of the charge up through the appeals court presided over by Judge Bucklew, who was judge in the appeals case had connection with Tom Gonzalez’s wife. I believe that the detective whom Mr. Walton has employed to track down issues in the case may have discovered these data.
The people excoriating Renee at every stage of her expulsion seemed to have a connection to each other honed over years of relationships punctuated by irregular pupil expulsions that got the imprimatur of the courts, part of the coreograph, although the courts are supposed to administer justice in these forlorn regions. The folks who handled Renee’s expulsion ritual worked together like bees in a beehive. The judge who presided at the first trial insisted that Renee had pled guilty in the hearing--the one she and her family were kicked out of. It seems that the system allows only a guilty plea in that hearing. To which a logical question would be Then why have the hearing?
This judge said “Everybody knows you’re guilty”: Is this judicial language or is it biased language? Renee’s attorney tried to determine Menendez’ degree of racism on the stand by asking him if it were true that he had been heard to use racist language. But the judges slapped the question down. I would have liked to hear the answer.
The Heilmann exhortation to Renee to “get off my school grounds!” represents a Freudian slip that lays bare the attitude of the administration and board toward black students.
The folks in the ROSSAC big White House believe the schools rank as their property and that field-hand teachers and students--especially black ones--are interlopers on it--tolerated only because students’ and their teachers’ numbers dictate the tax loot the board and administration preside over--loot that undergirds their status as power poseurs in the Bay Area. Scrutiny shows that they are abusers of children--especially black ones--trapped in the expulsion pas de deux.
I think it’s significant in your case, Ms. Ethridge, that you do not belong to the NAACP but rather to the Athena Society. Besides this social club of ladies who lunch, you belong to the Florida School Boards Association Board (FSBA) of Directors and are an alternate on both the FSBA Legislative Liaison Committee and the Hillsborough Education Foundation. You as well serve on the board of directors for ChairScholars, Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful, and the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture--for which Renee now qualifies after her mauling by the board, administration, and courts. None of these prissy committees of which you are member has established a record for fighing for black students’ rights in the schools.
I am familiar with the ladies-who-lunch Athena club. I knew its founder, Nancy Ford, recently passed away. Forty years ago, Nancy came to my home in Beach Park a couple of weeks after our family including our ancient cat Twink, who disappeared under the house for two weeks in a hissy we moved from New York because she had to sojourn in the luggage part of the plane. Nancy came as ambassador from the bank she worked for.
After Title VII nudged banks into hiring women to upper-level jobs, the local bank Machiavellies rigged up vp slots for prominent society women like Nancy. But attenuated sexism meant these to be for show, not regularguy jobs. The ersatz female vice presidents passed out cook books to relocating families. Talk about undignified sexism: this cookbook job was it.
My living in South Tampa notwithstanding, forty years ago Bay Area feminists such as I did not represent restrained, ladylike mores, which is the reason that Nancy never had the nerve to join us in the National Organization of Women, which I convened, but set up the women’s-rights-lite club Athena.
Meanwhile, NOW picketed; we sat in; we mounted verbal challenges; wrote sassy, abusive letters of protest to the town sexist biggies; ratted out discrimination against women to Washington compliance agencies; and offered instant resistance to any discrimination we spotted against women by the diehards of women’s oppression in Hillsborough County. If we spotted any, we squawked, usually at the scene of the crime.
I opened the sheriff’s and the police departments to women by reporting the sexist agencies for refusing to hire women as officers. The EEOC and the Justice Department rode down to the rescue. Sheriff Beard still refuses to occupy the same room with me. Boo hoo.
I recall our first street agitprop : NOW challenged the local papers’ sex-segregated job ads. Not content, we followed that up by picketing Wolfe Brothers department store on Franklin Street--since gone out of business--to challenge its policy of charging women, not men, for alterations. The manager’s defense: “Women sew.”
Meanwhile, dear Nancy, not able to join us bona fide feminists due to social timidity, nonetheless was bent on doing something to augment achieving women‘s equality. She dared not jeopardize her South Tampa social standing, so she walked on eggs and founded an attenuated form of feminism, the Athena Society. This moniker was ironic since Athena was the goddess of war and would have been president of the local chapter of hell-raising NOW feminists had she been around.
Athena’s feminist attitude ranked feeble then as now. It evolved as just another snoot club of women too insecure to speak out to assert their full citizenship and instead became a watered-down organizations such as the Junior League (junior to whom? one wonders. Men, of course) and Athena instead. These parts of the sisterhood occupied the pastel end slot.
Nancy asked me to speak at one of Athena’s luncheons on the ERA. I was to discourse on the grittier aspects of the ERA battle to this refined club of ladies engaged in flaccid feminism. Besides being called “jackbooted Lesbos,“ we radical feminists had to contend with such issues as the opposition’s scare tactic that the ERA would force men and women to go to the toilet together. Foes of the ERA were dumb and not high minded. Their concerns about the ERA were not metaphysical; they were physical.
So to talk up the ERA among the luke warm, I sallied forth to an Athena elegant luncheon and got the impression that the Athena women weren’t listening to my ERA comments so much as assessing my wardrobe.
As a poor teacher, I couldn’t dress in posh Athena duds, and these recidivist fashion groupies immediately picked up on this fact. Clothes to them ranked a major tenet of life--much more important than the ERA. This obsession was and is a major symptom of women’s second-class status in a man’s world.
Women pro-feminism remain to this day interlopers in a man’s power keep-out area. Men consider them toxic. Women don’t get past the lock-out by competence but by appearance--enhanced by attire to make them look soigné so that they can trap one of the dominant y-chromosome high-earning critters into the financial security of marriage by the lures of posh attire and giddy behavior.
I fended off the sneers that quivered at the corners of Athena doyennes’ mouths at my poor attire. But shazam! I had unexpected protection: I had by chance grabbed one of my big, old Chanel bags that day to stack my notes in. I have about a dozen Chanels picked up over the years during times of prosperity hanging as decorations on my bedroom wall.
When I flopped my old Chanel on the table to extract my notes, there was a palpable change of atmosphere in the room.
That old Chanel bag was escutcheon of style and class. Chanel stops the conversation. Nobody one-ups Chanel in the fashion marathon. My old Chanel acted my imprimatur of worthiness to make a speech to this soi-disant snoot group of insecure women who could not throw off old values of snobbery and vanity and slavery to men to fight in the streets and if necessary in the gutters to enter a new era of women’s equality. Such poseurs’ plan is to have us crazy radical feminists do the dirty work as storm troopers, and then Athena lady layabouts bestir themselves to move in and mop up the gains.
With my old Chanel protecting me like a cross brandished at vampires in old Bela Lugosi movies. I exited the luncheon feeling as if it were a fool-proof shield to be used when I met Athena vampires of snobbery and superannuated feminine behavior whilst they pretended to be committed to women‘s rights.
Forty years after my Athena speech and several years since Nancy’s death, Athena continues. It’s feminist-lite program supports “a young Woman of Promise“; how is not clear. Probably it involves a luncheon fundraiser for the young woman’s first-quarter tuition to some snoot-approved women’s college such as Radcliffe, in which she will major in art history.
Athena steers clear of the gut-level feminist issues of abortion rights, sexual harassment, and employment discrimination. These are too messy and unladylike for Athena just as was the suffragists’ fighting for the right of women to vote too unladylike for the dingbat x-chomosomers then. These traitors to their sex sneered and Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other suffragists and joined men in calling them “hyenas in petticoats.” But the collaborators sped to the voting booth when suffragist Valkyries pushed through women‘s right to vote.
In the intervening forty years, Athena has continued its luncheons. Its membership is still by-invitation-only. It has run a campaign of capturing productive community women to adorn its membership marquee such as Betty Castor, Katherine Essrig, and Sandy Freedman.
The list includes as well your name, Ms. Edgecomb. You are the token innocuous prominent black woman. Also listed also is the judge that presided in one of Renee’s trials: Susan Bucklew, who ruled against Renee‘s appeal. Now we begin to see through a glass darkly the backroom colleagues who undid Renee.
Renee’s hearing and trial record begins to resemble an unspoken conspiracy of Bay Area power bureaucrats sticking together on school expulsions behind the scenes from the school grounds through the courts. The choreograph is “To hell with the kids, especially black ones with parents that, in Renee‘s case, fight for their daughter‘s rights; let’s keep our record unblemished with no messy concessions to justice.”
You belong to Athena, Ms. Edgecomb, not the NAACP. The value system this choice represents does not redound to your credit. Nor does it recommend your being a school board member responsible for the protection and equal treatment of black children in the schools. I understand blacks in the community are proud of your public office. But you don’t deserve their admiration and trust as the Renee Anderson case well shows.
The school board, which you now chair, does not protest but fosters the discriminatory statistics of more black than white children’s suffering from the ritual of expulsion and low graduation rates as the NAACP study documents. One would have thought that as the only black on the board, you would have waded in and demanded an in-house committee of board members, administrators, teachers, and parents to plumb the situation and insist on its correction. And you would have thenceforth monitored progress of the committee’s suggestions or the lack of it, making a pest of yourself if necessary. I can testify that nothing beats making a pest of yourself. I excel at this skill. It’s much more effective than whining diplomacy. Women in Florida and elsewhere would do well to make pests of themselves.
You have not made a pest of yourself or even let out a peep of protest about discrimination against black children in the schools. You remained serene in your seat on whitey’s board, trying to distract from the fact that you are black by being bland. You are, in fact, a black woman who ignores the punishment of black children in the school system over which you preside. That’s a fact the NAACP statistics undergird. The children suffer while you fantasize.
To give some idea of how unfair Renee Anderson’s punishment was, let’s scrutinize the charge of “aggravated assault” responsible for her arrest and incarceration and compare her case with the aggravated assault on students of a King High school administrator. Renee brushed past Assistant Principal Macena, who tried to trap her in his office. This constituted the putative aggravated assault. One should have thought that cooping up a person in an office against a person’s will rings a bell somewhere in the justice system.
Renee had called her mother via cell phone and told her Le Messena was holding her against her will.
Her mother told her to come home, which was across the street from the school. But the hulking Messena penned Renee in his office on unproved charges of fighting in the schools and cried aggravated assault when she brushed past him. Every time I review this situation, I believe there’s something whacked out about it. A student brushes past a heft administrator, and that’s aggravated assualt. Aw, c’mon.
Nobody listened to Ms. Anderson. She had no hearing. She had not been fighting but was trying to break up a fight between friends. But the administration did not want to hear a refutation of its prejudice. Its accusation was freeze-dried and ready for application. Principal Heilmann was not interested in anything but his conviction that another black child had been in a fight and merited punishment. Black children’s fighting was his engrained scenario. Without determining her participation in the fight, the principal screamed twice at Renee, “Get off my school grounds!”
The DNA of this Heilmann reaction reaches back to the hanging of black men falsely accused of rape of white women in the Old South. This accusation’s morphology is limitless.
Question: why did the upper ROSSACers take this man from his natural habitat of the athletic fields and put him in a principal’s office? Look at his ill-written, badly punctuated resume above. He belongs in a sports venue or janitor duty: he should never take off his cleats.
Let’s home in on the charge of unproven “aggravated assault” by student Renee Anderson on the delicate 240-pounder. Unproven “aggravated assault,” later changed to plain assault by the state’s attorney--“The quality of justice is not strained: it droppeth from heaven like the gentle rain” was triggered by a mere call from the principal’s office.
This administration call resulted in Renee’s precipitate handcuffing arrest with no principal-attended interrogation. It was incarceration based on nothing but erroneous, bigoted assumptions by the administration and arrogant behavior of the cops. Here is Mr. Messena’s marginally literate statement:
I bet this hefty specimen makes at least $70,000 a year without being able to spell in a school system dedicated to infusing litercy skills into its pupils. Somebody who spells “until” as “untill” does not have the brain power to make the fine distinctions a vice principal must master. A meat plant hefting beef carcasses is the place for Mr. Messena.
Renee’s case represents insensitive, programmed, prejudiced behavior on the administration’s part toward Renee; it contrasts markedly with another instance of repeated, ignored assaults by an administrator on students:
A King High School administrator presided over these scenes of assaults on students at that school.
An assistant principal at King ordered pubescent boys into his office, ordered them to close the door, ordered them to remove their shoes and socks, ordered them to present him their feet for him to manipulate and drool over. He especially liked to crack their toes.
Other administrators pretended not to note this weird behavior nor tried to stop it. The principal, Carol Bruning, must be more than usually unaware of what is going on in her school.
This was the sicko scene of an administrator who produced the “Toecracker” caper, which the administration treated as a prank with an “Oh, isn’t he a card?!” when knowledge of it was forced upon them.
One of the boys’ others called the papers to reveal the outrage. The Toe Cracker saga appeared in the SPT.
The administration had filed no charges of undoubted aggravated assault against the administrative probable foot fetishist. Administrative minions had not called the cops to arrest him; no handcuffs; no lock-up; The oblivious principal Carla Bruning King went along with the administrator’s weird behavior if, indeed, she were ever aware of what the joker was doing. Such out-to-lunch principal conduct probably means she needed a regimen of No-Doze
The disputed charge of “aggravated battery” against Renee got her arrested stat and incarcerated without the administration’s even determining if she were guilty of the charge. It didn’t let her speak. There was no interrogation of Renee which school board attorney Tom Gonzalez airily tells the press any student is entitled to. In contrast, the assistant principal’s repeated, blatant aggravated assault on King’s multiple pubescent boys’ feet probably for psychosexual gratification got ignored or treated as a joke when forced on the administration‘s attention.
This case highlights another outrage perpetrated in the schools and unquestioned by the board. Administrators never get fired for bad behavior or incompetence; only teachers do. The Professional Standards files will support this statement.
I pleaded at a board meeting to Ms. Elia to have the apparent foot fetishist administrator examined by a psychiatrist to see if he were mentally well or suffered some form of pathology. She didn’t even look up from her calculations of what whopping raise she should ask for next. None of the board moved that the foot fetishist be examined to see if he were a threat to the youngsters in his power. So much for the empty “safety of the children” chorus of the board. So much for courage and morals.
How does this lax treatment of a King High administrator’s repeated, overt aggravated-assault fetish on pubescent male students stack up against Renee’s unproven aggravated-assault charge on burly Vice Principal Messena?
Comparison produces the suspicion that invidious discrimination unfolded in the administrative rush to judgment with non-deliberative jocko Principal Hellmann’s anthem of “Get off my school grounds!” to Renee. This administrative big shot didn’t bother to question Student Renee Anderson or give her the benefit of a doubt before he chased her across the parking lot, screaming “Get off my grounds!” into the cops’ arms,
Mr. Heilmann had early called the police to clamp handcuffs on the youngster, arrest her, and jail her for aggravated assault. Meanwhile, the bizarre King High footsy-tootsy administrator gets free rein to pursue his probably psychosexually based indulgence, dismissed as mere horseplay by the administration and board. The principal of King snoozed the whole time. The board avoided knowledge of the situation. “We knew nothing about it” is the board’s template fall-back mantra. The truth is they know everything about everything and sit on it.
Yet these elected public servants opine ad nauseum on the board dais that they are “concerned about the safety of the children.” Oh, sure. You betcha.
Instead of calling the cops to arrest the King High administrator for chronic aggravated assault on the school’s pubescent boys, the administration tolerated and even joked about it--“Ha! Ha! Ha” The higher-ups pretended to never have taken Psychology 101. They stalled until a parent’s outcry against the whacky foot-fetish administrator finally forced the administration to call in a lackadaisical sheriff’s investigator who declared the administration, not the sheriff’s department, should deal with the King High toe cracker. Passing the buck among Hillsborough County community leaders represents template behavior.
When I emailed Sheriff Gee to review the situation, he emailed me back and grandly advised, “Consult my staff.” Sheriff Gee is yet another politician who gets elected to office and believes that he has assumed the purple.
However, when the King High principal got the threat of a lawsuit from an irate parent after the toe-cracker story appeared in SP Times and when the parent said he would sue the schools unless the toe cracker got a psychiatric examination, the torpid administration broke into attenuated action.
Showing their slick, practiced powers of evasion, the administration and board side-stepped this parent’s threat it appears by having an in-house factotum with some ersatz psychology background evaluate the man for pathology. Naturally, the in-house evaluator found the Toe Cracker a model of mental health. Not doing so would have meant the poor wretch’s job.
Anybody who knows the least thing about mental illness (I did psychiatric nursing for a time at Seton Institute in Baltimore and spent hours in the hospital library reading, reading, reading, reading) would know a state-certified psychologist or a psychiatrist specializing in sexual disorders should have done the evaluation. Surely school administrators are obliged to be masters of such information.
This evasion of parental concern for the children to whom the board and administration act in loco parentis and such disinterest in multiple boys’ abuse refute the board’s claim to have paramount in their consideration the safety of the children. Its members show how lax and indifferent the board and administration are about Hillsborough County school children’s safety when it comes to making an administrator responsible for criminal battery on multiple boys unchecked over a period of time.
In contrast, making a student guilty of criminal battery without an examination and locking her up as in Renee’s case gets a shoo-in “of course” and “ho hum” from the board. But an abusive administrator gets a non-professional exam and a pass. Those acts display extant invidious ethics for the Hillsborough County board and administration.
Principal Heilmann and his administration distorted and evaded the Student Code of Conduct in its eagerness to strip student Renee Anderson of her rights. In contrast, the board and administration ignored and condoned the criminal battery a King High administrator promulgated on pubescent boys in his power. The administration called the cops for Renee’s arrest, not giving her a chance to refute the charge. They ignored the foot fetishist’s activities until a parent called their bluff. This is what’s known in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics as whacko ethics.
Board Policies (mounted on school Web site)
Zero tolerance policies should apply equally to all students, Redundant comma: splits a compound verb and are not intended to be rigorously applied to petty acts of misconduct and misdemeanors. This zero tolerance policy does not require the reporting of petty acts of misconduct and misdemeanors to a law enforcement agency, including, redundant comma but not limited to disorderly conduct, disrupting a school function, simple assault or battery (The State’s attorney’s office relabeled Renee’s putative bumping of Messena as simple battery.), affray, theft of less than $300, trespassing, and vandalism of less than $1,000. The District will seek to use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies unless the use of such alternatives will pose a threat to school safety.
This represents sugared lies and the abuse of language in deliberate propaganda used by the board and administration to befuddle people and to disguise the schools’ real behavior.
Hitler and Goebbels did not lie any more disingenuously to advance Nazism. Renee’s case refutes the board-policy lie when Mr. Heilmanna’s and Le Macena’s overkill justice on a student for and unproven, petty act.
Why did these more humane, civil Board Policy standards not apply in Renee’s case? My hunch says racial discrimination. I suspect that the latent racial sadism in the white double helix goes back to the hanging of innocent blacks in the South for putative rapes. This malignant prejudice pops up from the interstices of the administrators’ double helix and even from that of some teachers in such incidents as Renee’s. Their almost unconscious behavior comes from years of indoctrination in racial injustice and, in Renee’s case, the conviction that no parent will come to the aid of a black son or daughter. A congeries of causes lead them to slap on the toughest, most exaggerated, most vicious accusation possible. Read Faulkner’s That Evening Sun or any of his oeuvre to get an idea of how this prejudice emerged.
Where is the Marquis de Sade when we need to consult him on the symtomology of racial sadism?
More twaddle promulgated by the board:
5611 - DUE PROCESS RIGHTS board handbook
The Board recognizes the importance of safeguarding a student's constitutional rights particularly when subject to the District's disciplinary procedures.
To better ensure appropriate due-process is provided a student, the Board establishes the following regulations:
The Superintendent shall ensure that all members of the staff use the above regulations when dealing with students. In addition, this statement of due process rights is to be placed in all student handbooks in a manner that will facilitate understanding by students and their parents.
F.S. 1006.07, 1006.09, 1001.51, 1002.20
Comparing Renee’s treatment to these benign promises shows the board handbook represents deliberate mendacious puffery. I think vice principal Goebbels wrote this folderol. Renee’s appeal attorney argued masterfully for Renee’s being denied due-process rights. Her step-father insisted that the school and administration denied them. But Athena member appeals judge Susan Bucklew found against Renee. She is the judge who has some connection with Tom Gonzalez’s wife.
Members of the board and administration not only punctuate badly, they abuse the English language, gutting words of their meaning. It’s criminal that school leaders distort language to disguise their chicanery and protect their power because they are supposed to teach children to use language exactly, not twist it to trap a student into expulsion.
I’m now reading how Hitler took over Germany. Hitler was a runaway liar. With propaganda minister Goebbels’ help, Hitler did the same thing the board does in these disingenuous student-handbook statements : the board guts language of its meaning, twisting it not to inform but to obfuscate what they are really doing behind the scenes.
This abuse of the English language ranks identifier for C-students who clog administration for undeserved bloated salaries. A-students go from college to the classroom and teach. C-students scamper to administration the minute they graduate with some marginal major because administration’s where the money is.
Pop Quiz for all administrators: The quiz will cover standard punctuation and composition of an essay on the implications of the word “affray” as used in the Hillsborough County administration handbook. See Ms. De Cesare in her office for analysis of your test results. Bring your grammar primer for remedial assignments.
More hooey from Board policies handbook:
Race/Color Harassment
Prohibited racial harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's race or color and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from a class or an educational program or activity. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person's race or color such as racial slurs, nicknames implying stereotypes, epithets, and/or negative references relative to racial customs.
I propose that the conduct of Renee Anderson’s faux fighting and aggravated assault charges was racially prejudices overreaction by the Riverview administration as betrayed in Principal Heillemann‘s twice-repeated “Get off my campus!” to Renee and “You’ll never come back here again!” I propose that racial-discrimination sludge contaminates the psyches of the administration and board--including the psyche of its only black member. You’re suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome as Patty Hearst did.
It remains for you, Board Member Edgecomb, to act vigilant gatekeeper to stop the practice of inflicting the punishment of expulsion more frequently on black than on white children. It’s your duty to discover what’s going on that makes black students more liable to be labeled retarded, less likely to graduated on time, less likely to be honor students.
The Gates Grant should have supported this kind of investigation instead of the hooha search for the elements of classroom teachers’ pedagogy. Gut intuition suggests the study results will find use by administration in threatening teachers’ jobs if they are too inquisitive or too critical about how the overlords run the schools.
If you don’t have the stomach or social courage for this obligation of protecting black children from discrimination, you should resign and make way for a black person from your district who does.
Mr. Beefy Messena weighs in on the behavior of Renee that he says equates to aggravated battery on his person:
Email to appeal attorney for Renee:
Ms. Raskin:
I have read your appeals brief for Renee Anderson's case against the Hillsborough County schools not one but three times. The date says December 21, 2009.
You do an admirable job on the Renee Anderson brief. Take this from a college professor of 28 years who taught writing to freshman and sophomore students. Your strengths are vivid diction, paucity of passive verbs, and emphatic contrary assertions. These give your writing thrust and pace. Run-of-the-mill lawyers such as Tom Gonzalez lapse into the conditional mood, weasel circumlocution, and fusty legal diction. He doesn’t know basic grammar-punctuation. So bad is the Gonzalez writing that I wrote Floida State’s writing faculty to complain about its letting loose such as he on Florida citizens.
-----Original Message-----From: Doris Landis Raskin [] Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 11:16 AMTo: tdecesar@tampabay.rr.comSubject:
Renee's case is concluded unjustly and unfairly. The appellate court found a completely new fact, i.e., that the board had offered Renee an alternative placement. If that were true, we would never have filed a case. When a case is decided at the appellate level, the only thing left is an appeal to the Supreme Court. There is no jurisdictional issue for the Supreme Court. The appellate court tanked it by finding a fact not in evidence.
Thank you for your kind words. I am not proud of the writing, but I am proud of the content. Cases are not decided on how well the brief is written, but the legal issues, the application of the facts to the issues, and the rule of law. In Renee's case, I believe it was decided on personalities. Susan Bucklew, a favorite of the appellate court, and a former high school English teacher in the defendant school system who had to know all of the good old boys involved, should have recused herself, but didn't. I didn't know about her until I read her wild hair of a decision and did some research.
Doris Landis Raskin
Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Boulevard 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33709
Renee Anderson, representative of the black children who are more likely to be punished by suspension than white
Victim Renee Anderson

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