• Tag Archives Nineteen Minutes
  • Saving Nineteen Minutes, Part 2 ~ (Updated)

    Actually, there are no updates to the Nineteen Minutes debacle. As far as I know, the school in question is still run by the same far Leftists. The board members refused to allow parents to be warned that their kids might be reading a book containing potentially harmful information about getting an abortion or stealing drugs from parents medicine cabinets by keeping the book without any age restrictions.

    Many forms of entertainment are unsuitable for kids until they reach the age of 16-17 or so, and movies, video games and other items do contain such information. I don’t know why books in a public school are any different, but it seems they are. At least one of the board members who voted to allow this book, which contains info on looking up old wives tales for ways to perform do it yourself abortions (including knitting needles) was reelected, and I saw him sitting in a pew at my parish recently. So nothing’s changed. The board still contains at least one Catholic hypocrite. Good for him. He has power on earth over the little people. He should enjoy it while it lasts.

    My real reason for this update: this particular post has become infected by spammers. I get tired of deleting comments from people trying to sell me stuff ranging from porn to flowers to SEO services, so I’m re-blogging part 2 of the Nineteen Minutes fiasco. Also, it happened a year ago. So, it could technically be considered an anniversary post. The original post follows.

    Part two in this series of posts regarding my friends’ attempts to be involved in the education of their children will focus on Common Core. Please read Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part One) if you missed it. For folks who aren’t familiar with Common Core, please click here. However, most Americans from both sides of the political spectrum have at least heard of Common Core, and many are concerned about its effects on their kids.

    My friend Angie, who was recently branded a Nazi by her neighbors, first heard about Common Core in the spring of 2013, and spent a good part of the summer doing research. Many other people in Pennsylvania were concerned when facts about Common Core came to light. People all over the State were holding informational meetings. This led to a presentation by Dr. Peg Luksic, an expert on Common Core, in our area of Chester County Pennsylvania.

    Before I go on, I must say up front that the newspapers in our area seem to be slanted in the same way the book Nineteen Minutes is slanted. Nineteen Minutes subtly degrades Americans with traditional values, and promotes people and ideas favorable to Liberal Democrats. It’s plain to be seen throughout the book. Our area newspapers do the same thing. For example, please click here to read an article on the Common Core presentation (before the presentation occurred).  This article accuses concerned Americans of lying and hysteria. Click here to read the same reporter’s take on the meeting itself. Note the derogatory and insulting remarks about Dr. Luksic, and the general tone of the article. Then read the comments from concerned parents who attended the meeting.

    To access the actual presentation (which I attended), please click here. The reporter above portrayed this presentation in a negative, derogatory way, the opposite of what actually happened. I was sitting a few rows ahead of this reporter, and I couldn’t help noticing that he seemed to have an attitude while Dr. Luksic was speaking. I linked to these articles to show that some media and others do not respect people who disagree with them, nor do the area newspapers report in an unbiased and fair manner.

    Back to my friend. In the fall of 2013, she was made aware of a book in her child’s sixth grade classroom, “Crosswalk Coach for the Common Core State Standards.” Following are marketing highlights.

    Aligned to the Common Core State Standards to allow for maximum flexibility in addressing areas of need!

    • Organized in the familiar Coach format, with a focused lesson on each and every skill
    • Coached Examples strengthen comprehension
    • Reading passages reflect the rigor of the Common Core State Standards
    • “Mechanics Toolbox” highlights grammar, punctuation, and more
    • Practice questions on critical content
    • Assessments track student progress for skill-by-skill benchmarking
    • glossary reinforces key vocabulary
    • Expanded, enhanced Teacher’s Guide with an explanation of key process skills, an instructional overview, mini-lessons, and reproducibles

    Common Core advocates insist that schools do not “teach to the test” but I beg to differ. Taking tests is a big business these days. Please click here to read a letter from a fourteen year old Pennsylvania girl, describing the harrowing Keystone Exam for Algebra I. This girl’s experience is a common one. In the letter she states that her teachers spent time preparing and drilling students to help them pass the exam. This is problematic. Spending valuable class time drilling kids so they might have a shot at passing an exam which made an A student feel like she was stupid doesn’t seem to be the best way to educate kids, yet this is commonplace.

    The only reason Angie even knew her child was learning from the Common Core Crosswalk book was because he told her. Her sixth grader was aware of his parents’ concern about Common Core, and mentioned that he was using a Common Core book in class. Angie wanted to see the book, and was granted permission by the KMS principal to borrow a copy. I saw the book. There were several questionable lessons. One lesson had to do with Climate change, and insinuated that human beings, with their energy usage, might be helping to destroy the earth. There was a questionable lesson on the Constitution as well.

    This led to my friend’s request that the school consider finding a different learning resource. She presented her concerns to the Kennett School Board in December of 2013. She even went so far as to have an expert on history and the U.S. Constitution speak to the board about faulty history and questionable content.

    However, the local newspapers portrayed the meeting differently. Before continuing, please click here for reporter Candice Monhollan’s write up.

    Okay. The description likening an elderly person’s face to a paper bag is crass, rude and unfeeling, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the Crosswalk book. Angie went to the trouble of finding someone to speak about this book’s misleading  information on the United States Constitution, but Ms. Monhollan chose to gloss over this in her article, and instead, focused on the paper bag lesson, again seeming to subtly pooh pooh the real issues. This is a pattern with reporters in our local papers.

    Before I go on, I want to link to my dear friend’s defense of herself after the Nineteen Minutes debacle where she was humiliated for voicing her concern for kids. Please click here. Please click here for a letter in Angie’s defense which states that the Kennett School District routinely repels parental input. The following mentions the Crosswalk book’s misleading “lesson” on the Constitution.

    In conclusion, I must reflect on my experience with the school system over the last year or two.  Although school officials and faculty are more than willing to listen to input from parents or concerned citizens, there is little or no willingness to make any changes.  I’ve experienced faculty who accept and are willing to teach without objection from a World History textbook that is blatantly biased pro-Islam / anti-Christian and pro-socialism/anti-capitalism.  I’ve observed the refusal to remove, or even correct, an elementary level reading comprehension book that misstates the purpose of the US Constitution andeven gets the steps wrong on how it is to be amended.  Now I’ve seen an aggressive attack on a concerned parent and staunch support to keep wide open access to a book some or many might consider vulgar.  These experiences have moved me to be a strong supporter of alternative education, such as parochial schools and home schooling.  I find it sad that this is the case and I fear that our public education system will continue its downward spiral as long as such attitudes prevail.

    Apparently the Kennett School District didn’t appreciate materials being questioned by parents, even if the materials were shown to have faulty information, so they decided to hold a meeting to soothe fears about Common Core and put “rumors” to rest. Please click here for a synopsis of Kennett’s position on Common Core. I attended this meeting. Only pro-Common Core teachers and administrators spoke. After the meeting, I stood quietly as concerned parents, teachers and others who’d traveled from other parts of PA  in support of Kennett residents who weren’t on board with Common Core tried to question some Common Core supporters. None of the questions were answered. I kept my mouth shut while these PA residents were spoken to as if they were unruly children for daring to voice a different opinion. We left feeling that no one would listen to concerns, and that some in the Kennett School District and larger community would actively work against us.

    As you can see from what happened a year later, we were right. Many people have likened the way Leftists treat people who disagree with them to Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. After the events of the past few years, I tend to agree. Rule 12 is especially applicable in our area.

    RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

    Branding concerned citizens as Nazis sort of fits rule 12, IMHO. Keep in mind that at least two School Board members are fellow parishioners at the church Angie attends. These parishioners voted to keep Nineteen Minutes (a book which promotes abortion against Church teaching) accessible for kids as young as thirteen.

    My next post will detail the lead up to the actual “book banning” fiasco, but I will end with the following tweets between myself and Candice Monhollan after the Nineteen Minutes “Nazi Germany” comparison. Please click here and here. I admit I was upset. I had a right to be upset. Ms. Monhollan stated that Kennett didn’t disclose the fact that a “ban” wasn’t asked for, and then suggested that I ask the board why. Um-hello? She’s the reporter. I told her to follow up, but as far as I know, she hasn’t done so.

    Note Ms. Monhollan’s attempt to turn this around on me. She stated that I “attacked” her. Well isn’t that a shame…

    You may also be interested in: 

    Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part One)

    Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part Three)


  • Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part Three)

    Part three (and the last in this series since I’m thoroughly sick of thinking about Nineteen Minutes and its underhanded, nasty advocates) will detail the lead up to the Kennett Consolidated School District’s November 10, 2014 board meeting, the meeting itself, and the aftermath of the meeting.

    For backstory please read Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part One) and Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part Two) if you missed them.

    Though I will be linking to other editorials and possibly other news articles in this post, I will be primarily referring to this Daily Local News story. I will try to make this post as brief as possible while ensuring that all pertinent information is recorded, since the newspapers do not bother to tell both sides.

    I’ll begin with this passage from the above news story from the perspective of the KCSD.

    The book, published in 2007, can be found in the library of Kennett High School and became the hot topic of the school board meeting Nov. 10 after a parent, Angela John, requested the book be removed.

    “The parent felt the book content was not suitable for high school students,” Superintendent Barry Tomasetti said during the meeting.

    He went on to say the district followed Policy 109 and tried to resolve the issue informally, but the parent was not satisfied and completed a Request for Reconsideration of Resource Material Review Committee.

    From there, the committee reviewed the book and its merits and voted unanimously that the book remain in the library.

    The parent made a final appeal to the board and the matter was brought up at the Nov. 10 meeting.

    Policy 109, mentioned above, can be found here. The pertinent information in policy 109 regarding Nineteen Minutes or any other contested resource says:

    Procedure For Reviewing Challenged Material

    The procedure for review of resource material may be a two-phase process that can be initiated by the parent/guardian of a District student or a District employee. When a concern regarding library resource material is received, the principal will inform those staff members using the material, the Superintendent, and the librarians. Prior to any meetings, the complainant shall be given a copy of this Policy. Challenged resource material will remain in use during the review process.

    Phase I is an informational meeting involving a discussion with all people involved. The information meeting is for the purpose of explaining Board procedures about selecting and using educational resources, not a time for school personnel to make sudden, un-reviewed, and undocumented decisions about the continued use of resources. For example, there may be a temptation for a principal or a teacher to listen to the objections of a parent/guardian and agree with him/her and remove the resource on the spot rather than face the review procedure.

    Sometimes becoming aware of the need for a variety of resources to meet the needs of a diverse student population causes complainants to reconsider their actions and withdraw their complaints. A decision not to file a formal complaint frequently occurs after the explanation of procedures used to select the resource or the reasons that a resource is being used in the District are explained.

    If the complaint is not satisfied at this time, the Request for Reconsideration of Resource Material form will be offered for completion. If completed, the principal will forward the form to the chairperson of the Resource Material Review Committee.

    Phase II is a formal process involving a large number of staff members. The results of all activities will be communicated to the complainant(s). This phase begins only after Phase I has been completed.

    The Resource Material Review Committee is appointed by the Superintendent or designee after soliciting volunteers. Members should have knowledge of children and young adult literature and be familiar with the District and the community. Members must become thoroughly familiar with the resource material selection Policy and develop a knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding intellectual freedom and censorship.

    The committee will be chaired by the Assistant Superintendent and will include one (1) elementary and one (1) secondary principal, one (1) elementary and one (1) secondary media specialist, and a teacher from each organizational level. This committee may be expanded to include instructional staff members who will act in an advisory capacity when material under review is related to their specific curriculum areas. These advisors will not be voting members of the committee.

    In order for the committee members to fulfill their obligation of becoming knowledgeable in this area, the District shall provide workshops, material, conferences, research data, and other sources of information. Prior to a meeting to consider a request to re-evaluate resource material, committee members will familiarize themselves with the material in question.

    The following are the steps to be used to review resource material:

    Step 1 – When a principal has completed Phase I and receives a Request for Reconsideration of Resource Material form, s/he should send the form to the chairperson of the Resource Material Review Committee with a copy to the Superintendent.

    Pol. 105.2

    Step 2 – Upon receipt of the request form, the chairperson shall do the following:

    1. Request librarians and/or other staff members to secure copies of the questionedmaterial for the use of the committee.
    2. Request librarians and/or other staff members to obtain reviews and other evaluations of the material.
    3. Distribute information including copies of the material, the reviews and evaluations of the material, and the complainant’s completed form to the members of the committee.
    4. Establish a time and place for a committee meeting to be held within ninety (90) days of receipt of the information to be considered.
    5. Allow an adequate opportunity for discussion of all information pertinent to the complaint.
    6. If appropriate, arrange for expert testimony.

    After the committee has discussed the relative merits of the material and other information pertinent to the complaint, the chairperson shall conduct a written and signed vote of the committee members to determine the majority opinion. The chairperson will vote only if the vote ends in a tie. The chairperson will forward the results of the meeting to the Superintendent on the Report of the Resource Material Review Committee form with copies sent to all committee members.

    A vote of the committee shall be to recommend one (1) of the following courses of action regarding the status of the material:

    1. The material will remain in the library collection (no change).
    2. The material will be circulated only to students above the designated grade level agreed to by the committee. The staff will ensure that such material is not borrowed nor required for the fulfillment of class assignments by students who are below this level without written permission of a parent/guardian.
    3. The material will be removed from the collection.
    4. Alternative material will be offered at the request of the parent/guardian as outlined in Board Policy. Material will be retained in the collection.

    The Resource Material Review Committee will review the material in an objective manner. The best interests of the students, school, and curriculum shall be given utmost consideration. The decision of the committee shall be by majority vote; minority opinions will be attached and forwarded with the decision.

    Upon receipt of the recommendation, the Superintendent will communicate the decision to the complainant.

    If after a meeting with the Superintendent the person remains dissatisfied, final appeal may be made to the Board through the Superintendent. The Board, or a committee of the Board, shall schedule a hearing within thirty (30) days after the request has been made.

     

     

    The KCSD (as stated in the Daily Local News article) would have people believe that one lone woman had an issue with the book Nineteen Minutes. This is false. Anyone who chooses to do a bit of investigating can find stories from  other schools all over America where parents took issue with this book. However, I must state here, for the record, that Angela John, my friend, was NOT the only person in the Kennett School District concerned about this book.

    Please glance at the last paragraph of policy 109, above. You’ll see that if there is still dissatisfaction, a “hearing” will be scheduled. While my friends were trying, for months, to deal with this school and school board, we got together for coffee to discuss progress. At one of our get-togethers, Angie showed me the notice from the Superintendent stating that she could bring her concerns to the table at a hearing. The letter stated that only Angie could be present at this hearing (though she could, if she wished to, bring her husband along). Hello?

    Does this school realize how heavy handed they sound? The taxpayers, including Angie, pay their salaries, yet they must request “hearings” on important matters concerning their own children.

    That brings me to another point. After the November 10th debacle, several local papers posted links on their Facebook Pages. Angie stayed away from newspapers, since she was devastated by what happened, but I read every article and every editorial. The comments by people who may or may not know Angie were nasty and quite ignorant, but there was one in particular that stood out. On the Kennett Paper’s Facebook page, a woman commented: “The person who complained doesn’t have a child in the High School.” Excuse me?

    Number 1) Any taxpayer has a say, as long as their kids are in the district.

    2) This woman is a parishioner at the same church Angie attends. (I’m also a parishioner at this church, but I’ve never met this woman). This person and Angie are acquainted. She could have followed the advice of Christ, and asked Angie in person about her concerns instead of showing up in public and joining a group accusing a neighbor of “banning” books.

    3) There were other parents who DO have kids in the High School who were concerned about Nineteen Minutes. I know this for a fact. The night of the hearing, another friend, one who has two kids attending Kennett High School went to the hearing. When we read the letter KCSD had sent to Angie we laughed a little. Though it sounded very intimidating, we couldn’t imagine that it would come to the point of actually throwing another concerned parent and taxpayer out of the “hearing.” But that’s exactly what happened. No one else could present their concerns about Nineteen Minutes at the hearing.

    In addition to the graphic portrayal of teen sex between Josie and her boyfriend Matt, digs at traditional Americans and religion, and normalization of abortion in general, here’s something else.  Many parents might take issue with ninth and tenth graders being exposed to the following in school. In this excerpt from page 323 of Nineteen Minutes, Josie, the teen who survived the school shooting and Matt’s girlfriend, believes she is pregnant. After contemplating asking her estranged father for money for an abortion, Josie decides to google some old wives tales, just in case.

    There was something about going to a doctor, or a clinic, or even to a parent, that she couldn’t quite swallow. It seemed so…deliberate…..

    Some she already knew: the old wives’ tales about sticking a knitting needle up inside her, or drinking laxatives or castor oil. Some she’d never imagined: douching with potassium, swallowing ginger root, eating unripe pineapple. And then there were the herbs: oil infusions of calamus, mugwort, sage,and wintergreen; cocktails made out of black cohosh and pennyroyal…..

    Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the dried herb per cup of water, 3-4 times a day. Don’t confuse tansy with tansy ragwort, which has been fatal to cows that have eaten it growing nearby.

    Really? Is a book containing such a passage really worth all of this? If kids want the damn book they can buy it at Barnes and Noble or borrow it from the public library. Or their parents can give it to them if they’re so hell bent on having their kids read it. Why is it necessary for this book to be paid for by taxpayers and read in class? Why is it necessary for every kid in the school to have this trash pushed on them? Apparently the Kennett librarian is infatuated with this book. She said in a meeting that she goes into classrooms and reads passages aloud to students. (One can only hope that the above passage isn’t one of her favorites).

    Okay. Back to the lead up to the November 10th School Board meeting. At the hearing, what Angie mistakenly thought was a compromise was reached. Angie left the hearing with the understanding that Nineteen Minutes would remain in Kennett High School. The other attendees of this hearing agreed that the final vote would be on the following: Kennett High School could either place the book Nineteen Minutes in the guidance counselor’s office so younger students who might not have a good support system at home could be cautioned about what they might read, or the book could be kept without restriction. In no way does KEEPING a book in the guidance counselor’s office constitute a “ban.” So…how did the word “ban” come into play? Nobody knows, but here is a timeline of events leading up to the actual meeting.

    After the hearing which other concerned parents were not permitted to attend, rumors began circulating that “some woman” was trying to ban books. The rumor was heard at the Bayard Taylor Library in Kennett Square. The rumor was also being spread in one of the New Garden polling places on election day, November 4th. People coming into the polling place to vote were told that someone was trying to “ban” books at Kennett High School. All of this talk of “banning” did the trick.

    On the evening of November 10th, my friend Angie went to the school board meeting alone. She had asked me to go with her, and I said no. I had no idea what was going to happen and neither did she. I’m pretty sure Angie’s husband did end up joining her at the meeting before it ended, but I wish I had gone. She could have used a friend.

    The room where the school board met that night was filled with adults and students wearing “We Read Banned Books” buttons. There was quite a large group. Angie told me she was sitting quietly and wondering what the hell was going on, since the vote was to decide whether the book should be kept under age restrictions. A group of about 5-6 kids sat nearby, along with a few parents. Angie decided to ask them why they were at the meeting. Following is the paraphrased conversation:

    Angie: Why are you all here?

    Students: Our teachers asked us to come, because some lady is trying to ban books in our library.

    Angie: Oh no…that’s not what’s going on. I’m the person who’s concerned about the book, but I didn’t ask for it to be banned. I’m just concerned about kids. Some kids may be too young to read what’s in the book, so we should make sure they can be talked to by someone like the counselor.”

    Students: What? You’re the lady?

    Angie: Yes. It’s me, but I don’t want to ban books.

    Students: We didn’t know. We were told by our teachers to come tonight to support the school because someone wanted to ban books. We didn’t know.

    Angie related that the parents accompanying this group sat staring straight ahead. They heard every word she said, but they didn’t say a word to her. The group of students, however, thanked Angie.

    Back to the meeting. In the Daily Local News article above, there is not one word about the book being moved. The word “ban” was used throughout. “Moved” or “kept under age appropriate restriction” was not mentioned. In my previous post I linked to tweets between myself and Candice Monhollan, the reporter who covered the story. She tweeted to me that the school did NOT disclose the fact that the request was that this book be placed under age restriction. I don’t understand why, but for some reason this was left out. People can draw their own conclusions as to why.

    People were wearing buttons. Students spoke about free speech. Teachers spoke out in defense of Nineteen Minutes, and said “banning” books was against freedom of speech, etc. That wasn’t the worst thing, though. The worst thing was the fact that the school board played right along with these uninformed people. This meeting was mob-like. (One news article described the crowd as “civil.” Yeah, sure). The board whipped things up a bit more before they went on to other business. Following is a quote from board member Rudy Alphonso:

    “I think about the principles that our Founding Fathers laid ground for us (and) all the battles and all the people that have died over our 200-plus years to keep these fundamental freedoms in place and to allow us to have the choice whether or not we want to read something or not read something,” he said in his statement. “Banning this book, to me, would almost be like turning my back on all those hundreds of thousands of American veterans, men and women, who have died to allow us to keep those freedoms and not to have censorship. I see this attempt to ban this book as if we live in Nazi Germany. This is the United States of America. The Statue of Liberty rings for everyone.”

    This man and the other board members must have known that the book wasn’t leaving the school, yet he mentioned Nazi Germany. How unbelievably pathetic. Two other members of the school board are fellow parishioners. They also knew a ban was not requested, yet they allowed students and parents to think this was the case. I don’t know these people personally, though I do attend the same church. I must admit that I’m glad I don’t know them, and I hope I never meet them. I don’t think we worship the same God. The lone school board member who voted to place the book in the guidance office was also dissed and misrepresented by the newspapers, of course.

    In addition to my tweets to Ms. Monhollan, I ventured a couple of comments on the Facebook post from the Daily Local News, linked to the story above. I wanted to embed the post here, but I can’t find it on the DL Facebook wall at this time. I don’t know why, but it seems to be gone. If anyone reading this comes across it, let me know. Anyway, in my comment I mentioned the fact that a “ban” wasn’t what was asked for. People came back at me stating that restricting is similar to banning, or some such nonsense. One commenter stated that the Kennett Librarian was probably following recommendations from other schools and libraries and or librarians. That may well be true. For instance, look at the following article from the School Library Journal, “The world’s largest reviewer of books, multimedia and technology for children and teens.”

    This is a review of Lena Dunham’sNot That Kind Of Girl,” reviewed by the SLJ, who also put out a list of  “Best Adult Books For Teens of 2014.” Some of you may be familiar with Dunham and her memoirs. If not you can do more googling. But please understand that the School Library Journal recommends Dunham’s book for teens. If the Kennett Librarian follows such publications, perhaps Dunham’s book is sitting on the shelf. Who knows?

    Again, please read the comments following the Daily Local News article. Following are additional news articles for your perusal from The Unionville Times (Banned Books Button pictured), and The Times of Chester County. Actually this is the same article. It appeared in two different publications.

    Here’s an editorial stating that “Censorship died an ugly, messy death in Kennett Monday night. Let us hope this topic never comes up again.” Here’s a particularly snarky and ignorant post by someone named Tilda Talley-ho. Miss Talley-ho brings up Holocaust deniers. How very kind and tolerant. I could go on, but people with open minds probably get the drift.

    Here’s a word of warning. Take it or leave it as you see fit. The people behind this debacle misrepresented a good person. They probably forgot about it the next day, but it will always be with the person who was maligned. If you’re wearing blinders there’s not much anyone can say, and I doubt anyone who is wearing blinders would read this post anyway. But if you’re paying attention, take note. Some people just “don’t want to get involved.” Okay. That’s all well and good. Just remember what happens to people who continually walk right down the middle of the road. People or animals or whatever. Anything that insists on mincing down the middle of the road is going to get knocked aside sooner or later. Not standing up when good people are trashed enables the bad guys to get away with it. Someday it may be you or your family or friends who are savaged.

    It took me a month to get through Nineteen Minutes. That’s one month of reading time I will never get back. Still, I felt I had to read the damn thing, since my friend was branded a Nazi over it. I was chatting online with a young friend about this situation. (This man recently married, and the Nineteen Minutes debacle I described made him consider homeschooling any future children). My friend told me we should donate Kama Sutra to the High School Library. I told him I didn’t know what Kama Sutra was. (That’s true. I didn’t know what it was until that day). He lol’d and said he thought everyone had heard about it. I hadn’t, but for all I know it could be in some school library somewhere. I wouldn’t make a bet. As of this time, I am putting this damned book, its advocates and the rest of this behind me. I grew up within ten miles of Kennett Square, but things have changed since I was a kid. Apparently I don’t belong in this area. It’s not a very friendly place to live at this time.

    Kennett High School does hold some sentimental value for me, since my parents met there. They both graduated from Kennett. However, I’m very thankful that my children are grown and have moved away. Not very far away, but far enough that their kids will never be subjected to a school district populated with people who do what the people running that school district did to a decent, concerned parent. For that I am truly thankful.

    Update– I spoke to my friend Angie, who wanted to say a few additional words about this situation.

     

    My only concern was the safety and well being of the children of Kennett Consolidated School District.  I was disappointed to witness the vote on November 10th. The school board and the adults who spoke at the meeting acting in a non-serious manner.  They joked about having the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in the library as well. The entire board were laughing except for the one serious, upright board member, Doug Sterling. Mr. Stirling was the only person who showed strength and intelligence by voting to have the book moved.

    I didn’t think the situation was funny. As someone who worked with inner city children in my capacity as a social worker, I was quite saddened by the  board’s lack of care and concern for the children of KCSD. I felt pity for the other adults as well. The teachers, parents and other administrators are either ignorant, or afraid to publicly acknowledge (for whatever reason) that there are some things in print that are not age appropriate. They refused to stand up and protect the kids, who may run the risk of either being harmed or harming others because of the information in Nineteen Minutes. The book detailed dangerous actions that the characters take out of desperation. How can one not see that this book needs to only be available  with adult care and guidance? Any other decision is irresponsible, and does not place the children’s well being front and center. Very sad.

     

    Her words make complete sense. However, the people running the KCSD got their way. I hope they’re happy.

     


  • Saving Nineteen Minutes (Part One)

    This series of posts will detail  various events which happened to my friends in their futile attempt to be involved in their children’s education. The events began approximately two years ago. The futility stems from the Kennett Consolidated  School District‘s strict rules and regulations concerning parental input and involvement. Please note that my friends are upstanding members of the community. They are also taxpayers. I’ll repeat  that. They are taxpayers. Taxpayers who pay property taxes, which, in turn, fund the school and enable the staff to collect their various salaries.

    But, for reasons that are unclear at this time, the people in charge of the KCSD seem unable to understand or process this reasonably easy concept. Even though the taxpayers and parents pay their salaries, they habitually treat parents who question them as if the parents are “subjects” who are out of line for daring to raise concerns. These concerns vary. From a request that first graders at Bancroft Elementary School be allowed a midmorning snack, (NO. We’re on a tight schedule. If you want your child to have a break you need to apply for permission and he must sit alone to eat), to questions about Common Core Curriculum, (It’s good. We say so. Deal with it), to the final nail in the parental input coffin, the novel Nineteen Minutes(It’s good, too. We say so. If you’re worried that kids without great home support structures might need help dealing with the content, too bad for you. We don’t care if you have a master’s degree in social work. You know nothing. This book is wonderful material, and teachers love to use it in classroom settings).

    Before I go on, you can read my review of the book in question here. Please note that this book contained many other disturbing scenarios and questionable ethical issues.

    My friend, (the woman with a master’s degree in social work from Temple University), was concerned about kids as young as thirteen reading this book. She represented a large contingent of other concerned parents when she asked for the book to be placed in the guidance counselor’s office so that younger kids could be cautioned about what they might read before going home and digging into this novel.

    I believe it’s customary for schools to restrict certain content. Computers, for example. I’m reasonably sure that some content on the internet can be blocked by schools if they deem it inappropriate for kids. Placing this book in a counselors office and perhaps allowing a student’s parents to be aware that their child is reading it doesn’t seem such a bad idea in my opinion. In fact it seems to be a reasonable compromise.

    However, certain teachers, students, parents and other community members felt differently. They didn’t seem to understand the concept of “age restriction.” For some strange reason only they understand, they decided that placing a book in a guidance counselor’s office was equivalent to “banning” the book. This ugly story ended with my dear friend being publicly humiliated at a school board meeting. One of the school board members even jumped on the “we read banned books” bandwagon, and insinuated that concerned parents are Nazis. The article itself makes no mention of the fact that a “ban” was not asked for. (More on this omission in upcoming posts).

    The “saving Nineteen Minutes” contingent of school employees, students and parents took pleasure in my friend’s distress. They clapped and cheered as she was deemed a Nazi. Some of these people are fellow parishioners at church.

    Please note this fact: The book Nineteen Minutes is supposed to make readers think about others. It’s marketed as an anti-bullying book. If this is the intent of the book, it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do. The advocates of Nineteen Minutes misrepresented a good person.  They humiliated her in public by insinuating she’s a Nazi, and wrote unkind comments on newspapers and Facebook posts. Let that sink in.

    Following is part of the KCSD Mission statement.

     

    The Mission of the Kennett Consolidated School District is to provide a quality education that increases the achievement of every student in order for all to become successful and thoughtful contributors to society.”
    – Mission Statement

     

    It’s ironic. I will go into more detail in further posts.