Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PASS THE POPCORN: THE CIRCUS HAS ARRIVED


Well, what an interesting morning!

I attended the open Level III grievance meeting held in the board room of Victoria Independent School District.  This was my first time for being in the audience of such a meeting, so I paid close attention to all the rules and regulations.  Turn off cell phones, pagers, etc.  Find a seat and wait for the action to begin.  Once the board members entered, DJ was escorted up front by her husband.  She sat facing the board with the representative from her teachers' union.  (I didn't know why she didn't have legal counsel with her, advising her and presenting her case.  If she had a lawyer, then would have been the time to bring one with her, in my opinion.) 

The School Board President was very clear with her explanations of why the meeting was an open meeting and what behavior was acceptable.  DJ and her union representative had requested an open meeting and because of that, no mention of any names or identifying of students in any form would be allowed.  The consequences for even implying identifying comments would be a warning and if any names would be mentioned, the hearing would be ended.  Very clearly, the students and their families' identities would be protected by the Board.  All parties indicated that this was understood and compliance would be forthcoming. 

Everything went well for the next few minutes, until the quesiton was asked, "Do you know why all this came about, Mrs. Jaynes?"  She turned to her union representative and asked, "Can I say a name?"  He gave his permission and she said, "The issue started with [insert name here].."  Gavel came down and the Board President stopped DJ in her tracks.  No amount of apologies from her union representative could "unring the bell".  He said, "I didn't think you meant the family of the girl."  What?  Are you kidding me? 

Wait, it only gets better.

Then the union representative passed out papers to the board.  The Board President got her paper and she then admonished him, as it had the same names on it.  His excuse, "I didn't pass those out to the audience and we aren't saying the name."  The Board President told the board members to hand her the papers and one board member wadded up his paper and throw it across the table.  Gasps of unbelief rippled through the audience when the board member displayed his immaturity level, but wait, his immature actions were just getting started.  (You better have some soda to wash down your popcorn, now, 'cause we have a bit to go.)

*When the union representative was explaining that there are only eleven students at Mitchell for PE, that is a lie.  There are over a hundred students there.

*When the union representative stated that there was already a PE teacher there, that isn't true, either.  The man who goes there for a couple of hours a day has a full-time job in VISD and he is filling in there.

*When the union representative stated how much DJ makes and how long she has taught, it just takes simple math to figure out that if she retired, she would still be making more than a first year teacher makes a year.

Finally, the attorneys for the school district briefly spoke.  They made it clear that in the contract, it is stated that ANY teacher can be reassigned at ANY time by the superintendent.  No reasons are needed and the board does not make that decision.  When a teacher signs yearly contract that is something that is agreed upon. 

Since DJ had some time left, she was asked if she wanted to speak.  Straining my ears, I heard something like, I've always been told that I've done a wonderful job and there's never been any problems.  That was the core of what she said, and people in the audience believed her.  Well, most of the people did, but some of us know the truth and the trouble she has caused.

A call for a vote and a second started the Board's discussion.  The same board member who crumbled the offending paper turned to DJ and her union representative, "I've been contacted by all members of this discussion.  I am excusing myself from the vote, but before I do," he swiveled in his chair and faced DJ, "I want to say, HOW DARE YOU!  HOW DARE YOU!"  [I had to come back and correct the quote, as I remembered it slightly different.  So here's the correction.]  He got up and left the room.  Some people clapped.  I don't know why they applauded, whether it was because he said what he did or because he left.  By this time, I needed a program to keep up with the players. 

Discussion started among the board members about the issues and THEN an audience member shouted from the back, "Since, Mr. Klimist has left..." and before the sentence could be finished, the Board President brought the room back to order.  She said that audience participation would not be tolerated.  A few mumbles from the back and everyone got quiet. 

Discussion from the board members went on for a few minutes with admonishments from one concerning immature behavior of crumpling paper, throwing paper and speaking of children's names when told not to.  Being an example to our children was the goal of this board member.  Little late in this meeting.  Finally, a vote was called and all present board members voted to uphold the reassignment of DJ. 

DJ left the room, while cards, memory books and other gifts were thrust at her by her followers.  Her grandson escorted her from the room.  Her daughter, son-in-law, husband, family members led the way out of the way,  The police had to clear the entry way of the building, as the grief-stricken seem to lose the ability to put one foot in front of another and walk any further.

The weepy girls were watching, listening and glaring throughout.  "DJ's Warriors" shirts were in abundance, which made me wonder if the girls would be getting detention for skipping school.  As I made my way down the steps, zig-zagging around the girls, I heard one proud girl say, "And that woman who led the meeting, she was such a bitch."  No, Sweetie, she wasn't a bitch, she was a great example of how a person conducts a meeting that could turn nasty very fast.  Just because your "cause" lost, your leader broke another rule and she wasn't allowed to get away with it, that doesn't mean the person who conducted the meeting had a hidden agenda.  The rules were laid out and the Board President was very professional in her role. 

Good for you, Ms. President.  You took the "wet dynamite" issue and handled it with a calmness that allowed justice to be done.



Monday, October 25, 2010

PART TIME EMPLOYMENT: STARTING MY NEW JOB TOMORROW

Tomorrow, I'll will be laying the foundation for my new career.  I will be attending the open meeting where it will be determined what will happen to DJ Jaynes.  I'll be there taking notes and writing the next great novel, 'cause nobody would ever believe the time, energy, talent that has been wasted on this issue.  Check back here and I will gladly share the insights that I gain from watching the goings on at the meeting. 

Names, places and faces will not be changed for anyone's protection; as where would the fun be in that? 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

WHEELING ME BACK TO CHILDHOOD

 








A short while ago, my daughter and I happened upon a car show that took my breath away with the jolt back to my childhood.  I remember my mom's car that was this same year, make, model and color.  If this doesn't "date" me, then you don't know cars.  The fifties had cars that were really memory makers for many of my generation.  Riding in one of these metal (not fiberglass, plastic or flimsy material here, folks) machines  made me feel secure, safe and happy.  My mom drove with a "lead foot" and one of her brothers referred to her as a gypsy, as we were always on the go.  Guess my DNA for moving comes naturally, then, huh?  All my memories wouldn't be appropriate for a "Happy Days" episode, but memories are good about easing some of the pain and magnifying the fun of childhood for me. 

I took more pics at the car show, but this car was the one that made me smile, inside and out.  Just wanted to share.

WHY DOESN'T THIS SURPRISE ME?


We have new schools in our town and yet, we haven't figured out that people will walk the shortest distance to get from point A to point B, whether it is safe or not.  There are three new schools on major roads and the students don't want to walk any further than possible to arrive home. 

From the school on John Stockbauer, we have students crossing in the middle of the road, rather than walk a half of a block to the corner and then cross at the light.  Geeze, have people not heard that obseity is killing the youth and a little extra distance to walk would be a very good thing?  It's not like there's four feet of snow with hills to climb.  Give the kids tickets for jaywalking and haul their lazy rears off to the pokey if the tickets aren't paid.  Can't afford a ticket, then pull up your breeches and walk to the corner, wait for the light and cross the intersection like a civilized human being.  Crossing guards have been suggested, but who will pay for that position and what happens when the kids are a few blocks from the school with no crossing guard?  These aren't grade school kids, for crying out loud! 

Now, as far as West High School, the parents over there are parking on the side of the road and waiting for their precious children to walk to the major highway.  These are not lanes for parking and tickets should be issued to  people who are too impatient to follow the direcitons and pickup at the schools.  Place "No Parking" signs and have a police officer ticket these people who are putting lives in danger because of their inability to go with the flow. 

Darting across major roadways brings to mind a video game, "Frogger."  Hearing and seeing the splat when the ornery frog attempts to defy common sense to dodge the flow of traffic is off-putting.  Maybe we should revise this game and give the ignorant people frog costumes as they create their own paths home.  Jay-Walker versus a vehicle, no suspense there, just one less ignorant person.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

READING, WRITING AND BATHING: PERFECT COMBO

video
We introduced writing in the bathtub and boy did the Grandlove take to it; sort of like a duck to water.  He loved the water and the markers that even worked on the bottom of the tub.  We are big believers that learning can take place in almost any locale, and this proved to be a success.  I just had to share his first encounter with bathtub markers.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

HE'S NOT HEAVY: HE'S MY GRANDLOVE

Our little guy was plumb tuckered out, after a great seafood lunch.  He fell asleep in the car and let his Papa carry him from his carseat into the store.  As soon as we hit the store's entrance, those bright eyes popped open and the smile appeared.  We are teaching this little guy to have fun shopping.  The next generation of ladies can thank us later.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

MORE QUESTIONS: NO ANSWERS

I realize that no one owes me an explanation of what is going on in VISD, but that makes my curiosity even sharper.  The Drill Team leader, who is to be reassigned, is still on campuses and still doing some of the same work she did before.  No, she's not out there making sure that the boots are polished and the hats at the proper angle, but she is still on her original campus and completing some of her previous duties.  Since all of the hoopla came out about her being reassigned, the fact that she is still working in the same capacity should surprise me.  But, honestly, knowing how VISD is, nothing about this whole matter should surprise me. 

Will it be published when she is reassigned?  Will the charges against her be proven to be false?  This town's little paper was over run by articles concerning this drill team leader at one time and now there doesn't seem to be any follow-up. 

Expecting The Victoria Advocate to follow up on a story, now that's somewhat unrealistic, too.  So, in the meantime, I'll wait.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

BLESSINGS: SEALING THE DEAL

Our sweet Grandlove was marked with the sign of Christ,  recently.   We've known all along that God has a special purpose designed for him, even before this moving event.  Our little guy speaks volumes with his smile, chubby fingers and determined facial expressions. 

Although his speech is a bit delayed due to a temporary hearing loss, he is able to communicate.  No, he doesn't use American Sign Language for his communication needs; it's more of unique sounds, facial expressions and hand motions.  He was fascinated with the minister's "headset" and before the religious aspect of the ceremony could even begin, the equipment was grabbed by the quick, little hands of our guy.  This innocent exploration caused the congregation to laugh at how fast he was; if they only knew all the "quick saves" his sweet momma has anticipated on a daily basis.  His curiosity in the world will benefit him, once he's able to hear language clearly.  By this time next year, we'll probably be saying, "If only he would not talk so much."  Until that time, we will make sure that he is exposed to a rich environment and keep dangers out of his reach. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

A SLIGHT WOMAN: A HUGE IMPACT

 
On Friday, our dear friend finally was released from her pain and suffering.  Ovarian Cancer took her from us.  She had fought so hard and suffered through so many different kinds of treatments, but as many of us know, Cancer sometimes is stronger than any medicine that can be used.  Prayers brought her peace; Hospice brought her rest; her wonderful husband brought her comfort; grandchildren brought her smiles; loving sons brought her reassurances; and then finally God wrapped her tiny, fragile, exhausted body into his comforting arms to take her home.   

We wept for our loss and rejoiced for her new life.  Rest well, my friend; you will be missed.