Sunday Notes October 11th 2015

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LHS Students SHINE in the face of adversity! 

One thing we learned this week was the student’s at LHS are a lot more calmer, wiser and willing to try to talk, listen and work things out rationally than are some adults who want to exploit this incident for their own agenda’s.

The Senior class also showed by their elections that they welcome a group of diversified students to represent them. In case you missed Headmaster Martin’s announcement at the Public Forum, take a look at this great mix of students.

Class of 2016 Officers President Anye Nkimbeng, Vice President Erin McAnespie, Secretary Serianna Chan and Treasurer Katherine Simmons.

Also telling is there has not been any violence or other type instances in retaliation but instead we had the Forum and the participation of some students who were so impressive in their confidence to speak out for what they believed in and a peaceful march for Anye to show community support.

Maybe because these kids seem to be so diversified and willing to work together that the School Dept. and the Community assumed there was no need to  be prepared to discuss race or racism even when they knew that the staff didn’t reflect the same diversity as the student body and were trying to work on that…an assumption that was proved wrong!

LHS “Incident” Shows lack of readiness and training 

What also became clear this week regarding the text message “incident” is that the  Housemaster’s and/or Administrators at LHS lacked training in how to deal with any type of racial incident involving students.

While their actions show a lack of policy and lack of procedures in place I don’t believe their actions were any attempt to cover anything up. I believe they acted in a manner they thought would contain and stop the incident from escalating. Some of their actions were disastrous , improper and insensitive but again I don’t believe done with any malice intended. They were not trained or ready to handle any racial incident and it showed.

It also showed that Lowell has diversified as we think we are probably still have a long way to go and that we as a community and an education system need to address the word racism in the schools and to offer programs about race. We are all guilty of thinking this kind of thing doesn’t happen here. We are just fortunate that our community reacts in peaceful actions and pushes for dialogue and change without the violence we have seen in other communities.

LHS Headmaster Martin admitted they handled things poorly and took responsibility. While that is commendable and so is his outreach to improve the diversity of the staff, a lack of training , a lack of common sense and a lack of  a policy or procedure for notifications are abundantly clear and the actions and inaction’s of the LHS Administration need to be addressed.

Some questions that Dr. Khelfaoui confirmed at the Public Forum Thursday night that need answering are:

  1. Why weren’t the student who was the victim of these text messages parents notified on the 29th?

  2. Why did it take the High School 48 hours to notify the Superintendent of School’s Office

  3. Why did it take the High School so long  to  formally notify the  Lowell Police?

However there are also a bunch of rumors and innuendo out in the School and Political bubble (are they being fed by anti-Gendron political opponents?) that also MUST BE ADDRESSED AND ANSWERED however painful or off base these questions are. The School Dept. cannot ignore these and must address them.

The Superintendent also must provide the parents and public a definitive timeline to when these questions will be answered.

Why did a Housemaster suggest the victim take a selfie with the student who threatened to lynch him and put it on Facebook?

Why did this administrator ask the victim What do you think we should do?

Why wasn’t the hispanic Housemaster who had students involved in the incident, brought in right away instead of another white Housemaster?

Did an Administrator really advise some of the involved students to initially delete the text messages from their phones and allow them to do that?

Did an administrator or faculty member really addresses classes asking them to NOT pick on the kids who sent the text messages?

IF ANY of the above took place, then the person currently holding a Housemaster’s position might serve the students, school district and community better  in another position. Lack of training is one thing, lack of sensitivity and common sense in a crises is another,

 Answers to Petty  Political  Questions (those questions that anti Gendron/Martin are spreading)

Why wasn’t one of the students suspended until Friday and allowed to participate in a Track Meet Thursday Night?

It’s call due process and EVERYONE is entitled to it regardless of who they are related too. Mass Law is pretty clear has is the LHS Student Handbook:

From LHS Handbook -Short-Term Suspensions:

The Headmaster/Designee shall provide oral and written notice to the student and the parent in English and in the primary language of the home if other than English, or other means of communication where appropriate. The notice shall set forth in plain language: (a) the disciplinary offense; (b) the basis for the charge; (c) the potential consequences, including the potential length of the student’s suspension; (d) the opportunity for the student to have a hearing with the Headmaster/Designee concerning the proposed suspension, including the opportunity to dispute the Discipline Page 42 charges and to present the student’s explanation of the alleged incident, and for the parent to attend the hearing; (e) the date, time, and location of the hearing; (f) the right of the student and the student’s parent to interpreter services at the hearing if needed to participate;

The Student’s parent told the school that one or both were unable to make it to a Thursday meeting and asked for a Friday “hearing” which is their right. That is the only reason the student was suspended on Friday.

If the parent couldn’t make the meeting, why did they show up at the Track meet?

Those of us who work in the private sector know that if we have a meeting scheduled from 2:00 -6:00 it can end early or drag on until 8:00 pm! So maybe  the parent was able to get out early and attend .

Maybe the parent didn’t have a chance to talk with the kid and understand his side completely so the parent took advantage of knowing the Law or the LHS Handbook.

Who has a parent wouldn’t want to hear first hand from our kids?

Should the parents have pulled the kid from the meet?  That’s up to them, we can’t force our beliefs or what we might do on them. We don’t walk in their shoes or know what is going on in their family.

Why hasn’t the School released any names of the students who did the texting?

On September 18, 2013, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation to raise the age (RTA) of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old. Pursuant to this legislation and beginning on September 18, 2013, 17 year-olds ordered held by the court for crimes became clients of Department of Youth Services (DYS) rather than inmates of the adult correctional system. Raising the age of the juvenile court jurisdiction aligned Massachusetts with the Federal courts and 39 other states, as well as with other legal age limits in the Commonwealth.

Legally the School System cannot release names of students under 18. In addition when 13 High School girls were suspended two year ago no names were released and there was no clamoring for names to be released even when some had political connections in one way or another. It is the right thing to do!

Answering my own question -Is the thirst for names really just for Petty Political Reasons?

You bet your ..whatever it is. Think back to just a few years ago 2013, when 13 LHS girls were suspended for their actions around the Powder Puff Game. Does anyone recall any outcry for names to be released? NO I can’t think of any time I saw a post or heard anyone stating that names should be released, questio who is being protected etc.

The fact that a family member or if rumors are true  TWO members of Elected Officials families may be involved  people who have an agenda or are political opponents of these individuals are the ones clamoring for the names to be released so they can embarrass these people for petty political payback.

It is some who don’t like the individual, some who don’t like the Headmaster and some who want to try and force the High School OUT of the Downtown who want the names released.

If the names of any student, regardless of age appear in print anywhere, especially if it is only one elected official and not another..FOLLOW THE MONEY,  Who ADVERTISES in that publication, Just has important is  what are the POLITICAL ASSOCIATION  of  those unnamed sources where these names appear ? Think most are bitter foes against Gendron and/or Martin?  Follow these things to find the people really behind the need to release any names.

I ‘m not blaming the reporter for doing the story, if you get information and considering the asinine way the school under-reacted and the way the entire incident evolved there is reason to ask  the question if there was a cover up and to question the action of an elected official.

I’m upset that we are now are taking out political retribution on a kid because of who the parent is or because the Headmaster who has served Lowell in many various ways and has made a lot of political enemies in the process.

When the Lynch Administration even looked like they were punishing kids because of their conflicts with then Councilor Elliott I BLASTED THEM..NEVER IS THERE AN EXCUSE TO BRING A KID INTO A POLITICAL BATTLE.

There is NO COVER-UP when it involves using or releasing students names regardless of age.Speaking for myself I just think it is sickening, twisted and improper to report a student’s name / a kid’s name because the kid is related to a politician. I WILL NOT DO IT!

I defended the Councilor’s daughter, I defended the kids who played Soccer and who deserved to have restrooms built. I defended and will always defend the kid . I don’t care if the kid is 16-17 or 18 she/he should not be used as a political piñata. I’m guessing that the local Radio Station and Newspaper feel the same way and that’s why just as in the case of the 13 girls suspended in the Powder-Puff Scandal no names are being printed or talked about!!

The SUN , WCAP and I for a change all seem to be on the same page: NEVER IS THERE AN EXCUSE TO BRING A KID INTO A POLITICAL BATTLE.

 Traffic Update for Tuesday Oct 13th

If you travel through the University Avenue/Riverside Street intersection, you may want to use a different route on Tuesday.

UML is erecting a new business school building on the corner.

On Tuesday, they are doing a large concrete pour. Beginning at 6:30AM and running for about 12 hours, there will be concrete trucks entering and leaving the site. They have hired details for traffic control but there will still be congestion.

The roads will be open so you can still go that way if you choose to.

Meet the Candidates

Lowell Citywide Neighborhood Council

The Citywide Neighborhood Council Invites you to the Lowell City Council Candidate Night

Topic: Civic Improvements & Code Enforcement

When: Monday, Oct. 19th 6:30-8:00pm

Where: Dom Polski Club, 10 Coburn Street (enter from Lakeview Ave), hosted by the Centralville Neighborhood Action Group

Please join Lowell’s neighborhood groups in this our 2nd City Council Candidates Forum this Fall.   Each night will focus on topics critical to our City’s future. Residents from across the City are encouraged to attend as many forums as possible. Candidates for School Committee will be announced if in attendance.                               

The public is invited to attend. Bring Family, Friends  and Neighbors

Meet the Candidates II

CandiDating

Wednesday, October 14 and Wednesday October 28, 6 – 8 p.m.

Lowell Senior Center

276 Broadway Street

We’re hosting two versions of this event, the first for city council candidates and the second for school committee and tech school committee candidates. We will welcome all candidates to give a timed two minute introduction of their background, motivation for running, and priorities once elected before the questions begin. Citizens will sit at tables spaced throughout the room, prepared with their questions. Candidates will each begin at one table and have a few minutes with a group before switching to a new table, a little like speed dating. This offers candidates and voters the chance to chat informally and have real conversations. Voters will be given a list of candidates with photos to help them remember which candidates they most connected with after the event.

Khmer and Spanish translation, child care, and food and drinks will be available. Please share with your readers/networks if you feel it is appropriate.

PARTY TIME

Jackie Doherty Thursday Oct 15 Olympia Restaurant 453 Market St. Lowell MA – Any/All Donations Appreciated

imageimageimageJIM M

 

 

 

 

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