Dookies in the Pool: Suffern Central School District Situation Brings Out the Biased Bickering but Things are About to Get Real

Suffern Central School District Situation Brings Out the Biased Bickering but Things Are Gonna Get Real

by Richard Gandon

In case you’re wondering, this is my blog, it’s opinion mixed in with fact. That’s my name up there.

 

For a number of weeks prior to yesterday’s explosive revelations, I‘ve been looking into three separate issues concerning the Suffern Central School District.

FOILs have been filed, appeals written, the Committee on Open Government consulted and Article 78 Filings prepared.

Watching SCSD Board meeting videos are often quite uneventful; some might say they’re boring. 

Recently some of them have been packed full of information but only if you pay attention, ask the right questions and know how and where to find correct answers.

The rumor mill often provides gossip, much of it untrue however there are times when there are kernels of truth hidden beneath the illogical, unsubstantiated Dookies.

And then there are good old fashioned tips.  Tips are a double edged sword.  I have excellent, reliable sources, I have sometimes reliable sources, I have unreliable sources, I have people who are looking for revenge and I have conspiracy theorists wearing tin foil hats.  Mixed in there are the folks who repeat whatever they’re told, try to justify their position and with a few strategic questions, the entire premise for their story comes tumbling down.

Although I have been actively looking into some potential issues, I had absolutely no idea that what transpired at the Special Board Meeting last night was going to happen.  I had time to kill, figured I might learn something useful and perhaps I would run into my favorite senior citizen.

I reported facts as they became available, got a statement from Dr. Adams’ attorney Richard Ellsworth, saw the RP Connor teachers arrive to support Dr. Adams (I think some of them may still be upset with me because I published the truth about their commander 18 months ago but oh well) went home, published it and then all hell broke lose. (In the interests of fairness, I did publish personal statements from three board of education members today.)

First my websites crashed.  I have enterprise grade web hosting but so many people hit the server at the same time that the sites crashed. Twice.

Then the comments on the the posts that were shared in various online groups started to fly in.  Accusations, falsehoods, questions, incorrect answers and more.

There are good people on both sides of this issue. There are bad people on both sides of this issue. There are those with a clear, self-serving agenda and there are those who don’t have a clue but need to feel relevant.  They may not reveal that they have an agenda and most people may not be aware of it but they are there.

Case in point, one person is vehemently trying to have the School Board President tossed out of office.  This person got in a dustup with me online a number of months ago, was absolutely obliterated by facts and the written word so they ratted me out to the Facebook Po-Po and my pointed, witty repartee  was deleted. If memory serves me correctly, I was an “unvetted, unreliable news source.”   I find it rather humorous that this same person, relying solely on the statement that I published last night—and there were no other sources available at the time, decided to launch their crusade.  Apparently my vetting and reliability have improved considerably over the past few months!  By the way, this person appears to have a very strong vested interest in one side over the other but I’ll save that for another day.

Then there were an interesting few posts that are clearly biased from someone who I was not at all familiar with.  A quick look at their page, a few questions to people I know, a look at another page and I found that two people have eerily similar dogs.  Upon closer inspection it became abundantly clear that these two folks not only share the same dog, they share the same home and are in fact involved in what appears to be a happy cohabitation situation.  That kind of explained why one was decidedly silent while the other, lesser known person was vocal in support of their chosen side.

Then there are those who really aren’t all that engaged.  This thing blew up quickly and they’re asking questions in order to get reliable answers.  Both sides jump on these poor unsuspecting people in an effort to sway their perspective.

With accusations flying, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

As I said, there are good people on both sides and they are harmed when people publish lies and half truths.  There are also plain old nasty characters out there. 

Let’s take an objective look at what we’re all dealing with:

  • There are people who may or may not have done their jobs properly.
  • There are two sides with 180 degrees worth of differences of opinion. 
  • There is information that was discussed in Executive Session that is privileged.
  • There is employee information that believe it or not, is not a protected as one might think however its more challenging and will take longer to obtain than we would like.
  • There are privacy laws that some people must abide by.

Based upon statements made in meetings, some of those recently published, combined with FOIL’s, information from employees in the district and other substantiated information, there are very serious, unpleasant allegations on a number of issues that must be addressed.

Stories will come out soon however the identities of those involved will be protected.  People won’t like that but I will try to be fair as possible to everyone.  That means providing equal opportunity for those who have differing opinions to express them.

As a community we have to make sure that every last student of this school district is safe now and in the future. 

In the event that the alleged wrongdoing of a pedagogical employee is cause for that person to be dismissed, New York State “Pass the Trash” laws must be followed and with the assistance of the community, I fully intend to make sure that this happens.  Stay tuned for more information on the “Pass the Trash” issue.

If there was any misconduct on the part of any administrator(s) since allegations first surfaced and yes, there are allegations that are more than a year old, all those involved must be held accountable and it doesn’t matter which side you’re on. If these are the fights we must fight, and I can assure you that there are powerful special interests involved, we must all fight on the side of the children.

Students, their safety, their security and their well-being must come first.


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