CITY ATTORNEY LEANS ON SUPT. APPLICANT, FORCES HER TO WITHDRAW APPLICATION … DUPERE ACTION RAISES BIG QUESTIONS OF LEGITIMACY … plus … MORE ON TRAYVON MARTIN CASE — DID A HOODIE HELP GET HIM KILLED?
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2012) — While we can’t say for sure who will be the next superintendent of schools in Pittsfield, we can say definitively that Christine Canning will not be the Chosen One.
THE PLANET has learned that Canning, author of the highly regarded book Perfect Phrases for Classroom Teachers (McGraw Hill) and former teacher at Taconic High School, was made to withdraw her application for the superintendent’s position. It’s not entirely clear of the circumstances of the withdrawal, but apparently it was forced after city attorney Fred Dupere contacted her lawyer and demanded she withdraw her application.
Canning’s Forced Exit Raises Key Questions
If we recall correctly, Canning file suit (we want to say four or five years ago) against Pittsfield schools under the Whistle blower Act after she witnessed what she called “abuses to the health, safety, and welfare of children”? Apparently, one of the terms of the settlement of that legal action, sources tell us, is that Canning could never apply for future work in the Pittsfield district.
It is not clear, though, what Canning agreed to: Did she agree that she would never apply for another teaching position in the Pittsfield school system or another position of any kind within the Pittsfield schools. Only the exact wording of that contract would reveal the answer.
Apparently, the city attorney contacted Ms. Canning’s attorney, and the result took her out of the running.
So here’s the question: Who initiated the call to Canning’s attorney? Was the order given from “on high” somewhere … a smoke-filled back room? Was this a sign of GOB panic? On the face of it, it would seem she has excellent credentials: author, teacher, champion of justice (as most whistle blowers are), independent, not afraid to rock the boat. Of course, these would be precisely the qualities the GOB does not want for the Pittsfield Public Schools, which has more skeletons buried and in hiding than Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Did the terms of her lawsuit’s settlement mean she could not apply for the superintendent’s post? That is not clear.
What Else is the School Committee Not Being Told?
Here’s another crucial question that brings into the cross hairs the entire superintendent selection process: Is anyone on the school committee even aware that Canning was forced — forced, we hear — to withdraw her nomination? In other words, with the resumes for superintendent being guarded as some big, dark, state secret, how can we be sure that such winnowing is not standard operating procedure? And who is making these early selections, if so? And what else does the school committee not know.
Again, in and of itself this may not look like much, but it’s another clue that leads any reasonable and honest person to believe that the superintendent’s search is a Done Deal. We don’t know Canning personally, but we do know of her reputation in the education field, and it’s a good one. It’s a shame Someone, under the cloak of darkness, with anonymity, and without any accountability, should be able to make decisions like this — without We The People or our representatives, the school committee, knowing about it.
THE PLANET recommends that the school committee investigate the circumstances behind Canning’s application and its secret rejection. We also recommend that the committee air its findings in open session.
Otherwise, what little confidence any reasonable person can muster in the legitimacy of the superintendent’s search will disappear as does the dawn with Ol Sol’s rising.
TRAYVON MARTIN: NOT QUITE THE ANGEL HIS SUPPORTERS ARE CLAIMING AFTER THE FACT OF HIS TRAGIC DEATH
As new information comes to light on Trayvon Martin, he becomes less the 17-year-old cherub of his family’s account and more the gangsta-type indicated by testimony of witnesses, law enforcement officials, and Martin’s own words from his Twitter account.
On Feb. 21, Martin’s cousin wrote to the boy about an incident that took place on a school bus: “Yu ain’t tell me you swung on a bus driver.” Leaving aside the atrocious bastardization of the English language, this has “trouble” dripping off of every word. This exchange took place the same week that school officials suspended Martin from high school in the North Miami-Dade school he attended.
Family Member: Bag of Pot Got Him Suspended from School
A family spokesman told the Associated Press Martin was suspended after getting caught with a bag of marijuana on school grounds. As if you didn’t have enough reason to doubt the saintly picture of Martin painted by his hagiographic supporters, on Monday, “the Rev.” Al Sharpton and “the Rev.” Jesse Jackson are expected to lead 25,000 people in an afternoon rally in Sanford, Fla. The two Revs — enough said for credibility.
One columnist likened the media’s rush to judgment against George Zimmerman — and the thoughtless acceptance by a disturbingly large part of a gullible public — to the 2006 Duke lacrosse case. In that case, three members of the Duke lacrosse team were accused of rape. The media circus resulted in a “guilty” verdict in the court of public opinion. It was only an little-noticed afterthought when the accuser’s case unraveled and her charges were eventually thrown out by officials.
“Oh how little we have learned,” David Shane wrote on PolicyMic.com. “The media has rushed to judgment yet again. Now, it’s quite possible that Zimmerman is guilty of everything his worst foes accuse him of. There is plenty about this case that troubles me. But that’s exactly the point—I don’t know. Neither does anyone else, and both the scope and tone of the media coverage ought to reflect that fact.”
How Much Did the Hoodie Factor into the Outcome?
Then there’s the matter of “the hoodie.” We don’t think the hoodie got MArtin killed. We do believe, though, that when you dress in the manner inviting trouble, you’re more apt to get it.
“I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was,”Rivera said on Fox and Friends. “You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta—you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe, well people are going to perceive you as a menace. That’s what happens. It is an instant, reflexive action.”
Rivera has a point. We can pretend that the current style of dress among young males who fashion themselves in “gangsta” style is harmless. It’s not, especially when worn in and about public schools. This style of clothing — baggy pants worn ass-crack high, hoodies, flat-rimmed baseball caps, etc. — convey not only that learning is gauche but that dressing like a punk is from reverse form of intelligence.
THE PLANET will be discussing out solution to this obvious problem — school uniforms — in a future post. For now, we can’t pretend Martin’s lifestyle, including his manner of dress, was negligible in the tragic outcome.
Yu ain’t tell me his clothes ain’t got none do with it. Ain’t yu?
In case you missed it, Rivera issues a “sort-of’ apology for his hoodie remarks:
STATEMENT OF GERALDO RIVERA
I apologize to anyone offended by what one prominent black conservative called my, “very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies.”
But here’s the rub, according to my legion of critics, by putting responsibility on what kids wear instead of how people react to them I have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager, and I began today’s program with a sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone I may have offended by my crusade to warn minority families of the danger to their young sons inherent in gangsta style clothing; like hoodies.
Over the last week, I’ve been buried under an avalanche of rage and the ridicule; essentially saying that I was blaming Trayvon Martin for his own death. I wasn’t and I don’t. And, I remain absolutely convinced of what I said about asking for trouble. There’s trouble enough for minority boys and young men not to provoke mad responses from paranoid jerk offs. But that doesn’t change what many, including members of my own family and friends believe.
That I have obscured or diverted attention from the principal fact, which is that an unarmed 17-year old was shot dead by a man who was never seriously investigated by local police. And if that is true, I apologize.
We are creating a generation that calls ignorance wisdom. It worships moronic idiocy and makes of accomplishment and hard work a sucker’s game.
God help the United States of Amerika.
ON THIS FINE DAY, WE ALL GIVE THANKS AND PRAISE FOR THE AIR WE BREATHE, FOR THE MOVEMENT OF OUR BODIES, FOR OUR HEALTH AND STRENGTH.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.