Friday, May 30, 2014

Globe columnist: If Huff hadn't fired Turner, we might have two sex scandals

I have been told it would be better to ignore the blog written by frequent Joplin Globe guest columnist Anson Burlingame. I have seen no evidence that it reaches many readers, except when I bring attention to it.

However, there are two reasons why Burlingame cannot be ignored. The first, and this seems to be occurring less often lately, Burlingame has been a frequent "guest columnist"  in the Globe, and when he writes in that capacity, he has a much wider readership.

Recently, the second reason has become equally, if not more, important. Burlingame has acknowledged having many one-to-one conversations with Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff and it has become obvious that Huff has used Burlingame's writing, both in the Globe and on Burlingame's blog, to float trial balloons.

It has been in Burlingame's blog, that the idea that I am a pornographer who has no place in the classroom has been pushed numerous times.. He has also echoed C. J. Huff's testimony at my hearing May 23, 2013, that I had to be removed from the classroom because who knows what I might do if I was allowed to remain. At least Burlingame doesn't cry when he says it as.C. J. Huff did.

I have heard from people who tell me that C. J. Huff has continued to make that argument and has insisted, "I knew it would follow me I fired him, but I couldn't allow him to remain in the classroom."

Does anyone really believe that if C. J. Huff knew what was going to happen to him after he forced me into that hearing that he would have done things the same way?

The difference has been that I have used an extensive collection of public documents, e-mails, lawsuits, board minutes and other public records, including most recently, Missouri Ethics Commission documents, to reveal an ever-growing list of problems for the Joplin R-8 School District, something I should never have had to do if the traditional local media was doing their job.

One thing I did not do was to issue any attack on C. J. Huff following the sex scandal that exploded Thursday when the arrest of Joplin High School communication arts teacher Jessica Low became public knowledge.

I see no way that C. J. Huff could have known or predicted this situation, any  more than the one that involved former South Middle School teacher Charles Gastel one year earlier (a scandal which had nothing to do with the Joplin schools other than Gastel's status as a teacher whose last job was in the R-8 School District and had only ended a few weeks earlier).

Burlingame took the low route today, and if it did not come as a suggestion from C. J. Huff, it certainly said the things that the superintendent wanted said.

His message- If C. J. Huff hadn't fired me, the school district might be facing two sex scandals now.

If this is not a sign of the desperation that seems to overcome C. J. Huff and his dwindling number of supporters these days, I don't know what is.

The following passage is taken from Burlingame's post:

Are our schools looking hard for the precursors, actions that are not yet “illegal” but are certainly,well what word to use, right. Is “unseemly”, “untoward”, etc. better words? I suggest looking hard for precursors of illegal sexual activity in public schools by teachers are appropriate and needed today. Said another way, teachers should be held to higher standards in such activity, standards above that expected of a “man (or woman) in the streets”.

I know of one very big example of a public school taking action when a “precursor” was revealed. Yep, it was, in my view, the infamous Turner Case. BUT, I do not call Turner a predator either. For sure he stepped across no legal lines. He is free to write and publish whatever he chooses to write and publish as far as I am concerned. And if his written descriptions are a “little quirky”, well that is not illegal.

But the real question, at least in my mind, in that case, the Turner Case, was wondering whether private “sexual quirkiness” is a line that teachers should never cross. OK that is debatable, maybe as well. But when such descriptions of teenage sex are espoused as political satire and thus defended, publically, well that line I see as a big red one and not to be crossed by any teacher anywhere, any time. For such people the next line might well become ……. We can then read all about it in the Globe when that happens.

I knew Randy Turner only by his written words in his long running blog until his termination became a very public matter, at his choosing. While I have long disagreed with his blog, the themes or content of the blog, never did I believe he should have been fired for such views as well. BUT, when I read his book, saw evidence of pushing that book into the awareness of 11, 12 and 13 year old kids, well he went far too far in my view and received just punishment, termination, for his actions and yes his “quirkiness” if you will.

But as well, I am not trying to retry the Turner Case, again. I am also not trying to “pick on” Randy Turner, again, either.

What I am saying however is I’m not sure how many teachers have demonstrated the precursors of being “Crazy Majors”. I do believe that deserves serious discussion and considerations of further actions by administrators and BOEs to minimize the number of teachers that come close or cross the lines of being “untoward, quirky or unseemly” or other words to describe people that fail to meet higher standards to remain as teachers of kids in public schools.

Recently, in another blog post, Burlingame acknowledged that C. J. Huff has continued to take action against me even after he fired me:

As well both men conduct “secret war” against each other trying hard to find as much dirt as possible against the other.

Anson, the only one who is doing anything in secret has been C. J. Huff. Everything I have done is been right here on this blog. I have been completely open.. The same cannot be said about C. J. Huff.

And now, about all C. J. has left is Anson Burlingame.

Talk about poetic justice.


Anonymous said...

Why does he bother to say he's not picking when that is what he is doing? Typical Burlingame self-contradiction. This is the kind of thing that tells me what kind of people they really are. Anything their brain can conjure to save them from the realization that they actually done wrong. It eliminates any false claims to having taken the high road.

The phrase used by our administrative commenter yesterday, "shining light in this dark place" is reflective of the underlying condescension and self-righteousness. Just as friends of any accused say "I know them and they are good people! They go to church and have a family! They could not have done anything wrong!", so too does each individual connected to administration say this about themselves.

Poor Anson is so happy to have someone important talking to him he doesn't know he's being used. Parallels Stark and Rohr, unsurprisingly.

Anonymous said...

Isnt it interesting that Huff makes these allegations against Turner that seem to have no supporting evidence but had no clue what was really going on in his own back yard with Gastel, Low and the computer guy who tried to meet someone at the mall and had pictures of female students on his laptop? And too bad Huff doesn't realize Burlingame is a big joke

Anonymous said...

If I were administration or in the corner of administration, I would not want to remind people of the circumstances under which Randy Turner was let go. Inside the bubble, their dislike for Turner may have allowed them to gossip their way into believing that these insinuations were based in reality, but out here it just looks like what it is - trying to smear someone they didn't like in the most heinous way possible.

Attempting that particular smear against Turner was among the most immoral professional behavior I have ever encountered, and for someone like myself who has no connection to the schools apart from being a parent in the community, it fueled my motivation to pay attention to these issues. Now that it comes up again, and Burlingame stokes this fire, it reminds me again of how horrible Huff is and how ignorant Anson truly is, the latter being a fine example of the dangers of unmediated confirmation bias crossed with Grandpa Simpson's penchant for writing letters to the editor about things he doesn't understand.

If they cannot admit that their dislike for Turner and desperate need to discredit him led them to see phantoms where their were none, how can we possibly expect them to see or admit to errors on any other front? If they fall back on this slander in times of stress, they deserve whatever hell rains down on their heads.

It is understood in the community (people outside the bubble) that administration explicitly suggested people to find dirt on Turner. Regardless of whether it is true, it is accepted as belief because the public actions of administration appeared in keeping with such an order. It appeared that they were self-aware of this issue when during the proceedings their legal council made a point to say that these insinuations towards grooming behavior were not actually being made but rather were being projected into the administrations accusations. They did this when they were fearful of a law suit on the basis of libel or slander. Too bad their attorneys were smarter than them, knowing that nothing was there, further confirmed by the public display of referring the matter to law enforcement. That protective statement shows they know they're full of it - or at least their lawyers do.

We are apparently dealing with people who do not live in a world of R-rated movies, who find that any examples of sex in a work of fiction are clearly the product of the creator's perversion, as opposed to serving a satirical purpose with regards to the perversion of our educational system. That's right! Sometimes when works of fiction represent bad guys, they make the bad guys do bad things so that you understand that they are bad guys!

Mark Twain was not endorsing racism in Huck Finn, and J.K. Rowling does not want your kids to worship the devil. Regardless of the quality of a work of fiction, controversial ideas are used therein to make points - and that remains true whether or not the reader gets it. I say "regardless of the quality of a work" because folks like Burlingame toss in little jabs that are besides the point, pointing to yet another area where he presumes authority.

Or it could just be that they felt Turner to be a liability to their desire for absolute control of image and went after him in the most personal and ape-like manner possible. Let us not forget who these people really are. Administrators, if you cannot show true compromise and a spirit of unity - even to people you may dislike personally, which is what grown-ups have to do sometimes - then please take heed that when you presume to shine light on dark corners, you are simply showing us where the sun don't shine. That's a euphemism for "your ass", by the way.

Anonymous said...

I must be ignorant of the law, because I do not understand why Mr. Turner has not filed a defamation lawsuit. His name has been slandered to the point that he will probably never find another teaching job.

Anonymous said...

@7:21 Not legal advice or opinion for anyone at any time.

Chapter 516
Statutes of Limitation
Section 516.140

Anonymous said...

Shame on Anson for trying to show Randy as a predator just like the administration he is so in love with. Anson needs to get a job in the school district so he can see what really goes on. Anyone that believes the crap the Joplin Admin perpetuate needs to go to work there. I'm surprised they don't because it looks like everyone that believes the crap goes to work in admin because they are the only ones stupid enough to believe it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @7:21 PM: not so much ignorant of the law as how it's practiced "on the ground". I can see these reasons for Randy not taking the lawsuit route:

Even if he won, he'd still be unemployable in the field, you don't get hired after successfully suing your previous employer, that's very risky.

The lawsuit might get shot down by a determination that he's a public figure (that raises the bar so high very few succeed).

If he won, it's entirely unclear how much he'd receive in damages. While he ought to get more than the not uncommon nominal $1, you just never know.

How would he finance it? Given all of the above, plus the political ramifications (e.g. any Joplin area lawyer would have to think twice before taking it on), it's very questionable he'd find a lawyer willing to do it on contingency, and if he did he'd have to share the award with the lawyer.

As Randy knows, lawsuits consume people. Given how close he was to being able to do a formal retirement, I believe he judged he had better things to do with his time and energy.

And, hey, he might play an instrumental role in bringing down the Huff regime, or even getting the latter criminally prosecuted. I don't know if he desires the latter, but this sort of thing can be the best revenge. Certainly getting rid of Huff and company is the best thing anyone can do for the district.

Anonymous said...

Anson is a big old gas bag whose feelings got hurt when he could't cut it as a sub at the high school. Funny, he never acknowledges his own failings in that department when he's on his I-know-everything-about-teaching rants.

Anonymous said...

I am scared.
After Anson told us that Randy is a pervert because he wrote sex scenes in a book, I remembered that Randy has written two murder mysteries. I am locking my doors. There's no telling what Randy is capable of.

Critical Reader said...

Listen up, Turner-tards: Randy Turner was fired for good cause.

A number of us critical readers predicted that sooner or later Turner would be caught out and fired for cause. Turner didn't like any boundaries placed upon himself as what contact to have with minor students outside school hours and teaching business without the permission of parents and school administration. Remember the whining about the "FaceBook Law" a few years ago? What was decided was not to criminalize unauthorized contact after hours by the overall state, but rather to let the local school boards decide by policy what was and was not permissible.

Turner wrote a poison-pen semi-pornographic bit of vituperation about the present administration and then proceeded to post links for his students to read said crap on a teaching blog.

This was against school policy, and while the school administration might have hinted that Turner is a predator, what worked out was that Turner was fired for violating school board policy. Any other local smaller school board would have probably detected Turner faster and kicked Turner out sooner as well.

Turner has the notion that he gets to decide what is taught and how it is taught when Tutner is merely a rogue teacher wanting to get a public service job in which he gets to meddle with the minds of a younger generation. Turner simply got caught out, and like that other lying retard with a free blog Anson Burlingame says, just in time, too.

This society breeds its own degenerates all wanting to be in power. I'd say that the Joplin School Board is doing a good job in detecting and removing such moral degenerates and imbeciles. Detecting them is easy, given Turner as a Judas-goat indicator. Any "teacher" who 'thinks' he gets to do whatever he wants in the public schools paid for by taxpayers needs to figure out who is the boss: elected officials or his own wants. Your inappropriate wants get detected, then out you go, just like Turner.

Turner is a competent blogger, though. Reading about how the Joplin school system is burning through the funding means that there needs to be a change which won't happen as long as the voters vote for higher taxes to make up the difference in what Huff wants and what taxpayers will pay for. This situation won't take place until there is fiscal difficulty, though. Then Huff will be out, like Rohr.

Turner was a failure as a teacher and as a journalist. The fault for that lies altogether with Turner.

Anonymous said...

And if Mr. Burlingame had made it as a teacher, there might have been 3 scandals...

Anonymous said...

Since the ads we see here are personalized maybe "Critical Reader" can tell us what the most frequent ads they see are. This will help optimize the blogging experience.

Perhaps #1 Gas-X, #2 Imodium, #3 Beano? Actually I doubt Gas-X would get it done, do they sell Gas-X EXTREME yet?

Anonymous said...

Randy, are you flattered that Martin takes the time to read and comment on your work? He must be a true devotee of your talent to take time away from his other meaningful community service endeavors to spend said time analyzing you work history and teaching expertise.

Anonymous said...

The Globe and Carol Stark embracing idiots like Burlinggame only speeds up the process of the complete failure of the Globe and the replacement of Stark. So keep printing Ansons self aggrandizing, pompous attempts at analyzing people and events.Let him contribute to the demise of the Joplin Globe.