(I won't deny it. I am running this comment as a post of its own because I like what the author says about me.)
I have been a long time reader of the Turner Report and I have not always agreed with the slant Randy takes on some of the things he writes about. I have never doubted that he sincerely believes what he is saying, though, and he has always been open and honest with his readers.
I apologize in advance for the length of this comment, but I have been thinking about this for quite a while since Randy was first kicked out of his classroom.
I, like most of you, first heard about it in the Joplin Globe, and the Globe's first story featured hints that obviously came from C. J. Huff that this was another typical teacher sex story.
Then Randy hit back with his tape of his interview with Tina Smith and his refutation of the charges against him.
It should have been obvious to anyone from that point on that this was a C.J. Huff vendetta, but it was allowed to continue anyway.
I have talked to people who were told by C.J. during that time to just wait, there would be more information coming.
We are still waiting.
Randy was forced to endure a public circus. I have read the transcript on the download that Randy made available. Randy was supported by teachers, parents, and students. C.J.'s witnesses were administrators and their stories were obviously scripted.
Randy was kicked out after a four minute interview that did not give him a chance to explain anything. He was accused of corrupting his students because he had assigned them to download and read his book, yet they were never able to find one student who had ever read the book.
Not one student. And they had the nerve to continue, saying that he had dangled it in front of the students because it was available online and he had advertised it.
Even worse, they attacked Randy's Scars from the Tornado book, a book that any other school district would have taken pride in and promoted, but not in Joplin where all publicity has to go through CJ Huff. At first, they said he had not received permission from parents, then when he showed the permission slips, they changed their story to saying he had not received permission from administration.
Yet the testimony clearly showed he had kept his principal, Bud Sexson, informed every step of the way. Not only was Randy's own testimony on the subject detailed, but he had two parents, both PTO officers, say that Sexson had spoken positively of the project nearly a year before he says he first heard of it.
That would indicate that C.J suborned perjury in his zeal to get rid of Randy and let's face it, the only reason Randy was targeted was because the superintendent in No Child Left Alive, a work of fiction, is a buffoon. C.J.'s feelings were hurt and he was going to make sure Randy paid.
So not only does Bud Sexson flat out lie and I would say C.J. paid him back for his lies by saving his job for him, but even more despicably, C.J. orchestrated a group of his top administrators to damage Randy's character in the worst possible way.
Tina Smith accused Randy of grooming students because they were all supportive and protective of him. This was clearly the message C.J. wanted the public to have and he knew it would be the headline in the Joplin Globe and on the TV coverage. Of course, the students were supportive of him. He was a damned good teacher and still should be. That is not grooming, that was the affection and respect Randy had earned.
In the transcript, you can see that Randy's lawyer quite rightly went ballistic when she heard this baseless accusation being made. She objected and the board president Jeff Flowers, clearly in the tank for CJ Huff, said each time the lawyer objected that the objection was noted and allowed the character assassination to continue. While Flowers was the one who made the decision, I was equally astonished as I read the transcript, that no other board member spoke up to question what was happening right in front of them.
They were watching Randy's teaching career being ruined and not one of them said a single word to stop it. No one objected. If C.J. had any evidence of the kind of behavior that Tina Smith was hinting at, he would have produced evidence. It was another C.J. Huff lie bought and paid for.
The original complaint against Randy was made by Lisa Orem, another of C.J.'s administrative team, who told a convoluted story about how she had uncovered this obscure website Room 210 Discussion.I have talked to people who know Lisa Orem. She does not have the computer skills or knowledge to have found that. Someone may have showed it to her, but it is a little hard to believe that she uncovered it on her own. Randy later reported that Lisa Orem does not even have the certification to have the highly paid job she holds now. More highly suspect testimony bought and paid for by CJ Huff.
The most ridiculous testimony was provided by Klista Rader, the head of technology for the district. She testified that Randy tagged more pictures of girls on Facebook than boys. The head of technology and she ignored the fact that other people can tag pictures on Facebook and that is what happened. Turner was called back to the stand and said he had never tagged a photo of anyone. Klista Rader's testimony, again bought and paid for by C.J. Huff.
The coup de grace was administered by C.J. himself. If Randy's hearing had been shown on Jet 14, Randy would still be teaching and C.J. Huff would already be out on his rear.
We have all heard how CJ cried about the thought of Randy remaining in the classroom. It is hard to believe anyone buys his crying act any more, but there is so much more in his testimony.
He says he found nothing about educational issues in No Child Left Alive, yet the entire book is about that. Much of that educational satire deals with issues that directly deal with his mismanagement of the system, including manipulation of graduation statistics, public relations over substance, meaningless professional development, lack of discipline, lack of support for teachers, and more.
To buy that the only things that struck him about the book were the sex scenes, is either an indictment of CJ Huff's veracity, his reading skills, or what he is looking for when he opens a book.
CJ testified that he would not want his daughter to have Randy as a teacher. That is a shame since she would have at least been exposed to values and integrity, something she doesn't appear to be receiving from her father.
CJ also makes remarks about Randy writing about where his books are on the Amazon charts and is dismissive of it. Why does it matter so much to him. Most of us can see Randy's mentions as providing more publicity for his book, something writers need to do. What did that have to do with anything?
Perhaps the worst thing C.J. did was to testify that the case on Randy had been turned over to local and federal law enforcement as if there was some actual crime that had been committed and then C.J. said that the board could not take a chance on allowing Randy to keep his job. How would they feel, he said, if they allowed him to stay and something happened to a student?
C.J. planted the seeds with his lies about the authorities. From what Randy has written, it looks like the only connection the FBI and the police have with Randy's case was a silly message that was put on the East Middle School PTO Facebook page paraphrasing the catch phrase from No Child Left Alive, if the shooter doesn't get them the East Middle School administration will.
Randy wrote that a PTO officer took the message down immediately because he thought someone was trying to cause problems for Randy, which is exactly what happened. Bud Sexson put the school on lockdown because of that silly message and then they were able to call in on the FBI and the police. Randy wrote that he had never been contacted by law enforcement concerning anything about his case. His last dealing with the police was when Tina Smith had a police officer who was assigned to the school escort him out of the building in full view of his students and his fellow teachers.
There is so much more I want to say. The fact that C.J. Huff, Bud Sexson, and the rest of these people are still receiving large paychecks and ruining our schools at the expense of me and other Joplin taxpayers, while Randy Turner may never teach again makes me angry and it should make every person in the Joplin school district angry.
I have read what one comment said about Ann Sharp and if her time as president of the board of education is going to include meaningful change, she cannot allow C.J. Huff, Bud Sexson, Tina Smith, and the rest of these people to continue hold jobs in our school system. If they are so willing to lie to the board and to the public and we are seeing more and more of their lies piling up one on another and they are willing to destroy someone's life simply because CJ was embarrassed by something someone wrote or he has a friend who needs a job, then why should we support anything the district wants.
One big step and one that would meet with resounding approval in the Joplin community would be to apologize to Randy Turner and put him back where he belongs, teaching eighth grade communication arts at East Middle School.