Saturday, November 22, 2014

New Joplin R-8 Board policy aims to silence those who disagree

One of the telling moments in the recent history of the Joplin R-8 Board of Education came following the October 21 meeting when KZRG reporter Joe Lancello was interviewing board member Dr. Debbie Fort.

Board Attorney John Nicholas interrupted the discussion and let Lancello and Fort know in no uncertain terms that only the president of the Board of Education, Annie Sharp, could speak for the board.

The interview ended. Lancello did not receive the information that he wanted to pass along to his station's listeners.

It would be naive to believe that Nicholas saw the interview, suddenly realized that an egregious violation of board tradition (there was no policy and no law that would require a board member to stay meekly silent on the sidelines) was taking place and intervened to protect the integrity of the board.

Someone gave him the order, whether it be Superintendent C. J. Huff or Annie Sharp, or perhaps even another concerned board member like Mike Landis.

That intervention was even criticized on the Joplin Globe editorial page, which has served as a both a shrine and a place of strong support for C. J. Huff in the past.

If the Huff Administration gets its way, the removal of board members' First Amendment rights, as well as the First Amendment rights of employees will be cast aside and a new policy will centralize the message in the hands of the superintendent, the president of the board of education, or anyone designated by one of the two.

While the policy is careful not to say that any board member or employee is prohibited from speaking, it is less than subtle in passing along the message that you keep your mouth shut or you will suffer the consequences.

The first reading of the policy is on the consent agenda for Tuesday's 6 p.m. meeting of the Joplin R-8 Board of Education.

Amusingly, especially coming from the C. J. Huff Administration, one of the reasons listed for doing this, and included in the policy, is to "eliminate rumors and misinformation."

This comes from the same superintendent who said that the new Joplin High School had not failed an August inspection, told the media and patrons that computer tech official Ronny Justin Myers did not have access to children, when in fact, he had access to their computers both at school and while they were at home, and switched stories every two minutes on how the six-and-a-half-mile ribbon came into being (and let's not even mention the school district's financial situation).

Another reason for the policy, it says is even more galling- To "promote a climate of trust."

Six years late and millions and millions of dollars short.

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Anonymous said...

They can try to suppress voices, but we will be heard. We will no longer be trampled on by a corrupt administration led by a corrupt school board.

Any school board member who supports this step will be voted out. Most will be, anyway, so at the meeting we better hear protests from any who want to stay on.

Anonymous said... people amuse me.

Anonymous said...


Yes, Besendorfer, Rader, Vann, Sticklen, and Flowers, just to name a few, also found us quite amusing. You're in fine company.

Anonymous said...

7:30- oh believe me, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of humanity finds you amusing! Sometimes we think that we can just "will" things to happen, then take credit for causing that change even though we are fairly insignificant in the overall scheme of things. This gives some of us who have a pitiful existence the illusion of self worth. the end result. You will be very surprised.

Anonymous said...

This is a policy adopted by almost all schools which is MSBA for board policy service, not some evil plot by C.J. Huff or others to keep the Joplin board in line. Seems like that would be easy to check.

Anonymous said...

I like how 8:20 pm is already building an "out" so that they don't have to actually acknowledge any influence that Turner may have had. This is already a significant change from the outright dismissal they used to hold onto, a shifting of goalposts from the idea that the claims of problems in Joplin Schools were ridiculous and non-existent.

This is revisionist thinking, not unlike when the Globe called for transparency once Speck was out (instead of before, when they were playing lapdog). So invested is this commentator in their belief that Turner is wrong that the reasons for his "wrongness" have to change when faced with his insights coming to pass. Just as the Globe still found reasons to believe that the "anonymous internet critics" were still in the wrong despite their being one of the only significant voices on things as they actually were! The mental gymnastics that come along with cognitive dissonance.

The rest of the stuff about "the vast humanity" is more of the same low-intelligence attempts at psyching people out, the same personal attacks that have more to do with whatever this individual's personal beef with Turner is than reality. Hadsell again (big on opinions, low on the experiential/intellectual qualifications that justify them)? Mr. Besendorfer? Amanda Lea? An outed administrator? I'm not familiar enough with Turner's history to fully understand or be aware of the identities or reasons behind all of these weird personal attacks, only that they are uniformly limited in their abilities and emotional intelligence.

The truth is that most people in the real world actually do have a negative impression of Huff and that this has formed over time from experience in dealing with the man, working within his system, knowing people who have (Joplin is not that big), and interaction with local media of which Turner has played a real role.

As someone who actually has contact with the population on a professional and personal basis, I see the reality and it is this reality that led to Debbie Fort being in and the inappropriately-named Mr. Flowers out (nothing nice or sweet about him). People talk about what they read on Turner, and Turner's websites spread by word-of-mouth as a way of becoming aware of some of the behind-the-curtain attitudes. There is room for this in the world, and its influence is real, and people don't laugh at it.

It's such an obviously false contention that people laugh at this, 8:20 looks ridiculously weak for making it, and the personal motivations for indulging such a statement become all the more pronounced in contrast with the reality. Just as the fake facebook profiles look ridiculous and weak. Just as the people who target Turner all look weak because they expend so much energy on the subject while simultaneously pretending they don't care. It feels like desperation, like when someone laughs to pretend they weren't hurt or hurls defensive insults and you instantly see right through it.

How sad for you, 8:20! How painful it must be to carry the burden of whatever pain Turner caused you that you feel compelled to go to such lengths. You can tell how deep the wounds a person has by the extremes of their defense mechanisms. In 8:20 we see a very wounded soul. Do not laugh, pity them, and offer a helping hand should they one day put aside their pride long enough to accept. Love them in spite of their faults.

Anonymous said...

When Turner was writing about the problems at Southern and Bruce Speck, it was common knowledge that Dwight Douglas, who was on the mSSu Board at that time, was commenting. Some of the comments appear to be just like the ones Dwight Douglas wrote. He has always been a man who held a grudge and Turner put him up to ridicule. I have friends in Neosho who say that Buzz Ball the former editor at the Daily and the Carthage paper, hates Turner because Turner exposed a kiss up story about a Moark plant in Colorado that Buzz wrote without telling people that Moark paid for his trip and expenses. Then there's always Martin Lindstedt. Almost any time you see the four letter word tard it's Martin Lindstedt. A power hungry lawyer, a terrible newspaper editor, a racist, and CJ Huff. If you judge a person by his enemies I would say Turner comes out looking good.

Anonymous said...

Awwwww....7:26 did someone neglect you as a child? Are your feelings simply hurt and you feel the need to lash out and insult others in the absence of any intelligible, fact-based argument? What a nonsensical diatribe! You refer to anyone who opposed Turner as "weak". That statement in itself reveals your inability to view a matter with any type of objectivity and renders you totally pathetic and hopeless. You are certainly not in touch with anyone in the community but merely a hopelessly lost soul. I do pity you.

Anonymous said...


After reading both of your post, I will not offer a well thought out answer such as that by 7:26.

Logic and reason are obviously wasted on you. is dummm!!!!

Anonymous said...

6:17.....actually 3:13 won this one....sorry....BOOM! 7:26 well thought out...LOL!!!! What a confusing mess of a response! Someone has been smoking the reefer and replying on this blog!