Saturday, April 04, 2015
C. J. Huff: Jennifer Martucci is a snob who doesn't love kids
Until this moment. Dr. Huff, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you no sense of decency?
For those who have not read it, Huff has once again tried to put his thumb on the scale in the Joplin R-8 Board of Education race. This is nothing new. I reported last year about the slumber party he threw on the opening day of board candidacy to allow his favored candidates to have their names listed first on the ballot.
I wrote about his unsuccessful efforts to dig up dirt on board candidate Debbie Fort.
This year, with the walls closing in around him, Huff has gone even further. He illegally crossed the line by allowing Board President Anne Sharp to film a campaign video on school premises during a school activity. Teachers were used in the video without their permission in an event that was staged by Huff.
On Thursday night, he wrote a Facebook post answering the negativity in the district (anyone who doesn't think his continued presence is something that should be desired). At the end, he threatened "anonymous": critics, saying he will go after them later this week.
On Friday, he sent text messages to students asking them to read his Facebook post, like it, and share it. The same message was sent to staff, people who owe their continued employment to this man's whims.
Tonight, as C. J. Huff grows more fearful that his favored candidates are not going to be successful Tuesday, he posted another long Facebook message. In the first part, he gave the impression that anyone who voted for Lane Roberts would be wasting their vote because he will not serve if elected.
You can almost forgive C. J. for pushing that line since there are many people who agree with him, but a vote for Lane Roberts is also a vote to prevent the continuation of Anne Sharp's 15-year run on the board. In that respect, it is not a wasted vote.
It was what Huff did with the rest of his message that crosses the line. Of course, as always, he said he did it "for the kids." Has there ever been anyone in public life who has ever paraded such arrogance and incompetence and claimed it was all right because it was "for the kids?"
Huff personally attacked board candidate Jennifer Martucci, by using a private message she sent him as a concerned parent. The issues that are brought up in that message have been used against Martucci since the beginning of this campaign, largely due to a whispering campaign started by Huff. Now, the whispering is out in the open, just as petty, just as vicious.
Huff seems to be developing a pattern of trying to bully strong, independent women who don't see things his way.
It didn't work with Debbie Fort.
It won't work with Jennifer Martucci.
The text of Huff's message is printed below:
Critical questions to ponder in the upcoming Joplin Schools Board of Education election on Tuesday:
This next Tuesday is an important Board of Education election. However, there is a lot of confusion about who is running for what seats.
When you go to the polls you will see two separate board member elections on the ballot. That is what is confusing.
There are two, three-year terms for one election. The candidates for these two seats include Jeff Koch, Lane Roberts and Anne Sharp. All great candidates. To make matters a bit more confusing is the fact that Lane Roberts has been given the opportunity to go to work as the Director of Public Safety for the State of Missouri. What a great opportunity for a great man! I've talked to Chief Roberts, and if for some reason he wins one of the two seats, his plan is to immediately resign. Had he been notified of his appointment earlier, he could have had his name removed from the ballot, but unfortunately the ballots were already printed. In this election you have the opportunity to vote for two candidates.
The other race you will see on the ballot is for the vacated one year seat. There are also three candidates running in the following order Jennifer Martucci, Melinda Campbell, and Nancy Good. Whoever wins this race, if they so desire, will have to run again next April for a three-year seat.
Obviously, Board elections are very important. I have had the opportunity to work with all six candidates on various district projects over the last 7 years. If they don't already know, they are about to find out that being a school board member is hard work! It requires a tremendous amount of dedication and more time that most might think. Ask any new Board member after their first year on the job and they will tell you the learning curve is steep. However, those Board members that are in it for the right reasons will tell you it is the most rewarding work they have ever done on behalf of all kids.
My primary concern for anyone who runs for the Board of Education is whether or not they are running on behalf of every child in the district. When I came to Joplin in 2008, I often heard it said that "Children have a right to fail." That probably explains why we had a gradation rate of 54% in 1996. Think about it...one out of every two children didn't receive a diploma.
Anyone who has worked with me over the 18 years of my career will tell you that I believe in the worth of every child. Further, I believe we have a collective responsibility to ensure each and every child is loved and supported. Can they fail? Yes. But we have to be there to dust them off and send them out again to give it another shot. In short, "Children can and will fail, but it is our responsibility to not allow them to give up." It has taken a long time to get to where we are today related to this philosophy. I believe it is the right approach to growing our next generation of citizens.
As I look at this election, not unlike many of you I have questions as well. Where do they stand on common core? Where do they stand on the assessments related to common core? Do they believe that the MAP test should be the only measure of the success or failure of a teacher? A principal? A district? If so, who gets held accountable and how? If not, what should be the measure for success going forward? No doubt great conversations to be had in the future related to these questions. One thing is for sure, how these questions are answered will largely determine the direction of the district over the next 3 years.
I'm also interested in their thoughts on equity. Do they believe every child matters? Do they see that kids in one part of the district are as equally important to kids in another part of district? Do they respect children and families regardless of the color of skin, intellectual abilities, economic levels, and disabilities. In short, do they advocate for all kids?
I already know how Jeff Koch, Anne Sharp, Lane Roberts, Melinda Campbell, and Nancy Good would respond. I've not only heard their words, but I've seen them in action. They love kids...all kids.
Tonight, my question is directed at Jennifer Martucci who is running for the one-year term. I'd ask that she respond not to me, but to many others who seek the answer to the question soon to follow, but are afraid to ask.
In a letter dated February 7, 2013, that you sent to myself and the Board of Education, you made some very pointed statements that are concerning to many. In that letter you voiced your opposition to redistricting. I have no issue with anyone who disagreed with redistricting or the process. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, you stated:
"Another concern we have is the reputation of North Middle School as far as drug use that takes place on that side of town. Taking kids who have access to illegal drugs but don't have the means to pay for them and mixing them with kids who do not have access but have the means is just asking for trouble that, quite frankly, I don't want my child to have any part of. This also brings down the community as a whole and becomes a much more far reaching problem than it currently is."
You then go on to say, "...the neighborhoods they (meaning North Middle School kids) do live in are not places we necessarily want our daughter to hang out."
Further, "Redistricting our children to North Middle School will seriously impact our home values and home sales in our area."
Since no one else will ask you the question, I will. I would like to hear directly from you. We have a diverse school population, and even though 62% of our families qualify for free/reduced lunch, they are good families with hopes and dreams for their children just like you have for your own.
Frankly, just because a family lives North of 20th street does not mean they use drugs. North Middle School is an amazing school with amazing educators. The elementary schools that feed into North Middle School...Cecil Floyd, West Central, Jefferson, and Columbia are wonderful schools with great families and great kids.
My simple question given the letter you sent to the Board of Education in 2013 is this..."How do you govern as a member of the Joplin Schools Board of Education on behalf of the 7,576 children we currently serve when you refuse to "mix" your own children with the kids from the north side of town?"
Many of us look forward to hearing your answer.
(Note: Jennifer Martucci's answer can be found at this link.)