Sunday, April 05, 2015

Jennifer Martucci responds to Huff attack

Joplin R-8 School Board candidate Jennifer Martucci wasted no time responding to the scathing personal attack launched against her by Superintendent C. J. Huff on Facebook Saturday night.

In his attack, Huff took an e-mail sent to him by Martucci two years ago and attempted to portray her as someone who does not care about all kids.

This is her response, which was posted on Huff's Facebook this morning:

Dr. Huff has chosen to publicly share portions of an email I sent directly to him over two years ago. Contrary to what Dr. Huff says, this was a private, confidential email sent solely to him and not the Board of Education as a whole. 

Dr. Huff has taken portions of that email out of context. Worse yet, he has done so solely for personal reasons. I am sure other parents find it uncomfortable that Dr. Huff is willing to publish private parent emails to the public, while at the same time conducting school business behind close doors in violation of the Sunshine Law. 

Even more troubling, Dr. Huff has waited for over two years to publish the email at a time when it serves his political purposes. As a parent I am shocked a school official would share a private email about her child. These are the type of problems that need to be corrected in our school district and why I am running for the Board. Parent concerns about their child’s education should be private. School board meetings should be public.

Because Dr. Huff has quoted portions of the email out of context, let me add the rest of the story. I would have welcomed the opportunity to explain where that email was coming from at the time it was written-- or even now -- but he never asked me. So let me explain it now.

Seven years ago when my oldest daughter was in fourth grade at Cecil Floyd, I was delivering her to Memorial Middle School for her Gifted Program day. As I was approaching the school to drop her off, I saw police officers running up the street with rifles drawn and a group of officers tackling a student just outside the school. I did not stop to drop her off. I kept driving and called her teacher to find out what was going on. I was told there was a gunman in the building with shots fired --to take my daughter home. Had I arrived even 2 minutes earlier, my daughter would have been walking right past the gunman and who knows what may have been the end result. 

The bravery that Principal Dr. Steve Gilbreth showed that day meant everything to me. Dr. Gilbreth stood boldly in front of the boy with the gun to protect students. The boy pulled the trigger only to have his gun jam, thankfully. Dr. Gilbreth never waivered, risking his own life for the sake of the students. He earned my respect and my trust that day. As a parent, I found it much easier to send my kids to school knowing they were going to a school that had Dr. Gilbreth to watch over them.

Skip ahead to two years ago when the district administration decided to redistrict our school to a different middle school. I had a 5th grade child at the time who would be immediately effected by the decision. By the time the parents at our school were notified of this decision, it was already done before the school board had even voted on it. There were no means of advocacy with the administration or the board.

When a group of parents attempted to speak up and ask for a voice in making these decisions that directly affected our children, the group was completely shut down. We were not allowed to be involved in any part of the process. The email, to which Dr. Huff refers, was born out of emotions and disappointment in the fact that Dr. Gilbreth—whom we trusted with our children’s safety and education -- was being taken away from us without our input. 

As we continued to voice our opposition to the process, we were cast as troublemakers when we simply wanted to advocate for our own children. I was not the only parent who opposed the redistricting, I was one, however, who offered another solution to show that perhaps there were some other options that could be considered. 

All members of the school board, with the exception of one, would not accept our phone calls or allow us to be part of the process. I can honestly say, two years later, that I was completely wrong about the misconceptions I had about North Middle School. I will and have publicly apologized for the comments that I made during that highly emotional time. I wrote the email as a concerned mother. I am sure everyone has at some time in their life written or said things out of pure emotion that they immediately wish they could take back. That is how I felt about that email the next morning and after I had already hit send.

Dr. Huff has used his school district Facebook page in recent days purely for political purposes and to try to influence an election. This is not the job of a superintendent. I feel it is inappropriate for a superintendent to use social media to lobby his position about who should be elected to a Board that he is accountable to. I understand Dr. Huff is probably upset by the fact that I ranked him a 5 out of 10 at the public forum, but I had to be honest with the public. My ranking Dr. Huff a 5, while it came from the heart, was not just my opinion. That ranking was consistent with the ranking the school board gave Dr. Huff during his most recent evaluation, and is consistent with the State Auditor’s report. The State Auditor gave the District a “fair” rating. Considering the only lower ranking would have been a “poor” rating, and there were two higher rankings, namely “good” and “excellent.” A “fair” ranking is equivalent to a 5 out of 10.

Now, let me address Dr. Huff’s question: “How would you govern as a member of the Joplin School 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?” Obviously I do “mix” (as Dr. Huff affectionately phrases it) my children with all other kids in the district. Kids from North, South and East are all friends with my children, and have been welcome guests in my home. My children play sports side by side with children from all over Joplin. North has a team of amazing educators and students – on that Dr. Huff and I do agree. Educators want the change I will bring, and have endorsed me as their school board candidate. But to answer the question – How do I “mix” my kids if elected to the Board? I will make sure all kids have equal opportunities at their schools by actually supporting teachers and insisting on improving academics, and keeping administrators in Joplin rather than travelling around the country lecturing about their successes. I will do what Dr. Huff has not given other parents the ability to do – advocate for their children. I will make financial stability a priority if elected - something our current board has lost sight of.

To the public, it is my wish that you consider the words and actions that I have consistently used in the last few months - not the spin placed on them by someone who is most directly affected by the upcoming election. To those who truly know me, have known me for years, or have taken the time to get know me over the last few months, you know that I care for every child in the Joplin School District and will advocate for every one of them equally. If anyone has further questions or would like further clarification feel free to call me at 483-8104 or email me at martucci4schoolboard@gmail.com.

Respectfully,

Jennifer Martucci

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am glad Jennifer is standing up to Jabba the Huff, he tries to say there is no bullying in the district, what did he do to Jennifer. The district is in need of a breath of fresh air and in my opinion she us one of the ones who can bring it.WAY TO GO JENNIFER, TAKE IT TO THE MAN!

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that someone may have violated FERPA. What do you think Randy?

Anonymous said...

I, too, am glad Jennifer responded to CJ. I was impressed with her response. She certainly has my vote. I wonder, did Huff violate FERPA?

Anonymous said...

I thought her children now attend Thomas Jefferson?

Anonymous said...

She has my VOTE !! I don't care what school her kids go to, its obvious she does not like the school board that is in place currently and I for one cant blame her. VOTE JENNIFER !!

Anonymous said...

I don't think so. This article seems to say Joplin High School. Unless there's another Jennifer and Patrick Martucci in town. It's great to see parents who care so much about the success of their children.
http://www.joplinglobe.com/sports/local_sports/joplin-swimmer-signs-with-ashland/article_70b3fa46-bbdf-503b-95b6-ba7e9542a0ff.html

Anonymous said...

Blah blah blah

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, we are very thankful that you have taken the time, energy and expense to become a candidate for the upcoming Joplin school board election.

It is very apparent that you are very knowledgeable of the current state of affairs of the Joplin school district and you have articulated "solutions" to fix "deep rooted" problems.

Since you are a candidate and "put yourself" out there - you have been subjected to "misinformation" and "cheap shots" to try to "discredit" you. This "smear campaign" will not work and only "reinforces" the fact that major changes are needed.

Thank you for your courage and we look forward to your being elected on Tuesday - to help bring about the changes (that you have spelled out in your campaign).

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Ms. Martucci is being put through this. It is a symptom of the mental illness from which Huff obviously suffers. He is obviously suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. He cannot stand to be questioned, as was obvious Thursday night at Columbian. He is dangerous and should be removed before he allows someone to get hurt--like by having the district build a storm shelter on ground that the contractor has declared unsafe. Huff will ignore that inconvenient fact like many others and build his shelter with his own crew, public safety be damned. He needs help. Let's hope he gets it. Soon.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, although I live outside the Joplin school district, I continue to follow what happens in Joplin schools.

Joplin schools should be a bell weather for schools in southwest Missouri, but instead, it is a total embarrassment.
Receiving a fair rating from the state auditor is like getting a "D" on your grade card. Joplin students, parents, taxpayers and patrons deserve much better.

I pray that you as well as others are successful in your bid for the Joplin school board, and that you work together to make the Joplin school district a place to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

If Jennifer is elected to the board, how do you think Huff is going to treat her? Because she will be his boss, I'm assuming he will have to respect her and her opinions, even the ones he disagrees with. Should be interesting is she is elected.

Anonymous said...

Her middle school age student attends TJ. The one that should go to NMS. It says in her response that she has public apologized for what she said. I work at North and I have not been apologized too or neither has the area around the school. So unless I see proof of that I will not be voting for her.... I can not personally forget until I see proof that she is for all students....

Anonymous said...

I think you have to remember, regarding FERPA, that Huff did not share the email in its entirety, but cherry-picked items that allowed him to create an attack. It was very much in the keeping of the Easter spirit of that God and Jesus he likes to evoke in his speeches. He is a hypocrite and charlatan of the worse kind, and now he is scared of being revealed to the law and to the few hundred people still buying his bologna.

Anonymous said...

So, if I got this right, 7:53 is saying that they found out Thursday that the students at Columbian will not get FEMA-approved storm shelters because the ground is not safe? And Huff plans to build a home made rig so he can say "mission accomplished," no matter if it isn't really safe? And he's the one accusing Martucci of not being there for all of the kids? What a hypocrite. A dangerous, greedy, selfish, pig of a hypocrite. Take your side show down the road, Huff. Your time here is done as of Tuesday. You talk out both sides of your face.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. C J Huff the superintendent is actually weighing in his opinion of school board members?! What the what?! Is that legal?

Also find it troubling that he lists himself as a “Public Figure” on Facebook. I think of our politicians, Musicians, Actors, and Professional athletes as Public Figures not the Superintendent of our Childrens school. What an egomaniac he is. I don’t have to attach my name to this honest opinion because I am not in it for recognition. Know you have a difficult time grasping such a concept Mr. Public Figure CJ Huff.

Whom was superintendent of a school that was hit by an enormous storm which created an enormous storm of media that you chose to present yourself to as a hero, public figure, center of attention when the teachers and students should have been not you. Superintendent of a school district that wasn’t even insured properly that you had to beg the public accept numerous generous donations, and raise taxes in order to rebuild. How is that being a hero? The taxpayers, teachers and students maybe but not your arrogant self. You should have been fired if anything. Tax increases after that much money coming in? Really? Not insured properly? REally? Now let you get back to la la land mr. la la.

Anonymous said...

I don't live in the district, nor do I have children in the district, but I am so embarrassed for the Joplin School District! And we wonder why our children act the way they do...just look at how these adults are acting...shame, shame, shame...

Anonymous said...

Are you an educator at North? Just curious...

You JUST read her apology, if in fact you hadn't received one prior to. So - the apology and proof you're claiming to hold out for was just typed up and delivered to you in what you have just read AND commented on.
I can assure you, Jennifer would act on behalf of ALL R-8 students. Her decision to move her own kids to TJ doesn't have ANY impact on my faith in her genuine desire to do good things for Joplin schools, the staff and the students.

Dusty Roads said...

She just must grin and bear it when kids from north come to her home.

Anonymous said...

"I can honestly say, two years later, that I was completely wrong about the misconceptions I had about North Middle School. I will and have publicly apologized for the comments that I made during that highly emotional time. I wrote the email as a concerned mother. I am sure everyone has at some time in their life written or said things out of pure emotion that they immediately wish they could take back. That is how I felt about that email the next morning and after I had already hit send."
This sounds like an apology to me.

Anonymous said...

As a JHS student, if I had the power to vote, I would vote Martucci. This drama with daddy Huff is pathetic, and it's the exact reason why I'm ashamed to tell people I attend Joplin Schools.

Anonymous said...

An apology on the Turner Report is really not a public apology. Also I believe this was first stated on face book. If she really want to save face she need to ask to meet with North teachers and other staff and clear the air. Her decision to move her own kid to TJ will matter if she gets elected and uses her new office to enroll her daughter in South. I hope all you guys are right because I have seen her in a different light. What if she get in and this is all smoke and mirrors?

Anonymous said...

2:01--

Jennifer Martucci is a gracious, warm, and wonderful person who treats all children with respect and kindness. If all you have to go by is the Facebook post of a narcissistic superintendent who knows his job is on the line, then you shouldn't make a judgment so quickly. I've seen her buy things for students who couldn't provide for themselves and provide for the needs of teachers and coaches. So all of you Huffies just need to hush. He has thoroughly destroyed the district and doesn't want to be held accountable for it. In order to keep that from happening, he's going to roil up the water and fling mud so as to influence who his boss is. You need to stop and think for awhile. He obviously does not have the best concern for all the students in mind, or he would have reversed some of his worst decisions. He has not. Martucci, Koch, and Roberts still have my vote. If you want a good district for your children, they should have your vote also.

Anonymous said...

What kind of a man does something like this on Easter Sunday and then goes to church (assuming he did) and pats himself on the back for being a Christian? People like the Huffs are why I won't worship in a church. Too many phonies and hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

2:22--

She is not going to move her daughter to South, even if Huff did. What if it isn't smoke and mirrors? You know what you're going to get with Campbell or Good, and that's whatever Huff tells them to do. I'm going to take the chance on Martucci. She can't do worse and can only do better. If you don't like her, don't elect her again next year. It's just a year, people, not a lifetime ticket like you've given Sharp, Landis, and Steele.

Anonymous said...

2:22--
Where is the Landis brat? At home playing his guitar. He's darn sure not getting the career path crap the rest of the kids are getting. Funny the different standards we have for different Board members. Good will have no children in the schools and has admitted she has no idea what happens in the schools. Martucci has three kids in our schools and knows very well what goes on and what needs to change. I'm sticking with her. I expect she has learned a valuable political lesson, which already puts her one ahead of Huff.

Anonymous said...

2:22--
If a slam on Facebook is an official slam, then an apology on the Turner Report is an official apology. However, if you are really that sensitive and need a personal apology, then I believe she provided a contact number. Why don't you contact her? I bet you never will. But you really should if your feelings are that hurt. I promise you, she will apologize a hundred times over. That's more than you will ever get from Huff, Good, Sharp, or Landis.

Anonymous said...

You go girl!