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Rockdale Citizen Poll 2-2-08

"What a shame Mr. Geiger has gotten caught up in this mess. It is rare when a teacher cares enough about students to direct them on life issues."

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"What has happened to the concept of privacy these days? Am I the only parent still living who - had my child come home gossiping about a comment overheard during a private conversation her teachers were having - would have told her that she shouldn't have been eavesdropping and that it wasn't her business in the first place? Since when did it become ethical to eavesdrop and gossip?"

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"I wanted to comment on the situation about Mr. Geiger from Salem High band. Our family has known this educator for years. Both of our daughters have gone through the Salem band program without incident. As a matter of fact, Mr. Geiger has been an outstanding role model for our children and I have and still do trust him with my children. If Mr. Geiger's account of the situation in the paper is, in fact, accurate, then the initial verbal reprimand should have been satisfactory and the case should have been dropped there. Dr. King should not have launched another investigation on Dec. 11 without stating what these new allegations are publicly. It seems so cloak and dagger, especially when this man's reputation is being publicly questioned. I believe that this entire situation is being blown out of proportion. This man is being made an example of because of somebody else's agenda and not because of his one-time lack of judgment. We stand behind Mr. Geiger 110 percent."

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"This is regarding this week's articles about Shawn Geiger, band director at Salem High School. After three investigations it comes down to this ... Students overheard a private (inappropriate for them) conversation; a student was off school property with a teacher; a teacher tried to give a "safe sex' warning to a student. Should Mr. Geiger be reprimanded for these? He was after each of the first two investigations. Should he be suspended, have his reputation smeared, and have all this made front-page news just because a ... parent won't stop pushing until Mr. Geiger is destroyed? I don't think so. The school board and your paper need to look deeper into this to find the motivation behind this entire mess. This is a personal vendetta. It is common knowledge in the SHS band community where this is coming from. But this is what puzzles me ... If you were convinced that a teacher/band director was acting inappropriately or not doing his job well or even not a good person, would you still hold a position as an officer in the booster club and would you still allow your child to have daily contact with him by being in the band?"

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"I want to let all the parents out there know that there is an alternative to the Rockdale and Newton public schools. This year the Georgia Virtual Academy opened online. This is a public school that is offered to all of Georgia and it is free. All of the books and materials, including a computer, if needed, are delivered to your home. The parent is considered a teaching coach and does all of the teaching. As a parent, you will have the support of a GVA teacher who is assigned to your student. GVA offers clubs to join and class field trips, so that your child can still socialize with other kids. This public school gives you a chance to be involved in your children's education and get to know your children better than you ever did before. You can find out more information online at k12.com/ga/."

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"I have a student currently in the Salem band program. Our family has been a part of the Salem band program for the past seven years. I am extremely disheartened to see what has happened to this organization over the suspension of Mr. Geiger. We have what was once a wonderful band program that is literally being torn apart at the seams over this situation. People are entitled to their opinion, but there are numerous Salem alumni and parents writing articles of support and praise for a teacher that they have not been around for at least one to two years. They are stating that all this started with one irate parent. Wrong - the paper stated that several parents had voiced their concerns to the school board. And as far as why didn't the parent go through the proper chains to resolve this - they did! They went to Mr. Cresswell and he chose not to deal with this. That forced these parents to voice their concerns with the school board. No one at Salem wanted to see our band on the front of the Rockdale paper with this story. The way I see it, if you are not presently in the band program at Salem, you need to keep your opinions to yourself. You do not know what goes on in the classroom. My sympathies are with the Salem band students. They are the ones suffering from this negative publicity. They are great students and amazing musicians. They deserve better than being torn apart by people taking sides and publicly writing letters to the editor and postings on the Internet, when these people don't have a clue as to what is really going on at Salem."

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"I would like to express my gratitude to a young lady that took the time to stop and help me when I fell and broke my leg in front of Kids To Kids consignment shop. There are angels that walk among us and this was my angel that day. As I lay helpless in the street, I asked God to send someone to help me and within seconds I heard her sweet voice asking if she could help. I hope you see this note today. I offer up thanks for you today and only hope that I can pass it on to someone down the line. Thank you, and God bless. Also to the nurses and EMT and doctors, thank you."

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"I was shocked to read the front page of Saturday's newspaper about the investigation against Shawn Geiger. It was not the allegations that struck me, but rather the fact that it took so long for any real action to occur. Those of us who have had direct contact with the Salem band have long known about ... improprieties ... I understand the need to feel accepted by students, but there is a line that must be drawn in regards to what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. What is truly unfortunate is that I realize many of his students may not see the wrong ... Instead of being a mentor, he tried to be one of the guys. This is not what we send our children to school for, and Mr. Geiger needs to find some balance between the two roles. ... "

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"Give a round of applause to Heritage's drama department for getting the rights to the show "Chicago,' an honor that only around 5 percent of high schools can even earn."

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"Wow is all I can say. Mr. Geiger has got a heck of a lot of supporters here! I don't know him, but I do have two students that go to Salem and it's amazing to me to hear all the different stories being told of what happened. But ... the outcry I see here in this week's poll leads me to believe that someone was wanting to start some drama! What a shame ... Seems to me Salem is headed for a huge downward spiral. I hope I can get my kids graduated before it bites the dust!"

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"You know, it's funny all these people backing a teacher when every student who is actively involved with his program that I know says it's about time something happened. Bravo for the paper doing their job and reporting this very serious issue. The band is supposed to be going overseas soon, I wouldn't want my child to go on that trip with a person who doesn't understand the proper boundaries between students and teachers. And bravo to the editor's comments back to the (callers) who said the paper was wrong for running the story; that was the best part of the poll this week."

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"Why are we taking up for someone who has been inappropriate with a student? ... He signed a code of ethics when he accepted the job and he should have followed that - PERIOD. He is not the only teacher at Salem who needs to go on suspension ... There are definitely some great teachers there, but most need to realize that not all children need the advice of someone like Geiger. It is not his place to tell a student what he needs to do about his sex life ... This student has parents. I have children at Salem and this is not a surprise to me. Teachers need to be professionals and not act like some of the thugs you teach. You are supposed to be an example ... "

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"I am so discouraged by the number of people that attacked the Rockdale Citizen for simply printing the news. The article about the suspension of Salem's band director was newsworthy, and the Citizen printed news based on fact from the (school system's) report, no biased opinions or conservative polished paragraphs about the band director that many "so loved.' Wake up people - you may not like the news, but it is the Citizen's duty to post the local news, even if it is allegations. Also, please remember that it is people like you who make young girls and anyone who is a victim of rape/molestation/sexual accusations unable to come forward. Why do you think so many girls never report such happenings? The student should not have been in the car alone with these school officials anyway - it looks bad. Let the (officials) do their investigation, and stop believing that great people, such as the director, are not capable of doing wrong. Get your heads out of your naive tails."

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"I am proud to say that I had Mr. Geiger as a band teacher at RCHS for a few years. What was printed in the paper is nonsense. If anyone in the Citizen staff knew anything about Mr. Geiger they wouldn't have printed the story, especially on the front page! And of course he was going to send you to his lawyer - probably because he didn't want something like this to happen. Rockdale's school system has gone downhill since I started high school. It has gotten even worse the past four years I have been out of it. Good job, school board! Your school system is already going downhill fast and you are making it worse by taking Mr. Geiger out of it! If you knew this wonderful teacher in the first place, you wouldn't have turned against him. But it's not all your fault. The attention-hungry parents/students that started this whole thing should be the most ashamed. Before you start your outlandish remarks, you should look at who you are talking about. Obviously, you don't know anything about Mr. Geiger. If you did, you would know that he is one of the few good teachers we have in this education system. Shame on all of you who took part in all of this drama. What goes around comes around."

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"Why do we need a new tennis court? So all the illegals can learn to play tennis for free?"

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"This past Saturday I was at Quiznos off of Salem Road. As I looked out the window I saw a white SUV pull in between two handicapped parking spaces. It wasn't an actual space, it's used for vehicles with lifts. I could not believe someone would have the audacity to actually pull into this space for the handicapped. I saw the two people get out of the vehicle - both were in a fine condition. As I left, I looked to see if there was any handicap signs - all I saw was a cross on the front tag of their vehicle. Yeah, what true Christians those people turned out to be. Somebody please tell me what happened to common courtesy."

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"Kudos to Darrell Huckaby for hitting the nail right on the head with his article "No child left behind'! The money that is being wasted on this could help the kids that actually want to be at school. The schools not only spend money but time on disciplining without anything positive ever coming out of it! Wake up, people. Some of these kids just don't want an education!"

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"First off, thank you to the Citizen for allowing the public to have a forum to vent their concerns over daily life in Rockdale County. Secondly, there is obviously a lot of passion, emotion and frustration regarding the conduct of the Rockdale County Board of Education, the superintendent and the handling of a recent teacher/student incident. For those who want to only call in and voice an opinion, you are hiding behind a telephone or computer. Get engaged in the process and attend BOE meetings, track how they vote, and if unsatisfied, then start a petition drive to remove them. But most of all, get out and vote! Local elections are the last bastion of "one man, one vote' we have left. Next, the SPLOST tax allows the county government to select various projects to fund. It is a blank check, of sorts, so if you don't want another money pit on Parker Road like we have off of Highway 138 (Ga. International Horse Park), then once again get involved and attend either working sessions for the commissioners or the open public meetings. You would be surprised how receptive they are. Lastly, I have lived in a south Rockdale subdivision for 20 years and not once has our street been resurfaced and only after many phone calls do we ever get potholes filled. But what we do get is a regular Rockdale County sheriff patrol, and for that we are thankful to Sheriff (Jeff) Wigington and his staff."

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"I am so saddened by the state of our county's schools. I teach in this county and we are at a low like I've never seen before. Dr. King wants us all to be data collectors instead of teachers. If you wonder why our test scores are going down, ask any teacher in the county about collecting data, and listen to their responses. Most will say something like, "We spend too much time proving that we are doing what we say we are doing, and then having to analyze, with several copies here and there, what we did!' Then several weeks go by, and we are asked to do it all over again, in a different way, for a different person, in a different office who wants all these figures on a different Excel worksheet that nobody can find on our shared drive. It's maddening! Please, Dr. King, just let us teach! Quit asking the principals to ask us to provide anything else. We are all asked to do more than is probably legal anyway, and besides, we've all been to school. We've been figuring out our kids long before benchmarks, and adjusting to meet their needs. Now, when Dr. King wants us more than ever to meet the students' need, we're so busy trying to prove that we're meeting them, that we have no time to plan to do just that! His "strategic planning' is taking too many teachers away from classroom planning and instruction. Everybody is just playing the game now. Our schools' reputation is going down along with our property values. This used to be the place to come; now it's become the place to leave. Look around and listen, Dr. King. This is not working. Stop the madness, or there'll be no good teachers left in Rockdale County."

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"I am saddened by the closing of Nothin But Bones restaurant in south Rockdale. The owner was a hard worker who tried to please each individual customer. The food was good old home cooking and she is missed by her patrons. Everyone who drove by on Ga. 20 and didn't try it, you don't know what you missed. I wish her all the best and miss her food, especially the banana pudding."

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"Can anybody tell me why Newton County has Dumpsters all over for the residents to use free of charge, and Rockdale only has the recycling center on Sigman and we have to pay $1 to $1.50 per bag?"

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"Regarding the article about driving through the rear of the "church' on Ga. Highway 138, that is private property, owned by that church. Do you have traffic driving through your yard? Get a life and utilize the public roads for which you pay taxes. And enough of Shawn Geiger. Perhaps he should keep his (sexual conversations) at home; not at school."

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""RMC taxes to cover indigents; money after sale would fund care for inmates.' I respectfully ask that the Board of Commissioners review the new revised asset purchase agreement that is being given to the Attorney General's Office to evaluate and it's in the public's interest to approve the proposed sale of the hospital to Signature. In some literature I have read, it said Signature would support the care that has been historically given to indigent care. We assumed when reading that this included indigents in the form of whether it was coming through the hospital by way of a person walking in off the street or as they've done in the past when the jail has people that need to go, they would be received and they would be taken care of. This has opened up a whole new can of worms. There are so many things that have changed from when we first heard about the proposed sale and now what is slowly leaking out. Again, I ask the Hospital Authority to give us clear and concise answers as to where our hospital stands."

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"I'm a longtime resident of Rockdale County, over 45 years. I got the Jan. 5 paper of the Rockdale Citizen and the headline, "Judge finds man guilty of sexual battery;' "Authorities ID victim of slaying;' "Man charged with child molestation;' "Sale of cocaine in Rockdale lands 2 men in jail.' What's happening and why do you question when us old-time residents that know what it used to be like start fleeing this county? Who's going to put a stop to all this? I can't. Apparently, the citizens of Rockdale County, they're just going to hell in a handbasket."

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"I was calling to express my outrage. I went to pick up my child at Ray Davis Middle School yesterday and I saw a teacher that was wearing a shirt that said, "Danger: Educated Black Woman,' and I just don't think that's the type of thing a teacher should be wearing, especially since it would be considered, I would say, reverse racism because if it was a white teacher and she said "Danger: Educated White Woman,' that would be considered racist. It's an outrage that something like that would be allowed to happen, especially since it went on all day."

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"I see in the Citizen Poll on Saturday, Jan. 26, that John McCain, who is running for president, wants to give illegals an opportunity to get your Social Security and Medicare. Would you please publish a list of all the other candidates that follow this was wanting to give away our Social Security and Medicare monies? For 25 years, I paid the maximum amount of Social Security for the 25 years I worked. I became totally disabled at the age of 61. I was advised by several doctors how disabled I was. I applied for Social Security and was turned down. I had to spend $30,000 of my hard-earned money to get accepted into the Social Security/Medicare program, yet our candidates seem to want to give it away to anyone who comes into the country. How much more can we give away? Billions here, billions there, and now we're giving away billions to illegals at home. God, I don't know what's going to happen to us."

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"To all teachers at Salem High School: don't talk to a student, don't touch a student, don't do anything to a student. It will get you in trouble big-time. They will get you in prison or in jail. Don't do anything to a student at Salem High School or any high school or any middle school or elementary school in Rockdale County. Also, we need to get the DOT to do something about the lights up at Outback and Country Kitchen. They're out of sync. And up at O'Charley's too. We need to do something about the lights all the way down toward Flat Shoals Road. We need to do something about the lights because they're all out of sync and we need to something about the traffic here in Rockdale County. It's getting terrible on Friday and Saturday nights. I saw a wreck the other night on Flat Shoals Road and Parker Road and the light was way out of sync. Please do something about the lights here in Rockdale County. Everybody have a good weekend."

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"My comment is to the fifth-grade parent at Lorraine Elementary School. She apparently hasn't been there too much because Dr. Ray is always in the halls, he's in the cafeteria, he's always out there. There's many schools you go to in Rockdale County and you don't even know who the principal is. Lorraine is a very good school, the teachers are very nice and they work hard to help the children there. Try visiting some other schools and see how hard all the teachers work. And the reason they have to go by the book is because the county says they have to go by the book."

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"If you decide to give the Salem High School band director a rest, try giving Eastside High School coaching staff a turn ... "

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"I just wanted to comment on the mistreatment of dogs. I love dogs and I own one. I'm so glad they're taken out of the hands of an abuser. But what about our children? We take them out of the hands of an abuser and a bad situation then we put them right back in. Don't the poor children deserve the same consideration as our animals? Someone needs to give this a second thought. And I also want to comment about the civic center or hotel they're building in Covington. Do we really need that? What are they going to look at in Covington? I think we should be thinking about other things the county needs more. I am a voter, a citizen, but I think that we could put that money to better use."

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"Jail health care and indigent health care. Our commissioners should have been reading the contract of the sale to Signature. I would assume that they were thinking that the Hospital Authority was looking after their best interests - the county's best interests - in all of these things. Undoubtedly, the authority let the people of this county down in not making sure of the protections for the county. I would hope now that our commissioners do have a county attorney read the asset purchase agreement to see just how the citizens of Rockdale County will be protected."

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"Now I understand. We have a commissioner who says he doesn't read the Citizen Poll. The hospital is being sold at the reduced price of $60 million. This commissioner just does not know what's going on."