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Newton school board addresses web commenters, negativity

COVINGTON -- Most members of the Newton County Board of Education gave statements during their monthly meeting Tuesday regarding negative public comments.

During the Other Matters of Interest portion of Tuesday's meeting, four school board members discussed their disdain for negative comments that have appeared on the Newton Citizen and other websites about the system's schools and staff. Additionally, board members said they would not respond to citizens who did not identify themselves or to anyone asking about the lawsuit filed by Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter against anonymous web commenters and school board Vice Chair Jeff Meadors, since it's not a board issue.

Meadors was not present during Tuesday's meeting because of a family matter; Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews also was not present because of health reasons.

"Hiding behind aliases is not doing any good," said board member Abigail Coggin. "It only hurts the students."

She suggested that anyone with grievances about a school should report them to Mathews or an administrator.

"I want to start the new school year off on a clean slate," she said, adding that the board has had to deal with "negative publicity" over the last several months.

She said if the newspapers allow the comments, then it's their right, but she will not give the comments any merit and has stopped reading them.

Additionally, she added that the lawsuit must play out in court and that the school board nor school system are involved in the suit.

Fellow board member Almond Turner agreed with Coggin and said he was "appalled" at the "negative publicity."

"I don't feel the need to respond to issues that already have been dealt with," he said, adding that allegations have been investigated by NCSS that concluded the accused party was cleared. Turner did not specify what those allegations were.

Board Chair Eddie Johnson added that he also "had an issue" with the negative comments because the work force has enough problems to worry about due to the struggling economy.

"The negative comments generate an excitement of some," he said. "It makes for a toxic environment for the children and the work force. It's neither prudent nor beneficial. We need our community support. We can't do anything other than the best we can do."

Board member Shakila Henderson-Baker said that she has never hidden who she was and she doesn't address people who don't reveal who they are to her.

She said she appreciates the community members who have contacted her and suggested that if anyone has an issue, that they should come forward with a solution as well.

"You're not going to be able to satisfy everybody," she said. "Ultimately, we're here for the children. ... My focus will always be on the children."

Comments

Conservative 2 years, 3 months ago

This should be fun to watch! Let the comments begin.

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Satan69 2 years, 3 months ago

Coggin - I'm not going to sit here and discuss this, but I'm going to sit here and discuss this.  I don't have time to read the blogs but I am going to spend time talking about the blogs - kind of like passing the law to find out what is in the bill.  How did this one get elected?

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AWOL 2 years, 3 months ago

Well everyone, you have it from the mouths of the board. The only problem they have is with the comments. My big question was, Do the board members agree or disagree with Carpenter's lawsuit? Apparently they have no problem with how Carpenter is handling this. I say vote out all incumbents. They do not care about the opinions of their constituents and they do not recognize that Carpenter could be using bully techniques to quell anyone from giving them the truth. And Mrs Henerson-Baker needs to rethink who the principal is at AHS if she is truly "here for the children".

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Sundance 2 years, 3 months ago

This is very disappointing. But at least it is informative. It is time for some new board members. Many principals face negative comments in newspaper forums. The proper reaction to the comments is to fix the legitimate issues and ignore the idiots who don't know what they are talking about. All of the negative publicity is a result of Laquanda Carpenter's reaction to these ads. Look at the Rockdale Citizen. It has idiots commenting about principals all the time but you don't see any of them trying to sue people over it. This town is lucky that the story has not gone national with the free speech implications. The one board member said her biggest concern is the children and this whole situation and the way the board is not addressing the lawsuit is bad for the children of Newton. If Carpenter doesn't drop this it will only get worse.

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Billy 2 years, 3 months ago

Sundance, people have legitimate grievances. Sorry about others who might falsely accuse or stretch the truth, but if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Alcovy High is a cesspool, a dumping ground for problem students, and apparently, for inert staff as well. Godless schools will never be successful. You can huff and puff, but that house of truth will NEVER be blown down. So we're left with varying rates of failure, no hope for meaningful success. With this in mind, the staff should be of the highest possible caliber, since the whole operation is under a curse to start with. Lightweights with lawsuit attitudes should not even be in the system to begin with. Those of you with a religious aptitude know that at this point that home schooling or private schools are the only productive, high-quality way to educate your children and keep them safe from drugs and gangs, which the schools can't seem to effectively exterminate. Again, if you don't like criticism, don't read these boards; no one comes on here to agree with everybody...

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henrystamm 2 years, 3 months ago

Here we go again with the Obama excuses, blame everyone else but themselves. When we see that Newton County kids are number one in graduation and grades not only in this county or even state but all of the good old USA, I will support them. Improvement by a small margin is just an excuse and rouse to protect in competency. Tax and spend by the Democrats and Democrats masquerading as Republicans must stop. Media Maters and George Soros probably have their dirty hand working here. Lets get rid of them.

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Bemused 2 years, 3 months ago

Is it lonely in your little world? I'd like to invite you to join the rest of us in a place called the real world. Not everything ins a Democrat-controlled conspiracy. Bless your heart.

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Frustrated 2 years, 3 months ago

Spelling and grammar would benefit you immensely. You can learn them in a public school. Your criticism of someone else goes both ways.

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Frustrated 2 years, 3 months ago

We couldnt have expected anything else from the BOE. They circled the wagons and waited until they were all on the same page. Like Henry said..blame everyone else for the problems.

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Satan69 2 years, 3 months ago

If the HR Director or one of the Carpenters released confidential personnel information for personal gain they are TOAST.  We may finally get rid of one or more of them.  NO Open Records Request was done by the other paper per that own paper so there is an HR leak and we are tracking that mother down - we are going another mother further.   Second trimester blues are a real bi*&$.

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mgh1966 2 years, 3 months ago

who cares what the BOE thinks we gat a plan for a charter school system coming. Pre K to 12th. I can see the state dollars leaving know.

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Bemused 2 years, 3 months ago

Spelling and grammar would benefit you immensely. You can learn them in a public school.

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mgh1966 2 years, 3 months ago

I am sorry they did not teach that in the Newton County School system, But is good to know you can copy and paste. Thanks for being the cyber Police. I gues bush did it

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OnToday 2 years, 3 months ago

Why do they wait for concerned citizens to approach them about problems? Shouldn't they be proactive and recognize the issues on their own? Wake up and look at the low scores and grad rates, high number of fights and other problems, and high staff turnover. Duh.... there are issues with this school and these 4 people are apparently the only ones who don't see it. Vote 'em out and select proactive people who can form complete sentences and tackle problems rather than pretend they are fiction.

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mgh1966 2 years, 3 months ago

Voted for Perry today today I voted for Perry today:) :)

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Romulus 2 years, 3 months ago

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize" - Voltaire The board members blame this stinky mess on the anonymous flies who gather around it. Thank you Newton Citizen for providing a shield against an overly zealous attorney and her litigious clients. Comments are not the reason for students and teachers looking for ways to flee this school system. Nepotism and poor leadership are sinking NCSS. Vote YES this November on the Charter school amendment. Say YES to choice. The system is broken, and the families of this county are going to have to band together to protect their children. That lawsuit has done more damage than any other single thing to negate and destroy whatever good will might have existed between the school and the community.

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Unstableone 2 years, 3 months ago

Dennis Carpenter Report Card:   Opening the career academy on time - FAILED Opening the career academy on the second promised time - FAILED Projecting the costs of the 3 tier bus system - FAILED Including 539K worth of stadium lights in the budget on July 27 - FAILED Erecting the Flint Hill Elementary sign on time - FAILED   Final grade:  FAILED  

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Silverbullet 2 years, 3 months ago

A personal note to the Newton County School Board from a local taxpayer. IMMEDIATELY TERMINATE whoever failed to include the additional stadium lighting at a cost of over a half million dollars. How can you run a budget with gross errors such as this? If this is not a reflection of what is most likely the tip of the iceberg in the inept management of our money, what would it take for someone to be terminated? I just can not imagine how someone who made a mistake of this magnitude should be able to hold a job anywhere. Oh, but we are known for on the job training here in Newton County no matter what the cost! Almost forgot.

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Frustrated 2 years, 3 months ago

How could you possibly not include lighting for an athletic field in the contract? Do they not attend athletic events in the county and know they are mostly held in the evening and night? Geez!!!

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amp72 2 years, 3 months ago

Upon information and belief, someone is too busy orchestrating a ridiculous lawsuit to actually pay attention to something as minor as lights on a stadium. But I guess that's my fault, since I am one of those "evil bloggers" who created this whole mess. Riiiiiiiightttt......

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Beautifulblueeyes 2 years, 3 months ago

As lor discus sing your spouse, I do not believe it is wise to go down that

path as the concept of a conflict of inte rest is at play ... Naturally, that's why I often choose to exclude you on certain matters regard ing Alcovy High Schoo l as this is

in ev eryone ·s professiona l interest ...

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OnToday 2 years, 3 months ago

I'll take "Things said by Dr. Mathews" for $200, please.

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livingart 2 years, 3 months ago

And the hits just keep on coming-------BOE needs, wants, demands, justifies higher school taxes - again....

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dennistay53 2 years, 3 months ago

School built on 142 last year, almost ready to open and roads not ready. New NCHS lights not added to budget. If they found money in a general fund to cover this then pray tell me why did they increase the bond to the property owners by almost a mill. Does the board really think that there is not a planning problem with the administration that needs immediate correection?

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MamaTurd 2 years, 3 months ago

The conduct of the school board of Newton County is on the same level as Clayton County with its infighting and governing along racial lines with what appears to be no regard for the CHILDREN of our county. The only difference is the Clayton folks just didn't like each other and the Newton folks vote along racial lines. NOTHING GETS DONE! I am embarrassed! ... Do we have children running the board who throw tantrums when they do not like something? There have been numerous complaints about the principal at Alcovy High School from both parents and teachers but guess what ... those complaints landed on the desk of one of two people -- the principal's husband or their good friend who was hired by the husband. So, do we think this issue will be resolved? And what is the end result? I really do not know but can only speculate that many of the teachers will leave this school and go to other systems where nepotism is not allowed. Leading to another question -- what company, agency, government allows a husband to be a direct supervisor of his wife? So, here is how it works: teacher has issue with principal and is advised to take it to the director of Human Resources (good friend of principal and husband) who then tells his supervisor (husband of principal) about the complaint and, yep, you guessed it -- NOTHING is done. BTW, these relationships are public knowledge, at least by many, as the Principal, who received anonymous negative comments in the Citizen Post, is suing the Post for the names of the folks who wrote in. Principal doesn't know first amendment rights? YIKES! Surely to goodness the judge will toss this case. But in the meantime because the board is racially balanced in favor of the principal, her husband and their good friend, nothing will be done about this. People!! These are the folks making decisions about your children's education! Do you care at all?? I'm certain you do and encourage you to educate yourself on the qualifications of the candidates for school board positions in the upcoming elections. The ultimate losers of this type of behavior is our CHILDREN. What have they done to deserve this? Please ask yourself this question."

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KBeet 2 years, 3 months ago

Easy now baby boy is that the best you can do?  Copy and paste bd member name in some pharma blog.

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KBeet 2 years, 3 months ago

I would like to know why they did not comment on the Dennis carpenter talking points and nepotism and the emails that are floating around from Dennis carpenter to Stephanie lindsey? So is it true that he is the real plaintiff? This is a perfect reason to vote turner out.

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spencerid 1 year, 8 months ago

The negative comments that have appeared on the Newton Citizen and other websites about the system's schools and staff are because almost everyone mocks the teachers and their teachings. But most of them are great and they make a difference in their students lives. They must defend themselves to show to the parents that they take very seriously their children's education.

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