Letter: Free speech isn't problem; culture of intimidation is

This is an open letter to Newton County Superior Court Judge Ken Wynne:

I, Shannon Black, come forward to identify myself as "MsLoy" and "KBeet" named in a civil action on free speech web comments. I do not agree with the attack on free speech, but by coming out I share a voice for employees under attack who need their jobs.

While I removed my child from the Newton County School System last year, I maintain close internal contacts and will continue to share comments with the public through the Citizen website. Employees will be heard through me since Human Resources is overseen by Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter's husband. Employees complain openly that he tells her everything they say in human resources by the time they drive back to the high school, and she then moves to fire them based on non-performance reasons.

I have only stated facts as I believe them to be true. The problem is not anonymous posters. The problem is the leader.

I ask that you or the judge who gets this case both quash the subpoena and dismiss the suit as an attack on free speech and those who teach and work in a semi-police state. It is another fear tactic of a leader of a low-performing school.

-- Shannon Black


FaithWorks reaches milestone of service

Thank You!

FaithWorks has reached a milestone in its service to the community. As of the end of March, FaithWorks has served more than 15,000 individuals in Newton County. We thank our sponsoring churches, area businesses, individuals and organizations for their support that has allowed us to provide mortgage/rental and utility assistance to our neighbors in need. We are especially grateful to our volunteers who give their time and talents to benefit others.

When we first started the ministry, we had six churches that committed to send volunteers and funds to assist families in financial crisis. We now have 39 sponsoring churches and 26 volunteers that work with us in the ministry. Applications are accepted at our office located at 7129 Turner Lake Circle on Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. We reopen at 1 p.m. to review and verify information received with the goal of providing assistance the same day.

To receive more information about FaithWorks, please call us at 770-784-1884 or write to us at P.O. Box 2972 Covington GA 30015.

Again, on behalf of our board and the 15,000-plus individuals we have served, thank you!

-- Dennis Cheek

Executive Director


Booster funds should not be used to pay sub teachers

I would like to voice my total disgust in Rockdale County's Board of Education. In the last day or so, Edwards Middle School Band Boosters has received multiple bills to pay for substitute teachers to oversee students who don't participate in off-campus activities, such as Honor Bands, festivals, etc. This is outrageous!

In the almost three years that I have been involved in my daughter's band, this has never been brought to light, but we are told this is a county-wide policy for all boosters! Now, all the hard-earned monies raised to support music in our school to pay for instruments, repairs, stands, security cameras, etc. have been cut short to cover the cost of a substitute teacher plus the percentage for the sub's benefits. What a joke! This is a teacher's position! Do the students in a core class have to chip in his or her lunch monies to pay for a substitute teacher when the assigned teacher is not in the class? Band is a commitment and our students as well as parents are committed!

Not only do the Band Boosters have to pay for the substitute teacher when the band director is away for the day with the band, including an additional amount for benefits, but our band director was forced to participate in teaching the sixth-grade gifted reading class for his first period of the day. With that in mind, not only are the funds raised for band use going to pay for overseeing band students not involved in extracurricular band events but an academic class as well! My concern is why is a band director teaching a reading class to begin with? This should be a concern to all parents at this point. The band room is not set up for instructional teaching, only music; there are no desks, only chairs and stands. I know I would prefer my "gifted" student to be taught by "gifted" teachers, as this is not an elective class but a core required class. The Boosters are designed to offset the lack of funding for music and arts available to students, and these funds are raised by the students and their parents ... not to pay for substitute teachers!

The BOE must correct this policy, otherwise the students (once again) will be the ones hurt in the long run. Shame on you, Board of Education!

-- Rhonda Hogan



Kodaanddylansmom 3 years, 6 months ago

Mrs. Black thank you for standing up for FREE SPEECH.  The culture of intimidation and climate of fear at Alcovy High School has dominated the school since 2009 under this principal.  When teachers are treated like this it ultimately shows up in student test scores and graduation rates.  I know a student who was mistreated and dropped out.  And now we see, lowest grad rate in the county below the state level, most arrests and on and on.   I cannot believe the plaintiff called you.  She must be out of control going to the other paper and calling you. 


HonestAbe 3 years, 6 months ago

This is what should happen at NCSS to get the emphasis on Educating the children. The superintenant should resign or be fired for letting this get out of hand. Mrs Carpenter should be fired for filing this suit. Mr Carpenter should be fired, because NCSS is not in his best interest as he keeps looking elsewhere for a job. A full investigation should be made to the Board of Education as to any of their involvement in this suit, their involvement in violating the open meetings, their involvement in where the new NCHS is being built. The investigation should be done by the state board or appointees by the state. I even believe the entire board should step down , rerun if they wish in this election for a show of confindence or lack thereof of each.


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