Camdenton, Missouri School Board Elections About Local Control

School board races across the state have added importance this election year. A growing coalition of parents believe that the elections held this year are the most important in recent memory. For these parents and tax payers, the future of our school districts are at stake. A transformation of education is underway, led by a consortium of unelected ‘officials’ and lobbyists, school attorneys and special interest groups. For this reason, the elections of 2014 have taken on added significance. These elections are about the most personal form of government and local control, accountability and responsibility.

The Camdenton R-3 school district board of education has three seats up for election on April 8. This year’s elections are taking place under the long shadow cast by last campaign season. It showcased, in a snapshot, the brutal reality of politics and power in Camden County. This year’s elections, thus far, are taking an entirely different course. The goal however, remains painfully clear. Ensure the status quo.

Recently, the Lake Sun asked candidates for Camdenton school board their qualifications and asked a couple of questions. The responses to the first of those questions are noteworthy, as it deals with a fundamental change to the way the public is ‘allowed’ to interact with board members.

From the Lake Sun:
Do you think the current school board policy regarding public participation allows for sufficient opportunity for the public’s voice to be heard? Do you support the current policy or if elected would you seek to make changes to the policy?

This policy represents a fundamental shift of the tax paying public’s ‘role’ in school affairs. It plainly seeks to use a questionable interpretation of law to stifle public input to the board, requiring an approval process that filters communications meant for the board through both school administration and school attorneys. This, to many parents, represents another step in a silent coup, preformed under the assumption of authority neither the administration, nor the school attorneys, have. A concerted effort has been made to reinforce the false logic that our representatives should somehow be ‘protected’ from hearing from the public and parents they serve.

Part of the new public comment policy, as recommended during an August visit from an MSBA lawyer, appears below. Camdenton adopted a policy that restricts the public from having open discussions with the board about their concerns, if those requests aren’t ‘approved’ by administration and attorneys.

7. Only items from the posted agenda may be discussed. If an individual seeks to address an issue that is scheduled to be discussed by the Board in closed session, the Board may require the person to hold his or her comments until closed session.

8. The Board may vote to suspend or amend these rules in extraordinary circumstances. The Board may impose additional rules as it deems necessary and reserves the right to alter the above rules depending on the circumstances. The Board reserves the right to cancel, reschedule or delay the public comment period at any time or delay comment on a particular topic. The Board may refuse to hear comments on a particular topic if advised to do so by legal counsel.

The candidates answered the question from the Lake Sun regarding this public comment policy, as follows:

Selynn Barbour:

Yes, I believe the recently-updated school board policy facilitates engaged communications with our students, parents and patrons. We truly want to hear from our public. It’s their school. We recently enhanced this school board policy with an email address so our patrons can access all board members at exactly the same time from our school district’s web site. We have received emails, returned replies and heard positive responses from the public because of this additional and convenient use of technology. This is in addition to the options of writing us letters as well as speaking during every public portion of our school board meetings.

Yes, I support this policy. We will be monitoring its progress. We also will continue to be cognizant of new technology as it emerges to communicate with the public exemplifying transparency and participation.

I invite you to peruse our website, http://www.camdentonschools.org. There you will easily find exciting student highlights and important information. Please click the “school board” tab to learn and/or leave any questions, concerns or comments. We are here to work together for our awesome LAKER NATION!

Courtney Hulett:

First of all, I believe that communication between the public and a public school is essential to the vitality of the school and community. I believe that transparent, open lines of dialogue can aide in the direction of the district and prevent disruptions that hinder progress at all levels. Awareness of situations as they arise is key to correcting them and will strengthen the district as a whole. E-mail has proven to be an efficient method to communicate.

Second, I do believe that concerns should be filtered through proper channels. There are many issues that are most appropriately handled by the teachers and administrators who work closely with the students. This will allow everyone, including the board of education, to most efficiently perform their duties in a timely manner. It also allows continued focus on delivering the best possible education and work environments for our district, which is our goal.

Lastly, if an issue warrants board attention, best practice is inherently to give all parties preparation time. This allows improved communication and input, which will expedite resolutions so that we remain focused on our goals.

Joe Ridgeway:

After reviewing Board Policy “BDDH-Public Participation at Board Meetings” and attending several Board meetings it is evident to me that the Board is allowing a public comment time during the meeting. As outlined in the policy the public comment period is only designated for items that are on the agenda for that month. However, the policy also states that any member of the public may request an item to be placed on the agenda for discussion as long as it is received seven days prior to the meeting. Certain items regarding personnel, student issues and legal matters may need to be addressed in closed session.

Perhaps better communication to the public with regards to this policy and the procedures to be heard at a Board meeting whether it is during the public comment portion of the meeting or getting an item placed on the agenda for public discussion.

Not knowing what the public wants changed I would have to support the current procedures in the policy manual, many school districts in the state do not allow a public comment time in their School Board meetings, this is a local decision.

Jackie Schulte:

I do support this policy. Our policy allows the community to request topics of concern to be placed on the agenda which allows the patrons AND the district to prepare for an educated discussion. I believe this 7-day policy supports a professional and cooperative environment. Board members are responsible for protecting our staff and students; allowing anyone to speak on impulse could open the district to possible legal repercussions. This past year the board unanimously voted to introduce a board email address. This line of communication provides patrons an avenue to contact us with any issues and concerns while allowing us to continue focus on the goals and progress of students and staff.

Four of the five candidates for Camdenton school board, as indicated by the answers given above, are in favor of this public comment policy. The lone dissenter from the ‘company line’, candidate Mindi Sales.

Mindi Sales:

I do not support the current policy on public comment. I attended the board meeting last fall where the MSBA came in and spoke to the board when recommending that they limit public comment to those items approved to be on the agenda. I was disappointed when the board, including 2 of my incumbent challengers, voted to approve that policy. When the question was asked of the attorney who was trying to convince the board to alter policy to put heavy limits on allowing the public to speak to the board, if there had been instances where a board had ever been sued as a result of public comment. She answered, “no, but it could”. Thus, the policy was changed. I do not think that is fair to the community that we are serving. I believe that the board is elected to be the voice of the people. I do NOT think we should limit their opportunity to be heard. Might a meeting go on for a long time if we have lots of comments? It might! But when else does the public have an opportunity to speak to the entire board?

To understand the context of Mindi’s dissatisfaction regarding the board’s recent decision to adopt this policy, her own recent experiences in attempting to address the board offers insight. In the summer of 2013, Mindi attempted to find out why former Camdenton Middle School Principal Sean Kirksey was suspended. Finding a disparity between DESE’s outline for responsibility and Kirksey’s suspension, Mindi sought answers from the school board regarding his suspension. It was during this time that a lawyer from the unelected Missouri School Board Association spoke during a meeting of the school board.

Her experience is reprinted below, taken from her campaign’s Facebook page, Mindi Sales for Camdenton School Board.

My experience with the public comment policy started when I wanted to address the board concerning Sean Kirksey. I thought that as a tax payer and a citizen of the district, the board would want to hear from me since they were, in theory, representing me. So, I emailed Dr. Hadfield and called Chris McElyea to discuss my options. I was told that I could NOT talk to the board about employees. I thought that was wrong! If I wanted to come and read a letter about a teacher that went above and beyond, they would let me do that, but I couldn’t say that I thought Sean went above and beyond? My real question was WHY???

So, Dr. Hadfield had someone from the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) to come in to talk about public comment. I was at that meeting. Her main point was that we MIGHT be sued if we allowed public comment about a staff member. Now, this has NEVER happened, but since it MIGHT, we should shut off all public comment unless the person wanting to speak follows some very controlled rules?!?

Here is the thing about speaking in front of the board: You have all 7 members there and everyone will hear the same words. If you go meet each individual, sometimes different things are said to different people, therefore causing a bigger problem in my opinion. When you are on a Board of Education making sometimes tough decisions, it is not always going to be happy and fun. But, we need to have ALL the input to make a good decision, and that includes the input from the people!!

THIS IS THE MAIN POINT I WANT YOU TO HEAR: In order for you to talk about an issue to the board, your issue MUST be on the agenda. In order to be on the agenda, you have to ask at least 7 days in advance and get approval. The board does not have to allow your agenda item on the agenda. WHY is someone allowed to dictate what the people can say to their own board?!?!?

Here is how that policy did not apply when I was wanting to talk about Sean. The Board was already making the decision concerning Sean. What good would it do to go talk to anyone other than the Board? Why didn’t they want my input? Why wouldn’t they want to hear from someone who had nothing but great experiences with an employee whose fate they were deciding?

Do I believe that there should be procedures in place for complaints? Of course! The Board cannot deal with every issue that is brought up in every building every day. I understand that. But, I do feel the board has a responsibility to listen to the people. I do not think they should hide behind a policy in hopes of trying to avoid an issue. Sometimes the board might have to listen to something that might be a bit uncomfortable. For example, I was at a meeting once when someone wrote a letter that was talking about Laura Martin in a disapproving manner. Laura sat and listened to the entire letter. No one stopped this person from saying what she had to say about Laura. If we are going to allow some not so warm and fuzzy comments to be made, why can’t we comment positively about someone?!?!

Being on the board is not always going to be easy, nor is it always going to be fun. Sometimes it might be down right uncomfortable. But, we have been elected to do the will of the PEOPLE. Shouldn’t the board be willing to HEAR the people?

I think it is important that the voters know where everyone stands on these types of issues. After all, the board is representing YOU!

Mindi’s experience raises some very real concerns with the adoption of this kind of restrictive policy. It allows for administration and lawyers to dictate what the public can and cannot relate to the board. When taken beyond Mindi’s example, the framework created by this policy change is one that is anything but transparent, despite the claims made above by Selynn Barbour. It is designed to conceal. It is designed to silence questions.

This policy change was initiated by Barbour, who made the motion to approve this new language regarding public comment. Her motion was seconded by Jackie Schulte.

In the traditional fashion of Washington politicians, the school board, after adopting this stifling policy, announced that the board of education members would be ‘allowed’ to have email addresses through the school. These email addresses, according to the false narrative presented by Barbour, would make it easier for the concerns of tax payers and parents to reach board members.

Barbour stated: “We truly want to hear from our public. It’s their school. We recently enhanced this school board policy with an email address so our patrons can access all board members at exactly the same time from our school district’s web site. We have received emails, returned replies and heard positive responses from the public because of this additional and convenient use of technology. This is in addition to the options of writing us letters as well as speaking during every public portion of our school board meetings.”

The email “enhancement” comes with familiar policy language.

On January 14, 2014, in an article in the Lake Sun announcing the email policy, Assistant Superintendent Roma France announced the implementation of Camdenton’s email accounts for board members.

France made the following statement:

“Protocol would be for the Board president and/or superintendent to respond to the patron on behalf of the district.” She went on to say, “If several questions come in on the same topic, then the item may be placed on the next board agenda.”

The Lake Sun described the email procedures, as laid out for them by France:

” Then, she told the board that emails would go to a mail distribution group, board@camdentonschools.org, which would be sent to each board member along with the superintendent or a designee. ”

And that: ” In most cases, the superintendent or administration will be the one to respond. ”

The guidelines adopted for the district’s email policy contain restrictions that mirror, in practical application, those inserted into the inappropriately named ‘public comment policy’. The guidelines offered the Lake Sun by Camdenton’s administration, read as follows:

1. If you are providing Board members an e-mail address, all Board members by policy must sign the Authorized User Permit that staff and students must sign and Board member must agree to the same terms as staff and students.

This first policy restriction would allow, presumably, for the unfettered monitoring of emails between themselves and their constituents. It creates an environment worthy of the NSA in the Camdenton school district. It would allow complete access to all board member’s accounts, without cause, without warrant. Camdenton’s version of Big Brother, it can reasonably be assumed, is manned by school administration and the districts lawyers, the firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole.

Also from the Camdenton administration’s ‘guidelines’:

4. When information is sent via the generic Board@camdentonschools.org, the protocol is for the superintendent or Board president to respond on behalf of the district and to cc the Board the response so that the Board knows the patron has been corresponded with and what was said. If a Board member disagrees with the response or has questions, he or she is encouraged to immediately notify the superintendent and the Board president of that fact.

The last sentence in this ‘guideline’ is one that gives us pause, particularly when we consider the access and latitude granted the administration and its lawyers in regard to the distribution of emails in the first place. This assumption of authority, of determining which emails reach the board, is reemphasized throughout these ‘rules’ created by administration and their attorneys.

Number five of these ‘guidelines’ ensures that, even a board member can be denied the ability to add a topic or concern to the agenda.

5. Any Board member may ask that a subject is added to the Board’s agenda at the next meeting for discussion. The Board as a whole will ultimately vote when approving the agenda to determine if the issue will be discussed.

The last sentence of ‘rule’ #5 is particularly offending:

However, Board members are free to direct questions or concerns to the superintendent or Board president.

Number six in the list of guidelines:

6. A Board member who is not the Board president may correspond individually with a patron, but is required to indicate that the opinions expressed are his or her own and not the Board’s. A Board member is prohibited from using a district-provided e-mail address contrary to district policy or law or to violate district policy or law.

The key words and phrases in ‘rule’ number six are distressing. “Board member”, “prohibited”, “contrary to district policy” and “violate district policy”. These are words that place control of our school, not in the hands of our elected representatives, but into those of administration and attorneys. Many of these policies were crafted, approved and suggested by the attorneys for our school district and district administration. They are not rules of law, nor are should they be.

Rules nine and ten completes the usurping of power from the citizens in the Camdenton school district. They clearly illustrate the ongoing efforts to eliminate ‘local control’ over our school districts.

9. The superintendent or Board president in their discretion may not respond to messages from the same sender that are repetitive, or messages that are threatening or that use profane language.

10. The superintendent or Board president will not directly respond to messages involving litigation, potential or pending litigation, or a situation on appeal pursuant to district policies or the law.

In addition, the superintendent or Board president may not respond to messages if advised by the district’s attorney not to do so. However, the superintendent or Board president will acknowledge receipt of the message and notify the sender of the rules.

These policies, designed to remove, control and suffocate the input of parents and tax payers, are the opposite of Barbour’s claims.

“Yes, I believe the recently-updated school board policy facilitates engaged communications with our students, parents and patrons. We truly want to hear from our public. It’s their school. We recently enhanced this school board policy with an email address so our patrons can access all board members at exactly the same time from our school district’s web site.

Yes, I support this policy. We will be monitoring its progress. We also will continue to be cognizant of new technology as it emerges to communicate with the public exemplifying transparency and participation.”

She also invited the public to “peruse” the school web site. Perhaps Ms. Barbour should have perused a dictionary for both the correct definition of transparency. To her credit however, Ms. Barbour didn’t dive under her desk like partner-in-crime, Jackie Schulte. Ms. Schulte used the question regarding the public comment policy shift to beat the drums of fear mongering. This fear mongering is based on the flawed legal interpretation that, somehow, the school board could be held liable for what a citizen says to them. This laughable notion is parroted by Schulte.

“Board members are responsible for protecting our staff and students; allowing anyone to speak on impulse could open the district to possible legal repercussions.”

It should come as no surprise that both Barbour and Schulte embrace these restrictions. They have a history of misleading the public regarding school business. Nor have they been alone in this endeavor. The desire to mislead the public, engage in character assassination and restrict public comment and input appears to have a clear motive.

The Camdenton school district is a $45 million dollar a year business. How that money is distributed, to whom and why, are questions that some board members simply do not want asked. For example, Selynn Barbour would presumably prefer the public didn’t know that she must recuse herself from all votes to approve payments to the district’s architects. Why must she recuse herself?

Because she is related to members of the firm.

School board president Chris McElyea has the same complication, when issuing payments to his father’s title company.

Nor are these policies, and the motives behind them, only being questioned by Mindi Sales. As was previously mentioned, during the August meeting of the Camdenton school board, a presentation was given by an unelected attorney speaking on behalf of the MSBA. This presentation offered the basis for legal fear mongering echoed in Schulte’s statement.

The lawyer’s presentation wasn’t the only one heard by the board that evening. Another presentation was made in reference to the public comment policy and its motivations and application. Chris Michaelree spoke about these issues during the time allowed him during public comment. His presentation appears below, in full.

“Board Policy BDDB states that a patron desiring to be included on the agenda shall make a request to the superintendent. The board can limit the number and speaking times of a spokesperson, it does not however include a provision for the board or superintendent to deny the request. The use of the word request does not imply that a request can be denied, it is the same term used in the first paragraph of this policy that a board member may request an item be added to the agenda, or as in a sunshine request, it is a term used for courtesy. Therefore, any patron who has made a request under this policy and has had their request denied has been a victim of a violation of board policy by the superintendent or the president of the school board.

Board Policy BDDH has most of the same terminology but does add a few provision. It states that the request can be denied if the proper grievance policy procedure has not been followed. But it also states that the item will be appropriately placed on the agenda. In a lot of cases the grievance policy does not cover what patrons wish to discuss with the board since it might not be something in which they had direct involvement. For example, if I wanted to discuss actions of a school employee, with whom my child nor I have direct contact, but I feel their actions were right or wrong, there is no grievance procedure for me to follow and therefore if I make a request to be added to the agenda and my request is denied the superintendent or president of the school board is violating board policy again. In fact if any request is denied for any reason other then you need to follow the grievance policy before this can be added to the agenda, it is a violation of board policy. Even if the school’s attorney recommends that they deny the request it is still a violation of board policy. It is very sad that the school administration justifies breaking board policy because there attorney recommended it. When administration breaks board policy some sort of consequence should be imposed on administration.

Two options are being presented to the board tonight, one that allows public comment and one that will remove public comments from future board meetings. If the board ultimately decided to not allow public comments, it just shows how secretive you want to be about school operations. It also shows how much you don’t care about the opinions of the community.

When I received my letter saying that I was added to the agenda, Hadfield also included several restrictions on what I am and am not allowed to talk about even though board policy on agenda items does not put a restriction on what I am allowed to discuss, not to mention the fact the it violates my 1st amendment right of freedom of speech. I was however invited to closed session where the restriction would not apply. I believe that the community has the right to know some of the things going on at the school. I can understand why Hadfield would try to add these restrictions. I would not want my dirty laundry publicized, but the truth of the matter is, until all of what is going on in the school comes out it is never going to change. My father often asks me why I am doing this when I talk to him about what is going on or ask him his opinion since he sits on a board. My response is always the same, there is a problem in the school and it is the administration and it needs to change, and if I don’t try then it might never change.

If an employee were to violate board policy, severe consequences would follow, and maybe even the loss of their job. But why is it when an administrator or board member violates board policy nothing happens. The board policy is the board’s rule book and should be strictly adhered to, because what’s the point of having policy or even a school board if administration and board members can violate policies at there choosing without consequences.

A while ago I requested that a teacher and I be allowed to go before the school board to discuss a teacher and provide evidence that an administrator was lying to the board. Hadfield denied my request. Consequently the board only heard from the administrator and the teacher did not have her contract renewed. Later I talked with Hadfield and he verbally admitted that yes the request should have been granted, but it is all over with and done so it does not matter now. Why is Hadfield’s violation of board policy ignored when it had the power to cost an employee their job.

The administration does not care about right or wrong, only how it will effect their agenda, be it good or bad. A teacher was placed on administrative leave because they were accused of testing a student without the parent’s consent. The teacher stated that the process coordinator instructed to test the student, since the teacher was not present at the meeting. Only two school employees were at the meeting, the case manager, and the process coordinator. The case manager wrote a letter testifying that the parents were asked and did give consent, the process coordinator must not have filled out their paperwork correctly. And of course nothing was ever done. The teacher remained on administrative leave and did not have a contract renewed. My impression of administration was” who cares we are going to do what we want no matter what kind of facts you present”.

Another teacher was called into administration and shown a list of unsigned charges and given a choice to resign before the charges were signed. The teacher chose to fight it. The charges were never signed, instead administration moved the teacher out of the class room to a position where they basically sat around all day at a desk and did noting, in hopes that the teacher would resign. The teacher did not resign and is now back teaching again.

A parent had a child with special needs, and they felt that the needs of the child were not being meet so they filed due process against the school. The school administration said and I quote “If they do not accept our offer we will file a frivolous lawsuit against them.” Hadfield was the superintendent. All this parent wanted was what was best for the child

Yet another teacher had a spray bottle full of an alum solution in the class room. The school’s story is that the teacher did not use it on a student instead the student got the spray bottle off the desk and sprayed it in his own mouth. Lucky for this teacher she was friends with an administrator, this teacher is still teaching.

There is a real problem with administration in this school. Teachers are afraid. I actually talked to a teacher today and asked if they were excited about tomorrow. There response was I am going in kicking and screaming, I would rather stay home, but I will go in, do what I need to get done and leave. Is this really how we want our teachers to feel? That they have a deadly fear of the school administration.

A comment was made in the paper a while back, that the school board was the reason that they did not get very many applications to fill some important jobs in the district, I would argue that it is the way the administration behaves as to why people are steering clear of applying for positions in this school.

I looked into the baseball field construction project a bit. I notified the board that I felt that an employee of the school broke the state law. I was told by Nancy that I was not an accountant or attorney. I also informed the board that they violated their own policy by not having the audit finalized. I did not get a reason about the audit. My feeling is that some board members felt,” so what if we violated our own policy, nothing can be done to us about it”. Why is administration and the school board trying so hard to cover up what happened. I feel that it goes much deeper then what I have found so far. “

Mr. Michaelree’s concerns are not without merit. He took the results of his research into the district’s behavior to the Camdenton Police Department. The Department, citing a conflict of interest due to their relationship with the school, stated that they could not investigate further. They also indicated that Mr. Michaelree’s research should be taken to Jefferson City, as there is cause, in their opinion, to pursue the investigation further.

Nor are financial questions the only questions being raised this election season. An investigation into Sean Kirksey’s case revealed a bully system that has been institutionalized in Camdenton. Questions raised by the suspension of Sean Kirksey uncovered a tense, oppressive work environment and the many good teachers left in its wake. These former teachers and administrators in the Camdenton school district described a climate of hostility and fear.

These stories were reinforced when, earlier this school year, after less than three months in the Camdenton school district, a first grade teacher with more than a decade’s experience felt she needed a lawyer to tender her letter of resignation. She feared further repercussions from administration. She was frightened for her ability to teach in another district, should the bullying that led to her resignation extend beyond Laker Nation to her search for another position.

The bully system that has been constructed in the Camdenton is not restricted to the staff and teachers of the district. It has been extended to parents who ask the types of questions raised by Mindi Sales, Chris Michalree and Sean Kirksey. These parents have been targeted in the most insidious of ways, through other examples of questionable legal interpretation. Our school district has been used to file flimsy lawsuits of retribution against families in our district.

These frivolous, spiteful suits have served to fatten the pockets of district attorneys Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole. For the firm, an assault against parental rights is a windfall in payments from a district like Camdenton. Or Lebanon. Or Marshfield. Or Richland. The law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole represent more than three hundred school districts across the state of Missouri. Their deep affiliations with the MSBA and other organizations have ensured their silent coup, this assumption of authority, has been exported across our state with the veracity of a virus. So too, are the firm’s practices.

The Devil's Advocates

The law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole represents over 300 school districts in the state of Missouri.

Across the state, the law firm that has assumed the authority to monitor Camdenton board member emails and endorses the flawed legal argument that is being used to silence parents and tax payers, has left a litter box full of questionable actions in districts across the state. In southeast Missouri, the law firm filed a cease and desist letter against a parent for asking questions. In Lebanon, they have claimed legal authority to rewrite court ordered parental custody agreements. In Camdenton, they have cost thousands of dollars in legal fees regarding questionable personnel decisions and in filing a lawsuit against a family who home schooled their children under unsubstantiated claims of abuse and educational neglect.

It is understandable, why the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole, has assumed authority and control over what can be said to our school board representatives.

Seylnn Barbour made the motion to give the firm this power. Jackie Schulte seconded it. Board members Williams, McElyea and Masterson all agreed to limit your complaints about this loss of local control and representative government. They have codified, with their votes, the transformation of our own school district. Why would they be in favor of limiting your right to voice your displeasure?

If the public were allowed to ask questions, we might not stop.

The transformation of education across the state of Missouri is underway. Stories like those from Hickman Mills, a district whose board has so blatantly abused their positions, remind us that Camdenton is not a mirage. It is not occurring in a vacuum. The people of the Camdenton school district, and districts across the state, have the opportunity to wrest control away from the authors of this scheme to steal local control out from under our noses.

We have the opportunity to ask these questions. We have the right to demand answers.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the tactics being employed by those in support of this oppression are different than those displayed during the past election. Instead of actively mudslinging, attacking and blatantly making false claims against those who question the district’s course, tactics are being employed in this election that remind of the policies detailed above.

As reported by American Spring, KRMS ownership has refused to allow any candidates for Camdenton school board to advertize on their station. This represents the inability and unwillingness of local media to cover the school without bias. Instead, it indicates a clear bias, in favor of the status quo.

For long time residents of the Camdenton school district, this is only the most recent example in a pattern of bad behavior. It was this same assumption of authority that led to the district being sued in Missouri Supreme Court by the Lagares family in the 1990’s.

That case, Lagares v. Camdenton school district, revolved around the same blind assertion, same assumption of authority by the school district and its administration, the board of education and the district’s legal counsel.

In that case, as with the ‘policies’ referenced above, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the school district had no authority to overrule the Missouri Constitution in making ‘policies’ such as those referenced above. To enact these ‘policies’ themselves is to violate state statutes, our state and United States Constitutions.

That case, Lagares v. Camdenton school district, was more than an educational case. It was fought to preserve the rights of parents and citizens from this exact kind of government overreach by any political subdivision of the state.

While everyone is arguing the merits of these ‘policies’, the simplest of facts is left ignored by those who would prefer to keep us in the dark:

The adoption of these overreaching ‘policies’ is illegal to begin with. Enacting these ‘policies’? Also illegal.

The school board is an administrative body. They cannot assume the powers not granted them by the Missouri State Constitution. They cannot, in other words, assume the role of the legislative and create law. They are simply to follow the laws laid out by the state legislature.

This legal precedent was set in Lagares v. Camdenton. The Camdenton school district was already found guilty of this exact sort of overreach. The Missouri Supreme Court said so. The Lagares ruling stands as a legal precedent that has been cited in dozens of cases around the country.

The establishment, the ‘status quo’ crowd knows this fact well. Hence their illegal actions to attempt to silence questioning their authority. It is Fascism 101. Thwart the Constitution, assume authority you do not have, silence anyone who questions this ‘authority’.

From Lagares v. Camdenton:

The District argues, however, that §§162.670 and 162.675 do not establish the state’s standard for determining the sufficiency of special educational services. The District argues that, instead, the legislature delegated the power to establish such a standard to the state board of education. To support this claim, the District cites subdivisions (1), (2), and (3) of §162.685, which provide:

The state board of education shall adopt, after at least one public hearing has been held by the commissioner of education on each subsection of this section and upon his recommendation and, after consulting with recognized authorities in the field:

(1)Standards to be used throughout the state of Missouri in determining whether children shall be defined under sections 162.670 to 162.995 as “handicapped children” or “severely handicapped children”, together with regulations implementing these standards;

(2)Regulations governing evaluation and reevaluation of handicapped and severely handicapped children prior to and during assignment in a special educational program; provided, however, each child assigned to a special educational program shall be fully reevaluated on a regular basis;

(3)Standards for approval of all special education programs established under the provisions of sections 162.670 to 162.995 including, but not limited to, the qualifications of professional personnel employed in such programs and the standards to be used in determining the assignment of each child requiring special educational services to the program which best suits the needs of the child[.]

These statutory provisions empower the state board of education to promulgate (1) regulations concerning the standard for identifying handicapped children under the definitions contained in §§162.670 to 162.995; (2) regulations governing the evaluation and reevaluation of handicapped children before and during assignment in a special education program; and (3) standards for approving all special education programs established under §§162.670 to 162.995, including the qualifications of personnel and the standards for determining the assignment of the children to particular programs. None of the regulations the state board of education is empowered to adopt, however, concern the standard to be used in evaluating the sufficiency of the special educational services provided to a particular handicapped child.

Moreover, an administrative agency’s authority is limited to that granted by statute, and any regulation promulgated must be within the authority of statute. Pen-Yan Inv., Inc. v. Boyd Kansas City, Inc., 952 S.W.2d 299, 303-04 (Mo.App.1997). Indeed, in §162.685(1) and (3), the legislature states that the standards and regulations authorized by those subdivisions are to be made pursuant to §§162.670 to 162.995. Thus, contrary to the District’s assertion, §162.685(1), (2), and (3) do not empower the state board of education to promulgate regulations and standards that conflict with or modify the maximizing standard set forth in §§162.670 and 162.675. – See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mo-court-of-appeals/1337465.html#sthash.u0ek4NKy.dpuf

It is the last paragraph of this ruling that is most important. Here, the Court is quite clear. The school district is not empowered to create these ‘policies’. Period. End of story.

Federal case law is equally clear on this matter.

While federal cases interpreting Missouri law are persuasive, they “are not binding on this court interpreting our own state statute.” See Wentz v. Indus. Automation, 847 S.W.2d 877, 880 n. 2 (Mo.App.1992). Unlike the Eighth Circuit in Gill, this court finds that the legislature’s intent to hold Missouri special educational services to a higher standard than the IDEA’s minimum “educationally benefit” standard is apparent from the plain language of the “maximize the capabilities” language used in §§162.670 and 162.675. “The legislature is presumed to have intended what the law states directly.” Metro Auto Auction v. Dir. of Revenue, 707 S.W.2d 397, 404 (Mo. banc 1986).

Because Missouri’s higher standard is incorporated into the definition of a free appropriate public education under 20 U.S.C. §1401(a)(18), the panel erred in not determining whether the special educational services provided to Dennis were sufficient to meet his needs and maximize his capabilities. Since the panel incorrectly used only the federal minimum standard to determine that the District provided Dennis Lagares a free appropriate public education, this court does not need to address the sufficiency of the evidence to support that determination. Therefore, the judgment of the circuit court affirming the panel’s decision is reversed, and the cause is remanded. – See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mo-court-of-appeals/1337465.html#sthash.u0ek4NKy.dpuf

In Lagares v. Camdenton, the civil rights of parents and citizens were on the line. While the case dealt with education, if one were to simply substitute the word ‘education’ with ‘Sunshine Law’ or ‘Due Process’, the ruling is still relevant. It is about government overreach.

Or, to put it in lay terms, as a dear and wise friend explained to me, it is the parable of the elephant and the mosquito. Everyone is focused on the elephant, or the policy and its gross overreaches. In the meantime, it is the mosquito, the nagging, persistent assertions of authority that are eating our body politic alive.

It is the mosquito, in the form of ‘policies’, that is conspiring to steal the rights we have already paid for in blood and sacrifice. It is the mosquito that has led the Camdenton school district and the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole to be named as Defendants in a Federal law suit.

Currently, the Camdenton school district is stating that they can break the law and write policy. This is the position espoused by four of the five candidates for school board.

The bully system represented by these illegal, fascist actions is both ruthless and relentless. In part, because of this ruling, the Lagares family has been targeted by both the Camdenton and Lebanon school districts and their law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole. The Lagares family’s unbelievable, gut-wrenching story can be found here.

It is the perfect illustration of exactly how much truly is on the line this election season. It is an opportunity for the community to demand an end to government overreach.

Tonight, at the Osage Hills Church in Osage Beach, the public will have an opportunity to hear from these candidates for Camdenton school board. This forum is sponsored by the Camden County Republican Club and begins at 6:30 PM.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com, Guerrilla Radio with American Spring Facebook page and @AmericanSpring on Twitter for the latest updates on this and other stories.

Child Trafficking and Missouri Schools Part One: Suffer The Children

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Editor’s Note: I have never encountered anything quite like the story you are about to read. Investigating it and writing it meant swimming in dark waters indeed, and staring evil in the face. What is going on with Kyle and Nicole Lagares is criminal. It is abominable.
It is truly evil.
Uncovering the nest of snakes that make up this child trafficking ring has been difficult to say the least. Many long, sleepless hours were spent in the company of demons. For that, I owe a special thanks to Jackie for putting up with me for the past two months. They have gone by with the slow drone of dog years.
My partner in crime, Leslie Chamberlin spent more hours than can be healthy researching leads and tracking down aspects of this story. For her efforts, I owe her a huge debt and with her, will soon share a sigh of relief.
What we have uncovered here is a pattern of behavior so heinous as to defy logic…and yet, here we are, looking it square in the face.
All our kids will soon be in danger.
These children already are.
Please help them.
Share their story.
It is their only hope.

Eight-year-old Kyle and seven-year-old Nicole Lagares are trapped in a suffocating nightmare they do not understand, held hostage by sinister forces hellbent on revenge. This twisted conspiracy was initiated by the very adults who are supposed to have the children’s best interests in mind. An insidious cadre of school administrators and lawyers, in collusion with the Department of Family Services and a Missouri circuit court judge, have conspired to terminate their father’s parental rights, placing them in an environment of ritualistic abuse. This orchestrated atrocity is motivated by revenge against a family who dared to stand up for their childrens’ right to an education more than twenty years ago. It is also proof of an institutionalized bully system that has been exported to school districts across the state. The case of Kyle and Nicole would be shocking if it were singular in its horrors. As this investigation discovered, it is only a part of the developing pattern of child trafficking in Mid-Missouri. The monsters who constructed Kyle and Nicole’s nightmare have had practice. They have done it before, in pursuit of the same dark goal: the elimination of a father’s parental rights in order to ensure children remain with those who continue to do unspeakable things.

For opponents of Common Core and children’s advocates, Kyle and Nicole represent an unspoken threat. Theirs is the story of the loaded gun, held against the head of any parent who dares stand up for their children. It is a story of a parent’s fight to protect his children and how that desire to protect can be twisted into the very basis to strip parental rights.

The story of Kyle and Nicole Legares is about two precious children, their abduction and descent into a secret, unspeakable Hell.

“If you don’t stand up for my grandbabies, who will?”

That heartbreaking plea, from a grandmother in Lebanon, MO, came in a quiet moment. It was followed by the gut-wrenching, desperate sobs of a woman whose family has been targeted by the most despicable of forces. The raw urgency in her breaking voice and the helplessness that fueled it, stood as a punctuation mark for the horror story she had just concluded. For Sherry Lagares and her family, the nightmare seems to have no end.

Since the fall of 2012, each day has been an agonizing struggle filled with new torments and fresh fears. Each sleepless night is haunted by the knowledge that Kyle, her eight year-old grandson, is the ongoing victim of ritualistic abuse. He is a defenseless victim of the bully system that has been institutionalized in Missouri schools. Kyle has been marked as an ideal target by the darkest forces of Missouri’s educational system. He has been identified as a perfect lamb for sacrifice on the altar of experimentation in Missouri education.

The case of Kyle Lagares is a look at Common Core’s terrifying end-game, the unspoken, insidious agenda lurking in the muddied waters of ‘education reform’. It offers tangible proof, undeniable evidence, of the natural advance of the cancer that has invaded our collective body politic. The tragic reality of Kyle’s situation removes the hypothetical and demonstrates how far into our lives a determined, fascist government can reach. His case throws open the closet door and reveals the horrific visage of a monster that threatens to devour children and silence parents, the beast lurking in the shadows.

Kyle’s case began with unfounded accusations of ‘educational neglect’ against his father in the Camdenton school district. Dennis Lagares, formally Kyle’s primary custodial parent, is now facing the complete termination of his parental rights after a surreal set of events and circumstances. This detestable, wicked campaign against the Lagares family is an attempt by a coven of entities to test, legally, their assertion that the school’s authority over a student trumps a parent’s right to their child.

What is perhaps most sobering about the Lagares’ story, is that it simply represents the next stage in the bully system’s evolution. The evidence of that is found in school districts across Missouri as malignant tumors are being diagnosed in epidemic numbers. Good teachers are being forced out of our districts for daring to speak out against administrative policy in droves in Missouri. Teachers with experience in education have been targeted for elimination. They represent a threat to the continued privatization efforts in our schools. Their experience has taught them that our education system has been transformed into a corporate model, one that serves a bottom line instead of our children. Our educational system is deteriorating, rotting to its Core. This is a condition districts in the state have in Common.

The sickening tactics that are being employed in Kyle’s case are being brought to bear, in part, by a law firm representing more than 300 school districts in the Show-Me State. These unelected lawyers and their cabal of subservient superintendents have conspired with the Missouri School Board Association to assert more authority in our school districts, teaching elected board members that they are to follow the lead of administration, instead of the other way around. This assumption of authority has worked as a silent coup, a largely successful attempt to wrest control of school districts from locally elected officials.

Under the DESE umbrella, a wicked, sadistic model for corporate education has been unleashed in our school districts. Evidence of this hostile takeover is found in districts large and small. What began in the urban districts of St. Louis and Kansas City has replicated itself in small, rural districts across the state. The bully system, enhanced by ‘evaluations’ tied to Common Core and enforced by DESE’s unspoken endorsement, has been sold as the new norm by snake oil peddlers and silver-tongued con artists. These parasites have grown bloated both on tax dollars and the power they have assumed in our schools. Through them, the Cult of Corporatism is preaching the acceptance of education’s new gospel to board members and parents.

These false prophets have dismantled the framework of American education and erected in its place a dark temple of neoliberal principles, institutionalized oppression and expected failure. They have designed a system that is rigged to fail. This system, promoted with religious fervor by the vultures of privatization, profits from each failed test, each failed course, each failed teacher, each failed district. The carnivorous beast, the bottom line, preys on each child in its reach and with each new victim, its hunger grows. As Common Core implementation continues to advance, and as more children, teachers and districts fall to its ‘standards’, a cannibalistic feeding frenzy is set to ensue. It promises to rend the flesh of education as we know it.

In dissecting the Lagares case, the cold light of examination reveals the horrific extent to which this cancer as spread. When viewed in the frame of the big picture in Missouri education, it offers a terrifying future diagnosis. It provides a glimpse at the next logical step for the Cult of Corporatism: reaching into homes, holding our children under permanent threat of retribution, demanding parents comply.

It is not an empty threat.

The case of Kyle and Nicole, as well as the case of Casey Gipson, shows how this abominable use of schools opens the door to the darkest of all closets. It shows a clear pattern of children being taken away from their birth fathers and placed in homes with abusers. As with all such associations with the Cult, this spiderweb network of deceit, child endangerment and potential sexual abuse shows the sickening strands that bind the stories of Kyle and Nicole with Casey’s. The players in this pedophile protection coven appear in both cases, using tactics that are nearly identical in order to strip fathers of their rights.

The Lagares’ family ordeal is the new American Horror Story.

Educational Neglect

The claim of ‘educational neglect’ was first leveled when Kyle was enrolled in Camdenton school district. It was communicated to Sherry Lagares, Kyle and Nicole’s grandmother, verbally on November 11, 2010.

” I received a phone call from Renee Slack stating she had been contacted by Hadfield (Camdenton school district superintendent), that the Lawyer called and said she had to report Dennis and charge him with educational neglect. She said she was sorry and that she knew that Dennis had been picking up any homework and that Kyle had been hurt and that he had been very sick, but what could she do they were her boss. ”

Kyle had been injured, according to him, by his mother on October 20th, 2010. That day, Dennis left the house early, before the kids had gotten up for school. Kyle’s mother, Amanda, was responsible for taking the kids to school. That day, she drove past Dennis’ place of employment as if taking Kyle to school. When Dennis returned home however, he found Kyle there with a hurt leg. The boy was watching cartoons and wouldn’t say what had happened to him. Amanda claimed to have no idea how the boy hurt himself and Kyle did not go to school. According to Amanda, Kyle simply did not want to go to school that day.

Later that evening, when Amanda picked up Dennis from work, Kyle could not walk. Dennis questioned his wife but received no answer about what was wrong with Kyle.

Dennis took Kyle to the emergency room that night. The doctor who examined Kyle took x-rays. He said that Kyle had had a broken femur that had a new bone growing over it. As is the norm with injuries such as these, the doctor had concerns about physical abuse and began asking questions about the injury. These concerns appeared to be reinforced by Amanda’s refusal to answer.

Dennis was beginning to have his own suspicions. He asked the doctor if there were any tests that could be performed to determine how Kyle’s leg was broken. The doctor said yes, with a special test. He also contacted the school to find out if Kyle had hurt himself there. A secretary at the school, the school nurse and Ms. Slack all answered no, Kyle hadn’t been injured there. Dennis told Amanda that he had made arrangements for the special test.

The morning after the trip to the emergency room, Dennis took Kyle to work with him and Amanda fled into hiding, with Nicole. Kyle, after it was discovered his mother had left, told his father that his mother had hit his leg with a baseball bat. Dennis immediately filed a protection order and notified DFS that Nicole was in danger.

The Department of Family Services never interviewed Kyle or Nicole regarding this warning. They had determined that the mother’s house was ‘clean’ without having reviewed the children’s medical records. It was not the first time, nor would it be the last time, DFS’s involvement in this case would be called into scrutiny.

A previous complaint filed with Camden County DFS in 2007 was dismissed after a phone call from the Miller County DFS office. Among the issues raised in the 2007 complaint was Amanda’s killing of the family dog by stomping its head in. The dog was left in the living room floor for the children to see until their father came home.

This complaint against the children’s mother was not investigated. It was simply cast aside. As was the hotline call in October of 2010.

Dennis Lagares’ ex-wife, Amanda Rollins, is the niece of Janet Whittle, Public Administrator for Miller County. She was later replaced by Theresa Lupardus. Lupardus’ daughter and Rollins are known friends.

Laclede County DFS Agent, Justine Robinson (formerly Justine Trogen) was told to invalidate the abuse hotline call in the fall of 2010. She admitted that she had been told an agent from Miller County went to Shawnee Woods’, Amanda’s mother’s home, and that it was ‘clean’. Robinson explained to Dennis Lagares that she had no choice in the matter. His 2010 warning had to be unsubstantiated, even though a review of medical records was never conducted to verify the children’s injuries. Shortly after the 2010 hotline call was unsubstantiated regarding Kyle’s broken leg and Nicole’s abduction, Ms. Robinson received a promotion to supervisor.

November 11, 2010, Amanda contacted the Camdenton school district, reporting Kyle as truant. This prompted Camdenton superintendent Tim Hadfield, after consultation with the school’s law firm, Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole, to level the threat of a charge of ‘educational neglect’ against Dennis. The injuries Kyle had sustained, along with a case of strep, kept him out of school, leading to the phone call from Renee Slack. Kyle’s absence was at the recommendation of his doctor, medical records show. He was medically excused through the 11th of November. Dennis contacted Ms. Slack about Kyle, who still maintained a low-grade fever. Ms. Slack informed Dennis of the district’s ‘no fever’ policy. That day, after the threatening phone call from Ms. Slack and fearful for his son, Dennis withdrew Kyle from Camdenton and began homeschooling him.

On November 16, 2010, while she was solely with her mother, Nicole was taken to Lake Regional Urgent Care. She complained that her “butt hurt”. It was also reported that she had a couple of ‘accidents’ while in daycare. December 7, 2010 she was again taken to the doctor, this time in Jefferson City. At St. Mary’s Hospital, she was diagnosed with erytherma of the labia and perianal erytherma. These irritations/conditions can be linked to sexual abuse.

Amanda took Nicole to doctors, clinics and hospitals across the state more than 20 times between October of 2010 and April 2012 while she had sole or primary custody of Nicole. A regular doctor was not established, instead it appears that Nicole’s mother went to great lengths to avoid establishing a medical history regarding her persistent problems.

Dennis faxed a letter to Miller County Department of Family Services on December 13, 2010 requesting that an outside county handle his children’s case because Amanda’s aunt works in the courthouse, so as to avoid any intentional or unintentional bias.Amanda and Nicole’s whereabouts were kept from Dennis. Agent Robinson would not return his calls or requests for information as to Nicole’s well-being. Dennis retained an attorney, who made similar requests for updates. Similarly, he was ignored.

Attorney Ruth Schulte contacted law enforcement and DFS on behalf of Amanda Rollins near the end of 2010. Law enforcement, the Department of Family Services and the Courts were no longer looking for Nicole or considered her in danger.

In December of 2010, Barbara R. VanTine was appointed the children’s Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). A divorce was pending, as Amanda had retained the services of lawyer Ruth Schulte. Dennis is ordered to pay a $500.00 deposit for VanTine’s role as the children’s GAL.

After a meeting between Rollins, Schulte and VanTine, Dennis had his first supervised visit with Nicole in late December, just before Christmas in 2010. A recording of this visit reveals that Nicole began complaining of vaginal pain and that it hurt to pee. When Nicole refused to leave Dennis, Rollins became furious. Per records, Nicole was seen by Dr. Brockman’s office on January 10th, 2011 with a significant bruise on her arm.

On New Year’s Eve, 2010, Amanda Rollins’ relationship with Shawn Patrick Colgan became public knowledge.

Patrick Colgan appeared with Rollins at the January appointment in Dr. Brockman’s office. He was holding onto her and hugging her tight. It was at this doctor’s visit that Rollins told the nurse it was Dennis’ suspicion that Patrick was molesting Nicole. Dennis made no such claim and had not seen Nicole with the exception of the supervised visit in late December. On that visit, Nicole was diagnosed with vulvagintes and irritation/redness, along with the bruise on her left arm. Rollins did not divulge that Nicole was in her care only at that time.

On January 19, 2011, a vaginal ultrasound was performed on Nicole at St Mary’s Hospital, per Dr. Brockman’s records. At this visit, Nicole was vaginally raw from the front of the vagina to her anus. As before, Colgan clutched Nicole when appearing at the appointment.

2011, for Nicole Lagares, was marked by repeated trips to doctors in the area. Rollins consistently refused to sign releases for medical records when Nicole was taken from facility to facility. It was clear she did not want Nicole’s medical history of genital rawness to be discovered by physicians. Several times during visits with her father, Nicole had blisters, sores and raw places on her feet, although no answers were forthcoming as to how these injuries occurred. Nicole, thanks to Rollins’ ‘doctor shopping’, was on a steady, potentially dangerous antibiotic regimen. Cultures taken to check for urinary tract infections were unable to be performed due to the quantity and regularity of the antibiotic treatments.

Nicole's feet.  Pictures of her condition were given to the GAL, Barbara VanTine.

Nicole’s feet. Pictures of her condition were given to the GAL, Barbara VanTine.

Photographs and medical records were shared with VanTine, along with pleas for intervention from Dennis. VanTine did not act in response to these photographs and reports. These went unheard. VanTine did however, win on an order to collect more fees.

During her Thanksgiving visit with Dennis and his family, Nicole once again complained of vaginal pain. Her grandmother examined her and Nicole was raw and red. Sherry applied basic first aid, showered Nicole and Dennis took her to urgent care in Lebanon. There she was diagnosed with irritation of the vagina, urgency and difficulty urinating and pain in her right flank.

January 3, 2012, Rollins took Nicole, suffering from abdominal pain, to Family Health Associates in Lebanon. There, Rollins told the nurse practitioner that Patrick Colgan is Nicole’s father and states that Nicole’s stomach pain shows up only when the girl is asked to clean her room. A culture is taken to check for urinary infection and once again, presumably due to the high volume of antibiotics the girl has been on, it does not grow a viable sample.

Ten days later, during another visit at the McDonald’s PlayLand with Nicole, Colgan shows up and began acting out violently toward Rollins, Dennis and other customers in the restaurant. Colgan refuses to leave when asked. Two days later, he is admitted to the VA Psychological Ward.

In February of 2012, Dennis received another extortion demand from Barbara VanTine, for her ‘service’ as GAL. The letter read:

“It has been some time since we [Rollins and VanTine] have visited. Please contact my office so you can update me on the children’s status. Also, find a copy of the court’s docket entry of January 11, 2012. Judge Koeppen sustained my motion for additional GAL fees at that hearing. You have been ordered to make an additional posting of $2,000.00. Please make arrangements to take care of this bill immediately. Thank you for your cooperation.”

On February 13, Dennis’ attorney, Lewis Bridges, received a letter from VanTine. In it, she offered and entered into a payment arrangement of $100.00 per month with Dennis until the balance of the additional $2,000.00 was paid off.

Later in the month, Dennis and his attorney, Lewis Bridges, met with VanTine. At this time they asked to see a billing statement for her services as GAL. There was no current billing statement reflecting the $2,000.00 fee. The last statement produced was presented to the court in September 2011. Judge Koeppen ordered Dennis pay this September bill, which he did. No statement reflecting VanTine’s service as GAL could be produced for the January 11 payment order issued by Koeppen.

Correspondence from VanTine to Dennis and his attorney, after their meeting, illustrates the relationship between the supposedly impartial GAL and Rollins’ attorney, Ruth Schulte. Repeatedly, VanTine uses phrasing such as “Before WE divulge where Nicole is attending school…” and “It is OUR goal to start some regular weekend visits with the children…”

Fax 2-23-12 ltr fr VanTine to LB Schulte re weekend visit-kids 2gether

On February 24, 2012, Dennis sent an email request for the most recent billing statement. That day, VanTine sent a copy of the same outdated August statement she had previously pointed toward.

A fax was sent to both Barbara VanTine and Ruth Schulte from Dennis’ attorney, Mr. Bridges. It was a request to attend the deposition of the custodian of records at the Harry S. Truman VA Hospital. The fax offered several dates so as to find an accommodating time for all attendees.

The deposition was regarding Patrick Colgan and his recent admission to their psychological ward.

VanTine replied to the fax the following day, March 1, stating that she would not be attending as Dennis was not able to pay the current bill. This, in spite of the fact she could not produce a statement. She did request a copy of the deposition, however. Schulte responded that she would like to attend and gives dates that would work for her. She stated she wasn’t sure where the VA Hospital was.

On March 8, VanTine’s office receives its agreed upon, monthly payment toward the $2,000.00 bill.

March 26, a current statement is finally produced by VanTine’s office for services as GAL. On this same day, a $300 payment is received from Rollins. April 10, 2012 reflects a payment of $800.00 from Rollins to VanTine.

In a court trial on April 17, 2012, the extent to which the deck is stacked against Dennis Lagares begins to emerge. Appearing before Judge Koeppen, VanTine does not file her agreed upon payment arrangement with the court. She does not disclose this agreement, nor did she disclose that Dennis was abiding by it. Judge Koeppen reviewed the payments received by VanTine’s office, comparing the payments made by Rollins to those made by Dennis. Judge Koeppen then states that Amanda has paid more than Dennis and issues an order that both parties are to pay, in full, the ordered GAL fees by August 1, 2012.

After this court appearance, Barbara VanTine, GAL for Kyle and Nicole Lagares, met Kyle for the very first time.

Dennis and Kyle began to see Nicole under temporary custody arrangements. It had been 17 months since father, son and daughter were reunited for regular visitations. It was immediately apparent that Nicole’s symptoms had not improved. She was taken on April 20, while in Dennis’ custody, to Dr. Campbell with Family Health Associates of Lebanon. While Rollins had previously taken Nicole there to see Dr. Campbell, this was the first time Dr. Campbell actually saw Nicole. She had previously been seen by nurse practitioners. Dr. Campbell diagnosed Nicole with genilalia rash erytherma, vulva, perianeal urethritis and NOS recurrent constipation. A culture revealed no UTI. Rollins refused to return calls from Dr. Campbell’s office.

Under the newly devised custody arrangement, Rollins had custody of both Kyle and Nicole the week of April 22 through the 29th. Dennis sent Nicole with a cream prescribed by Dr. Campbell and instructions were sent via email. On the 27th, Kyle called his father crying, begging to come home, but refusing to say why.

On the 29th, Rollins emailed Dennis. She told him that Kyle’s butt had been “hurting” and “bleeding all week”. She applied the cream prescribed for Nicole on them both.

4-2012 Kyle butt hurting

May 6, Rollins and Colgan regain custody of both Kyle and Nicole.

May 10th, Nicole is taken to see Dr. Samah Murad in Sedalia, Mo. Here, Rollins provided the hospital with false information, stating that Nicole had blood on toilet paper when she wiped on Saturday. Dennis, not Rollins, had custody the previous Saturday. The symptoms listed for this doctor visit were pain and blood while urinating.

On the 13th, Rollins takes Nicole to the emergency room in Warrensburg at approximately 8:30 pm. Rollins reports that Nicole has been in pain since she picked her up at 4 pm on the 6th from her father. A culture shows no UTI. Despite orders from Dr. Campbell, Rollins continues to feed Nicole antibiotics.

These doctor visits, as was Rollins’ rule, were not disclosed to Nicole’s father.

Dennis notifies Rollins via email on May 9 that he has scheduled an appointment with a urologist at the University of Missouri Medical Center for the 14th. At that, Rollins became confrontational and made it clear she did not want Nicole to go. At this appointment, Dennis brought all of the medical records he had been able to run down during the past several months. Rollins did not disclose any of the recent doctor visits to Gina White, the NP at the UM Clinic. A urine sample was taken, again showing no growth. An x-ray taken during this visit revealed that Nicole was severely constipated, full of fecal matter. This occurred during Nicole’s time in her mother’s custody.

From May 19th through May 26th, 2012, Amanda Rollins and Patrick Colgan had custody of both Kyle and Nicole.

On May 26th, Dennis took Nicole to Mercy ER. She was again distributing vaginal redness and painful urination. No UTI was present, per a culture completed on the 29th. Another order to stop antibiotics was given. May 29th, Dennis took Nicole for a follow-up appointment with UM Urology. Rollins called, but did not attend. The diagnosis was dysfunctional voiding, over-active bladder. The symptoms look like a UTI but weren’t, according to Ms. White.

Dennis tried to schedule follow up from the hospital as directed, but Rollins refused. She sent him an email stating that Nicole was not to have any appointments with any health care providers. She was just fine, according to Rollins.

From June 17th through June 24, Rollins and Colgan once again had both children.

On June 23rd, Rollins takes Nicole to the Warrensburg ER at 8:17 pm. She does not disclose the fact that Nicole has been taking Oxybutin, prescribed by the urologist. She is diagnosed with a large amount of blood or hemorrhage cystitis. Nicole was given antibiotics.

During this trip to the emergency room, Kyle was left alone, helpless and exposed to Colgan’s tender mercies.

He called his father that night, told him he didn’t feel well, that he wanted to come home.

The following afternoon, Kyle and Nicole were returned to Dennis’ custody.

Kyle bore strangulation marks on his neck and a collage of assorted marks, abrasions and burns on his back. Dennis took pictures of these wounds and emailed Rollins, asking for an explanation. She waited a day before answering and then offered two different stories within minutes of each other. She warned Dennis not to “make more out of it”.

Kyle bears the marks of strangulation.  Later, the boy would draw a picture indicating he was strangled with a wooden spoon.

Kyle bears the marks of strangulation. Later, the boy would draw a picture indicating he was strangled with a wooden spoon.

From July 8th through July 15th, Rollins and Colgan again had possession of the children.

During this week, Nicole was again taken to the Warrensburg ER, with high fever, a trace of blood and painful urination. Rollins does not disclose her previous diagnosis’ and the doctor gave Nicole a large shot of antibiotics, contrary to previous doctor instruction. While Rollins and Nicole are at the hospital, Kyle is once again left alone with Colgan.

The abuse to Kyle intensifies.  His eye is shown here, swollen shut.

The abuse to Kyle intensifies. His eye is shown here, swollen shut.

This time, the boy returns home to his father with one eye swollen shut and bruising on his stomach and rib cage. No explanation is offered from Rollins. Kyle tells his father that his mother and Colgan are ‘doing stuff’ to him. He reports that his mother sprayed him with something in the face. Kyle said Rollins said that she thought it was sunscreen, but it was not.

On July 10, 2012, VanTine received payment in full from Dennis. This was filed on July 17th.

A final divorce decree, along with a special parenting plan, the children’s special education plan and a medical plan, is entered in the case of Dennis and Rollins in August 2012.

In August, Rollins resisted releasing the children to Dennis. After involving attorneys, she does surrender custody. During this exchange however, Colgan is seen on video wielding a bat. Upon realizing he was being filmed, Colgan threw the bat aside and charged after the car with the children in it.

Nicole is discovered to have a large bruise on her head and bruises all over her body on August 14. Her stepmother, Ginger, takes her to the Lebanon ER for a full scan and x-rays. In an email, Rollins denied any knowledge of the bruises her daughter had received.

Also on August 14th, 2014, Dennis and Ginger took the kids to enroll in the Lebanon school district. At approximately 2:30-3:00 that afternoon, they presented the secretary with copies of the special plans for both children. The secretary notified Becky Simpson, Special Programs Process Coordinator at Esther Elementary in Lebanon.

At 3:06 pm that same day, Dr. Tammy Lupardus, Director of Special Programs, was reacquainted with a name she knew well. An email exchange between Simpson and Lupardus was titled ‘FYI Lagares’. Confirmation of the address and Rollins as birth mother were sent to Lupardus, who immediately contacted Rollins regarding the children.

It was time for the school to step in and finish the job started on Kyle, Nicole and Dennis. In grandmother Sherry Lagares, Tammy Lupardus had a sworn enemy. She had previously used school lawyers to attack the Lagares family, after they won a lawsuit against DESE regarding Dennis’ time in the Camdenton school district.

The Cult once again had the children at their mercy, this time, through a diabolical use of the school…

TOMORROW: PART TWO CHILD TRAFFICKING THROUGH MISSOURI SCHOOLS

Hadfield and the ‘McCoys’

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Despite rhetoric from Camdenton School Board president, Chris McElyea, the District is following through with a determined effort to silence public input on the allegations that led to Camdenton Middle School principal, Sean Kirksey being suspended, pending a disciplinary hearing. Hadfield and the board want to decide the fate of the Mr. Kirksey, the 2004 Missouri State Assistant Principal of the Year award winner, in secrecy, behind closed doors. They wish to avoid public discussion of the matters related to Mr. Kirksey’s suspension and the minor infractions reported by DESE. They have gone so far as to ask the opinion of the District’s lawyer, Tom Mickes, to provide ‘legal cover’, no matter how flimsy, to justify the ”need” for secrecy. Those on the Board and in school administration are incredibly determined to keep their actions in Mr. Kirksey’s case secret. They would prefer that there be no record of their actions for the public to scrutinize. They would prefer to be able to manipulate the story and issue only their ”official version” of what happens behind closed doors. Washington-style politics have wormed their way into the school district. The recent actions, or rather, inactions, of some current board members shows that they are willing to promote fallacious stories in order to further their own ends. This same inaction and lack of leadership by the Board has allowed Hadfield to decree that the public should have no say in decisions he makes.

Chris McElyea has listened to the pleas of the public in the case of Mr. Kirksey. He is content to shrug his shoulders and give us an ”aww shucks” while refusing to address the public’s very basic right to comment on cheating allegations. He would duck and cover behind technicalities and legal opinions while dodging his responsibility as an elected official to open the hearing to the public. Chris McElyea has chosen to discard the District’s own school board policy. In much the same way as Washington has dismissed the Constitution, McElyea seems content to ignore the policy’s own suggested remedy in handling personnel hearings.

The policy states the hearing shall be open to the public.

This section applies to tenured teachers, not administrators like Mr. Kirksey. The School Board Policy would suggest however, that the hearing process can be applied to administrators, in lieu of other avenues. Certainly, Mr. Kirksey, under whose leadership has led to teachers in the Camdenton Middle School being awarded Teacher of the Year, would deserve this same consideration, especially since he is asking for a public hearing. It is a reasonable request from a man with nothing to hide. He would prefer the public have access to the facts and merits surrounding any disciplinary action taken against him. As an educator, his entire career rests on the actions that will be taken by the Board. Termination because of ‘testing irregularities’ will make it difficult for him to continue his career as a principal. The livelihood of his family is at stake. If the man wants a public hearing to clear his name, he should have it. Those willing to speak publicly have nothing to hide. Those who would rather operate in secret and behind closed doors create the perception that they do.

Their silence earlier this year in the case of Dr. Henry’s resignation from the District is precisely why Mr. Kirksey’s hearing must be open. Unfortunately, we cannot trust most of them to deliver truth to the parents they serve. As witnessed earlier this year, they are content to remain silent while the media reports fallacy as fiction. The fiction, the false narrative, served their political will, after all. It became the basis of a smear campaign against three then-board members. Four current board members, those who weren’t targets of this public relations siege, were also board members at that time.Of them, not a single board member came out to state the facts regarding Dr. Henry’s resignation. They did not countermand the Lake Sun’s false report that his contract was not renewed. They simply sat quietly, shrugging their shoulders, giving us the ”aww shucks” routine, while the truth was manipulated. This manipulation led to the character attacks on the members of the board who stood in opposition to closed doors and hush-hush deals, such as the one that has a maintenance supervisor at the school making more than two teacher’s salaries each year. These same board members also sat by while a coat of white-wash was placed over this same maintenance supervisor’s role in construction bids and cost overruns that resulted in a transfer of a million dollars to the general fund from the teacher’s insurance account. Nancy Masterson went so far as to indicate if the transfer were a true manipulation of funds, would it go unnoticed for so long?

The answer, Ms. Masterson, is yes.

The ‘fix’ was in when the District decided to hire a maintenance supervisor at approximately $70,000 a year in salary. The ‘fix’ was in when companies affiliated with Mr. Dickeman were then awarded contracts for construction on our school. The ‘fix’ was most certainly in when construction costs from these companies ran over budget approximately $1.5 million dollars.

Chris McElyea, Selynne Barbour, Jackie Schulte, along with Ms. Masterson, all endorsed this, in whole or part, with their silence on the matter when the local paper used those allegations as a means with which to construct yet another false narrative. This time, the target of their ire was the local website LakeWatchdog.blogspot.com. Another “aww shucks” routine and political two-step from these four board members clearly indicates a willingness on their part to mislead the public as to the goings-on in the District. They again sat back in silence while the propaganda machine did its work.

These board members have, at the very least, acted irresponsibility, particularly as related to budget oversight. This is particularly concerning for the Lake of the Ozarks community, as Vice President of the Board Nancy Masterson has also had oversight of other construction projects in her capacity on the Ha Ha Tonka park board. In that role, she oversaw construction by our very own current Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken.

These board members have also acted dishonestly, by remaining silent as fiction was peddled as fact in the local tabloid, the Lake Sun. Their silence was an endorsement of the paper’s blatant misrepresentations of fact. Selynne Barbour, who is a regular contributor to both the Lake Sun and LO Profile magazine, certainly could have phoned Joyce Miller and ask that she print a retraction. She chose not to.

Instead, the paper ran a series of pieces that viciously attacked the board members and those who supported them. The editorial bias, highlighted by Gatehouse publisher John Tucker’s editorials, ensured the re-election of Nancy Masterson and election of Mr. Williams. It served to marginalize the board members who were actually serving the community by asking questions about the District’s dealings, as well as investigating the ties and strings associated with Federal programs such as the Race to the Top grant and Common Core standard implementation.

Tucker’s decision to use his paper as a propaganda factory is one that is as simple as this: It is a business decision. The local political establishment are tightly linked to their advertisers. One of their largest is Lake Regional Hospital. One look at past and present board member reveals a who’s who in our business community that serves to outline a greater architecture of business interests using government to advance their own ends. Tucker chose to sell his paper’s credibility as a news organization in exchange for the higher profits of tabloid journalism. This decision, while despicable, can at least be explained by the profit motive. The board members have no such justification.

Now, they would seek to play their ”aww shucks” routine to the public while scheming to continue this disgusting bully system, in silence and behind closed doors. They have systematically applied these tactics to those who don’t go along with the program, as the case of Jan Michaelree clearly demonstrates. They are now using these techniques to tarnish, and potentially end, Sean Kirksey’s career as a principal.

Sean Kirksey graduated from Camdenton High School in 1989. He graduated from SBU with an education degree and earned his masters at Missouri State University. In 2004, as an Assistant Principal, he earned the Missouri State Assistant Principal of the Year award. Sean Kirksey has served us in a fine capacity as CMS principal. He has the respect and admiration of parents, students and teachers alike. That respect should be given him. He should be able to avail himself of the right to have his hearing public, in order to defend his good name.

Our board needs to show some respect, not just for Mr. Kirksey, but for the public they serve and the community members who would like to see Sean Kirksey remain as principal of our middle school. Common sense should prevail in this case, not pettiness.

Those who have stood in support of Sean Kirksey have had threats leveled against them. The pattern of behavior, the standard operating procedure, is clear. We see who endorse it. They would seek to silence any discussion about Sean Kirksey’s situation. They seek to keep the doors on Mr. Kirksey’s hearing closed, in order to continue the cycle of career and reputation violence. They would like to keep this dirty little secret out of the public view.

This is nothing new for our local politicians, in every capacity. Elected officials throughout our county are seeking to hide their dirty little secrets. They are conspiring to hide the growing level of corruption that has infected our systems like a cancer. The tabloid press has refused to report on Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken’s software scandal. They have refused to investigate Franken’s role in the county’s expenditure of $53,000 for software that did not meet the standards of the contract.

Franken also would prefer to do business behind closed doors.

Recently, in an email to Stacy Shore regarding a missing audio file of the July 23rd Commission meeting, Franken complained about using recording devices. He said, “as far as non-agenda meetings are concerned, people who come in to speak informally with the commission do so in confidence to try to get preliminary information on a project or a problem that they are having. I, nor they, believe that those informal meetings should be recorded.”

While we all appreciate Franken’s opinion, the Missouri state statute regarding meetings of the commission, even ‘informal’ ones, are subject to Sunshine Law. The reason for this is obvious, as the software scandal and TIGER Five grant discussions, in which a large sum of tax dollars was considered to subsidize private profits, should be part of the public record. The public has a right to know what’s being done on our dime, like it or not, little Lord Franken.

Franken wasn’t done there. He had more to say, in a deceitful, arrogant tone:

” In fact, since a certain individual has demanded that all commission meetings be recorded regardless of their content of importance, I have had several businesses that are considering coming in to the area or increasing their presence in the area reuse to meet at the courthouse and I have had to go out to meet with them so they were certain they had control of the environment that the meeting was held in. ”

Control of the environment the meeting was held in? Sound familiar?

A business wanting to expand in Camden County shouldn’t be afraid to have its dealings with our county commission public. If they are reputable and have good intentions, they have nothing to fear from the taxpayers of this county hearing their proposals. It is our money, not theirs, after all.

Franken went on to say that openness and transparency ” …sends a poor message to businesses about Camden County”.

If that is truly the case, we can have no better representative to sell us out than Kris Franken.

We are tired of watching those of you who would abuse the positions of responsibility we have given you. We are sick of you lying to us. We are tired of being bullied. All of us.

August 12th at 5:30, the community has its first opportunity to speak out against this type of behavior. We have the opportunity to shout it down and say ”no more”.

The question is: Will we?

The Need for Transparency

Two years ago, when I began the website americanspring2011.com, I was inspired in part by the events that were unfolding around us. Internationally, the Arab Spring had begun in Tunisia and had spread to Egypt. The driving forces behind both of these national movements were the same. Both were under authoritarian rule and in both cases, the cost of staple goods had risen and unemployment was high.

Nationally, protests over neoliberal economic policies promoted by Wisconsin’s governor had filled Madison’s state house. The aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008 was rampant in our country. Fraudulent foreclosures were sending families out onto the streets. Wall Street and the banks that run it enjoyed huge financial windfalls, free money, given them by the Federal Reserve under the false pretense that it would ”calm the markets” and bring some ”comfort” to investors. Meanwhile, unemployment domestically was in the double digits and wages continued to drop. Food prices, gas prices were all on the climb. Wall Street and multinational corporations absorbed more and more market share as smaller businesses, in all sectors, were culled from the landscape to make room for the new Wal-Mart, the new Dierberg’s, the new DHS Fusion center or private prison. The power of corporations, and their ties to our government, were transforming our country into a corporate totalitarian state.

Locally, a manufactured crisis, created by FERC, was creating the calls for less government regulation of our Lake of the Ozark shoreline. This political version of smoke-and-mirrors was created when FERC, made up of Presidential appointees from private corporations (most of whom were appointed during the Bush administration), declared that over a thousand lake area structures would have to be removed, as they were built on ”project” land, despite private citizens’ having paid taxes on the ”project” land for years. This led to citizens rallying against ”government overreach” and chants of deregulation. Meanwhile, Ameren UE waited patiently for the sliding elevation scale to stop, as it finally did, at 662′. Litigation between Ameren UE and lake area owners is currently pending regarding Ameren’s ownership claim. The privatization of the Lake of the Ozarks shoreline is here and we are seeing that agenda unfold in our own county courthouse. Agenda 600 and Planning and Zoning in Camden County is directly at the heart of that campaign.

Since I began the blog and submitting to the Lake Sun, I have taken more than a fair share of shots at former LACC President and current Second District Camden County Commissioner Cliff Luber. I was skeptical, of his pro-corporate stances and his invocation of religion with regards to politics. My fears were that we would have someone in office who would break out a corporate stamp with one hand while raising a Bible in the other. I was afraid that we would see Washington and Jefferson City replicated at the local level. I didn’t want another Commissioner in the mold of Kris Franken, who would seek to use political office for both personal and professional gain. Our county cannot afford another elected official ready and willing to grease the wheels of the Ameren machine.

I am happy to say I was wrong about Cliff Luber.

Since taking office, he has been consistent in his fight for more transparency at the courthouse. He has been skeptical of both the practices and policies that have been on display during his short time in office. He has sought answers to important questions. He brought forth information regarding Planning and Zoning mapping that Kris Franken and Don Hathaway sought to conceal. He has encouraged the use of email accounts to make Planning and Zoning board members available to the public they serve. He has worked to bring a resolution to the situation surrounding Macks Creek Community Park. He has confirmed a stance against the creation of EEZ’s in our community and displayed a common sense approach toward bringing business to Camden County, unwilling to sell out the public he represents in order to spur private investment. He sees the challenges faced by the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District when their slice of the tax pie is given over to subsidize private profits.

Cliff has released information to the public that identifies corruption that goes beyond our county government and city governments here at the Lake of the Ozarks. His short time in office has brought much truth to countermand Kris Franken’s perpetual spin cycle.

For example, in an article from the Lake Sun in late 2011, it was reported that Kris Franken awarded a contract for software to Timothy Otten. The software was for a payroll system and a purchasing system. According to two local newspapers, Franken received only one bid and did not locally advertise the bidding process. The contract was awarded to Timothy Otten for HCPS, the only bid considered by the Commission. The software cost the county sixty thousand dollars. It was paid for in part by Rowland Todd, County Clerk and Sheriff Dwight Franklin.

Otten was friendly with the campaigns of Franken for County Commissioner, Aaron Koeppen for Judge and Diane Franklin for State Representative during the election season of 2010. From a Facebook post on the page ‘Kris Franken for Presiding Commissioner’ dated Oct. 24, 2010, Franken brags about these relationships:

“I have put together a trivia team for the Big Brother Big Sisters trivia contest this afternoon, Sunday, October 24. It is at the Elks Lodge in Osage Beach across from J. Bruners. The team consists of myself, Aaron Koeppen (R judge candidiate), Diane Franklin (R 155th Rep Candidate), Tim Otten, and John Beckett (School Board Member). Come out and cheer us on!”

The fact that Franken skirted the rules in order to award this contract to a friend has never been in doubt. Franken, in his own words, had made the sole determination that the software was “not an ‘off the shelf’ product and normal bidding requirements were not applicable”. He went on to say: “It is a custom product that is specific to our needs in Camden County and requires ‘professional services’ to complete.”

These ‘professional services’ and software programs have not been successful. As Commissioner Luber has confirmed, the county had to terminate the contract, refusing to make the final payment of approximately $7,000. The software programs have not been implemented and have been a complete waste of tax payer resources. They have been ineffective and have been jettisoned. The county IT department is attempting to build their own database to manage accounting systems.

This was characterized as a ”refund” from HCPS, who stated that the scope of the project had changed internally and county employees had gotten involved in modifications that weren’t originally contracted. This public relations statement was endorsed by Franken, who had championed the $53,000 kickback to his friend and was not eager to discuss the scheme that put county money in his buddy’s pocket for no return. Franken instead perpetuated a cover up (at least his second while in office) and parroted a line in order to hide his unethical behavior. This act is not the exception during Kris Franken’s time in public office. It has become the rule.

Kris Franken has stalked our courthouse halls long enough to develop a profile. He has left a road map of his treachery behind while in office. The man who brandishes a firearm in our courthouse is the same man who brags about having ‘files’ on people throughout Camden county, presumably to use against them in the event they uncover his lies and bring sunshine to his dealings while in office. This is the same man who has given himself sole discretion in keeping audio of Commission meetings. He is the man who recently discussed a million dollar offer, secured through the county, to subsidize private profits for those stakeholders of the Community Bridge Corporation and various other local interests who stand to gain from a restructuring of the black tops on the west side of the bridge.

Kris Franken is a man with something to hide.

The time has come for the citizens of Camden County to create their own file. The Franken File, if you like. It is past time we start connecting the dots regarding Article 600 and Planning and Zoning. It is high time we took a good long look at those in charge of these decisions at the county level. As Ameren continues to encroach on the rights of property owners at the Lake, it is urgent that we begin to have open, honest discussions about what is being done in our names. It is time to have a few answers about who our elected officials are really working for.

Recently, on the national and international stages, the issue of government transparency is at the fore. Edward Snowden has brought public attention to the massive surveillance state we live in. His revelations have brought light to programs like PRISM and the immense scope of data mining on US citizens. Before him, Bradley Manning illuminated US war crimes in Iraq and exposed the level of collusion between our government and corporations through his release of declassified State Department cables. Before that, NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake and William Binney informed us of the architecture of oppression being built around us. They put the data mining facility Stellar Wind and Operation Trailblazer in the public arena, despite great personal and professional risk. Barrett Brown, a journalist who was reporting on private intelligence corporations like HBGary, has been arrested by the FBI, in part for opening research into the nature and scope of the US surveillance state. Jeremy Hammonds, whose hack of Stratfor emails uncovered plots ranging from insider trading to the targeting of American protesters for corporate giants such as Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical, has spent months in jail without trial.

Cliff Luber has helped bring that transparency to our local level. As we see on the national stage, sunlight on secret policies and deals is necessary to maintain a free and open democracy. For bringing that accountability home, I owe Cliff a debt of gratitude. For my assumptions about him, I owe an apology. What we have in common is more important than that which divides us. Those principles of honor, trustworthiness and morality must be preserved in government. Truth is not subjective. Without it, we are at the mercy of people like Franken and Obama, who would seek to drive their agendas forward in secrecy and silence.

The Transformation of Education

A Note From the Editor: Stacy Shore has led in the fight against Common Core in the state of Missouri. She has worked tirelessly in Jefferson City to educate our lawmakers about the dangers presented by this corporate take over of education. We are lucky to have her in our community.
There will be an educational meeting on June 3rd at the Camden County Library. I strongly urge you all to attend. Common Core is one of the tools they are using to privatize our schools. Through it, private companies are allowed to collect data on our children. It is an insidious means to undermine the very foundation of our educational system. No wonder this weekend, Obama was encouraging those kids who weren’t great students to become plumbers…

By Stacy Shore

http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

The following are all quotes from Arne Duncan’s speech. These are all his words. My commentary is amplified below each excerpt.

Our goal for the coming year will be to work closely with global partners, including UNESCO, to promote qualitative improvements and system-strengthening. With such a shared commitment, we believe that we can greatly reduce the number of children out of school and ensure that the children who are in class are actually learning.

UNESCO = United Nations

I want to caution you that several misconceptions often crop up in the coverage of the Obama administration’s agenda. Media coverage of our reform agenda understandably tends to concentrate on the unexpected, such as the fact that President Obama, a progressive president, has supported the expansion of high-performing charter schools. Or that he favors incorporating student achievement growth as one of a number of factors in evaluations of teachers and school performance.

(Privatization of education)

The second assurance governors provided was in the area of data systems. More robust data systems and a new generation of assessments can assist teachers and principals to improve their practices and tailor their instruction in ways that were largely unthinkable in the past.

Does the governor have the authority to give the assurance that he would ramp up access to our childrens’ data? I see a pattern here with Gov. Nixon! What gives him that right?

Districts now have to engage in interventions to foster dramatic change in these schools. This will be some of the hardest, most controversial, and most important work you will see coming from the United States this school year, and in the years ahead

Okay, so any time an Obama Admin bully uses the word “change” our ears should all perk up. Why “controversial”?

Our vision of reform takes account of the fact that, in several respects, the governance of education in the United States is unusual. Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy.

Why do they consider the way our Constitution protects our individual voices “unusual”?

As the federal role in education grew, so did the bureaucracy. All too often, the U.S. Department of Education operated more like a compliance machine, instead of an engine of innovation. The department typically focused on ensuring that formula funds reached their intended recipients in the proper fashion. It focused on inputs—not educational outcomes or equity.

There is that social equity piece.

The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more to support reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities.

There you have it…Arne Duncan admits the Federal role through CC will “reform” their role in education.

I’ve said that America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform. And this is very much a revolution driven by leaders in statehouses, state school superintendents, local lawmakers, district leaders, union heads, school boards, parents, principals, and teachers.

Quiet because they have silenced parents for too long while they ram this stuff down our throats. I don’t intend to be quiet. The sneaky ways that they have adopted to pass the buck must stop.

I said earlier that the United States now has a unique opportunity to transform our education system in ways that will resonate for decades to come. Last year and this year, the federal government provided unprecedented funds to support education and reform.

“Transform”? Again I say, when that comes out of the Obama Admin, does that scare you? It should. An in this sentence he is admitting proudly the federal govt. role in pushing the reforms through funding. Don’t let anyone lie to you and tell you this initiative is “state led”. Read this entire article. Save it in your favorites and send it to them if anyone ever is dumb enough to argue that fact.

But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.

Is your blood boiling? States signed on without “thinking about it”. Just as easy as that. No research, no studying, just did it. So much for “state led”.

So, in the end, transforming education is not just about raising expectations. It has to be about creating greater capacity at all levels of the system to implement reform. It has to be about results.

Reform? What kind? Keep asking that question. This is not about learning. This is about reforming and changing us as Americans.

The urgent need to provide an excellent education for every child is a right that cannot be denied. We can’t wait because our children can’t wait. The time for change is now.

There is that “change” word again. Ugly, isn’t it?