Letters to the Editor concerning our schools – June 28

This letter stems from reflective, collected, righteous indignation spurred by commonsense. Nearly two decades ago a very wise teacher caught me in the hall and chastised me because a fellow student was being harassed several times a day to the point of being in tears. As many can attest I was no saint, to put it lightly, but this was one of the very few situations in which I had no guilt or so I thought. Distressed and perplexed I proclaimed my innocence. With a piercing gaze that I will never forget the teacher said, “I know you did not do anything to her, but they will stop if you tell them to.” This sage advice, while overwhelming to a young boy, has been a guiding principle in my life. This letter is a testament to the importance of great teachers who are essential in the life of well-formed and properly educated children.

In the spirit of those wise words uttered long ago, this letter has been written for the sake of those students and dedicated teachers present and future who cannot defend themselves against the current leadership. We cannot in good conscience remain silent knowing the systematic destruction of our school system is being blatantly and flagrantly carried out under our own eyes. We cannot leave these students and good teachers in the chains of a failing school district that abuses the dedicated educators and ruins the students’ futures.

It should come as no surprise to anyone after the long line of heartfelt resignations that the totalitarian administration is pulling the strings of the puppet school board and sucking the life from our greatest teachers and casting them aside like refuse to the detriment of our students for the sake of feeding an overgrown, bloated, incompetent, redundant, destructive, grant farming, administrative black hole. What the school board has permitted the administration to do to our dedicated educators is shameful and can only be described as gross incompetence at best. Our focus should be on reforming the system that allowed these abuses to transpire so that we can ensure that this never happens again. We should avoid engaging in a vindictive witch hunt that seeks to crucify particular individuals. Real reform that the parents, students and teachers desperately need should not be jeopardized for the sake of fruitless revenge.

At the latest School Board Meeting I was disturbed by a misguided claim that “everyone is the problem.” The reality is when companies fail it is not the fault of the employees or customers. When companies fail the blame in its entirety belongs to the management. The situation in our Schools is no different. The current board and administration has failed; they neither respect nor listen to their customers (parents and students) or their employees (teachers and staff.) Good managers carefully listen to and respect their employees and customers. That the current board and administration does not comprehend this very basic commonsense principle is very disturbing. The board can delegate tasks to the superintendent, but they cannot delegate responsibility. The ultimate responsibility for this failure of leadership resides with the School Board. The Board Members cannot and should not be allowed to pin this failure on anyone else; they were at the helm when the ship crashed: they are responsible.

Otto D. Schlosser

In recent months, several Crook County School District #1 employees have resigned from their education positions; each were long-time dedicated employees who did not retire. In multiple cases, those resigning stated their resignations were a symptom of a problem. The management and operation of the School District by the Superintendent appears to be corrosive and dysfunctional. Concurrently, the leadership of the Crook County School Board, at times, has been ineffective and convoluted. The CCSD Board “as representatives of the people in the school district shall act as the general agent of the state in carrying out the will of the people of the district in matters of public education.” (CCSD policy manual). We respectfully request the Board examine these resignations and take the necessary action to remedy this problem.

Concerned parents and community members,

Jason and Jennifer Nehl

The integrity of the Crook County School District and honor of Crook County is at stake concerning the possible misuse of public resources used for the private benefit of the Superintendent, a public employee. I and a sizable share of the community are expecting a complete and thorough investigation as to why the superintendent used his school district subordinates to place concrete at his house on May 23, when several private businesses are available to provide this service. This incident requires examination as the superintendent may have compromised the integrity of his public office and has at least created the appearance of impropriety.

Hugh Thompson

Let the music begin. The school board is again giving us the old song and dance routine about executive privilege. I must admit, I was impressed with Mr. McInerney’s speech about…“not a single person up here who’s plotting against you…” And no truer words he’s ever spoken followed: “We are you – we’re your neighbors and friends, and people you see every day on the street.” Then came the big BUT! Then came the jibberish about the law, about secret information (so much for neighbors and friends), and the absurdity about not attacking an individual board member! EXCUSE ME! What makes a school board member so sacrosanct that he can’t be verbally attacked? And yes, Mr. McInerney, I’m so grateful that you have ALLOWED us to be disappointed in your decisions as I hark back to 2008, and the miscarriage of justice in your decision regarding the renewal of Donovan Voigt’s coaching contract.

So the song continues with…“around and around the mulberry bush and all fall down…” As a tri-fold community: Moorcroft, Hulett, and Sundance, we have all been negligent in our support for the concerns of our friends and neighbors of each community. Though the confrontation with the school board is Sundance’s concern, it should be our concern too. Although I’m a Moorcroft patron, I am voicing my support with “my friends and neighbors” in Sundance.

As always,

Richard L. Castello

The resignation of Kathleen Hood as Principal is a tragedy for each and every student at Sundance Elementary School.

I attended my first school board meeting on June 18th out of concern for my two grandchildren and their fellow students who just lost the caring influence of an outstanding principal. I left the meeting even more concerned for them because it was clear that we have serious problems as a result of the present School Superintendent and at least most of the School Board.

There is a reason for all these resignations of outstanding educators. There is a reason for those Hulett parents to be speaking out about the shocking issues in their schools. I urge all parents and grandparents to become involved and join the many who have suddenly become alerted to the problems in our schools. We all need to attend future school board meetings and to see that the necessary changes are made, starting with the leadership.

Jerry Boone

Sundance, WY

I am writing a letter to the editor because of my thoughts and feelings over the last school board meeting. It was my first meeting and now I know why I had never gone before. I also understand why it is so hard to get anyone to run. This is not a letter to point fingers or a letter to cause uproar. I believe we have enough people to do that for me. I would just like to say that this situation is very humbling and sad. I have never felt so helpless in my life. I feel even more helpless since I was confronted by many people to not write in the paper. Not because they did not want me to be heard but because they were afraid that some people would misinterpret what I was trying to say and use it against my husband. They would hate for something to jeopardize my husband’s position since he is one person they are fighting to keep on the school board.

For those people this letter will not have any room for misinterpretation. To make myself perfectly clear to all, my husband had no idea that I would be speaking at the last meeting. I was writing everything down on a piece of yellow agenda paper. I spoke from the heart and was not prepared. As I had mentioned I have an insight through being a wife of a member of the school board, I am a mother of three who do and will attend Moorcroft School including a child who is in a special needs program, a daughter of a math teacher, and a concerned citizen. I may not have any higher degree than a high school diploma but I do not need one to know there is a big problem here in the Crook County School District. I am very aware that not every problem will be solved but will be satisfied if one is. After one is solved than another one will be. I am asking all members of the school board and all citizens of Crook County to come together and not to give up. I feel that as a citizen I must speak out and try to hold on to what little faith some of you have. I may not be someone of importance to some of you but I am telling you now and publicly that I do care.

I know through me, my husband will hear you. I know that he has tried to reach out and only had the door slammed in his face. I know that he will not give up no matter how many of you wish he would. He has been past midnight talking to people trying to get them to understand. He had asked people personally to please speak out and who you need to go to. I have seen and been there through it all. I know that I would have given up and this is why I would not be good for the job. My husband on the other hand is great for this job. No matter whom you are if he believes in something there is no changing his mind. There are more than enough people out there who believe in him and I am asking you all not to give up. He is fighting for you and what he believes is right. Although you may not see it you just need to ask. I am asking you all to tell the members of the board what a great job they are doing if you believe they are. I know that if just one person shows them what they are fighting for is not being unseen or unheard. I know they would be greatly appreciative of you.

This is my challenge to the Board and Superintendant, please prove us wrong. Show us that you are fighting for the kids and the people. If you cannot show us we are wrong then we have no choice but to keep believing that you are not doing your job. I challenge the school board to show the citizens that you are here for us and not here for our superintendent. My husband has shown the people who he is fighting for many times. I am asking the rest of you to please show us who you are truly working for. I am not saying you have not. I am just asking to show those citizens who swear on the bible that you are representing someone else and not our children. Show us that you are only here for them (citizens of Crook County) and you are putting our children first. I am also asking that if the challenge is met and they prove to you (the citizens) what you have been asking of them that you stand with them and not against them. Standing true and proud may start with one but will end in many. My father has and will always be my hero. He has taught me that although speaking out for what you believe in is great and true, but unfortunately sometimes the best questions are left unasked, sometimes you have to have open ears and a closed mouth. Something not only my father has taught me but also my loving husband.

Thank you!

Rebecca M. Blakeman