[LCSD] News story on the investigation

More later, but there’s a lot to say about this.

UPDATE:  Time for the more – and know up front that this is going to comment both on the content of the story and the reporting.

Hm, where to start?  How about this:

With allegations of harassment, hostile working conditions and cyberbullying flying around Lebanon High School, Interim Superintendent George Lanning decided to investigate.

My, my.  The drama!  Of course, it’s accurate, so….

Anyway.  Moving on:

Freedom of speech

Capt. Mike Shulte said complaints regarding blogs have been looked into.

“It’s nothing more than people practicing their freedom of speech,” he said.

Det. Sgt. Kevin Martinez said the blog is a Freedom of speech page.

“There’s nothing that’s a violation of law,” he said. “In talking with the district attorney’s office, explaining the situation, (the DA) is of the mind that there’s nothing of a criminal nature at this time.”

THIS clears a few things up.  Hey, commenters – might want to give the histrionics a rest, or at least restrain yourselves to talking about civil suits and district policies.  Kudos are due to new Express reporter Emily Mentzer for including this bit.  It’s important.

Alexander’s bit:

Rick Alexander said he has known Nisbet for about 10 years. He said he met her on a previous investigation.

He said he found out about this investigation second-hand from an employee of the district.

“I hope that this (investigation) encompasses a whole lot of issues: IEP’s (Individual Education Plans), blogging, complaints,” Alexander said.

He said he talked to the investigator, but would not disclose details, citing attorney-client privilege.

*cough* I wonder what the investigation that caused Nesbit to meet Alexander was?  My guess in that it was nothing of consequence… but I’d still like to know.  As for Alexander’s hope, he is being consistent – he has always called for more and larger investigations into things he doesn’t like.  However, that does not mean they are a good idea.  In some ways, opening a single investigation up so widely is counterproductive.  I hope Alexander gets that, but I doubt it.  Finally, in what universe is he correct in citing attorney-client privilege?  (Seriously – if he’s got a leg to stand on here, I want to know.)  Neither Alexander nor Nesbit is, AFAIK, an attorney.  Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s reasonable for Alexander to not want to talk about the investigation.  Further, I think it’s even reasonable that the entire board will use this reasoning. However, Alexander has a history of – how do I say this? – misapplying ideas and concepts.  I could see this being one of those cases.  Plus, I think it’s clear that he normally feels license to talk – at length – about whatever is going on in the district, just to certain people.  That said, the best connection I can draw is that Nesbit was hired by the district’s counsel (though at the behest of the Super and not the Board).  Yeesh.

Note too that both McUne and Fisher noted that they should not be part of the investigation.  Something tells me that Alexander had no such reluctancies.

Finch:

Former LHS principal Mark Finch said he felt and still feels the working conditions at the high school are just fine.

My god, did he rent a backhoe to dig that much in one scoop?  If he really believes this, I am all of a sudden a lot more understanding of why he got so much heat.  I would have thought no matter what side – if any – one came down on, it was clear things were not A-OK at LHS.  Wow.

Also Finch:

Finch said the real issue is personalities.

“When you put 100 people into a building, every once in a while you get a couple people who just don’t like each other,” he said.

True.  But there is a big difference between a clash of personalities and the level of conflict that’s happening.  I am surprised to hear that Finch doesn’t seem to have recognized that, or have had a better way of dealing with it.  That was his job, after all.  (To Rob Hess’ credit, this is one area where having previous experience in the district is a plus.)

Fandino:

“(Staff was) never asked to keep anything confidential, nothing about confidentiality or asking not to share answers until the investigation was over, so people are immediately going around sharing what they said,” Fandino said.

This is a good point.  However, I have to say that I think a) people should know better, and b) certainly some were going to share anyway.  Also, given the nature of the investigation, I fail to see (someone please tell me how I am wrong here) how sharing one’s opinion about the school’s climate needs to be private.  Oh, sure, being careful about how one share that information is good, but that should be a legitimate topic of conversation.  Were I asked to speculate, I would wonder if Fandino got some heat in the responses.

Dakopolos:

[Dakopolos] declined to answer specific questions about whether or not a board member, after speaking with the investigator, should abstain from voting in any further appeals regarding that investigation.

*cough*RickAlexander*cough*  And conflict of interest – ethically if not legally – raises its head again.  I wonder what the OSBA would say?

Overall:  Good story – great content, and there is something to be said for the structure.  It was clear, though part of me likes more narrative.  The story clears up a lot of questions, and provides the public with a rough timeline and outline of events so far.  Now we just have to see what happens next.  Anyone else have a reaction?

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10 Comments on “[LCSD] News story on the investigation”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hey, I thought all the problems in the District were going to go away when the ‘evil’ Jim Robinson was bought out? Wasn’t he the cause of all the hostility and bad working conditions in the schools? That’s what we were all told, wasn’t it? Isn’t that why the community saved Alexander and Wineteer from the recall – it wasn’t them, it was Jim. So why is it that Alexander and Fandino continue to be at the center of all the factionalism, “investigations”, conflict and fomenting of hatred in the District?

  2. LHS staffer Says:

    Anonymous 4/3 at 5:35 am- You said it so well! Jim was not the only problem. The hostility was their before him and will continue as long as Fandino/Alexander and their “attitude” group is allowed to be in control. Changes were happening, at the high school anyway. Good things like-relationship were improving and it was becoming a better place to work. Now it is tense and even though the wonderful people are still there, working very hard. Please Lebanon help us! Get rid of Alexander and LEA do not re-elect Fandino as President.
    Then let’s move forward.

  3. Dennis Says:

    LHS Staffer – Fandino hasn’t been head of the LEA for some time. She resigned well before her term was up.

  4. LHS staffer Says:

    Anonymous 4/3 at 5:35 am- You said it so well! Jim was not the only problem. The hostility was their before him and will continue as long as Fandino/Alexander and their “attitude” group is allowed to be in control. Changes were happening, at the high school anyway. Good things like-relationship were improving and it was becoming a better place to work. Now it is tense and even though the wonderful people are still there, working very hard. Please Lebanon help us! Get rid of Alexander and LEA do not re-elect Fandino as President.
    Then let’s move forward.

    She is running again.

  5. Dennis Says:

    REALLY?

  6. LHS staffer Says:

    She announced today that she needed to run because our current president doesn’t know enough to lead the union.

  7. Dennis Says:

    She WHAT? Oh, I hope that’s not true. Going after Sabrina Wood is not cool.

  8. LT Says:

    You are a little behind in the news. Fandino resigned as president, effective July 1, 2008. Sabrina Wood took over the presidency. This year, the nomination committee for the union selected Sabrina to run for a full term as president, or perhaps it was really that the nomination committee convinced Sabrina to run. In the last few days, Kim Fandino decided that Sabrina was not “experienced enough” to serve as the union president and Fandino decided to run against Sabrina. So there is a contested election for the presidency of the teachers union. This is an extremely important election, deciding whether Fandino will be empowered to resume her hostility towards administrators.

  9. Susan Says:

    …….question (though as a true believer in unions and that the meetings held along with the votes counted should not be bantered about in public forums) HOW MUCH faith do you have in your union members to vote for the appropriate person?

  10. anonymous Says:

    Why did Kim Fandino resign in the first place, when she has not truly stepped out and let the new leadership make their own way?
    Why has she signed the Enclosure D-2 for the next Board meeting as “LEA President” when she is not and Sabrina Wood is?
    Why has she made repeated runs straight for the School Board–and is now seeking to have the Board be a permanent part of the LEA negotiations–regularly bypassing the Superintendent and the process in place?.
    Why is she putting this before the Board just before we get a NEW Superintendent?
    Why is Kim Fandino acting like she is the voice of the LEA?


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