Several days ago we heard a “rumor” about a welder being stolen from the Gloucester County Public School (GCPS) Bus Garage. According to the “rumor”; someone working for our public school system stole a plasma welder from the bus garage and once the theft became known, the thief was told by administration to bring the welder back, submit their resignation and no charges would be filed. The “rumor” further alleges that the employee has enough time in local government service to retire and the “resignation” has actually turned into retirement for the thief.
That is a very ugly rumor and appears, “if” true, to be another prime example of our laws being applied selectively. If you or I walked into the bus garage and walked out with a screwdriver, law enforcement would be called; we would be arrested and prosecuted. End of Story. The same should happen to this thief if the “rumor” is true and they should forfeit their retirement benefits. Search warrants should also be executed on all of the thief’s properties to make sure they haven’t stolen other property owned by us.
We sent an email to GCPS Superintendent, Dr. Walter Clemons, asking if he could confirm whether or not the “rumor” is true. Dr. Clemons replied, “I am unable to comment or provide information regarding employee personnel matters. However, please know that any matter that we discover or are made aware of involving employee misconduct is investigated by our Department of Human Resources and reviewed by our school board with actions taken as deemed appropriate. We also notify law enforcement on certain matters when necessary.”
I guess his answer speaks for itself; they are not going to tell us anything under the cloak of employee privacy. I wonder what determines when they, “notify law enforcement on certain matters when necessary.” Do you think you or I would be investigated by human resources and our case reviewed by the school board before they notified law enforcement? I don’t think so. If this “rumor” is true and the thief remains uncharged and is not prosecuted, it will also be another clear example of how disengaged from reality and lawfulness the administrators of our public school system and our school board really are.
As bad as it sounds, this is not the ugliest “rumor” about our public school system that we have been following. In April 2014 and after considerable research that was ultimately stonewalled by the school system, we sent an email to the School Board in which we addressed a rumor spreading through the community about the theft of gate admission money at school sporting events. We also provided the findings of our research to the school board and offered suggestions to correct each identified shortcoming. It was not received well at all; imagine that.
Our public school system activity funds usually involve almost $1.5 million per year and are not monies from the school system's annual budget. Activity fund money comes from student parking fees, sporting and other event admission fees, club fees, money from fund raising, some scholarships, etc.
Board of Supervisors' email address: email@example.com
School Board email address: SchoolBoard@gc.k12.va.us
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