Showing posts with label Board of education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Board of education. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gloucester High School's Untold Transgender Issues

English: A purple transgender ♀+♂=⚧ symbol sur...
English: A purple transgender ♀+♂=⚧ symbol surrounded by a triangle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone is sick of the story about Gavin and her fight to use the male restrooms at the Gloucester, VA High School.  We feel pretty much the same way, but we have noticed that mainstream media continues to fail to bring various aspects of this story to light for readers which is why so many are sick of reading about this fight.

  Today we are speaking for those who can not speak for themselves.  The other side of the story no one else wants to publish nor dares too.

  Has anyone noticed that the teachers and staff at the Gloucester High School have not been interviewed for their opinions on this issue?  Let's look at some concepts here.  If teachers and staff should have to use the same restrooms as the students then having a transgender walk in while one of them are in there can represent a real issue that is simply being ignored by the press and the ACLU.  What about the rights of any adults that may need to use the restrooms of the school?  You are dealing with a minor in this situation and if the transgender student has an issue with that adult all kinds of accusations can fly creating havoc.  Of course this can happen without transgender students but is much less likely and there are other bathrooms for teachers and staff.  However, teachers and staff still need to monitor these areas for potential trouble.

  Now you will not get any of the opinions from any of the teachers or staff of the school unless it supports the issue.  Anyone giving the perceived wrong opinion is likely to be fired or come under heavy media scrutiny and potentially sued.

  It is the obligation of those charged with deciding this issue in maintaining the moral factor for all students and not trying to figure out the questions of some perceived rights of some few across the nation.  It does not matter what other students may think of the issue and whether some come out and say they have no issues with the situation as they are minors.  It is our obligation to make many decisions for minors or they would "NOT" be minors would they?  Let's look at it another way.  As a male one may not care if the females want to come into the bathroom while a male is in there.  But, would the female students want a male walking in on them?  Not likely.  Males may have motives for their seemingly liberal answers.

  The precedence that could be made here is far reaching.  If Gavin is allowed to use the male students restrooms then what is to stop any female student going into the male students restroom with a male?  Here is the claim that can be made if she is caught.  She is a transgender male who is gay and went into the male's restroom with her gay male boyfriend.  Is Gavin a gay male transgender?  That question is not being brought up.   Again let's look at the idea as though this is a member of the staff at the school.  A female janitor who wants to clean the male students restrooms while the males are in there.  The female janitor's explanation is that she is a transgender male.  What is the decision now?  How is this different?  Do we make the same provisions for cross dressers?  Could start a real trend.

  There is a similar case right now in Texas.  A male who claims he is a female and wants to use the female student's locker room.  Oh but that is somehow different?  No it isn't.  It's morally wrong and the mainstream press not addressing these issues is equally morally wrong.  It is all a part of tearing down the moral fabric of this and every other country across the world.

  If Gavin can not use the men's restroom at Walmart or Lowes or any of the local restaurants then why should the school be any different?  It isn't.

This fight is nowhere over and it is best that people do get involved in this fight until it is finally put to rest.  Are we going to continue to allow the few to dominate the many on supposed conceptual arguments of rights?  Do we ignore the morals of this nation?  It is an adult's argument to begin with.  Minor's need to be protected here.  And how many people notice that every picture of Gavin, she is always wearing earrings?  Yes some males have earrings but most males that have earrings usually only have one ear pierced not both.  Gavin has both pierced and another facial piercing as well.  I am not buying her story.   The word heard on the street which we can not verify is that Gavin's parents are betting on receiving a lot of money from the lawsuits here so is that the main incentive?  It is also heard that they have plenty of plans on how they want to spend all of that money.   

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Page Middle School Designed Backward

Charles Records Recent Statement To Us:  " I am a Professional Engineer and Gloucester County Public Schools has employeed dozens of other Professional Engineers, licensed by theCommonwealth of Virginia, to design this project. As a Professional Engineer, our singular duty is to protect the Life, Safety, Health and Welfare of the General Public and it is not a duty I or any other Professional Engineer takes lightly. It is a slap in the face to suggest otherwise."

I am not sure if Charles Records was taking responsibility with the above statement but either way I find it funny as all get out and I am going to explain why in this article.  The school was designed backward from everything we are looking at.  Let me explain this in detail here and show some more serious issues because of this backward design.

  From what we remember of the information about the design of this school Dr Ben Kiser traveled to Finland where he did some studies of their school designs and was apparently so impressed for some reason he wanted to build the same type of school here.  So what we need to do is actually look at the reason why anyone would want to copy FInland's model, especially when you take into consideration that Finland is a very cold country.  Much colder there than it gets here.  Summers as I understand it get into the 70's.

  But there like here, winter months have much shorter days than summer does.  So the objective is to maximize sunlight for several reasons.  One of many reasons for maximizing sunlight is for mental health.  Depression due to a lack of sunlight is a common issue in Finland.  It is not as bad here but has merit all the same.  The other is energy savings.  By maximizing sunlight, you can cut back on heating costs.  Heating is not as expensive as cooling.

  So how do you maximize sunlight?  You build your structures with a lot of glass.  You want that glass on the southern side to capture the maximum amount of sunlight as possible throughout the day.  Where is the majority of the glass in Page Middle School?  It's ............ on the northern and eastern side of the building.   It minimizes the amount of sunlight, not maximizes it.  Just like seen in the picture above.  The picture above was taken at about 3:00 PM in the beginning of September the 3rd to be exact.  Now come December through March, where we have the shortest days of the year, this is going to be a dark area instead of filled with light the way they are built in Finland.

  In Finland, during the warm months, their structures have canopies or awnings to block excessive sunlight from coming in to minimize their cooling expenses.  Page Middle School lacks these awnings, but since the glass is on the northern side, it does not need them as it is not maximizing the sunlight.  So what we are now doing is trying to heat and cool a structure that maximizes expenses and minimizes savings when it should be doing just the opposite.

  This creates a number of other issues that equally maximizes our expenses and minimizes savings.  As we already pointed out the maximum amount of sunlight is on the southern side of a structure.  The northern side has the least amount of sunlight coming in.  Again what does that mean?  With Page being over 2 stories high, shadows are maximized on the northern side of the building.  So what?  During the cold months the courtyards in the back of the school as well as the parking lot where the buses come and go is getting the least amount of sunlight which means it gets the maximum amount of freezing time.

  When little Johnny and Sally are getting off the buses or on the buses, this is the area with the maximum amount of frozen ground and potential ice problems.  The front of Page which gets the maximum amount of southern sun will be the safest areas to walk.  But that is not where the majority of the students will be coming and going.  The majority will be subject to the worst areas of the property.  This also means that the school board will have to use more chemicals to keep the areas free of ice and snow.  Anyone know what those chemicals do to concrete and asphalt?  It deteriorates them at a very accelerated rate.

Again as seen in the above picture, the maximum amount of sun is not being produced as the design is backward.  This is the northern side of Page Middle School.  Picture taken from the second floor looking out into one of the courtyards.

  During the short months, this will be the shadow view of about 11:00 AM.  The glass on that back north western corner is just not producing any sunlight at all for the open design.  Instead it maximizes cold which maximizes costs and minimizes comfort of the students, teachers, and staff as well as minimizes savings.

And the lack of a drop ceiling is yet another question as to why anyone would want this?  The purpose of a drop ceiling is to minimize heating and cooling expenses.  Instead we have wide open ceilings that maximizes costs and sacrifices comfort for everyone.  Is it more appealing?  That is up to the individual to consider.

The mantra we keep hearing from the school board is that it is now all water under the bridge and we need to be proud of this new school.  The more we continue to look at it the more we see it as the "THE GREAT MONUMENT TO STUPIDITY."

  Now if Charles Records has a reason why the design of the school is the way it is and how it is saving us money instead of costing us more money than it should we would love to hear it and we will be happy to publish it.   To us it looks like it was designed backward which is costing us all a lot more than it should at so many levels.  We look forward to hearing from Charles Records on this or anyone else who has sound reasons for this design.

  Let us make one thing very clear.  As far as construction goes we have no issues with what we have seen so far.  From the looks of it, Oyster Point Construction Company, did an outstanding job with the designs they had to work with.  They should be commended for the quality of the work.  We are not questioning any area of the construction.  We are questioning a great deal of the design work.  We do not doubt that safety was taken into consideration as far as implementing the design work.  It's the many areas where the design simply is not appropriate for a Middle School and its students, teachers and staff, or where costs are concerned and we have seen a number of areas where there are, in our opinion, final design flaws that need to be addressed right away with some we have only reported to county authorities.  And with that said, this is why we call Page Middle School, The Great Monument To Stupidity.

  We are nowhere near done with our reports on issues we see and keep hearing about regarding Page Middle School.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Gloucester School Board Upset Over Safety Concerns of Page Middle School

There are a number of people on the Gloucester County School Board whom are upset with the safety concerns we have raised and seem to think that the new school does not have any of the safety issues we have raised.  In a few areas they are correct.  For one, we were not made aware of the safety bars on the gates in the back.  When we walked through the area, gates that were closed were locked.  One was open that we went through.  We did not give it a thorough inspection to see how they actually worked.

Most people seem to think that not one student would ever think of trying to climb the fences in the back of the building.  Well we hope not.  They are designed to make it extremely difficult to consider climbing.  Trees are also not where one wants their children, preteens, teenagers, offspring, to be but many parents have found them in the trees anyway.

  The good news for everyone is that these gates do open from the inside using a push bar.  So they will not get trapped in the courtyards if there is ever a fire.

  To address the issue of how does the school get the handicapped students out of the building especially if they are on the second floor?  Troy Anderson made sure I received the below picture.

Troy explained that there are 4 of these stationed at each stairwell and at the media center.  I asked how many handicapped students the school has but did not receive an answer.  I wanted to know if 4 was enough.  Also, I want to know exactly how these are used.  No answer.  I have more questions regarding these.  
If there are more than 4 handicapped students at the school and should a real emergency ever occur, then who makes the decision who goes first?  What are the plans if these have to be used?  Will the students go down one side of the staircase while this is being used on the other side of the staircase?  From the picture shown on the Stryker, how will the person handling it maintain their own balance?

  Have any of the teachers been trained to use any of these?  Are certain teachers selected as primary handlers of these units?  Are there backup or secondary teachers who will take over the job should the primary teachers be unavailable?  Are there plans for drills utilizing these units?  

  We plan on getting the answers to these questions and we will publish that information as soon as we get it.  

  What still bothers us is the rails on the second floor and that stupid open floor plan.  I will say that aesthetically it looks nice but there are reasons schools were not built like this in the past.  It's not that it was "not" thought about it was considered dangerous for many reasons.  Our initial post we thought the rails were about 36 inches.  After looking at a picture taken but not posted we recalculated and estimated about 40 inches.  Charles Records informed us that they are 42 inches.  So that is 3 and a half feet tall.  I don't care if they are 6 feet tall.  In a Middle School my opinion is that they are very dangerous.  If you can throw a heavy bookbag over the top then whomever might be below can be very seriously hurt or worse.

  But there are some people who honestly think this would never happen.  I don't think accidents will ever happen but life likes to prove me wrong all the time.  Folks on the school board think that this is just some reason to complain for fun.  One of the students in this school is one of my own children.  My concern is the safety of not only my own, but everyone.  This school is a monument to stupidity.

Big Brother Is Watching:

Sold to you as, "for the safety of the students and teachers", these cameras have been mounted all over the place to make sure we have a record of anything that may occur.  If they are not doing anything wrong, then they have nothing to worry about.  On the other side of this coin, I want internet access to these cameras 24/7.  These cameras need to be in all the classrooms, teachers lounges, the Principle and Vice Principles offices, the cafeteria, break rooms, the kitchen, the gym and the workout room, and all back work rooms and storage.  They should also have full audio.

  In the event that certain teachers or the Principle and or Vice Principle have private meetings with parents then there should be a privacy mute option at that point for the audio only.  Again all cameras should be internet accessible for the entire Gloucester County public.  Now if they want to argue the privacy concerns, all I have to say is that if they are not doing anything wrong then there should not be any issues.  Also, if the School Board wants to argue the costs well all I have to say is they did not argue the costs for when they put these in.  Also were any of the public asked about whether or not we wanted these?  No?

  This is 1984 Orwellian despotism and not Constitutional Government.  No one needs to be spied on under the guise of safety.  But of course unless you are seeking to control the students in a quasi militant manner removing their self respect and dignity then this is the way to go about it.  Quash their individuality and turn them into machines that simply obey.  Then you have machines ready to work in the new progressive workforce where questions are never asked and assignments are happily accepted and acted upon.  One can learn to be happy in their new slavery.

The folks at the School Board want to sell you on their concept that the new Page Middle School is something to be proud of.  In my own opinion it is appalling on so many levels.  Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, yes, in some cases but that does not make it safe or sound.  These are my questions, opinions and or concerns and not everyone is going to share and or agree with them and that is fine.  That is part of what makes life more interesting.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Charles Records Response To Us About Page Middle School

Mr. Thompson, Thanks for the opportunity to comment on your last story concerning Page Middle School. Here is my response in its entirety to ensure no editorial liberties are taken. Good Morning Mr. Thompson,

Thanks for your message asking me to respond to your article concerning Page Middle School. I would be happy to take you and any other citizen of Gloucester County on a tour of the new building at anytime to dispel many of the false statements you have made in the story which I have included below for reference. It behoves the both of us to represent the truth, for me as an elected official, and you as a journalist.

I will try to respond to each of the items you mention as follows:

1. Fence at Rear of Building - The fencing is 6’ high and has capped tops on each individual newel post and baluster. In the event children are climbing on it, as you suggest, we have another problem which is supervision of our students. I have gotten to know the Staff at all of our schools and I don’t believe any of us have to worry about inadequate supervision. I also question the standards that you may think our children have. Our middle school students do use common sense and are generally well behaved.  (I might agree with you if you have one teacher per student.  Otherwise I just can not go along with the idea that 1 teacher can watch 25 students all at the same time.  Also, if the children, preteens, teenagers, offspring, are in fact as well behaved as you suggest, then I guess we will not see any form of detention this year for any of them?)

2. Railing Heights - The top of the railing astragals at Page Middle School are 42” high, not 3’.  (I corrected that in the last article as we did a measurement based on a photo that is not online.  We figured about 40 inches and will measure it with your tour.  Thank you.)

3. Lockers next to Railings - The Locker is in essence just like the railing, 42” high. If a student climbs on the lockers, or the railings for that matter, I would have the same response at Item #1.  (See 2. above.)

4. Mortified Engineer - I’m unsure of who your engineer is, as you didn’t identify them by name. I would wonder if they are a Licensed Professional Engineer or not. I am a Professional Engineer and Gloucester County Public Schools has employeed dozens of other Professional Engineers, licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, to design this project. As a Professional Engineer, our singular duty is to protect the Life, Safety, Health and Welfare of the General Public and it is not a duty I or any other Professional Engineer takes lightly. It is a slap in the face to suggest otherwise.  (You can speak with him at the next meeting between the BoS and School board joint meeting.)

5. Visible Escape Routes - As you mention "A question that has been brought to my attention is how did the school board manage to get a certificate of occupancy especially when there are no visible escape routes and or facilities for handicapped children that might be on the second floor? None." There are visible safety route signs placed strategically throughout the entire building. No less than 250 safety evacuation route signs exist and there are also another 90 exit signs that are lit in the event of a power failure to identify exit locations. I have attached a few pictures that show exactly what you say doesn’t exist. The pictures are of appurtenances to safely get physically disabled people from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor in the event of an emergency.  (Signs are not the concern.  Nice deflection.  How are you going to move handicapped children out if an emergency comes about and especially if they are on the second floor.)

You also go on to state, "If a fire should engulf the front of the building, the children will be locked in an outdoor courtyard that is fully fenced in with locked gates trapping them from being able to get out to safety.” This statement is ridiculously inaccurate. In the event of a fire at the front of the Building, the kids would exit the building into the rear courtyards and simply push the bar on the gate and walk through it. The gates operate just like any other commercial door, push the bar to exit. They aren’t locked from the inside, they are locked to the outside. This functionality also serves another important purpose and that is to keep unwanted guests from entering the building.  (This is good to know.  We did not get that part of the tour.  Have no issues being corrected here as our only interest is that of the public.)

With respect to the Certificate of Occupancy, it is appalling to suggest that anything other than the typical course of Occupancy was completed. To do so is reckless. What exactly do you mean to infer, when the State Fire Marshall, the Gloucester County Building Official, County Inspectors, Licensed and Bonded Contractors, School Board members, School Staff, Engineers, Architects and Private Third Party Inspectors have worked diligently to satisfy the myriad of design and building code requirements for a building of this kind? (That is real simple, please address 5 above and I want to thank you for the list of who is responsible should an accident befall any student due to what many consider a poor design and implementation of those 2nd floor rails.  My concern is the safety of the students and you are a pompous ass to word the above the way you have.  I must remind you that you are the public servant who answers to the people and not us who dare question stupidity.  May I suggest you take a course on the US Constitution through my friend Gary Porter who offers these and are published on this site.)

6. News Coverage - The News Station covered the Open House for one simple reason. We used to have another Middle School, 4 years ago it was destroyed by a tornado and it devastated our community. We have built a new school and it was opened to students for the first time. (That was just ridiculous on your part to even go there.)

7. Open Space in Building - The building design will stand the test of time and will be judged by it. Could it have been designed differently? Sure. Does it have high ceilings and large corridors? Yes. Is it something we should be proud of now that it is complete? Yes. I was a vocal private citizen when this was all being planned but, at the end of the day, the building is done. Adults have argued their points for nearly 4 years but now - the more important part - it is complete and What do the kids think about it? I am unsure if you noticed when you attended the Open House but the kids were amazed by it, The first day of school was flawless and the kids were amazed by it. Today they will walk in and they will be amazed by it. So while you, and many others I’m sure, still want to continue the contentiousness…it is over, water under the bridge. We can now, in the coming months, reflect and learn from the entire process to ensure several things are done differently for the next project, but this project is complete. 

 (Okay, let's really address this shall we?  We fought with the school board and the board of supervisors over many issues here and it was railroaded through regardless of what any of the people thought.  No one in the public were told what the interior designs would look like or that the county had plans for wasting taxpayer money so foolishly.  Proud of the school?  I am seriously thinking of taking my own out of it for safety reasons.  I only need one good reason at this point.)

8. Exercise Room - Childhood Obesity is a serious problem that we need to try to solve, this fitness room hopefully will help to those ends. As your pictures show, most of the equipment is for cardiovascular exercise and will be integrated into our Program of Studies in Middle School which also aligns with the curriculum at our High School.  (What medical doctors were consulted here?  From what I am seeing online through medical experts, you need an experienced weight trainer to design specific programs per person here.  Do you have such a person?  I will check with my own doctor for further information.)

9. Safety in General - 2 story school buildings are not uncommon throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia or the entire Nation. See above.  (And where did that come from?  That was just ......well...... not needed.  But gee, thanks all the same.  I went to several of them.  Another of your pompous ass comments)

With respect to the Waterline at Page Middle School, I offer the following - Mr. Hogge sent the School Board and Board of Supervisors several messages concerning the inadequate cover over the pipe, Mr. Hutchinson’s latest response, which you published, explained exactly what we plan to do to remedy the situation. Mr. Hogge’s response was as follows:

"Outstanding!! This is very good news. Great work!! Thank you Mr. Hutchinson, and please thank everyone involved. - Kenny"

Why don’t you publish that? I’m guessing because it doesn’t “sell” the story.
(I am going to love this.  Here is why Charles.  You are NOT privy to private conversations between Mr Hogge and myself.  So let me clue you in.  Kenny's statement above is in regards to making sure that those responsible for having screwed up the 16 inch pipes being disturbed after being put in the first time is what the comment refers to.  What you are not aware of is that Kenny's personal opinion and I restate "OPINION" is that those pipes can break at anytime causing massive flooding due to the joints being disturbed causing a weakening of those pipes.  Then it might turn out to be a great idea that the mountain of dirt was left so that the students and teachers have some place to escape to.)

As an aside, it appears your blog has been created to promote transparency, yet from my viewpoint, shows your discontent. The title of the two articles alone; “Page Middle School, Serious Life Threatening Concerns to Consider” and “The Waterline at Page Middle School: Disaster Waiting to Happen Here Too?” is typical of media sensationalism to a degree that questions your integrity as a journalist. I’ve attached both articles for your reference. As a member of an elected Board we are no strangers to criticism but I would like to remind you of an old saying: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." This particular story asserts facts that are blatantly false as highlighted above. (You have only corrected one area that I see after we did so.  You have not corrected any facts.  What we do on this site is done to protect the people from potentially corrupt government and inform the people of what is going on in the community.  Can you please explain to me as we publish articles and ask a lot of questions, various members of staff from the county continue to leave?  Wait, don't tell me, it's all a coincidence right?)

I look forward to scheduling an appointment with you to discuss/tour Page Middle School if you have any further questions. In the event you choose to use my response in a sensational way on your blog, consider this our last correspondence. (Gee, what happened to the statement you made about transparency?  I would not call this a sensational use of your comments.  It is only fair that I show both sides of the story.  This statement shows that you were purposely trying to avoid having your ridiculous statements shown the light of day and that you are truly a pompous ass.  Does this mean you will now purposely hide facts from the public?  I guess this will not help your re election campaign?  Also, does this mean the offer for you giving us a tour is now off?  I really want to film that.  And one other area, you forgot to mention is that your invitation for response was in fact meant for the public to see on this site.  That has to hurt.)

Have a great day,
Charles Records
Vice Chairman
Gloucester County School Board

Thank you Charles for taking the time to address our concerns.  I am sorry if we do not agree on various areas.  Our concerns are the students and the parents.  I am not sure of yours however except to limit liability of the school which one could argue is looking out for the public's interest as it is the public that always pays for everything that government does whether it is right or wrong.  

One final area I would like to address is the 2 story open floor plan and how this is a huge waste of taxpayer money as it raises the heating and cooling costs exponentially.  With the federal and state government putting out a lot of pressure for going green to save energy costs and usage, how does this ridiculous design fit within a green environment?  Or is the government lying to us?  That would seem a fair question.  But I am sure someone has a spin for this to make it sound as though this design is in fact green.

That is a very large area to have to heat and cool.  That is also some very serious equipment outside to do such a job.  Gloucester County School Board.  Now you know.