The Montclair Education Association on the Glenfield Incident

BY  |  Tuesday, May 07, 2013 10:45am  |  COMMENTS (60)

Montclair Education AssociationWhile Glenfield parents in attendance at yesterday’s Parent-Moderated Meeting supported Principal Charles Miller and were angry with the Superintendent  it seems the teachers and staff at Glenfield feel differently.  Barista Kids anonymously received a letter dated April 28, 2013 purported to be from Montclair Education Association (MEA) president Gayl Shepard to Superintendent Dr. Penny MacCormack providing a chronology of the Glenfield Middle School BB Gun incident, saying that “Mr. Miller’s judgement is seriously in question,”  and asking for a meeting with the staff, Superintendent, Mr. Miller, School Action Team and Glenfield PTA.

In the timeline, Shepard lists what she states was relayed to her by Glenfield staff.  Some of the charges are:

  • This incident occurred on Wednesday , April 24, 2013 at approximately 7:45a.m. Mr. Miller did not communicate with the Glenfield staff until Thursday , April 25, 2013 at approximately 2:15p.m.  (far more than 24 hours had elapsed at this point).  At which time, he reassured the Glenfield staff that he was in communication with Central Office on Wednesday morning every 15 minutes.
  • On Wednesday , April 24 , 2013 , Glenfield Middle School was not placed into “lockdown” mode and the Montclair Police Department was not notified. How are Mr. Miller’s actions in keeping with the advice and counsel of the Stonegate Associates with whom we contract for the safety of our buildings and in accordance with , but not limited to, the New Jersey Administrative Code (“N.J.A.C.”) sections 6A:16- 1 et seq. ; N.J.A.C. 6A:16- 5.5 et seq. ; and N.J.A.C. 6A:16- 6.3 et seq.
  • There were three (3) students involved in this incident.  One of the students offered to conceal the BB gun for his friend and return it to him at the end of the school day so his friend would not get into trouble.”  We understand that the security  personnel found this student and retrieved the BB gun from him.  Initially this student was commended by Mr. Miller for his actions .  Also , the student did not face disciplinary action .
  • The student who brought the BB gun to school claims that he brought the BB gun to school in response to alleged bullying at the hands of the third student involved. Initially there was no HIB report made.
  • In addition, we understand that the alleged bully was allowed to attend a field trip on Thursday , April 25 , 2013 and that his consequence is merely suspension from riding the bus for 15 days , rather than initializing procedures pursuant to the Intimidation , harassment and bullying as indicated in N.J.A.C . 6A:16 -7.9.
  • We have received reports that Mr. Miller discharged the BB gun in his office twice.  School personnel was present on both occasions and one of those occasions involved a student.
  • We have also learned that Mr. Miller returned the BB gun to the parent and advised her to “get rid’ of the BB gun.
  • We have learned that Mr. Miller advised the House teachers of the student who brought the BB gun to school , not to discuss this incident with anyone, which includes Glenfield staff members.

When asked for confirmation that she did indeed write and send the letter on April 28, Gayl Shepard, replied, “I have no comment at this time.  Thank you.”

On Thursday, May 2, Dr. MacCormack sent out an email announcing Mr. Miller’s resignation.

On Friday, May 3, Dr. MacCormack announced two Parent-Moderated Meetings to discuss the incident.

On Monday, May 6, Dr. MacCormack read a statement of events at the Parent-Moderated meeting describing, in as much detail as she said was legally allowed, a timeline of the incident.

60 Comments

  1. POSTED BY stu  |  May 07, 2013 @ 11:06 am

    Let me be the first to point the finger at the Penny MacCormack and the Broad Academy for clouding the poor judgement exhibited by the former Glenfield School principal. By association, Samantha Morra was also a victim of the Broad Academy and their pro-charter tactics. Going forward, every incident should be blamed on the new superintendent. If your kid left his lunchbox at home, why that’s Penny’s fault. If his or her school bus is late, Penny’s fault too. God forbid a library book gets lost, well you know who is to blame.

  2. POSTED BY spridgets  |  May 07, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    With no acknowledgment of its authenticity, this letter is as likely to be a smear attempt as it is a summary of facts or allegations.

  3. POSTED BY truthsayer  |  May 07, 2013 @ 11:46 am

    Most of statements in this letter are facts. However one needs to be clearly corrected. The alleged bully was not a bully, Mr. Miller never presented any documented facts to support this charge. That is what Dr. MacCormack was eluding to yesterday when she spoke about the alleged bully. Trust me no bullying here, which eventually will be proven true. That’s why the boy went where he belonged on a field trip. As to a few facts missing in the above letter. Teachers were not aware at that time, that the father of the boy who a verbal threat was made against was never told about that threat when he spoke to Mr. Miller on Wednesday.He only found when he came home and his son told him. Also at 8am Thursday, the boy’s father began begging for the police to called and parents and teachers to be informed… That didn’t happen … at that point this was no longer a mistake… I leave you to your own conclusions.

  4. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2013 @ 11:50 am

    “Shepard lists what she states was relayed to her by Glenfield staff. Some of the charges are:”

    Why not transcribe the whole letter? Something in it, you don’t like Georgette?

    “No comment”? Did she object to your running the letter printed on her letterhead? Is it signed? Was that one question the sum-total of your conversation? Do tell…

    Why would the MEA president “Provide a timeline” of events. Was she there? Or is this some kind of CYA “compilation”?

    This stinks to high heaven and the LACK of reporting on Baristanet raises more questions than it answers.

  5. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    “Baristanet: all the news someone told us anonymously was true.”

  6. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

    P.s.

    It sure would go a long way in determining the reasonableness (or not) or Mr. Miller’s actions to know precisely which model of toy gun was in use here. The brand name mentioned has products which are plastic pellets and a spring loaded harmless “gun” as well as CO2 metal BB’s which could be dangerous.

    How’s the investigative journalism process going on that score?

  7. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  May 07, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

    Right of Center,

    What part of the NJ State law’s definition of a firearm don’t you understand? It has been accepted that the student brought in a “firearm” according to the law. Everyone discussing (Superintendent, Principal, MEA, Glenfield SAT….) is using the term BB gun. The only place that it has been called a pellet gun is in the Times reportedly from the police. Who, btw, I have reached to numerous times by phone and email, and have not returned my calls. But it doesn’t matter if it was a BB gun or a Pellet gun. It is a firearm under the regulation.

  8. POSTED BY truthsayer  |  May 07, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    It should also be pointed that labeling the boy a bully was another mistake in protocol Mr. Miller made. The charges should been submitted to the superintend and reviewed by the HIB. He made a rush to judgement in less than two hours all by himself. The question is why?

  9. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    I’m not after the law. I’m interested in forming my own opinion about Mr. Miller’s actions. If the “gun” was spring loaded and harmless I’ll make one conclusion and it’s one of those high-powered CO2 metal pellet guns capable of inflicting real harm I’ll form another opinion. Me-forming-my-own-opinion crazy huh? Back in the day, that was the goal of journalism, people forming their own opinions armed with facts.

    Your disinterest in the subject of, you know, reporting facts is all too common in this era of issue-”journalism”.

    I find it interesting the he supposedly fired the gun in his office. I suspect it was in some attempt to determine the danger inherent in the “weapon”. I’m guessing he probably wanted to determine the appropriate course before destroying a child’s education and reputation over something not harmful.

    I get it Georgette. You (and others) don’t want principals (or anyone) to exercise judgement. You want a simple black and white RULE anyone can mindlessly follow because IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!!

    But it sure would be nice to see some basic facts reported, even despite the disinterest of the reporter.

  10. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    “It should also be pointed that labeling the boy a bully was another mistake in protocol Mr. Miller made.”

    Where did he do that? Has there been a statement or report of any kind other than the anonymous letter posted above?

    Georgette, an anonymous commenter has confirmed a claim made in an anonymous letter – I think you have your next headline!

  11. POSTED BY truthsayer  |  May 07, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

    Miller wrote a letter citing those accusations the day of the incident. Just the facts jack!

  12. POSTED BY truthsayer  |  May 07, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

    Mr.Miller wrote a letter citing those accusations the day of the incident. Just the facts jack!

  13. POSTED BY alic314  |  May 07, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    ROC- really, you should meet with Georgette and the other folks at baristanet and take this one up person to person, in a more civil manner, off line.
    This is getting to be a bit too much.

  14. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

    “Miller wrote a letter citing those accusations the day of the incident. Just the facts jack!”

    Yeah? Where is that, exactly. I’ve only seen comments and parents speculating in new reports saying that. Where, exactly, did Miller “label the boy a bully” ? You said it. Is it based on anything concrete?

  15. POSTED BY cameyer  |  May 07, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

    Baristanet has seen fit to post verbatim and uncritically the statement from McCormack, and now posts charges from the NEA, irrespective of whether they can be substantiated. Miller, presumably, is no position to give his side of the story. As nothing on the internet really ever goes away, Baristanet is not only making Miller educator non grata in Montclair, but also torpedo-ing his chances to work anywhere else as an educator or, for that matter, in any other capacity. There are plenty of professional journalists in Montclair. You may want to get their thoughts as to whether this blogging meets journalistic standards, even in this era of Fox News.

  16. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  May 07, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

    “is not only making Miller educator non grata in Montclair, but also torpedo-ing his chances to work anywhere else as an educator or, for that matter, in any other capacity.”

    Precisely. And THAT is “un-civil” in multiple senses of the word.

  17. POSTED BY peoplecare4  |  May 07, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

    MacCormack leaking this letter to you…substantiated or not…her motives are clear as day….This act is so revealing of her character! She appears desperate. A cheap, low-blow. This woman plays dirty. I do not want her in charge of my schools or my kids…not even my enemies kids.

  18. POSTED BY stu  |  May 07, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

    “MacCormack leaking this letter to you”

    Please see the first post on this thread. Mr. Miller blew it. Penny had no choice. Sorry you can’t see it this way. Everything else is conjecture.

  19. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 07, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

    Whether or not this is a firearm is still an open issue for some of us. The 1pm meeting yesterday didn’t close this issue, though the superintendent indicated that the precise model of device would shortly be released, the release of which would close the issue.

    The relevant part of the law is “It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature…ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person”. The aspect open to question is “to injure a person”. As far as I’ve seen, this has not been shown to be (or not be {8^) the case.

    I have to add as an aside that the definition bothers me. A feather can cause injury if used to poke someone in the eye. The definition above therefore includes straws (which can be used to launch spitballs which can injure one’s eye). To use so ill-defined a phrase like that in a law is sloppy. Are we to lock down the school every time a straw is found in someone’s lunch box?

    As for the letter described by this article, it’s…interesting from an epistemological perspective. An anonymously submitted letter claiming to be a collection of hearsay including multiple “We have received reports” and “we have learned” hedges. This isn’t to say that it’s not newsworthy, nor am I being critical of it being published. There’s no presumption of truth regarding the letter (though there is a mistaken presumption of truth regarding the claim that it comes from the MEA).

    I certainly hope that the district’s actions with respect to Mr. Miller were not driven by such hearsay, rumor, or supposition. There was an investigation by a BOE (not district) lawyer. I hope he or she gathered information with more credibility and authentication than this.

    …Andrew

  20. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 07, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

    Nobody seems to be discussing the issue that is, to me, the most deeply ironic. Had we no, or weaker, tenure for principals, it is possible that Mr. Miller would not have had to resign.

    The issue, according to the 1pm meeting yesterday, is that there’s no real “middle ground” between his departure and his staying and receiving tenure at the end of this year. Let’s assume, for example, that a reasonable “middle ground” response might have been to “put him on probation for a year” (for example). That would violate the terms regarding the tenuring of principals.

    I’d opine that this definitely falls into the realm of “unintended consequences”.

    …Andrew

  21. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 07, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

    “MacCormack leaking this letter to you”

    This statement fits well in a thread started with an anonymously submitted letter containing unsubstantiated allegations, supposition, and hearsay.

    …Andrew

  22. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 07, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

    “Baristanet is not only making Miller educator non grata in Montclair, but also torpedo-ing his chances to work anywhere else as an educator or, for that matter, in any other capacity.”

    I don’t see it this way. To consider this an attack on Mr. Miller, one must ignore (1) the anonymous nature of the submission and (2) the equivocal language within the letter itself.

    In fact, if one were to accept the validity of the letter (that it was in fact authored by the MEA), then I’d not be surprised to learn that someone had sent it to defend Mr. Miller. The statements in the letter are so weak, it would call into question any action based upon it. That the MEA had sent it (again: this being the assumption for the moment) w/o providing any real verifiable fact – identifying the staff members and student before whom Mr. Miller supposedly discharged the weapon, for example – suggests a lack of substance, which in turn raises the issue of the agenda being served.

    Thus, if anything, I see this as an attack on the MEA and – to a lessor degree – on the actions of the district which *might* have been based upon the information in this letter.

    …Andrew

  23. POSTED BY mahalo  |  May 07, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

    I wonder how much of the (alleged) underplaying of this incident is due to the fact that Glenfield was in the midst of the NJASK. Perhaps Miller was trying to balance notifications with not interrupting the testing in a way that would have invalidated everyone’s work. If he had locked down the school over a plastic gun, I wonder how pleased the staff and Superintendent would have been when all the scores were thrown out and our kids had to waste another week of learning on standardized tests. Safety is critical, but as Andrew said, it’s unclear if we were talking about real danger or not. Just a thought.

  24. POSTED BY angryrabbit  |  May 07, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

    I don’t know Principal Miller–and from the limited information available about this incident, I have no basis for being either for or against his resignation.

    But I do have a more complete picture of how Dr. MacCormack responded, and I am deeply uncomfortable with what I’ve learned. And I think her response should be treated as a seperate issue from Principal Miller’s resignation.

    There was a firearm on a campus (perhaps not a terribly lethal one, but Dr. MacCormack makes it clear that NJ law doesn’t make a distinction.) Why on earth didn’t she get to the school ASAP? Why on earth didn’t she call the police herself to see what they had to say about the situation? Why did she continue to go about her day as if nothing relevant had happened?

    She says that the principal should be able to handle these situations when they occur, but really? Are we acting like a gun at a school is such a minor occurrence that the superintendent shouldn’t be inconvenienced by it? I’m relatively new to the area, and come from a place with a much more active gun culture. But even there, on its gun-happiest day, her lack of action on the day of this incident would be viewed as nuts.

    She should be held accountable in the same way the Glenfield principal was held accountable. An independent investigator should examine how she handled the incident and make sure she followed the proper protocols. And if she did, well…God save the children, because that’s a pretty weak response.

  25. POSTED BY booker  |  May 07, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

    I agree, angryrabbit, Ms. MacCormack seems to have behaved unusually passively about a critical situation and she deserves censure or at the very least an investigation into her action – or rather inaction. At yesterday’s meeting she noted several times that she has to oversee 11 schools as if that is an excuse for not focusing on what happened at Glenfield. Well, only one school had a situation involving a gun that day and she should have made it an absolute priority to respond immediately and ascertain what had been done.

  26. POSTED BY mtcliving  |  May 07, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

    I completely agree with angryrabbit!! Why is no one talking about Dr. MacCormack’s failure in all of this? If she received a call that there was a gun at school I don’t care what she’s in the middle of of – she should get over there and figure out what’s going on! She should be in touch with the police immediately!

    This is extremely disconcerting to me and should be to all montclair parents, regardlesss of your opinion on Principal Miller.

  27. POSTED BY truthsayer  |  May 07, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

    Two points: Right of Center: the letter exists, trust me.. and honestly my friend you sound like a very disciplined person. What creates discipline are rules. Trust me Miller broke everyone. As to Dr. MacCormack , she like others trusted him and he clearly played down the incident by not providing her all the facts.. Her going there immediatley is not the issue. Proper protocol, he should of picked up the phone and dialed 911 the second her heard what is clearly defined as a FIREARM under establsihed protocol… Time to move a little left my friend.

  28. POSTED BY truthsayer  |  May 07, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

    Lastly why dont all of you call the parents of Sandy Hook and ask them about what they link of this disturbing firearm debate. Think about it!

  29. POSTED BY booker  |  May 07, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

    In Ms. MacCormack’s own words: “On the morning of Wednesday, April 24, a Glenfield student brought a BB gun onto the school bus and then onto school grounds. When the bus arrives (sic) at the school, another student on the bus who had seen the BB gun told the principal. The principal then took a number of steps: he took action that led to the confiscation of the BB gun….”

    That the gun was confiscated is an important fact – it is the goal of the legislation and protocols. Mr. Miller’s actions may have prevented the injury of the alleged bully – or other students.

    By the way, in yesterday’s meeting, Ms. MacCormack said that the event (Mr. Miller’s resignation) is not directly correlated to bullying.

    Mr. Miller made errors — that have not been specifically revealed — for which he was put in a position that led to his resignation. But, Ms. MacCormack is also accountable as Mr. Miller’s direct report. I find it curious that she does not seem to have responded quickly and asked questions immediately about what happened and what was being done. What protocol was she supposed to have followed? She seems to have taken a pretty relaxed attitude about a gun in the school until she started receiving phone calls and (apparently) a letter from the MEA.

  30. POSTED BY sohobound  |  May 07, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

    Truthsayer,
    “Lastly why dont all of you call the parents of Sandy Hook and ask them about what they link of this disturbing firearm debate. Think about it!”

    I completely agree with your sentiment.

    As a child, I once had a shotgun pointed directly in my face. The gun holder’s defense was “it wasn’t loaded” when the police got involved. Fortunately, the LAW and the COPS had my back. It was irrelevant whether the gun could cause damage or not. I’m guessing is similar in this situation, the law doesn’t distinguish between guns that might hurt, could hurt, could really hurt or could cause death. Given all the crazy shootings going on around the country in schools I’m grateful the laws are like this.

    The focus should be in the teaching, “if you see something say something”. Let the detectives do the research and due process handle things. We as parents, are not privy to all the details, know all the laws or have the experience to be the judge and jury about how this was handled.

  31. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 08, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    I remain shocked that so many want to move away from the most important issue- the reason Miller was fired- that he failed to follow the simple protocol regarding the most dangerous situation a principal might face.

    The gun, the letter, the Super, all of it is a side issue. He failed to follow procedure. Those parsing every step OTHER folks did, or the exact “type” of “firearm” fails to put the responsibility where it rests: in Mr. Miller.

    Moreover, that he accepted, and has remained silent only tells me that perhaps there is even more details harmful to his reputation that have not been made public.

    I again applaud our Super and Board for firing him as quickly as they did. Because I do no want the little prof in a school where a Principal fails to follow 3 simple steps. (And I won’t even address the accusation of him firing the gun, which, if true, was reason enough BECAUSE I do not want my educators determining whether or not something is a “firearm.” That’s why the policy has them calling the police.

  32. POSTED BY booker  |  May 08, 2013 @ 7:08 am

    Yeah, why don’t you call the parents of Sandy Hook and ask them how they feel about a principal who took a gun away from a student BEFORE it could be used?

    Also, sohobound, it appears the ‘see something, say something’ teaching was firmly in place because students went to Mr. Miller to report that a student had a gun.

  33. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 08, 2013 @ 7:10 am

    — Though Andrew, if a feather is used as a dangerous instrument, I reserve the right to change my opinion.—

    Can you imagine THAT scenario? “Young Sally tossed, with a full wind-up, the Canadian Goose feather across the classroom, as it flew through the air, several students “ducked” out of the way, falling violently to the ground. But as it pierced the eyeball of little Justin, it became a dangerous projectile. The Principal quickly called, the police, the Super, and separated the student from the class.”

    “It was later determined that while only a feather, flung- with a full wind-up, it became a dangerous instrument.”

  34. POSTED BY sohobound  |  May 08, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    Booker- exactly my point. Kudos to the kid for speaking up.
    Prof- i agree with you. It wasn’t an air gun that fires nerf arrows, which is how many are making it sound. An air gun is illegal in NJ. Miller should have responded accordingly.

  35. POSTED BY sohobound  |  May 08, 2013 @ 8:20 am

    I should have said illegal in public in NJ.

  36. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  May 08, 2013 @ 8:27 am

    The law is very clear as to what Miller should have done upon getting this info. You may think that the law is overly restrictive, and maybe it is. But the fact remains that it is the law, Miller knew or should have known it, and he should have followed it.

    How many of his defenders would be his defenders if the kid with the BB gun (or whatever it was) had injured someone? Especially if that “someone” was their kid?

  37. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  May 08, 2013 @ 9:02 am

    School Superintendent MacCormack needs to be held responsible and accountable for this gun violation on school property, no less than Mr. Millar.

    Dr. MacCormack was informed by Principle Millar that a gun was found in a child’s possession on school property and she did not take steps to immediately ensure the safety of the school or to ensure that the police had been informed.

    Dr. MacCormack failed in her responsibilities for the safety of children in a degree no less than Mr. Millar. Her responsibility is indeed greater and so too her need for accountability.

    Once again Dr. MacCormack has failed in her leadership toward the children, the teachers, the administrators and the community.

  38. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 08, 2013 @ 9:09 am

    I don’t have a problem with the “anonymously” received letter, printed on the MEA President’s letterhead being reported. Not transcribed, but reported as the writer sees fit, which is what journalism is.

    Georgette did all that was required. She call Shepard to verify. Shepard said, “no comment.” That’s not a denial. Therefore, Georgette printed what she knew, highlighting the most obvious new piece of information: The Timeline. It’s what journalist do everyday.

    IF the statements are false, I look forward to someone correcting them- Georgette has no responsibility to “investigate” each claim. The claims were made by the MEA President. So if there is an issue with those statements, those objecting should directed at the MEA President, and to B’net if they desire.

    But what Georgette did here was perfectly fine and within the bounds of “journalism.”

  39. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 08, 2013 @ 9:15 am

    “He failed to follow procedure.”

    Actually, after last night’s meeting I no longer believe that this is the reason for his departure. One aspect about this that is so frustrating is the lack of information we’re receiving. Unfortunately, as far as I can see, this maintenance of our ignorance is mandated by law (and very possibly the right thing to do given privacy concerns).

    I’m pretty sure that I heard implied that Mr. Miller’s divergence from procedure, in at least one important aspect, was praise-worthy. There were other aspects of what occurred – aspects that remain unclear to us – which made his actions so problematic. My wife and I exchanged some wild theories as to what this might be, but that’s all any of us have: theories.

    Ms. Coke’s statements regarding the BOE’s perspective make it fairly clear that they each concur with the superintendent’s concerns about Mr. Miller following these events. I’ve had my agreements and disagreements with various BOE members over the years, but there’s no way I’d question the seriousness with which any and all of these fellow parents take security and safety issues.

    I could ask further questions such as how this might have been different had the tenure horizon not been hanging before him, but that’s really more a concern for the district and the principals when they next discuss their contract. If this was an issue, though, I hope they do find some way to introduce more flexibility into the process.

    …Andrew

  40. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 08, 2013 @ 9:27 am

    “Can you imagine THAT scenario?”

    This is the land of the hot-coffee lawsuit; I’ve no difficulty imagining that scenario.

    It’s a poorly written law. The relevant section is speaking of projectile launchers. Would it be so tough to use a measurable and objective definition such as (for example) the amount of force delivered, the speed of the projectile, or some such variables?

    And there’s still the question of the weapon status of the Bola Perdita (eg. a yo-yo).

    My recollection of the history of Capoeira is that it started as a martial art that could be practiced in plain sight of “the enemy” because they were fooled into thinking it was merely dancing. I wonder if the yo-yo has a similar purpose.

    …Andrew

  41. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 08, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    “Dr. MacCormack was informed by Principle Millar that a gun was found in a child’s possession on school property and she did not take steps to immediately ensure the safety of the school or to ensure that the police had been informed.”

    Dr. MacCormack had been informed by Mr. Miller that a BB gun had been confiscated from a child and that all procedures – which includes notification of the police – had been followed.

    You may disagree with her response to that notification, but misstating the information she had with which to work does not serve your position.

    There was a fellow last night that, after being told that the superintendent had instructed Mr. Miller to notify the police immediately upon learning that he’d not previously done so, started his statement with “so if you knew the police had not been notified for 48 hours before telling him…”. We may not [ever] have all the facts, but that doesn’t grant license to ignore the few that we do have, regardless of how convenient to one’s agenda that might be.

    …Andrew

  42. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  May 08, 2013 @ 11:02 am

    (FYI: The “hot coffee” incident had a patron spilling coffee on her hap, getting 3rd and 4th degree burns, she was hospitalized for 8 days and almost died. I like to live in a land where companies are responsible for their harmful acts.)

    And while I generally think many laws are written poorly, this one is as clear as most.

    Miller didn’t follow them. Miller is out. Despite how wonderful many folks think he is.

  43. POSTED BY angryrabbit  |  May 08, 2013 @ 11:18 am

    The Montclair Times referenced another letter that is purportedly from G. Shepard of the MEA. This letter references the New Jersey Administrative code section 6A:16-6.3, which includes the following:

    “Either the principal or the responsible staff member shall notify the chief school administrator, who in turn shall notify, as soon as possible, the county prosecutor or other law enforcement official designated by the county prosecutor to receive such information.”

    Did Dr. MacCormack do this? From her statements, it doesn’t sound like this happened for at least 48 hours. Otherwise, surely she would have learned from the county prosecutor or the designated law enforcement agent that Principal Miller had not contacted the police.

    Let me be clear, I’m not taking sides here. I don’t know Principal Miller or Dr. MacCormack. I have no strong feelings based on the available information on whether or not Principal Miller should have resigned. I am, however, uncomfortable with the evidence I’m seeing that Dr. MacCormack did not properly respond to the gun incident at Glenfield.

    This is, in my opinion, not a “side issue” to what Principal Miller did or did not do. Dr. MacCormack’s response is a separate issue, and an equally important one. It is possible that she dealt correctly with Principal Miller but did not respond correctly upon learning there had been a gun incident at the school. If she did not respond according to the administrative codes of New Jersey, then the BOE needs to address this immediately.

  44. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  May 08, 2013 @ 11:58 am

    agideon, Andrew, thank you for your response. But I do agree with angryrabbit that this is not a taking-sides issue nor is “an agenda” issue. I stated (the little) information that Dr. MacCormick provided, nothing more, nothing less.

    We need to hold the leadership responsible and accountable. This includes Principle Millar and School Superintendent MacCormack.

    I do not agree with you in believing that after a gun has been found at a school in Montclair the School Superintendent should feel comfortable carrying on with her regular agenda based on the statement “all procedures have been followed.” This is not responsible leadership and it shows a genuine lack of concern for the safety of staff and children under her responsibility.

    We need more facts and less conjecture. No one has yet heard Mr. Millar’s side of the story or the facts of what the School Superintendent did or did not do.

    Andrew, do you believe that when a gun appears on school property and it is reported to the School Superintendent, the community is wrong to ask for a full account of her response?

    We are waiting.

  45. POSTED BY glenfielddad  |  May 08, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

    There were clearly mistakes on Mr. Miller’s part. That being said, I think that there were also some errors on the part of the Super. The following excerpt from the MEA’s May 6 letter seems to clearly point to a significant failure of the Super:

    “…Shepard also questions how MacCormack’s response to the incident complies with New Jersey Administrative code section 6A:16-6.3. The code, as included in Shepard’s letter, includes the following.

    “Either the principal or the responsible staff member shall notify the chief school administrator, who in turn shall notify, as soon as possible, the county prosecutor or other law enforcement official designated by the county prosecutor to receive such information.”

    In light of this, the Super should be held accountable as Mr. Miller was held accountable. The above reference article could be found at the following link.

    http://www.northjersey.com/news/206482001_Montclair_Education_Association_pose_pointed_questions_to_superintendent.html

  46. POSTED BY glenfielddad  |  May 08, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

    My biggest concern now is how this mess will impact the the willingness of students to be forthcoming in reporting other potential risks. Would kids hesitate in the future in reporting these issues for fear that the “good guy” may “get in trouble.” I hope that we are spending a lot of time talking to our kids about this issue in a rationale and fair way.

  47. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 08, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

    “I stated (the little) information that Dr. MacCormick provided, nothing more, nothing less.”

    As I wrote, your statement is not consistent with what Dr. MacCormick provided in both meetings. She was informed that all procedures had been followed and that the weapon had been confiscated. Those procedures include notification of the police.

    You wrote “she did not take steps to immediately ensure the safety of the school or to ensure that the police had been informed” which ignores that she’d been informed that all those steps had been taken.

    It is therefore incorrect that you are stating information that the superintendent provided.

    …Andrew

  48. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 08, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

    “had a patron spilling coffee on her hap…I like to live in a land where companies are responsible for their harmful acts.”

    The patron spilled the coffee; that would appear to be the harmful act.

    …Andrew

  49. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 08, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    “Did Dr. MacCormack do this?”

    As has been stated multiple times: she was informed by Mr. Miller that this had been done.

    …Andrew

  50. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 08, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

    “Andrew, do you believe that when a gun appears on school property and it is reported to the School Superintendent, the community is wrong to ask for a full account of her response?”

    She has provided that. It’s also worth recalling Ms. Coke’s statement, which makes it clear that the superintendent was keeping the BOE informed all along the way.

    It simply appears that people don’t like the answers they are hearing. For example, above you can find someone asking whether the superintendent called the police despite it being well-reported that she had been told that the police had been called.

    As I wrote: a scarcity of facts does not grant license to ignore the few we have, or to simply make up our own. There’s certainly room for disagreement with the superintendent’s actions, but to misrepresent those actions so as to disagree with them is inappropriate.

    …Andrew

  51. POSTED BY alic314  |  May 08, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

    agideon/Andrew- – this is brilliant and spot on!
    “…a scarcity of facts does not grant license to ignore the few we have, or to simply make up our own. There’s certainly room for disagreement with the superintendent’s actions, but to misrepresent those actions so as to disagree with them is inappropriate.”

  52. POSTED BY Howard Beale  |  May 08, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    From Dr. MacCormick’s statement -
    ” At around 9 am that morning the principal called my office. I was at a meeting at the high school. He told my assistant that the BB gun had been confiscated and he assured my assistant the the appropriate and required protocols and actions had been taken. He gave a sense of under control. He did not give me a list of what he meant and I did not review a checklist of what that should have included. At the time it did not seem necessary considering the ongoing training administrators and teachers regularly receive regarding security issues and policies.”

    Nowhere in this statement does it state that the principal said he contacted the police. I don’t disagree with his dismissal but in light of the possible severity of this incident, I feel the superintendent didn’t respond in a timely manner.

  53. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 08, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

    “Nowhere in this statement does it state that the principal said he contacted the police.”

    The required protocols included contacting the police, and he stated “required protocols and actions had been taken” in his initial communication to Central Office.

    If this is simply a matter of confusion, then I apologize for my impatience. Checklists and procedures are a part of my professional and recreational life, so perhaps I’m more used to communication around them than others in the community.

    …Andrew

  54. POSTED BY angryrabbit  |  May 08, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

    Exactly, Howard Beale. Nor does her statement indicate that Dr. MacCormack notified, as soon as possible, “the county prosecutor or other law enforcement official designated by the county prosecutor to receive such information” as required New Jersey Administrative code section 6a:16-6.3.

    New Jersey Administrative code section 6A:16-6.3 is very specific here. It does not say that Dr. MacCormack can ask or expect Principal Miller to call the police for her, or that a phone call from Principal Miller (even if he had made one as she assumed) would have been sufficient. It says SHE must call the county prosecutor or a designated law enforcement official herself as soon as possible.

    Again, I’m not taking sides here. But if Principal Miller is going to be held accountable for not following protocol (as he should be), I don’t think it is in anybody’s best interest to give Dr. MacCormack a pass for the same thing. If she continued through her schedule for that day without properly dealing with the gun incident at Glenfield, then the BOE needs to investigate and address it fairly.

  55. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  May 08, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

    agideon, Andrew, checklists and protocols also seem to be all Superintendent MacCormick was concerned with – except her own.

    You state that Mr. Millar said he followed all protocols and that included that he should have (and thus stated he did) call the police. In fact, for your professional and your hobby life, you might consider yourself to first read the protocols and procedures concerned. You might then consider that we have no knowledge of what Mr. Millar in fact said or did not say. We only know what Dr. MacCormick has said.

    But knowing the little that Dr. MacCormack has been will to disclose, many Montclair residents might find it simply amazing that 1. The school Superintendent herself did not know the protocols; 2. the school Superintendent herself did not follow her own protocols (which included that she, not Mr. Millar, should have notified the police); 3. that while there was a gun in school she sat in a “meeting” in another school and allowed her administrator to handle the matter; and 4. that she then threw Principal Millar under the bus for her own mistake. All this by her own admission. [Perhaps with the exception of number 4. However, if 1, 2, and 3 are correct, so is number 4.]

    One can well imagine that the Board of Education has been quick to point the finger at Mr. Millar and whitewash Dr. MacCormick. They hired her. They gave her an outrageously expensive contract. They allowed her to run ram shack in the Montclair schools for six months with the community’s tax money (even increasing debt to hire an army of administrators that the town will never be able to get rid of). And yes, together with the Mayor and the Council that put this Board of Education in place and instructed it to follow the School Superintendent, there is a lot of accounting to be done.

  56. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  May 08, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

    agideon, Andrew, if I may “a scarcity of facts does not grant license to ignore [or misrepresent] the few we have, or to simply make up our own [which you have done regarding Mr. Millar and Dr. MacCormick]. There’s certainly room for disagreement with the superintendent’s actions [it is not simply about agreement or disagreement; it concerns her ability and qualities as a leader in education as well now as her integrity as a person], but to misrepresent those actions [you have done Mr. Millar a strong disservice by misrepresenting both his actions and his responsibilities while supporting the Board of Education in whitewashing Dr. MacCormack] so as to disagree with [or defend] them is inappropriate.”

  57. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  May 08, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

    Andrew, if I may, “a scarcity of facts does not grant license to ignore [or misrepresent] the few we have, or to simply make up our own [which you have done regarding Mr. Millar and Dr. MacCormick]. There’s certainly room for disagreement with the superintendent’s actions [it is not simply about agreement or disagreement; it concerns her ability and qualities as a leader in education as well now as her integrity as a person], but to misrepresent those actions [you have done Mr. Millar a strong disservice by misrepresenting both his actions and his responsibilities while supporting the Board of Education in whitewashing Dr. MacCormack] so as to disagree with [or defend] them is inappropriate.”

  58. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 09, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

    “In fact, for your professional and your hobby life, you might consider yourself to first read the protocols and procedures concerned.”

    It is certainly true that the procedures and protocols with which I am familiar are better documented than this mash of NJ law. I’ve already, though, pointed out my dislike of how this is defined. Anyone seeking to get it clarified and simplified would get my agreement (and sympathy).

    “You might then consider that we have no knowledge of what Mr. Millar in fact said or did not say. We only know what Dr. MacCormick has said.”

    Yes and no. The specific statement from Mr. Miller when he first called the office was received by some other person (I’ve a guess as to whom, but I’m not sure). Still, there were but two people on that call and only they know what was stated.

    I would expect that the lawyer doing the investigation spoke to both. More, if there were any significant disagreement between those two parties, I imagine that Mr. Miller would have been less quick to act has he did. I only know him directly from a few school-related meetings I had with him, but he didn’t seem the shy or retreating type. Rather the opposite, in fact, which is just one of several reasons why many of us are unhappy with his loss.

    …Andrew

  59. POSTED BY agideon  |  May 09, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

    “it is not simply about agreement or disagreement; it concerns her ability and qualities as a leader in education as well now as her integrity as a person”

    For one to question the superintendent’s “abilities and qualities”, one must first disagree with one or more of her statements or actions (or inactions). So far, I’ve largely seen such disagreement expressed regarding statements that are not fact but instead misrepresentation of fact, an example being “she did not take steps to immediately ensure the safety of the school or to ensure that the police had been informed”.

    Such misrepresentations ignore that Mr. Miller had reported that all those acts you feel were not immediately performed had already been performed.

    “you have done Mr. Millar a strong disservice by misrepresenting both his actions and his responsibilities”

    Again: simply false.

    Frankly, I don’t think some people care about the facts; that’s why they feel free to make up their own. Rather, this unfortunate series of events is being used by some to serve an agenda.

    Consider that nobody – not even the superintendent – is denigrating Mr. Miller. Yet we have such enmity being directed at the superintendent that I cannot but question its source. Had she done (or not done) something that actually threatened school safety, I’d understand it. But none of the facts align with that.

    …Andrew

Leave a Reply

Baristanet Comment Policy:

Baristanet has specific guidelines for commenting. To avoid having your comment deleted -- or your commenting privileges revoked -- read this before you comment. Violators will be banned from commenting.

Report a comment that violates the guidelines to comments@baristanet.com. For trouble with registration or commenting, write to comments@baristanet.com.

Commenters on Baristanet.com are responsible for all legal consequences arising from their comments, including libel, infringement of copyright or actions that threaten a third party. By submitting a comment, you agree to indemnify Baristanet LLC, its partners and employees from any legal action arising from your comments.

In order to comment on the new system, you need to register a new Baristanet account. To get your own avatar next to your comments, sign up at Gravatar.com

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Follow, Friend, Subscribe