Update On Cox Mills HS “TownHall”

Several weeks ago, I reported on a “townhall” that was held at Cox Mills High in Cabarrus county. That “townhall” included political candidates, one of which made a political speech. That candidate is Earle Schecter, the NY transplant running as a Democrat against incumbent Larry Pittman.  State Superintendent and CCSSO President, June Atkinson, was also present but Rep. Larry Pittman confirmed to me that he was not informed of this event. I asked the question, was this a Democrat campaign event or a townhall?

The answer is a bit of both.

I’ve received official word from both Cabarrus County Schools AND the Cabarrus Democrat Party. Let’s run this down in order.

April 16th, a “townhall” for “Friends of Education” is held at Cox Mills High in Cabarrus county. Citizens report to me that a political speech is made my Earle Schecter.

On April 18th, I reached out to Cox Mills Assistant Principal, Aimy Steele who was in attendance and indicated to be the one hosting the event. I also copied her boss, Principal Todd Smith, on the communication.  I had a specific set of questions I was asking:

1. When was this meeting original set up and by whom?
2. When was it added to the school calendar?
3. Who contacted the local media to publish the announcement the day before?
4. Why was only the Democrat candidate for NC 82 invited?
5. Who sponsored and paid for this event?
6. Mr. Schecter’s comments qualify as a campaign speech given his direct reference to his opponent. Do you think it was appropriate to have one candidate there and not the others?

April 27th I follow up after I received no reply from the Principal and Ms. Steele.

April 29th, I followed up again, this time sending it to the Cabarrus School Board. Only one member, Carolyn Carpenter, replied. She said the following, “I did not know about this event even happen.  Had not been advised.”

May 2nd, I send another reminder. I get a reply. Ms. Steele sent back one line which read “Hello, I have no comment at this time. Thank you.” 

May 3rd, after indicating I intended to escalate, I received a reply from a Ronnye Boone, Chief Communications Officer for Cabarrus County Schools. Boone promised to send me the answers to the questions I had and part of the reply cited their information police, “We are in the process of gathering information responsive to your requests in accordance with Cabarrus County Board of Education Policy 5070.”

May 9th, I received answers to some of my questions. The email was from Ronnye Boone and reads as follows:

Ronnye Boone <Ronnye.Boone@cabarrus.k12.nc.us> Fri, May 9, 2014 at 8:43 PM
To: “thell1885@gmail.com” <thell1885@gmail.com>
Thank you for your interest in the event hosted at Cox Mill High School on April 16, 2014 with State Superintendent June Atkinson.

 

The event was publicized beginning in February 2014 to the Cabarrus County Schools community through numerous media outlets, including

  • Cabarrus County Schools calendar
  • Cabarrus County Schools district website and social media sites
  • Cox Mill High School calendar
  • Blackboard Connect message (telephone and email) to Cox Mill High School parents
  • Cox Mill High School staff
  •  Administrators at other Cabarrus County Schools
  • Cabarrus County School Board Members, Cabarrus County Commissioners, and Concord City Council members
  • Independent Tribune education reporter

Further, please be advised that following the event, on April 25, 2014, Chuck Gardner, Chair of the Cabarrus County Democrats, provided the attached letter to Superintendent Barry Shepherd regarding the comments made by Earle Schecter.

 

Ronnye P. Boone
Chief Communications Officer
Cabarrus County Schools

ronnye.boone@cabarrus.k12.nc.us

704-262-6205

Attached to this email was a letter. This letter was from Cabarrus County Democrat Chairman Chuck Gardener to Cabarrus Superintendent Barry Shepherd. The letter was dated April 25th, 2014.  This letter from the Cabarrus Democrat Party is dated 14 days prior to the official response I received from Ronnye Boone of Cabarrus Schools.

The text acknowledges Earle Schecter made a political speech at this “townhall” even though he was allegedly told not to do so. 

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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1 Response to Update On Cox Mills HS “TownHall”

  1. Reblogged this on Lady Liberty 1885 and commented:

    I have another update to the Cox Mills “Townhall” saga. The Cabarrus Board Chair, Blake Kriger, reached out to me to give comment after seeing my previous article. I’m adding this to the record below.
    He wrote:

    Blake Kiger Mon, May 12, 2014 at 4:34 PM
    To: Lily Liberty
    Ms Dillon,

    I just read your most recent post regarding the “townhall” event. As the board chair I speak for the board and I apologize for not responding to you directly. When I read your email to Ms Monroe, I sent a note to the superintendent’s office and requested that they get the answers to your questions. For some reason, probably because it was a school event and not a board sponsored event, I did not think to reply to you on the boards behalf. It looks like Ms Boone got you some information.

    I don’t know about other board members, but I heard that Dr Atkinson was going to be at one of our schools and I made arrangements to go. I sat in the audience and did not know the context of the meeting prior to going. Dr Atkinson spoke mostly regarding Common Core.

    Again, I apologize for not acknowledging your note and letting you know that it was received.

    Blake Kiger
    Board Chair
    Cabarrus County

    Sent from my iPad

    Blake Kiger Mon, May 12, 2014 at 4:34 PM
    To: Lily Liberty
    Ms Dillon,

    I just read your most recent post regarding the “townhall” event. As the board chair I speak for the board and I apologize for not responding to you directly. When I read your email to Ms Monroe, I sent a note to the superintendent’s office and requested that they get the answers to your questions. For some reason, probably because it was a school event and not a board sponsored event, I did not think to reply to you on the boards behalf. It looks like Ms Boone got you some information.

    I don’t know about other board members, but I heard that Dr Atkinson was going to be at one of our schools and I made arrangements to go. I sat in the audience and did not know the context of the meeting prior to going. Dr Atkinson spoke mostly regarding Common Core.

    Again, I apologize for not acknowledging your note and letting you know that it was received.

    Blake Kiger
    Board Chair
    Cabarrus County

    Sent from my iPad

    Like

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