Reply To Sharpe, Lake Fenton School Board President
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The Flint Journal

The headline, "Angry parent puts his opinions about school district on the Web", page A10 Monday, July 30, 2001 is perhaps too strong, for as the author of www.QualitySchoolsNow.org I have to say that disgust is better term, disgust coupled with a determination to see some accountability returned to public schools.

John Sharpe made the following comments in the Flint Journal:

"I'm a little disappointed (about the Web site)," said John Sharpe, Lake Fenton Board of Education president. "(Riley) appears to be witch-hunting more than anything else."

"If I were him, I'd be careful about slandering somebody."

"Sharpe said he is worried the site will become a vehicle for spreading misinformation."

"I'm concerned things will be written that are untrue," he said. "People will only hear one side of the story - (teachers and administrators) won't be there to defend themselves."

Like John Sharpe, I am also disappointed that it takes something like this web site to get a dialog going.  If Mr. Sharpe and the rest of the board had been doing their jobs this would never have happened.  I am disappointed but not surprised that John Sharpe did not have the sense to at least act like he was concerned about the issues I am raising, for public relations reasons if nothing else.

In fact, I sent two letters to the Lake Fenton school board.  The board members failed to respond to either.  So three weeks after writing the second letter, I called John Sharpe and asked him if he had seen my letter.  His answer was telling, in that he replied  "was it that really long letter".  We then discussed the issues at length, and it was obvious that John Sharpe had not read the letter.  Apparently some school board members eyes glaze over when confronted with more than a page at a time.

And then John Sharpe rattles his saber about slander.   Perhaps John Sharpe should review what slander and libel are, so that he can at least chose the proper term.

It sure sounds like John Sharpe is threatening me.  Is he trying to chill my First Amendment right to speak about the important public policy issues?  If that is the case, I suggest that he look at one of my web sites, www.skippy-SCAM.org.  Look at what happened to CPC-Bestfoods when they bullied grandma Tibbetts, whom I barely knew at the time.  Another example is www.Taubman-sucks.com.  A well healed bully was picking on Hank Mishkoff, and kicking the tar out of him.  I referred him to Paul Levy at the Public Citizen Litigation Group.  Paul Levy gave the Taubman's a rather serious attitude adjustment.  Then carefully consider how I might react to any attempt to abridge my own First Amendment rights.

I am sure that John Sharpe  is worried that parents and concerned citizens will have another source of information which he has little control over.

He and the rest of Lake Fenton staff are welcome to defend themselves.  I will post their responses to complaints, allowing the public to judge the merits of their position.  That is the whole point of the web site, to force them to PUBLICLY address a host of issues that they have swept under the rug for many years.  I suggest that he address the issue of why the whole board has failed to respond to my letters first.  I will post his response to the site just as soon as he writes one.

In conclusion, John Sharpe and the rest of the school board members need to become part of the solution, or face a solution where they suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs.  A recall of the board just might be the best place to start this process.

Ronald J. Riley

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