The case of the Titanic illustrates how often failures result more from a succession of omissions and missteps than one big mess-up.
Like the Titanic, the Clover Park School District Board of Directors is navigating treacherous waters and there have been recently what appear to be a succession of omissions and missteps.
According to researchers, a little brass key could have saved everyone on the RMS Titanic.
But because the key that fit a locker on board the Titanic where the crow’s nest binoculars were kept was in the possession of Second Officer David Blair back in Southampton – given Blair had been replaced by the more senior officer Charles Lightoller and Blair had forgotten to give his replacement the key – the iceberg that took down the Titanic off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland might have been seen with those binoculars before it became too late.
Some dispute the significance of the key that would have provided access to the binoculars; they argue that the Titanic was moving too fast anyway as it sailed toward New York.
Captain Edward J. Smith had hoped to best the crossing time of the Olympic, the Titanic’s sister ship.
Nevertheless, the lack of the key factored into a longer litany of missteps that would together result in the tragic loss of 1,514 lives April 14 and 15, 1912 in the frigid seas of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Like the Titanic, the Clover Park School District Board of Directors is navigating treacherous waters.
With 11,865 school children on board, the stakes are high, and the warnings are many.
The emails, letters, public disclosure documents, petitions, articles, comments, reactions, and publications nationally focused on the Clover Park School District have a sinister parallel to the marconigrams sent and received by the Titanic’s Captain Smith, wireless messages, the missives shouting the hard, cold facts of the Titanic’s impending doom.
Decide for yourself, in reading the following, if these should be warnings to the tax-paying public and the parents of children attending Clover Park Schools that all is not well.
December 14, 2020 – Regular meeting of the Clover Park School District during which Director Paul Wagemann said “crack the whip” in reference to his fellow board directors to do an even better job of helping youth graduate.
Week of December 14, 2020 – Taniesha Lyons’s letter to the school board demanding Wagemann’s resignation, charging Wagemann with “blatant bigotry and racism,” and calling Wagemann “an explicit racist” and “a considerable liability.”
Week of December 14, 2020 – Filma Fontanilla, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, on behalf of (and signed by the members of) the Executive Board of Clover Park Education Association (CPEA), sends a letter to the school board in which Fontanilla writes “I was hurt, appalled and disgusted with the comment ‘crack the whip’ made by Paul Wagemann.”
December 18, 2020 – Published: Letter: Clover Park School Board member’s resignation demanded | The Suburban Times (thesubtimes.com)
This article linked above details – from a phone interview – what Wagemann meant by his use of the phrase “crack the whip,” and the reaction to his comment. This story would be picked up by news publications across the country.
December 21, 2020 – A special meeting of the school board is called for directors to discuss what Wagemann had to say. The official minutes of this meeting would reflect the statements of each of the Board of Directors except the explanation that Paul Wagemann gave for the context of his “crack the whip” statement made on December 14. Not one word in the minutes of the meeting is attributed to Wagemann. But an audio recording reveals that Wagemann had indeed a great deal to say.
December 21, 2020 – Public Disclosure Request (PDR) is made – and acknowledged as received by the Clover Park School District – for “All emails and correspondence and board meeting minutes related to Paul Wagemann’s alleged ‘crack the whip’ comment.”
December 28, 2020 – The school district sends only one letter in response to the PDR, that letter being the letter from Taniesha Lyons. The school district then declares the PDR closed.
December 28, 2020 – An appeal is immediately made that in fact the PDR should not be closed, that several documents requested had not been received.
January 5, 2021 – Published: Letter: LIVE or DIE | The Suburban Times (thesubtimes.com).
In this article it is noted that the PDR was incomplete. The next day, January 6, the PDR is reopened.
January 10, 2021 – Published: Letter: Questions For The Clover Park School District Board | The Suburban Times (thesubtimes.com)
In this article the Executive Board of the Clover Park Education Association (CPEA) associated Wagemann’s “comment and thinking” as that which subjects students and their families “with the abuses and atrocities of institutional racism.”
January 11, 2021 – Regular meeting of the school board where Wagemann asks for background information on the consultant providing the training for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). With the exception of providing the link to the consultant’s website, Wagemann’s request is denied by his fellow school board directors.
This article looks into the background of the consultant, something the school board did not do.
January 22, 2021 – CPSD releases documents in keeping with the PDR, 743 emails in all, and the CPSD school board minutes for the evening of December 21, 2020.
January 25, 2021 – Published: Letter: The CPSD, Emails and Groupthink? | The Suburban Times (thesubtimes.com)
There is a question raised in this article as to who was behind the 86 carbon copy letters received by the school board that supposedly found School Board Director Paul Wagemann’s “crack the whip” comment “racist and absolutely unacceptable.”
January 27, 2021 – Published: Letter: What’s Going On? | The Suburban Times (thesubtimes.com)
Turns out it was Deb Hansen, President of the Clover Park Education Association (CPEA), who solicited from association’s members their signatures on a template she provided that suggested Wagemann’s “crack the whip” comment was, in Hansen’s words, referring “to times when white owners would whip enslaved Black people.”
That reference of Hansen’s however was totally out of context with the explanation Wagemann gave at the December 21, 2020 school board meeting.
The public however is not able to read what Wagemann had to say or the context in which he said it as the school board declined to make that known in their minutes as reflected in this next article.
February 10, 2021 – Published: Letter: Censorship and the CPSDB | The Suburban Times (thesubtimes.com)
This is a developing story.
While the key to the crow’s nest binoculars was in the possession of a sailor not on board the Titanic, the key to trust is in the possession of those at the helm of the Clover Park School District.
The result, however, is the same.
The public’s ability to see the truth appears to be locked away.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.