Hamilton County School Board Has Got To Go

  • Friday, January 22, 2016
As I loaded the dishwasher, let the dogs out for the last time of the evening, and finally curled up in front of my fireplace to catch some of the local news, I was startled at what I heard.  Startled enough to flinch... kind of like one would do in the movies when they were shocked or surprised at a scene they weren't expecting.  What had caused me to jump?  That would be David Testerman, yelling and screaming at concerned parents...you know, the people he's supposed to be working for. 
He condemned us for convicting an "innocent" man, wondering what was wrong with us.
I was sickened to my stomach at his disrespect, his tirade,his defense of a man whose administration has broken the law and tried to cover it up,  and even more sickened to learn the board had caved and had decided to buy out Rick Smith's contract, instead of making him pay for the wrong he has done.  Well that sure sends a clear message to people doesn't it? If you have money and power, you can pretty much do whatever you want and get away with it.  Rick Smith failed our kids, four of them especially, in the worst possible way.  And what punishment does he receive? A hefty payout.

I have had enough.  I am so sick to death of the Hamilton County School Board's nonsense.  I'm sick and tired of them saying there's no money for school supplies, to repair old school buildings, to give teachers substantial raises, yet there's somehow enough money to buy out a contract which will most likely cost around six figures.  I'm sick and tired of them being concerned with their vacation, retirement pay, while our school system continues to decline and become one of the worst performing public school systems in the entire state of Tennessee, even though we're one of the richest counties.

Mr. Testerman thundered at the board meeting "What is wrong with you people?"  Well Mr. Testerman, I have to thunder that question right back at you and your cronies.  How can you more strongly defend a man whose administration broke the law, lied about it, and tried to cover it up, than you can rape victims?  How can you be more concerned with the future of a man who has proven over and over again he cares nothing about our kids, who has lied to the public, who has ignored his teachers when they've needed him?  To the School Board I ask what is wrong with the rest of you? You never take a stand on anything unless it's to benefit you.  You never take a stand to defend our children, to make sure they have what they need to get a proper education.  Yes, a lawsuit might have cost more money than a buyout...but it also would have let Rick Smith know he was going to be held accountable in some way for the awful things he has done.

A friend of mine's spouse has been a teacher with the Hamilton County Public School System for a very long time.  And yet their spouse has had to fight tooth and nail for simple things... like supplies for the classroom.  My friend learned of this problem with the school and showed up with several cases of paper, since the lower classes had run out of paper.  You would have thought my friend had cured cancer, ended world hunger, and achieved world peace. All the teachers ran up to hug my friend, and professed their thanks.  All because they provided something as simple as paper...something our School Board can't seem to find the money to supply.

I am very much aware that the Ooltewah High School rape case is something our School Board never even dreamed they would face.  Well sometimes life throws you curve balls.  And they did a horrible job of handling it.  When it counted the most, they let our kids down in the worst ways possible, and have pretty much ruined what little faith I had left in them, Rick Smith especially.  I no longer have any respect, or faith, or trust in our board.  It's not just Rick Smith that has to go, it's all of them.  We need a School Board who will fight for our children's futures harder than they will fight for their own futures.  We need a leader who will actually step up when it's needed most, not hide behind other School Board members, policies, and lies.  When it's time to elect board members I hope everyone remembers this circus side show and how the board made an already horrific situation one hundred times worse than it already was.  Get rid of all of them, and elect a School Board that actually has a clue what it's doing, and actually cares more about our kids than this one does.

As to David Testerman, I can only hope you're the next to go, considering you have as much respect for us parents and as much concern for our kids' futures as a terrorist has for society in general.

Mariah Smith
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