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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

SD 15 Death Threat Shocker

The local school board politics in my neighborhood have been tense for quite some time, but I think the animosity has just been ratcheted up to the next level. I have information from an extremely reliable source that several board members, mostly Orthodox, have received written threats via mail, informing them that if said board members vote to close additional school buildings, they will come to bodily harm. Apparently, members were told to fear for their lives.

It is impossible to know how seriously to treat this threat, though I'm told that the local police are involved, and are investigating the situation.

Whether the threat is a serious one from a deranged community member, or just a hoax perpetuated by a disgruntled community member, it is clear that the rhetoric has gotten way out of hand. When teachers picket outside an Orthodox board member's place of business, holding signs that imply he is not looking out for the welfare of all of the district's children, tensions rise. When a teacher who is an ostensible role model categorizes the words of a star student accusing teachers of tolerating anti-Semitism as lies, tensions rise. When people who are supposed to be behaving responsibly lose all sense of reason, tensions rise. When they rise to the level of hate mail laden with threats of death, then we know how far out of hand things have gotten.

49 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

is this story for real?

7:48 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I assure you it is very much for real.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's let the police handle this, as they are the professionals in dealing with these types of problems.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

crazy story. any more details? have any news outlets picked this up yet? why not?

8:56 AM  
Blogger Yid With Lid said...

Anonymous sources...BAH Loshen Hora.
If they care to get their story out they should stand behind their story

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yid: anonymous sources doesnt mean the person is being threatened is telling om. it could mean someone involved with the investigation (either police or someone who was questioned in relation to the crime), it could mean a reporter.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it gets to this point, it is out of the jurisdiction of the Police and should be handled by appropriate authorities, FBI. I am not kidding. This is a hate crime and probably can be considered a bias crime as well.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the FBI should get a hold of those videos that they take at the school board meetings. They could easily narrow the scope of the investigation to those arrogant hecklers who show up at every meeting.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree out of control, I do not agree, and after speaking with the state, there are plenty of legal arguments, that public school parents have to stop the consolidation. Also, the consolidation of schools were rumors. One plan wanted to punt all elemntry students into the middle school, panicked I called the state, and they told me to calm down, they would never allow this to happen. So we need cool heads to prevail. Blaming the teachers though, is not the answer. The high school students have plenty of dealings with all children from this community and there are no reported problems. Religous children are spread throughout the district with a report of zero problems. Teachers picketing is never a pretty site, but he is truly the only board member that works close by. It also does not help, when this board member states in the ny times, it is his goal to have two great school districts. It is not this districts responsibility to help private schools get better. If this was the case, we would send our kids there. The solution to all these problems is come to the meetings. All board meetings are open, come and see what really goes on, you would be surprised.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

arrogant hecklers who show up at every meeting.

They are called parents, who are excersing freedom of speech, fifth amendment. I think turning the tapes over is a great idea. Maybe somebody from this district can explain why state records show 14,000 in educational costs, and 25,000 per pupil costs.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the interest of safety, perhaps the way to handle this is to have the state oversee the consolidation proposal, and have them attend board meetings. This way there is an assurance of fairness. I also think at the next board meeting police should be stationed inside and outside, who knows, look what happened in Amish country, we do not know who made these threats, and after the attack in Brooklyn, it is safe to say no one group is lilly white.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

arrogant hecklers who show up at every meeting.

They are called parents, who are excersing freedom of speech, fifth amendment.


Now, that's the sad reality in this district. No constitutional right justifies the way these parents behave at meetings. They are terrible role models for their children whose interests they purport to represent (to the point that the board members are forced to lecture them at each meeting about behaving and maintaining the decorum they'd expect their children to maintain in class). And this is clearly the attitude that has fostered the sick sentiments expressed in the threats that the board members received.

I hope they find this sicko and lock him/her up (and throw away the key) to set an example for all of the arrogant parents who purport to exercise their constitutional rights.

BTW - the fifth amendment has absolutely nothing to do with this.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free speech? The fifth amendment? Wow, that is truly a testament to the ignorance and stupidity in this district!

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and 25,000 per pupil costs."

Take all the money the district spends and divide it by the number of students in the district public schools and you will get $25,000 per pupil.

Now subtract all the money spent on private school students from the money the district spends and, surprise!!!, the number is a lot lower.

With a pencil and an eraser you can make numbers do just about anything, even roll over and play dead (apologies to William Safire).

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$25,000 per pupil.

Thank you for that tid bit of information. In conversation with the state, we spend 14,970 to actually educate our children, I know how to add and divide, thank you. I would like to know the differnce as the state had a hard time explaining it. The state website also, has a list of tuition for out of district residents to pay, and it claims to charge 14,970.00. So, where is the extra money going? I did not say private school, and if it did who cares. Realize though, it is not the public school people who make you pay for the public schools, just like you don't make us pay taxes for your busing, these are laws, if I don't like it I can move to the city. In reguards to behavior at board meetings. Yes, some people do not act in an adult like manner. Two members of the board should be included in this discussion.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

teachers picket,accusing teachers of tolerating anti-Semitism as lies,

How about not blaming the teachers for everything. I witness two children who attend local yeshivas discuss for 30 minutes how a child could be Jewish, (reform) and all the things that involve truly being Jewish, they then told the child they could not play with him, because, he was not really jewish and walked away. The mother of the offended child, simply gave the child a kiss and said honey there are bad and good in every group of people, you are Jewish, and it is our right to practice as we see fit. If they do not approve, then they were not true friends. That about sums up the other side.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about not blaming the teachers for everything. I witness two children who attend local yeshivas discuss for 30 minutes how a child could be Jewish, (reform) and all the things that involve truly being Jewish, they then told the child they could not play with him, because, he was not really jewish and walked away. The mother of the offended child, simply gave the child a kiss and said honey there are bad and good in every group of people, you are Jewish, and it is our right to practice as we see fit. If they do not approve, then they were not true friends. That about sums up the other side.

Thanks for the heartwarming anecdote. Is that a justification for the threats?

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

arrogant hecklers who show up at every meeting.

They are called parents, who are excersing freedom of speech, fifth amendment.


Now, that's the sad reality in this district. No constitutional right justifies the way these parents behave at meetings. They are terrible role models for their children whose interests they purport to represent (to the point that the board members are forced to lecture them at each meeting about behaving and maintaining the decorum they'd expect their children to maintain in class). And this is clearly the attitude that has fostered the sick sentiments expressed in the threats that the board members received.

I hope they find this sicko and lock him/her up (and throw away the key) to set an example for all of the arrogant parents who purport to exercise their constitutional rights.

BTW - the fifth amendment has absolutely nothing to do with this.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing, last two anon, blame parents, no one mentions the poor behavior of two board members. How many times has on board member been told to be quite, and security had to step in? I also find it interesting that usually one or two private school parents attend these meetings, why is that? If as a commnity you feel you are not being given your fair share, why not attend? For the record, threats should not be condoned against any group of people. I am sure they will find the person or persons involved, let us not rush to judgement, it could be from either side stiring the pot, or it might just be made up. We really need some women on this board, at least we can agree we know our chldren best, and at least if we don't agree, we can talk about how are husbands don't help. Really, I highly doubt a mother would even propose to move children in October/November to another school!

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I invoke the 7th amendment?

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This superintendent is the biggest clown of all. Rather than actually accomplishing anything, he's been endlessly debating and circulating draft of a "mission statement." He's been floating the same ideas since the day he was hired, and he has nothing on the list to show for himself. (What would it take for this guy to actually show some accomplishment?) Here's the latest from the distrcit clown:


Lawrence School District Goals 2006-2009


Mission Statement

To ensure all learners reach their highest individual potential through an academically rigorous educational system that inspires life-long learning and enables all students to possess the confidence and ability to meet life’s challenges.


1. Raise the academic performance for all students in the district.


2. Provide effective academic intervention services (AIS) to all “at risk” students.

3. Develop and maintain rigorous and appropriate programs for highly motivated students.

4. Expand and enhance outreach programs to students of different racial/ethnic groups, students with limited English proficiency, and low-income students.

5. Maintain and enhance appropriate programs for all school age children with special needs.

6. Resolve the growing capital improvement needs and building capacities of all district facilities.

7. Improve communication and the level of community confidence in the district to gain voter approval of the annual school budget.

8. Re-establish Lawrence’s reputation as a premier school district that values and promotes academic excellence and social consciousness.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above was written by the board at the last meeting.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the superintendent's clowning around. He brings it up at every meeting, and then he keeps busy between meetings by emailing it around for comments. I wonder what he'll do with all his free time when they sign off on this (just to shut him up). The guy is dead weight for the district. It's high time he found another district to pillage. Anyone know if his pension has kicked in yet?

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting how you are using this blog thread to bring up other issues and take the heat away from the original issue.

THREATS HAVE BEEN MADE AGAINST THE ORTHODOX MEMBERS OF THE BOARD.

That is the issue and that is the one that we are talking about and needs to be addressed and no other. The other issues were hashed out before and we are not going to allow you to cloud this issue with your other ones.

This is a serious issue right here and right now. We are not going to stand by and allow conflict to escalate to "death threats". Anything and everything can be worked out in a civlized manner if you are civilzed individuals. When you resort to threatening someone with bodily harm all avenues of discussion are over until this issue is resolved.

This discussion should only include ways and means for find the culprits and bringing them to justice. Anyone who knows who is behind this should go to the police and "out" them. Because there will be no room for discussion or negotiation or acquiesence on any topic, subject, or "DEMAND" until this person is found and dealt with.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said!

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This discussion should only include ways and means for find the culprits and bringing them to justice."

Okay, you get the posse, I'll find some rope.

Puh-lease. This is a matter for the authorities who, I am sure, will not take it lightly. So, talk all you want about what's important to discuss. That'll at least keep you too buisy from making any real trouble.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No not exactly, this is a matter for all of us to realize what happens when you divide the district into "us" vs "them". Some idiot or a group of idiots lets it get to their heads and tries to take matters in their own hands and goes off half cocked.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Refer to anon 8:51

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No we are not going to forget this and just let the police handle this. We are going to be well aware of what happened and be on guard. We are going to watch our backs and be very suspicious of our neighbors. We are left we no choice.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While some would like brush off this issue as one to be dealt with only by the police, we are still a community and we are still role models for our children.

Without pointing fingers, these unfortunate circumstances stem from the degrading, hateful and inflamatory sentiments that are expressed by some people on both sides. In this case, it's somewhat obvious which side of the equation the hate is coming from, but the bottom line remains that everyone needs to be mindful of how they express their frustration with those whose opinion they disagree with.

The subject matter of all of this is some differences of opinion wihtin the community and they are now being played out in the public arena with the outcome guided and structured by our democractic principles. An elected official is restricted only by the law. If the law is flaunted, then there are checks and balances. But these checks and balances are the only outlet in a democratic system and can be the only outlet in a healthy and safe community.

The hateful rhetoric and name-calling is the ultimate cause of these unfortunate circumstances, so if you are individual who has verbally abused, assaulted, denigrated or defamed any other individual or group of individuals in our community because of their differing opinion - LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND REALIZE THAT YOU CAN TAKE SOME CREDIT FOR THESE THREATS. So next time you disagree, make the democratic system of checks and balances work for you.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And maybe it is time to offer some sincere apologies and organize some community patrols for safe streets because violent threats leads to violent behaviors.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has become such a fiasco,Where do you start. One can always hope this is a rumor, but until they find the person or persons responsible we need to say this, a member of our community, and I use the work OUR because, it is time to stop, feels death threats are an appropriate response to recent frustrations with the school board. As a community we do not condone violence. We will not let these remarks ruin the attempts of many to come together and make our district stronger than ever. Our board has to answer to this community, and if the information on consolidation presented to us is fiscally responsible and in the best interest of our children, then we will review these details. We will hold this board accountable for comments made by all of its members. We will support parents as they fight not to overcrowd our classrooms, We will stand by parents who can't walk three blocks to a bus stop. We will demand the board explains the state results of 14,970 for salaries, and 25,000 as spent per pupil. You will not deter those who are trying to create a unified school district. Until you are caught we will ALL be watching our streets,schools, and children. You will not win.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Yankel said...

"When teachers picket outside an Orthodox board member's place of business, holding signs that imply he is not looking out for the welfare of all of the district's children, tensions rise"

Hey, I have no interest in your situation, but, let's face the facts, the frum folks are obviously not on the school board to look out for the interest of all the district's children.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yankel must be from Brooklyn

Hey, I have no interest in your situation

Yankel also has not knowledge about the situation

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yankel clearly does not know Dr. Mansdorf (or anything about the board members that he seems to be referring to).

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if yankel knew dr mansdorf maybe he would know that if anything, he panders to the public school crowd. i wish we would get some equal treatment from him. its a joke to say he gives the private school students more.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yankel, if you don't know maybe you should not comment

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question is when will our elected officials intervene? Do they not work to improve this community? Do they not have a vested interest in our safety? Oh, wait, they have a vested interest in keeping this rift going. This way, they can go to the public school parents and promise more funding from the State and then turn to the private school parents and promise vouchers and other non-realistic solutions. Dividing the community is an old trick used to secure votes. We need to see this for what it is and rise above. Force them to fix what they have fostered.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANON 4:21 is right on the money.

Has anyone given thought that perhaps the Superintendent and teachers union may be fueling the fire to keep the heat off them? Aren't they ultimately responsible for how our children perform in the classroom. Aren't they the ones who should be giving the BOE and PTA's the solutions to fix the districts dismal test scores? How about the Superintendent giving us a detailed report on the test scores since he's been in charge and what action(s) he directed his aministrators to take to ensure that our chldren will meet or exceed the states standards. Let's get to the job at hand improving our childrens performance. That's what educators are supposed to do. Let the BOE deal with policy descisions and monitor the adinistrations fiscal decisions.The Superintendent is the captain of the ship, so he should be held accountable for steering it in the right direction. If he can't then he should admit/accept his failure(s) and look for something else to do. He's paid well to make sure our children get a first class education. We should expect nothing less.

No one should be threatened and fearful. We as a community must unite and protect everyone's well being.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Fed-Up Parent said...

ANON 4:21 is right on the money.

Has anyone given thought that perhaps the Superintendent and teachers union may be fueling the fire to keep the heat off them? Aren't they ultimately responsible for how our children perform in the classroom. Aren't they the ones who should be giving the BOE and PTA's the solutions to fix the districts dismal test scores? How about the Superintendent giving us a detailed report on the test scores since he's been in charge and what action(s) he directed his aministrators to take to ensure that our chldren will meet or exceed the states standards. Let's get to the job at hand improving our childrens performance. That's what educators are supposed to do. Let the BOE deal with policy descisions and monitor the adinistrations fiscal decisions.The Superintendent is the captain of the ship, so he should be held accountable for steering it in the right direction. If he can't then he should admit/accept his failure(s) and look for something else to do. He's paid well to make sure our children get a first class education. We should expect nothing less.


Finally we're hearing some rational thinking. I've been quiet for too long, but it appears that the only people we're not hearing from lately are the LTA, ALA and Superintendent. With all of our in-fighting, they're sitting back and collecting their paychecks and perks without fear of being challenged.

When test scores get worse next year -- and they will -- the unions and Fitzsimons will sit back while our community points fingers at each other as part of this stupid civil war.

"They're cutting our services, blah blah blah." All of the teachers got raises, Fitzsimons got a raise, and class sizes are still within the limits set by the Board of Ed years ago. Until we make our paid employees know that we expect nothing but great results, and will hold them accountable, then and only then will we see improvement.

Keep fighting amongst ourselves, people. We're just giving all of the staff a free pass to sit back and let another year slip until they retire. Our children can't afford to lose that year.

Stop fighting each other. We're not each other's enemies. But the LTA and Fitzsimons want us to be. Because it's taking the spotlight off of them...

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said.

It would be nice if they cut off Fitzsimons internet and he stopped sending his propaganda emails. Maybe he'd get some real work done.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New rumor: Fitzsimonss wants to do away with Honors programs. Guess he wants to drive the rest of the public out of the system.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to speak to one of our Bd members or PTA ppeople to ask about honors in public.It is wrong to use scare tactics to get people aroused.Lawrence scores are at an all time low and no one would consider getting rid of honor classes.Why start with something like that.Say whatever you want about how we spend money but this District has been adding to our program under Dr.Fitzsimons. Last year he increased the Middle School Day to nine periods. He refused to let last years Board get rid of the Art Director even though it would have saved 150 thousand dollars. He is fighting for a 35 million dollar rehabilitation of our school system and refuses to consider closing any school.Why would anyone think we would eliminate or do anything except increase the number of honor classes

1:09 PM  
Blogger FiveTownEyes said...

Closing a school has not been ruled out. If we can get a budget passed, the closing of a school has not been ruled out.

School district is stymied and there are no funds allocated in an austerity budget for re-districting classes. A lot of planning and moving around has to go on.

You would be surprised how many public and private school parents both agree on a lot of things: closing of a school if there is underutilization is not out of the question. The funds to do so is, on an austerity budget.

9:45 PM  
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