A BCPS spokesperson contacted me regarding the Post’s story just published regarding the situation at Dundalk High School.
To say that the conversation (if you want to call it that) was tense would be an understatement. Kind of like saying the Grand Canyon is a little hole in the ground.
The first reaction from the BCPS representative was threatening the Post with a lawsuit based on loophole of a statement. You see, it seems that the Dundalk High principal is still officially the principal, and that only BCPS is authorized to release any information on the matter.
Honestly, folks, that is a bit perplexing since BCPS has a real problem with transparency. If BCPS is truly the only source for information, there would be no articles other than the propaganda spewed out by the administration.
Sorry BCPS, you don’t get to dictate your one-sided perception.
As the heated exchange continued, the spokesperson challenged our reporting on numerous BCPS issues. My response was that, as the sole proprietor of information concerning any news regarding schools or administration, it is imperative to have transparency. After all, it is MY tax dollars that fund the schools.
The spokesperson claimed that the school system always responds to a PIA request. I replied that the school system must have forgotten about the last one submitted by one of our investigative journalists, who filed a request to review Dr. Dallas Dance’s travel expenses for a trip to Chicago in reference to the SUPES story.
The exchange featured a number of bully tactics by the spokesperson, which I won’t dignify with a response here. However, I questioned “the guardian of truthful information and transparency” about why a staff member stated the principal is on “long-term leave.” I received a “no comment” because it involves “personnel issues.” That is a true cop-out.
I get the picture. The spokesperson can comment on the principal still being the principal, yet that person can’t comment why the principal is on long-term leave. Makes sense, right? Basically, once again, BCPS is trying to control the narrative around any released information.
The BCPS spokesperson demanded to know the source of the “long-term leave” quote, and also information about our editor. I refused to give into the bully tactics and provided no information other than the the fact that I am the publisher.
What is interesting, aside from some of the condescending remarks, is the timing of the response from BCPS. If someone had answered the first information request, instead of saying nothing, we might have been able to avoid this whole messy situation.
Instead, like countless times before, the same non-answer kept the school system in the dark, so to speak, until the story was published.
The conversation did not end on a good note, as the belief that BCPS can hide things from the public will just not do. And the spokesperson, like it or not, had better get used to this news site seeking information that goes beyond the propaganda.
Will BCPS see the error of its ways and start sharing in a transparent manner? I believe the answer can be found in our earlier story about the “missing” PIA.
Nevertheless, we will not be intimidated. The taxpayers who fund every bit of the school system’s budget have a right to know.
One final thought before closing. Please take a look at the BCPS web site and tell me who the superintendent is? You’ve got it–Dr. Dallas Dance. The man who has submitted his resignation. But is Dr. Dance really gone, or just on “long-term leave?”
The truth be told!