December 19, 2016 8:57 pm ET
Superintendent labels board member a “liar” for seeking the truth
Source: Dance’s Holiday Document Dump
Photo credit/WBAL TV 11 News
There is a phrase that has made the rounds throughout our recent Presidential election—document dump.
Here is the definition of the term:
“A document dump is the act of responding to an adversary’s request for information by presenting the adversary with a large quantity of data that is transferred in a manner that indicates unfriendliness, hostility, or a legal conflict between the transmitter and the receiver of the information.” (Wikipedia)
Meanwhile, here is a version of a DD, as reported by the news media.
To be fair, both the Rs and the Ds practiced some form of this tactic.
Closer to home, a BCPS document dump has come to light regarding the number of schools with HVAC problems, about which Dr. Dance promised a full report back in August.
Said report, which was delayed until December (right before Christmas) is now at the center of controversy. However, through the efforts of a BCPS Board member who contacted some schools directly, some other issues surfaced along with the lack of AC throughout the BCPS.
Those issues include mold. Yep, you read that right—mold.
When Dr. Dance found about this, he first told the board member to stop the investigation; then the (not so) good doctor unleashed a rather inept email that calls said board member a “liar.”
Folks that is a statement that involves potential legal sanctions against Dr. Dance.
You see, without proof, calling someone a “lair” is referred to as libel
To slander someone is to use the spoken word to say something untrue and damaging, while libel is the same concept pertaining to the written word.
Just to clarify, the duties of a BCPS board member include the following:
The Board’s Mission: The Board, as the governing body of the school system, fulfills its mission by adopting policies concerning: 1. The educational program, to determine the effectiveness with which the schools are achieving the educational purposes of the school system. 2. The appointment of a staff, and its professional development, to assist students in reaching appropriate goals. 3. The dissemination of information relating to the schools, necessary for creating a well-informed public. 4. The planning, expansion, improvement, financing, construction, and maintenance of the physical plant of the school system. 5. The standards needed for the efficient operation and improvement of the school system. 6. The establishment and maintenance of records, accounts, archives, management methods, and procedures incidental to the conduct of school business. 7. The budget, financial reports, audits, major expenditures, payment of obligations, and policies whereby the administration may formulate procedures, regulations, and other guides for the orderly accomplishment of business. (Board Policy 8120)
I could find nothing in the Board’s handbook that required all board inquires to be scrubbed by Dr. Dance before being revealed to the public.
That, however, is exactly what Dr. Dance demanded by writing and releasing this rather inflammatory email:
From: Dance, Dallas
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 1:44 PM
Subject: Major Concern
Today, I received a personal call from several principals concerned about you contacting their school and stating you were from the “BCPS Operations Office” and asking for information on their school.
I’m sure you know this is a misrepresentation of your position with Baltimore County PublicSchools. [sic] As you blatantly lied to our schools about your role, unless directed differently by Board leadership, I will be directing all schools to refer any future contact from you to my office.
If you have any questions, you can contact me directly.
S. Dallas Dance
Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
Towson, MD 21204
Now from what I understand, Dr. Dance may have overstepped his authority in this matter when his email stated:
“… I will be directing all schools to refer any future contact from you to my office.”
This matter was then sent to the newly appointed BCPS Chairperson, Towson Attorney Edward J. Gilliss from the Fifth Council District, and as it stands now, this issue was not addressed by the entire Board which is a requirement. Is this another document dump?
The only discrepancy found is the ethical duty of a board member to make sure that the BCPS is operating at maximum efficiency and providing a healthy environment for our children.
What is astounding to me is that Dr. Dance singles out certain people for his unfounded wrath when, in fact, the board member was simply alerting parents, students, the public, and the media about an issue that goes above and beyond cool air in our schools.
Normally I would contact BCPS for a comment, but that is a total waste of time, as Dr. Dance’s office has a protocol in place of treating every question I ask as a PIA request.
With that said, I am filing a PIA for Dr. Dance, but not on the email or potential libel. My PIA request focuses on the $6M contract Dr. Dance awarded to his longtime mentor Dr. Edwards right after the latter took over at Discovery Channel. These shenanigans were perpetrated once the school year had already begun.
Those are some of the emails I would like to see, folks.
In the meantime, my advice to the board member targeted by Dr. Dance’s libelous email is to seek counsel regarding the issue. Referring to someone as a “liar” is a serious accusation.
And my final word (for this column) to Dr. Dance: Respect, sir, is EARNED through trust, not garnered through fear and intimidation. Remember, the more you tighten your grip, the more supporters will slip through your fingers.
If you can’t be there in person than go to BCPS website and view it live.