The Bulloch County Board of Education held a meeting recently, if you can imagine such a thing, where the members hemmed and hawed about topics that most of us wouldn’t waste five seconds thinking about. However, this meeting was markedly different from so many, many other meetings, if we’re to believe the report made in the Gerald. One of the hot button topics involved an anonymous letter written by a Langston Chapel Middle School teacher regarding Principal Gambel-Hilton (note the prominent hyphen) and her presumably petty ways, poor attitude, and reckless leadership. The members named in the report are Cheri Wagner, Maurice Hill, and Steve Hein. Comments were made between Hill and Wagner, comments that Hein and some of the other members found offensive and inappropriate. One of comments was remarkably sexist, not that this is any reason to plaster the conversation on a billboard on every highway coming into town. If this already sounds petty & wasteful of our tax dollars and time, it is. Furthermore, I don’t know for sure if this incident isn’t also an example of the absolute state of news reporting, but here is a breakdown of the conversation. Please, put down your preferred beverage before continuing, if only for the sake of your screen.
Hill: “So I’d like to make that motion, that we do intervene at this time and reconsider the evidence and the things at hand to try to resolve the issue at Langston Chapel Middle School.” “That is my motion as a board member.”
Wagner: looking down the table at Hein, asked something, inaudible in available recordings
Hill: “I think we can speak up in front of everybody,”
Wagner: “Thank you, Mr. Hill.” “My point was I think we need to consult parliamentary procedure.”
Hill said he thought legal counsel needed to be present for that, leading to comments between Hein and Hill about who could have asked the board attorney to attend, and that it hadn’t been done. After further questions from Hill and Wagner, Hill restated his motion, to which Wagner responded.
Wagner: “What does ‘intervene’ mean?”
Hill responds with comments that were inaudible due to trailing off or interruptions by other board members. Wagner’s next comment, however, reveals the rising tension.
Wagner: “Please, if you reprimand me one more time!”
Hill: “I wasn’t reprimanding you. You’ve got your husband and your daddy to do that.”
There were some expressions like, “Whew!” and a little laughter from some in the crowd. Keep in mind that the gathered crowd was in support of the previously mentioned Principal, who’s apparent pettiness & poor leadership prompted an anonymous letter. This crowd is giggling at Maurice Hill’s ugly comment like a bunch of middle school kids themselves. By now, you should understand why anonymity is a must when voicing concern or criticizing a member of the sect of perpetual ineptitude.
Hill: “I’m just being … If you can’t understand what I’m saying, maybe that’s the problem right now. You can’t understand.”
Hill then restated his motion again and the board members went into discussion.
In yet another meeting two weeks later, Steve Hein followed Wagner’s comments with his own remarks regarding civility and accountability in light of the comments above.
Hein: “So to that end, Mrs. Wagner, to what you were saying, I would request board member Maurice Hill that you, since the remark was made in public, that conversely in public that you would make an apology to fellow board member Cheri Wagner.”
Hill: “I don’t think I was reprimanding her.” “I didn’t say it like that.”
Hein: “If you don’t feel you did it, regardless of our own H.R. department here feels that that was the case, or that legal felt that that was the case, are you telling me that we just merely don’t have to feel something?”
Hill: “Maybe I was offended by the way that … . Maybe I was offended that I didn’t really know what the motion meant and the law, but I accepted it,”
Hein: “You’re offended because of your own ignorance that you don’t know what the motion is?”
Hill: “Are you calling me ignorant? … I did not state that,” “I said maybe I was offended that it was said that I didn’t know what the motion meant.”
Did I not warn you to put down your beverage?
Hein: “Well, I think we’re deviating again and I think you’ve answered the question,” “You’re not going to despite it being asked of, or said that it was, quite frankly, a sexist remark.”
Reiterating that the school system’s human resources department and legal counsel considered the remark sexist, Hein asked Hill if he then, “as a cleric,” was saying that he was not going to apologize.
Hill: “I don’t feel I made a sexist remark,”
Hein: “That’s all I need to know,” “Thank you.”
Hill: “You’re welcome,”
Editor’s note: Anyone willing to bet that Mr. Hill also didn’t know what the phrase, “as a cleric”, meant?
Superintendent Charles Wilson had this to say.
“From my discussions with legal counsel and with H.R., it does qualify as a sexist statement,”
“He does not know how “actionable” it is from a legal standpoint,”
“The other thing is, I have had multiple employees make statements to me that they were offended and demeaned by the statement that Mr. Hill made,”
Hill has since commented that he believes Wagner and Hein are, wait for it, harassing him. That’s the Bulloch County Board of Education chairman, folks. He has fully exposed himself as being unprofessional, inept, and ignorant of basic terminology in his field of “expertise”. He’s also quite childish, as demonstrated by his remarks. It’s doubtful that the snickering peanut gallery that supports him is any more mature.
Video of the meetings can be found on the school system website at www.bulloch.k12.ga.us/boardlive