Wednesday, November 27, 2013

APS forming "Social Media Task Force". You cannot be serious!

The leadership of the APS has decided to rewrite the district-level social media policy and guidelines.  The current policy, link,

Employees need to be mindful of their internet website postings even if done off duty and off District property. Do not engage in social networking during the duty day. Do not disclose personal or contact information, or post photographs of employees without their permission. Never post a photograph and/or information about an APS student. Employees who violate this Policy may be subject to the APS Progressive Discipline Process. 
was apparently inadequate to keep Supt Winston Brooks out of trouble.  It is unclear how a better policy in the staff handbook would have helped Brooks anyway, as he has admitted in his sworn deposition 187:11.
"I've not read the staff handbook".
Think please of the implications of Brooks' admission, both in terms of his enforcement of the handbook and his own obedience to it.

Despite the fact that taxpayers a ponying up a half million dollars a year for a communications department, those who work in it are apparently, unable to rewrite the rules by themselves.  They have decided to form a Social Media Task Force, link, to help them along.

Assume for the sake of argument, that a "better" policy would help (there is not a whit of difference between the highest standards of conduct and the lowest, if neither is enforced), why do we need a task force to write it?  Task forces don't happen for free.  At the very least, APS newly hired (>$50K/yr) "social media expert" will be there and she's making $25/hr.

If Executive Director of Communications Monica Armenta shows up, it's going to cost taxpayers more than $50/hr; plus all their ancillary staff, snacks and who knows what else.  They're planning to meet twice a month for who knows how many months.

Why does a communications expert worth more than $100K a year, and her $50K a year social media expert, need help of writing a simple social media policy? Hell, they could probably download a perfectly adequate one from the internet for free.

Again, it's not the lack of standards, it's not the quality of the standards that is the problem.  The problem is that these folks are not really, honesty accountable to any standards of conduct.

If this sounds at all fascinating to you, you can nominate yourself to serve on the task force, link.  Be prepared to write up to two hundred words on why you're the best representative of parents, students, counselors, teachers, or principals, in this monumental undertaking.

What makes this particularly irksome is that there are existing standards which are more than adequate for the need.  Student standards of conduct, and therefore adult standards of conduct, require "treating people with respect".  Students are expected to treat others as they themselves would be treated.

If Brooks doesn't get that, if he does not know that already, (he clearly does not), no new policy is going to help him understand it.

This is a colossal waste of time and resources; time and resources that would be better spent on students in order that they not grow into adults who are oblivious even of, the golden rule.

photo Mark  Bralley


Anonymous said...

More of the "central office justifying their jobs" routine! If they would only do the "right thing" they wouldn't need a PR department!

Anonymous said...

No social media task force will ever teach Brooks to stop running his mouth in public. In the latest lawsuit against him for covering up a battery on a school employee because the offender is his personal friend he broke the district policy to not comment on pending litigation. First he claimed that the district indeed took action against the unruly basketball parent by assigning a personal APS police officer (imagine that!) to sit next to the offender at a subsequent APS high school basketball game. Then he changed the story and called the lawsuit "frivolous" because APS supposedly reviewed a tape of the basketball game where the incident took place and determined that the offender's action warranted no punitive consequences by APS (but APD determined that a battery on a school employee indeed took place and APD forwarded the findings of its investigations to the District Attorney's office). And lastly APS "categorically denies" the plaintiff's allegations and APS is confident it will easily win the case in court. In the words of Aldous Huxley, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad." How much longer will the school board allow Brooks to continue to embarrass and cost this district with his reckless and incompetent behavior?

Anonymous said...

Armenta recently called the PTA president of one of the local high schools to "inform" her that any future comments or interviews with the press/media must be reviewed and authorized by Aremnta first. The PTA president told Armenta to Google the first amendment and F off. It is said that; "You can't put lipstick on a pig" but KOB did for the twenty years Armenta read the morning news.

Anonymous said...

Is adversarial culture at APS responsible for latest lawsuit?

Is adversarial culture at APS responsible for latest lawsuit? (Photo: APS Website)
APS Website

Dr. Michael Williams|Albuquerque Family Examiner

December 22, 2010

Another lawsuit has been filed against the Albuquerque Public Schools. It alleges that a former student at Sandia High School was humiliated and suffered emotional distress at the hands of a teacher that made racist jokes about him. The student, Odell Meadows, claims that his health teacher, Mary LaValley, made several racist jokes about him in front of his class. Of particular note was that LaValley allegedly called him a “black hole” as well as other things.

The suit, Morgan v. Albuquerque Public Schools et al, filed in the New Mexico Federal Court in Albuquerque on December 17th, also lists Principal Michael Bachicha, Assistant Principal Esther Keeton, and Teacher Mary LaValley as defendants that were at Sandia at the time of the alleged incident.

The suit lists the charge as a “Civil action for deprivation of rights.” The charge is defined as anyone who “subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws.”

This is not the first case that Michael Bachicha has had in the courts with APS. Earlier this year, he sued APS along with his assistant principal, Susan Stanojevic, claiming they faced discrimination and retaliation when they were transferred from Sandia High School in 2009. The issue in that case concerned both of them being demoted after Stanojevic filed a complaint with the APS Office of Equal Opportunity about a threat she had received when she fired an employee.

The Bachicha, Stanojevic case also alleges that APS Superintendent Winston Brooks made disparaging remarks about Stanojevic and lied to the media about his reasons for transferring Bachicha. They allege that when Brooks met with Bachicha and Stanojevic about the incident Wilson said, Stanojevic "screwed (former APS Superintendent) Brad Allison and slept her way to the top."

Assistant Principal Ester Keeton is listed at APS as being in charge of Special Education, curriculum, and attendance and discipline of Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) students at Sandia. It is not known if the student was in the BIP program or not.

This case demonstrates yet another example of the adversarial culture that permeates the Albuquerque Public Schools. Of particular note is that this is not the first time allegations about the abusive nature of Superintendent Winston Brooks have surfaced. In November, allegations that Wilson creates a hostile work environment were made by Associate Superintendent Ruby Ethridge.

In an email to Brooks, Ehteridge said, “Your actions of harassment, yelling, belittling me will not occur in the future. I have never seen such wanton disregard for kindness and civility and creating a hostile work environment.” Brooks responded by accusing Ethridge of being “insubordinate” and placed her on paid administrative leave. Emails between Wilson and Ethridge were so heated about the issue that she said she would not meet with him about his abusive office behavior without her attorney

Any parent will tell you that when investigating trouble with their kids not getting along, they will often see a pattern in their children that helps them to determine where the trouble starts. Applying the same logic to APD, it appears that Superintendent Wilson is often the common denominator in many of these cases.

It is time for a top to bottom review of the district to see how much the adversarial attitude is effecting the day-to-day operations and interaction with students and their families. Considering the costs of these lawsuits and the effect on students, what does APS have to lose?

Anonymous said...

APS is need of spin and social media manipulation when the Superintendent has police reports that are almost too tawdry for the Jerry Springer show.

Anonymous said...

Ched, about Brooks' statement in his deposition, "I've never read the staff handbook" - is his deposition a public record? How can one read his entire deposition?

ched macquigg said...

I believe it is a public record.

All you have to do is ask Rigo Chavez to email the pdf to you. It is immediately available; the law requires him to produce it immediately.