BACKGROUND: The following is a post by Megan Reilly, a frequent guest on In The Dugout with Mike Stenhouse with regard to the ‘naked body fat testing” scandal that is unfolding in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Her Facebook group page, “Fixing a Broken System” has 257 members, but has come under criticism by school system cronies for being too “mean” and focused on bringing down individual school committee members. Reilly writes below to refute those accusations.
I wanted to do one big post to revisit some misconceptions, misinformation, etc. about the current school committee members’ role in all of this, but I can’t find the time to write it all at once. Thus: Part 1
1. We have 5 SC members, all Democrats (political affiliation shouldn’t matter, but apparently, it does). Chair Greg Blasbalg, Vice Chair Lisa Hildebrand, Jenni Hoskins, Jen Lima and Jake Mather.
2. Greg, Lisa, and Jenni have all been on since at least 2018 (this will become a very relevant point later on in another post).
3. Chain of Command—
NKSD employees (including the superintendent and the attorney they hire). All of these positions are paid for with our tax dollars. We vote for the SC members to represent us, our kids, and our educational interests and in doing so, expect them to listen to and properly represent us.
4. One of our district officials’ biggest problems appears to be a disregard and complete lack of understanding of the chain of command. The SC members appear to have (had) this deference to administrators like Auger & King, their lawyer, and even each other. I have been directly told as much by one of them. Each of them has an equal vote, but it appears that this SC feels safer voting and sticking together on almost every single issue.
5. This page was not created to “take down” a SC (something that was actually stated publicly by a resident in town) nor are my posts intended to get “innocent” people “fired” (silly talk because you can’t fire SC members anyway). You can revisit the mission statement that was written by Thomas Southwick
(the original whistleblower) on behalf of other victims to learn more about the true purpose of this page.
6. For some, there is a soft spot for these poor SC members who are being ”attacked” as part of all of this when they “didn’t do anything wrong”. Let’s remember that these residents chose to run for public office. While we should be respectful of our officials, respectful doesn’t mean we give them a pass. They are not volunteers (that is different and they are being paid—-not a lot, but that also means they are NOT volunteers).
While they did not know about the Thomas allegations until after their 2020 election, certainly the 2018 members were aware of all that was occurring behind the scenes in the NKSD and still chose to run. By the time they found out about the Thomas allegations, DCYF HAD been contacted. It is a common misconception that they should be held accountable for failure to report. They are responsible for failures in many other ways, but failure to report by school committee members should not be included on that list, but on the list of school administrators who were previously in the know.
There are multiple cases of alleged sexual harassment, assaults, bullying, etc. by students and employees and lawsuits against the district of which those members are aware. Some are public, some are not, and some will become public soon. Therefore, at least 3 of them knew exactly what they were walking into. Furthermore, as I have demonstrated in previous posts and hope to follow up on soon, these members had many chances to do the right thing regarding the Thomas allegations (once they knew) and have demonstrated a dereliction of duty in many ways. To hold them accountable is not being mean and quite frankly, this is not about them. This has nothing to do with “hurting feelings” and everything to do with protecting our kids.
They have also never shown any true public remorse for the victims, generic and vapid “official SC statements” aside. To hold them accountable is not being mean and quite frankly, this is not about them. This has nothing to do with “hurting feelings” and everything to do with protecting our kids.