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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Updated: School Board Candidates on Allentown School Student WalkOut

Photo of walkout on Monday, courtesy of Lou Shupe
The Pied Piper of Allentown's schools, Michael Frassetto, has vowed to lure children out of their classrooms every day this week. Instead of attracting them with a magic flute, he's been using Nathan (Nate Whips) Markham's stretch limo. But it's unclear whether this walkout will extend into a third day. Frassetto's Facebook page, which was exploding with all kinds of videos and exhortations on Monday, was mysteriously quiet on Tuesday. So was Whips. He's busy with a new girlfriend who apparently is willing to overlook his rather extensive criminal history. That's nice. We know how Whips and Frassetto feel. But what about the people who are actually running for the position of school director.

Scott Armstrong and Bob Smith are both vocal opponents of the walkout. Scott, who has never shied away from controversy, spoke forcefully against the walkout last week in an essay published by Michael Molovisnky.

Last week, Smith took also exception to a walkout in which students would leave their classrooms to rendezvous at a statue of MLK.
Dr. King would never support students walking out of school, he protested and marched so all students would be able to go to any school they wanted. Dr. King wanted students to go to school not walk out. Shame on adults for organizing this walkout. I ask every Allentown student not to walk out but to help make changes by staying in school, working with teachers and the board together.
On Tuesday, Smith also disputed Frassetto's numbers. He said 400 participated on Monday, but that dropped to just 123 on Tuesday. On Monday when students tried to leave the protest, they were told they would be arrested, according to a source at the scene.* That might explain why the numbers dropped so dramatically.

Bob Smith condemned the "hypocrisy of this history teacher [Frassetto], whose 15 minutes of fame is almost up. ... I still would meet with any student, any time, on any issue they have or want to discuss with their parents or not, but not with anybody with this United Youth group.

Frassetto heads up the United Youth Party.

Charlie Thiel echoes Bob Smith and Armstrong. "I oppose the walkout," he made clear. "The outcomes of this walkout do not improve the education of our students."

It was a little harder to pin down Mark Smith, who posted a long and rambling commentary that essentially said nothing. After a rather testy exchange (reproduced it in its entirety here), Mark Smith finally stated, "I am not for the walk out. I feel it is counterproductive on several levels. There are better ways to address this problem. I do however, believe that there are people in our community that think this is the only way they will be heard. And, EVERYONE deserves to be heard."

Audrey Mathison refused to condemn the walkout, and appears to support it.
I believe that the walkout is a symptom of the distrust of the school district felt by some in the community. And I believe that the best way to deal with distrust is to talk openly about it. I would like to see the district sponsor some small group community discussions where individuals will feel welcome to speak freely. Maybe an evening discussion could be sponsored in elementary buildings for the neighborhood’s convenience.

And I would like to see the organizers of the walkout promote such discussions.
So Mathison actually would invite Nate Whips and Frassetto to share their expertise.

Elizabeth Martinez failed to respond. Ce-Ce Gerlach, the so-called people's candidate, ignored repeated requests for a statement expressing her actual position.

So there you have it. Four candidates are opposed to the walkout. One candidate appears to support it. Two candidates never bothered to weigh in on this issue.

Addendum (11:21 am): When kids were threatened with arrest for leaving the protest, that threat came from the organizers, not police. They actively misled students even after being assured no arrest would be made.

Updated 5:15 pm - Mathison opposes walkout. - Audrey Mathison has just emailed me to claim, "Evidently—though I read what I wrote several times—I accidentally gave you the wrong idea. It was never my intention to make you think that I support the walkout or condone truancy. And I certainly do not condone adults who advocate cutting class. I hope this clarifies things."

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

If O'Hare had a dick, he would not need to be obsessing over a fine man like Nate, or his girlfriend. If O'Hare were not such a car theiving pussy, he might be able to find a woman on his own....NAAAAAAA, I dont think so...he rolls with little boys.

Bernie O'Hare said...

So we now know Mezzacappa considers Nate Whips a fine man. She also repeats the kind of defamation that resulted in the loss of her car, By the way, your mother is now being deposed. What a great daughter you are!

Anonymous said...

Mark Smith seems like a weasel. As an ASD taxpayer I don't trust him and will not vote for him.

Anonymous said...

I truly appreciate somebody finally taking the time to formally spell out where each school board candidate stands or suspiciously chooses to be silent, as the case maybe, with respect to this most important issue involving school children.

Anonymous said...

Smith does seem like the stereotypical weasel politician. Got halfway to a doctorate with that dissertation carefully designed to please all but never did say a damn thing of meaningful substance until pressed hard. He does think the voters are stupid and he's probably right about that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He and I had a pretty intense exchange. I'm very tough on people who do not answer questions. But in fairness, I linked to the exchange in which Smith was offended by my unwillingness to let go. Maybe I was too rough. Also, to his credit, he did finally answer me.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised Mark Smith would say nothing. Have you ever actually spoken to him?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Smith a realtor? Maybe that's another Smith.

Anonymous said...

@1:29

That was an impressive piece of work and a great service to voters, Bernie. It'd be great if you could do another installment on the candidates' positions on school choice. Candidates Gerlach and (Mark) Smith have been notoriously evasive on the issue.

In particular, your interview shows Smith to be awfully thin-skinned, as could also be seen by many of my exchanges with him if he hadn't deleted them from his campaign page and banned me for daring to ask him where he stood on a few of the usual issues. I'm surprised he didn't tell you that you were "personally attacking" him -- that's one of his favorite diversionary tactics to avoid answering any question of substance. He also has a peculiar habit of claiming he's being "profiled." He's said previously (though now deleted by him) that I was "profiling" him, that Molovinsky was "profiling" him, yada, yada -- though he could never make quite clear what he meant by that. It did get him out of answering any questions, though.

And all that, I think, shows that Mr. Smith has a poor understanding of how democracy works. Yesterday he said, "Now I ask you politely to stay our of my business and I'll run my campaign the way I feel it should be run." Huh? I'm asking the fellow where he stands on issues directly pertinent to the office he's seeking, and he wants me -- a taxpayer and voter -- "stay out of my [his] business"? Well, I've got a solution for you, Mark: if you don't like it, don't run for office.

Mark Smith is simply unsuitable for elected office.

Charlie Sch said...

Bernie wrote that students were told that if they left the rally on Monday, they were told they would be arrested. It is essential to clarify that this threat came from a protest organizer AND NOT FROM THE POLICE. He was making up that threat to keep people from leaving - making it sound like the Police approved their truancy only if they were at this event.

The Police have shown restraint, and have mainly been trying to make sure no one got hurt.

Anonymous said...

I am a big supporter of the idea of charter schools, but if this is the type of teacher that the charter schools are hiring, one who has no problem allowing his students to associate with a known criminal, i may have to rethink that position.

Dreaming of Justice said...

This entire thing is just another sad spectacle..except that in the middle of the slime are misguided and at-risk youths. I agree, the instigator (why keep putting his name out there) likely deserves jail. he certainly does not deserve the privilege of teaching in this state again.

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression Audrey Mathison was on the Fed Ed /Fleck team. Was this the same Audrey Mathison when President of the Parkland Teachers union led the teachers to strike.We know who She will support .

Anonymous said...

@10:37

Yes, she is the same former forced-membership union commissar to whom you refer. And, yes, she was running under the Chicago Eddy Pawlwoski gang's "Citizens for a Better Allentown" banner.

And, apparently, per Bernie's article, she supports the walk out.

Could she possibly be a worse choice for School Board?

Jeffrey Anthony

Charlie Sch said...

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-pa-allentown-school-district-20150520-story.html

There are 7 candidates for 5 open seats. That means you need to pick the two people you would least like to see on the board.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"That was an impressive piece of work and a great service to voters, Bernie. It'd be great if you could do another installment on the candidates' positions on school choice. Candidates Gerlach and (Mark) Smith have been notoriously evasive on the issue."

I am pretty much done. I do not, as a rule, cover school boards. I made an exception bc of the walkout. I will have one more post about Fed Ed's sleazy behavior concerning this race at a Dem meeting on Monday night, and then that is it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Charlie Sch, I have clarified my post to make clear that the threat of arrest came from organizers, not police. This was dishonest and when this dishonesty was pointed out vy an adult at the scene, the organizers just smiled.

Anonymous said...

@11:07

I'm sorry to hear that, Bernie, but it was great you were on the beat while it lasted...

I look forward to your parting piece (though I'm sorry it's the parting piece)...

Jeffrey Anthony

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, Jeff, I don't really feel comfortable writing about public school districts. I'm a product of Catholic schools, as were my children and my grandson. It is a foreign world to me. It;s also easy to misunderstand what is happening. So unless it's a glaring issue like the walkout or a state audit, I try to avoid them in favor of topics I understand better.

Anonymous said...

This Anthony guy is the latest stooge to crawl up Bernie's butt. What's he running for?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Blog Mentor, how many emails did you send to Anthony, threatening him with all kinds of repercussions after he posted here? He appears to know you better than most.

Anonymous said...

@5:21

Bernie,

I propose we adopt the more descriptive moniker "Attack Poodle" to replace "Blog Mentor."

Do you second?

Jeffrey Anthony

Anonymous said...

Blog Mentor has been needing a serious attitude adjustment for quite time now.

Anonymous said...

@7:07

It's on its way to Souderton PA...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@7:24

He (Blog Mentor a.k.a Attack Poodle) recently (laughably) contemplated whether he should hit me with, as he said, "bare knuckles or brass knuckles."

You, unlike him, may be capable of prevailing in a punch-up, but don't do it -- or even threaten it.

I understand how you might feel that way, but don't lower yourself to his level...

Best Regards (and no insult intended),
Jeffrey Anthony

Bernie O'Hare said...

To be clear, I do not condone or advocate physical violence and just deleted a comment suggesting that, which likely was posted by the Blog Mentor himself to give him a pretense for whatever next cRaZy action he contemplates.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Just deleted another OT comment. Folks, the topic is above. Also, I hate comments with lengthy gaps in them, and will delete them for that reason alone. I fault myself here for bringing it up. My bad.