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BoE creates its own tragic comedy
From the editor
Jeff Whitten may 2017.jpg

Lest one gets accused of living in a glass house and throwing rocks, I bet at least 50 percent of the people in this country have at one time or other in their lives directed that age-old gesture known as “shooting (or flipping) the bird” at someone else. ‘

I myself am guilty of being on both ends of middle fingers. I once got flipped off half a dozen times in 10 seconds by a pickup full of obese Texans while motoring across McIntosh Mountain back in the day. 

I think I was driving too slow. 

Back on topic, I suspect most of us have also sent emails or texts we regretted as soon as we hit send. Some of us also use “emojis” on a regular basis, though not me. I am trying to steer clear of that sort of mush. 

But then along comes something like this from AdvancED, an agency that has the power to pretty much blow up Liberty County’s school system: 

“Evidence revealed text messaging documentation from August 2017 of communications as the board chair was attempting to establish a common date and time with fellow board members to meet with Dr. Sam King from the Georgia School Board Association (GSBA). While some board members texted their availability for this meeting, one board member texted, ‘My response,’ followed by the middle-finger emoji.”


In other words, one unnamed member of the Liberty County Board of Education figuratively shot the bird at the rest of the school board. 

At least I think the word I’m looking for is figuratively, but if not, let’s not get bogged down in details. The bottom line is a middle finger emoji is now part of an official record with our name on it. 

Somewhere, in AdvancED’s files, will forever be the words “middle-finger emoji” in the file marked “Liberty County School System.”

Imagine historians 100 years from now wondering what happened on the school board back in 2017? Well, one member shot an emoji bird at other members, that’s what. 

Succinct, maybe, but not exactly the Gettysburg Address. “Wonder who elected this bunch,” they’ll muse. 

But for now, something like that could well go down on the school board’s permanent record and stay with it for the rest of it’s life. Good luck getting a job after that, young board. 

“It says here you flipped yourself off in 2017,” some guy looking to hire you to flip burgers will say. “I can’t use you. I need a board who won’t spit in the french fry grease when nobody’s looking just because it feels like it.””

The AdvancEd report said more, much of it in that jargonics-blather educators use. You know, “dominions” and “governance handbook,” and “ensure and enhance governance structure and organizational effectiveness.”

Here, I have to note I don’t get why so called educators can’t use plain English. Maybe it started around the time they stopped calling themselves teachers. 


None of those other things in the AdvancED report, not the claim board members held secret meetings, used facilities they shouldn’t have or micromanaged employees, surprises me as much as the news that one elected official sent others a “middle finger emoji.”

Why? Because some politicians just can’t help themselves, for some reason. They’re like kids who get too close to a cookie jar and think nobody’s looking. 

In fairness, it appears only one Liberty County school board member is to blame for the middle finger emoji, unless all of them are out there texting each other middle finger emojis and nobody’s told AdvancED. 

But there are other aspects of the report that suggest it’s not just one member who needs a refresher course in good government. And maybe us too. After all, these board members didn’t elect themselves. 

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