Do you believe that the 2012 elections did not factor in to the decision of Not-so-Superintendent Elia and then Board Chair Candy Olson to not inform the school board and the public about the Herrera tragedy? Imagine how that campaign year would have gone if we had all known about this awful failure of the school district.
When you consider what constitutes “willful neglect” remember this simple 6 item sequence of events; especially item 6 from November 6, 2012:
1. On December 15, 2011: a special needs student is forgotten on a school bus for most of the school day. The student is unharmed but the Aide is charged with child neglect.
2. January 1, 2012: the 2012 campaign season begins with 4 incumbent school board members running for re-election.
3. January 26, 2012: Isabella Herrera dies after suffering respiratory distress on a bus. Neither the aide nor the bus driver call 911 or seek assistance while parked in front of a pediatric Office but no one is charged with neglect. Superintendent Elia, Chair Candy Olson and the Sheriff’s Office are all together at a “Battle of the Belts” event when Isaballa passes away but none of them inform the school board or the public about the death (see Patch Exclusive “You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone”).
4. August 14, 2012: Primaries are held and incumbent school board members Doretha Edgecomb and Susan Valdes are re-elected.
5. November 1, 2012: 9 months after it occurred the public and school board learn of the death of Isabella Herrera death when a lawsuit is filed after the death of a second student Jenny Caballero.
6. November 6, 2012: The General election is held and incumbent school board member Carol Kurdell is re-elected.
When you consider what constitutes “willful neglect” consider that one of the responsibilities of the Superintendent and her staff is to recommend policy and training updates for the school board to adopt. But the Not-so-superintendent Elia will later claim that her excuse for not informing the school board for 9 months about Isabella Herrera’s death was that no “criminal wrongdoing” was found. But criminal wrongdoing was found in the previous December 15, 2011 incident but no policy & training updates were recommended by the not-so-Superintendent and her staff like Cathy Valdes, Chief of Facilities (bus transportation). Instead they sat in front of the board for 9 months and said nothing. Had they recommended policy & training updates then both Isabella Herrera and Jenny caballero might still be with us. And conceivably had policies and training been updated after the December 15, 2011 incident then Shawn Livingston and all the staff at Rodgers Middle school would have received those updated policies and training and Jenny Caballero would not have drowned. Or, in other words, Superintendent Elia and the school board’s failure after the December 15, 2011 incident is directly responsible for any perceived failure on the part of Shawn Livingston.
When it comes to “willful neglect” it is hard to imagine anything more absurd than Superintendent Elia and the School Board sitting in judgment of Shawn Livingston three weeks ago. They should have all recused themselves from participating. If any one should be getting reviewed it should be Not-so-Superintendent Elia. But, of course she received 4 glowing reviews last week from none other than Candy Olson, Doretha Edgecomb, Carol Kurdell and Stacy White which made the October 15 Livingston hearing seem more like a show trial to keep the staff intimidated by the blatant double standard that exists at Hillsborough County Public Schools.
Instead, on October 15, Shawn Livingston was exonerated by 3 out of 5 members of the Hillsborough County School Board. 3 days earlier on October 12, Watchdog Journalist Scott Adams wrote school board members and noted the absurd and blatant double standard of Superintendent Elia and the School Board sitting in judgment of Shawn Livingston when it was Superintendent Elia and the school board’s failure after the December 15, 2011 near tragedy that was directly responsible for any perceived failure on the part of Shawn Livingston. Scott Adams spoke out while the rest of local mainstream media stood by obediently silent like well trained lapdogs (see http://brandon.patch.com/groups/scott-adamss-blog/p/fifth-estate-people-know-what-times-wont-report) .
As you may have guessed from the 6 item sequence above, that it was none other than Candy Olson (see http://brandon.patch.com/groups/scott-adamss-blog/p/patch-exclusive-youve-just-crossed-over-into-the-twilight-zone) and Carol Kurdell (see http://brandon.patch.com/groups/scott-adamss-blog/p/overt-campaigning-vs-covert-campaigning) who, like whited sepulchers, voted against Shawn Livingston.