“It is absolutely my understanding that Ms. Williams, Dr. Moore, or ANY school employee did not contact anyone at the arsenal.” Really?

You know all about the problems between CJ Grisham’s family and Huntsville City Schools. On Monday School Board member Dr. Jennie Robinson was on my show.

This is CJ Grisham’s response to her statement…

From CJ Grisham’s facebook:

Today, Huntsville City Schools board member, Dr. Jennie Robinson, went on the Dale Jackson show to defend the school system, Superintendent Anne Moore, and Principal Avis Williams. She said with absolute certainty that “school system employees did not contact the Army.” I have the smoking gun and I’m presenting the evidence to the court of public opinion right now.

Dr. Robinson to WVNN morning host, Dale Jackson: “I do not believe ANY school employee contacted ANYONE on the base and I have also received that confirmation from arsenal staff.”

The emphasis is hers, not mine. This has been the crutch of the argument since the beginning. School officials have continuously tried to label me a monster, a liar, and a threat. Allow me to quote from an email sent to the ARMY school liaison officer, Barbara Williams on 1 Oct 2009 at 11:27pm. This email was sent after the first meeting with the school on the uniform policy in which the principal refused to answer parents concerns and then feigned absolute fear because I had the unmitigated gall to call her on it.

“I do have a problem with Mr. Grisham and would like to make a formal complaint to his superior. I am very glad that Al Lankford [the school’s security supervisor or something] was at the meeting, otherwise I would have feared for my safety and would’ve called security and HPD. Even after being threathened [sic] at Terry Heights, I have not experienced the concern that I have about this parent. He was disruptive, disrespectful and attempted to publicly humiliate me and a threatening tone. The vast majority of the parents were supportive and appreciative of the fact that the meeting was held and that vouchers were provided. He concerns me. I am considering taking further action (a trespass order or something) but wanted to mention it to you first. I understand parents wanting to express themselves but this man is scary.
Please let me know if there is anything that you can do or offer any other suggestions. He is a First Sergeant and I’m told that he has PTSD.

Avis”

No one else sent that email unless a very good hacker was able to get into abwilliams@hsv.k12.al.us and sent that out so soon after the meeting. Interestingly, this email went out almost exactly one hour after I sent an email to Dr. Moore, Dr. Yates, and Principal Williams requesting a meeting on MY treatment that night. My email went out at 10:38, but Principal Williams needed to do quick damage control. She realized that she had royally screwed up and needed to get on the offensive quickly. Here is the “scary” email I sent that night, exactly 49 minutes prior to her “concern” about me. I will not provide any editing or explanation until after my quote:

Dr. Moore,

My name is CJ Grisham and I’m the very proud parent of three honor roll children (one of whom is an NJHS member) attending Williams Middle and Elementary School. On Thursday, 1 October 2009, Principal Avis Williams held a parents meeting to showcase the school uniforms. I’m sure by now you are aware of my disagreement with Mrs. Williams after that “meeting.” On behalf of the “one or two parents” that also disagreed with the timing of this policy (which was really more like 50-60), I would like to schedule a meeting on this topic with you, the principal and parents. This is a topic that parents deserve to have a voice in. Since the principal refused to allow us to voice our concerns tonight, I’m taking them to the next level.

Huntsville City Schools policy number 102-8 states that “the Board of Education supports the development, implementation, and regular evaluation of a program in each school, which will involve parents and the community at all grade levels in a variety of roles.” It goes on to list some components of how that is made possible, such as

* Family and school communications is two-way, regular, meaningful, and respectful of diversity
* Parents and the community are welcome in the school, and their active support and assistance are sought
* Inclusion of parents and community as partners in the decisions that affect children and families

I will state unequivocally that there was NOT two-way communication on the uniform policy. It was a one-way communication that simply informed us of the decision to switch to uniforms mid-school year. The community was NOT welcome in the school as demonstrated by Mrs. Williams banishment of the media present to cover a simple event to showcase school uniforms. She did this rudely and without identifying herself WHILE a parent of one of the students was being interviewed. And, finally, parents certainly were NOT included in the uniform decision, which no one can argue doesn’t affect children and families.

Parents had an opportunity to question the security official and the uniform store official, but no one was allowed to question the principal who unilaterally decided this was a great idea. Let me state plainly and openly that I, along with most of the parents I’ve spoken and met with on this topic, am not opposed to school uniforms. Far from it! I have absolutely no problem with them. I wear uniforms on a daily basis as a Soldier. What I have a problem with are parents not being consulted on these major decisions. I have a problem with instituting an expensive uniform policy halfway through a school year after the most expensive holiday of the year and after school clothes have already been purchased. I have a problem with a principal who refuses to even listen to voices of opposition and then mislead you and others about how many of us there are! I have a problem with a principal who dismisses my concerns and tells me that she won’t discuss a uniform policy with me at a uniform meeting! I have a problem with a principal who doesn’t understand the fundamentals of our free society in allowing the media to cover a public event. What is there to hide if only “one or two” of us disagree, as you stated on record tonight? Her conduct tonight was unacceptable, mean spirited, and completely unprofessional.

One parent tried to explain to other parents how much these uniforms cost, but couldn’t be heard because no microphone was set up. When she went to approach the microphone after other parents wanted to hear what she said, Mrs. Williams said it “wasn’t necessary” and didn’t allow the parent to be heard. She mentioned some fictitious price sheet that I and other parents haven’t seen. One of the school officials sitting right next to Mrs. Williams cast aside our concerns over the cost of having to purchase multiple uniforms by basically telling us to teach our kids to do laundry! I thought we taught our kids how to conserve water and energy and yet we’re being told to wash uniforms basically every day?! No silly $50 voucher is going cover everything the kids need, especially with multiple kids. My cost would be easily over $400 to purchase just five sets of clothing and that’s assuming I even qualify for a voucher.

The parents and I would like to schedule a meeting with you to discuss our concerns. We are not against uniforms, we simply believe that there is no reason to force us to purchase them or the kids to wear them in January. We are in the middle of one of the recessions in recent memory and money is tight for everyone. The Huntsville City School system receives a LOT of federal money for all the military children attending school here. We deserve a voice in our childrens’ education. And we also vote in school board and superintendent elections.

I study law and am aware of numerous United States District Court rulings in which the legality of forcing unwilling children to wear a uniform were questioned and ruled unconstitutional when challenged. I brought two cases with me tonight. I’m also aware of federal law contained within the US Code that specifically states that “parents have the primary responsibility for the education of their children, and States, localities, and private institutions have the primary responsibility for supporting that parental role.” (U.S. Code, Title 20, Chapter 48, Subchapter I, Paragraph 3401(3))(emphasis mine)

We believe this decision can be postponed until the new school year or some other compromise. If the uniform is voluntary until December, it can be voluntary until May. Please let me know of a few dates when you would be available so I can coordinate with the families who are also concerned. A timely response to this concern is appreciated. Please feel free to contact me directly at 256-xxx-xxxx if you would like to discuss scheduling over the phone.

May I also add that it was completely contempful of Mrs. Harrison (7th grade science teacher) to remark to other parents how embarrassed my wife must feel being married to me. Those comments by her and other teachers about those of us that disagree are completely uncalled for and made me feel as if I needed to speak with the assistant principal to inform her that if there is any blowback against my kids for what happened tonight, lawsuits will follow. My children’s education experience had better not be affected by my actions in standing up for my rights as a parent and organizing others who feel the same way. I can’t even begin to describe how absolutely ashamed I am of the administration tonight at Williams Middle School. My wife is proud that I had the courage to stand up for what is right and stood by me the entire time. Mrs. Harrison and other teachers need to stay in their lane of educating our children.

It’s important to note that I never got a response from either Dr. Moore, Dr. Yates or Principal Williams to this email and a request for meeting. The first meeting with Dr. Moore didn’t come until the Monday prior to the next PTA meeting on 11 Oct AFTER the fall break when the crap hit the fan and both Principal Williams and PTA President Angela Moore continued to contact the Army directly. Keep in mind that Principal Williams brought in my PTSD after most likely looking for something derogatory on my blog. And she used it as the basis and backbone for a phony claim that I was violent, scary, and threatening. After all, aren’t all PTSD sufferers homicidal maniacs just waiting to crack and spray an entire city block of innocent bystanders?

Dr. Robinson to WVNN morning host, Dale Jackson: “Dr. Moore has reported to me, and I have no reason not to believe her, based on reports from the Arsenal that no one contacted the army…All I am satisfied to know is that it wasn’t ANYONE from the school system.”

Again, the emphasis is Dr. Robinson’s. After sending out the email above to Barbara Williams, the Redstone Arsenal military school liaison officer, she then crafted another email as if she just sort of stumbled upon it AFTER seeing mine, most likely. In response directly to the email I wrote above, Principal Avis Williams again emailed the Army with the following:

“This is the parent that I referred to in my earlier email. I’m not sure how Dr. Moore will want to handle this, but I will not be meeting with him without security being present. He was very disruptive, rude and nasty at the meeting.

Please give me your thoughts.
Avis”

The military school liaison’s thoughts were to forward the email to my chain of command! So much for representing the interests of military and civilian personnel assigned to the Arsenal. It probably should be noted that Barbara Williams is a former Huntsville City Schools employee and principal prior to accepting her current position.

So here we already have two instances where the Principal that didn’t contact military officials actually contacted military officials. But, it gets better. Let’s recap a moment. So far, I’m “scary,” “threatening,” “disruptive,” “disrespectful,” “rude,” “nasty,” and “humiliating.”

Dr. Robinson to WVNN morning host, Dale Jackson: “I’m saying he doesn’t have any proof and we have every indication from the Arsenal staff that it was someone else who contacted them. Someone OTHER than a school system employee…Dr. Moore and I have had our disagreements. However, in THIS instance, I absolutely believe that Dr. Moore is telling the truth…If I didn’t have faith in her to that extent (telling the truth), I’d be asking for her resignation.”

On October 2nd, another parent emailed Principal Williams with concerns about how she conducted the meeting the prior night. In her reply to that parent, she CC’d Army official, Barbara Williams again. Because she was a minority female, she was much nicer to her, even though she was in the back of the cafeteria just as frustrated as I was. For her privacy, I will not use her name or the exact wording of the email.

But, on Monday, October 5th, Principal Avis Williams who, last time I checked was a “school system employee” sent an email to Army official Barbara Williams quoting something I had written on my blog on Friday, October 2nd:

I got an email from the district supervisor about the school uniform issue. The school has reversed course and will not make uniforms mandatory this year. However, they will be mandatory next year.

While this is a great win, it’s not the end of the problem. Parents and students still were not consulted about whether we even WANT uniforms! And while I’m ambivalent about school uniforms, I still want the ability guaranteed to me by school policies and U.S. Code as a parent. Major decisions that affect my children directly MUST occur with our input.

We do not work for the government! We do not work for the school system. I refuse to be disrespected and my parental right discarded by a principal out of control! This is a great win, but it’s not over yet!

We’re going to Dairy Queen to celebrate!

Avis Williams began quickly grasping at straws, having lost a crucial battle in forcing uniforms upon our children and burdening families with unneeded financial liabilities. Principal Williams again contacted Army officials:

Read below. I copied and pasted this from his website (www.asoldiersperspective.us [sic]). What does he mean, it’s not over? He gives me a feeling in my gut like I have never had before. Please get me in touch with his supervisor. I don’t appreciate his depiction of me or of this situation.

Thanks!
Avis

Hmmmm, so I’m not allowed to have a “depiction” of this principal? And really, based on the context of the entire blog post, she didn’t understand what “it’s not over” means? This woman is in charge of educating our children? But this isn’t the worst part. What I just quoted for you came at the end of a LONG email chain between Principal Williams and the Army. And here’s where Dr. Moore’s and Dr. Robinson’s assertion that the PTA is a separate and distinct entity unregulated or controlled by Huntsville City Schools gets a little blurry and skewered.

On October 5th, at 12:33 in the afternoon, I sent an email to PTA President Angela Thomas. The email said:

Mrs. Thomas,

I would like a moment to speak before the PTA during the 13 Oct meeting about the Middle School uniform decision. Do you have an agenda for the meeting yet?

One of the politices [sic] as stated in the by-laws of the PTA is to “seek to participate in the decision-making process establishing school policy.”

Her response was simple and ignorant. “Who is this?” I answered, “This is CJ Grisham. I have two middle school students and an elementary school student at Williams.” “Who’s by laws? Schools or state?” I responded equally simply with “School’s by-laws.” She then retorted, “Ok, now what are you wanting to address? I am not trying to be difficult but I must ask.” Did she not even read the previous email? Great googly-moogly. I responded simply, “The new uniform policy for the middle school.”

This is where the line between Huntsville City Schools and the PTA get blurred. If they were two completely separate and individual entities, why did Mrs. Thomas respond with this:

Since you already contacted Dr. Moore, it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned if you allow Dr Moore the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

Now, you are more than welcome to attend any PTA meeting; however attending with the AGENDA of disrupting the meeting or taking over to distribute your platform is not in accordance with my program.

Sincerely,
Angela
PTA President

This is interesting because I never told Angela that I had spoken to Dr. Moore. But, remember that first email I sent at 10:38 on Thursday night to Dr. Moore and Principal Williams requesting a meeting? Apparently, the information in that email was shared with Angela Thomas. Huntsville City Schools and the PTA are separate and distinct? And last I checked, the PTA wasn’t Angela’s program. She was just the president of it. There’s a reason we pay dues. So, I responded to Angela directly and pointedly:

Thanks. I’ll just use the by-laws then and bring it up according to them. If the PTA doesn’t want to acknowledge the “P” portion of its initials, I’ll use procedure. If you violate the PTA charter, I will report your chapter to the State PTA and have your charter reviewed for violation of your articles. This is not YOUR organization. You are the president of it and are bound to abide by the articles of your charter.

See you on the 13th.

Now prior to sending out this email, Angela then contacted the Army with her response to my email. She CC’d Dr. Moore, Dr. Yates, Principal Williams, Principal McAllister (elementary school principal) and the Army’s school liaison officer, Barbara Williams. The emails said:

Hello my name is Angela Thomas and I am the PTA President of J.E. Williams Elementary and Middle.

Below is an email I have received from 1st SGT CJ Grisham. Please advise if my response appropriate [sic]?

I in no way want any problems with this man. I have viewed his web site listed and to be honest I am very worried about his actions at my PTA Meeting on Oct 13, 2009. PLEASE assist me with this matter.

Sincerely,
Angela

After that email was sent out, Huntsville City Schools employee, Principal Avis Williams, chimed in and sent an email to Army officials:

My two cents: He makes me very uncomfortable. If he is going to come to the meeting whether on the agenda or not, I request security and an SRO to be present as well.

Avis

Interestingly, without so much as asking anyone else what happened that night, the Army school liaison officer responded to Principal Williams, simply, “I agree.” The person that represent Soldiers and Civilians at Redstone Arsenal issued a blanket agreement. This pumped up Principal Williams.

Dr. Robinson to WVNN morning host, Dale Jackson: “It is absolutely my understanding that Ms. Williams, Dr. Moore, or ANY school employee did not contact anyone at the arsenal.”

About a half hour after Barbara Williams (are all the Williams’ confusing you yet?) responded to Principal Williams, Principal Williams – last I checked a “school employee” – wrote back to the Army:

Can his supervisor be contacted? I feel harrassed [sic] to be honest. His attitude and rhetoric is so antagonistic against me and the school that it could be detrimental to our progress and to the other relationships that I am establishing. He got his way. The uniforms are optional through the end of this school year. Yet he is still demanding to speak out against me and the school. Al Lankford was at the entire meeting last week and has advised me not to meet with 1SGT Grisham without security present. Please help!!!

Avis

At this point, you would think that the Army would explain to Principal Williams that, no, his supervisor cannot be contacted. This is a private issue between a parent and a school system. Instead, the school liaison told Principal Williams that “yes the supervisor can be contacted. I will work on finding out who it is Tuesday. I am so sorry this happened to you.”

It’s at this point in the back and forth that my blog posting is brought up and Principal Williams brings up false fear and supposed threats.

Dr. Robinson to WVNN morning host, Dale Jackson: “Dr. Moore and I have had our disagreements. However, in THIS instance, I absolutely believe that Dr. Moore is telling the truth. If I didn’t have faith in her to that extent, I’d be asking for her resignation.”

I expect the resignation will be forthcoming quite quickly? These are just the emails I have from a ONE WEEK time frame. These don’t even include the conversations between the principal, PTA President, Superintendent and more senior Army officials at the General Officer level!

Is Dr. Robinson still so absolutely sure that I’m not owed an apology and that the school system has done everything right? Can I be present for the resignation?

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