Updated 2:45 p.m.
School board member Rhonda Lennon apparently forgot a basic playground rule: When you insult someone's family, you've crossed a line.
Lynne Sanders, a parent concerned about the likely elimination of middle-school sports in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools next year, recently e-mailed Lennon urging her to preserve the program. Sanders noted that her seventh-grade daughter had made the honor roll at Bradley Middle because of the motivation sports provide, and added that "When Megan hung her report card on the refrigerator last night, she noted that next year she probably would get all C’s because there wouldn’t be any basketball. That saddened me….How many other kids are thinking the same way?"
Lennon's response: "Find me $1.2MM and I will be happy to, but I cannot cut teacher positions to pay for MS sports. Its sad that your daughter isn’t self motivated enough to want better than C’s on her own and not because of sports."
Sanders took offense and has been circulating Lennon's e-mail to officials and media.
Some of you asked for the full content of Sanders e-mail. Jeff Taylor's Meck Deck blog has the exchange I'd been copied on, plus a follow-up from Lennon that I hadn't seen. Short version: Sanders told Lennon she would have understood a reply calling on her as a concerned parent to do more, but found it "insensitive and inappropriate" to focus the response on her daughter. Lennon, in a response that was not copied to others (but that Sanders posted on Meck Deck), defends her work on trying to protect middle-school sports and her decision that "the current model is not self sustaining and is draining the HS program so another model must be developed or MS sports will not continue."
Update at 5 p.m.
Well, this is embarrassing. Seeing Cedar Posts' comment about ways to delete items without leaving anything, I started clicking around to see what I'd missed. It turns out the comments section has a spam filter with 26 posts piled up. About half are true spam -- for instance, various "write your dissertation" services that post generic comments in hopes of steering people to that site. The rest are (blush) real comments from readers, including Trent Merchant and Wiley Coyote, that for some reason bounced there.
I've restored all the real ones going back through January. So if you're curious to know what Trent had to say (hint: He encourages a frequent blog commenter to run for school board), go back to the "Time to shake up CMS board?" post.
The moral: If you have to guess at whether I'm guilty of censorship or technological boneheadedness, the latter is a smart bet!
Meanwhile, school board member Trent Merchant joined "Wiley Coyote" and other blog readers in the frustration of having their comments eaten by alligators in the Internet.
Over the last few months, I've gotten intermittent reports of readers posting comments, seeing them appear briefly and then vanish. Some have suggested (tongue in cheek, I think) that we've set the blog to vaporize comments with certain phrases or viewpoints.
Nope. Eric Frazier and I can delete comments, but we almost never do. And that leaves a notation that a comment was removed by a blog administrator. These are disappearing without a trace.
While I was flailing about for a better explanation than invisible gators, a colleague asked if I'd checked the help forum of Blogger.com.
Oh, yeah ... there's a thought.
So, I still can't explain this phenomenon, but I've learned it's happening to lots of people on lots of blogs. Go here to get some tips on avoiding it, and if it happens, to log your issue along with the 800-plus other users who have posted since this thread opened in July.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Updated 2:45 p.m.