First I want to apologize that I had to switch batteries right after the public comment period was over and even though I thought I hit record after I got the new battery in, the rest of the meeting did not record. Second I want to apologize for the audio quality. I have no control over the audio that is provided by the school board, it was so bad tonight that I had trouble hearing many of the speakers and the board members and it will unfortunately be very hard for you to hear them.
The Birch Run Bridgeport Herald News was at the meeting, also Channel 12 News and the Saginaw News.
Some of the speakers during the public comment period were Veronica Tucker with an update on the parent teacher group they have started.
John Rhines spoke again about some very important issues with the schools and school board and once again there are no answers provided by the school board. Mr. Rhines brings up issues that should concern all residents of this community and should be addressed publicly by the school board. At the February 23rd meeting the school lawyer got up and said they would be addressing these issues by sending home a memo with the students and they would also be posting the update on the website. It has been 2 weeks and there is still no update posted.
Larry Brown also spoke with his updates and some still unresolved issues, and the need for strong leadership in this district. Mr. Rhines and Mr. Brown both brought up the issue of whether or not Mr. Hill is still the superintendent, why is he still being paid his regular salary? Considering that the Bridgeport School System has the financial troubles they do it would seem like that is an issue that would be best settled and soon.
There were many speakers that spoke about the firing of the football coach Anwar Jackson and assistant coach Jason Farmer. Tonight was the first I heard about the matter. There is a story up on Mlive tonight about it and also on Channel 12 News. After tonight’s meeting and the news reports, I am left with many questions. From what I heard tonight it doesn’t sound like there was a proper investigation done by Bridgeport. Bridgeport School District should be standing behind Coach Jackson and Coach Farmer and getting to the bottom of this. My understanding of the issue of them being fired has to do with an allegation that Coach Jackson recruited two students from Arthur Hill and there was a complaint filed by the athletic director of Arthur Hill with the Michigan High School Athletic Association and they have suspended him and the assistant coach from being eligible to coach any sports at Bridgeport. I heard that Coach Jackson once coached for Arthur Hill and left and came to Bridgeport. The first thought from my overly suspicious mind was “was there some bad blood”? I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a case of payback (let me repeat again that I have a overly suspicious mind and that is the only basis for those thoughts). .
One of the students involved got up and spoke tonight and said that he was never recruited and that he was never asked if he had been recruited by anyone. One woman spoke and read a letter from the mother of one of the students involved. She states that her son was transferred to Bridgeport only because of the E20 program that is offered here, not for the sports program. Coach Farmer spoke and said that no one has ever contacted him and asked him what happened. What kind of investigation has been done? The life and careers of Coach Jackson and the Coach Farmer are being affected by this decision, also the students are affected and the school district. I was glad to hear board members Patrick Nelson, Dempsey Allen and Larry Long say that they hoped that “due process” was taken in regard to this matter. Please Make Sure That It Is Done!!
Mr. Arnett that runs the Camp Pride football camp spoke on behalf of Coach Jackson and explained very well exactly what happened at the camp in January.
I will add that I found it very disturbing that these two students were forced to hand over their phones and for the one they even demanded his password for the phone.
Mrs. Cruz-Weaver spoke about the robotics program that they have started at the school. She stated they need some financial support for the program and Mr. Rhines says his company will sponsor the shirts for the robotic team. They will also need support for when the team goes to Lansing because it will involve the cost of staying overnight. The first competition will be held at Midland Dow High School on March 20th and & 21st, starting at 8:00 am both days. The competition in Lansing will be on April 2nd and 3rd.
There were other speakers that spoke about issues of the school, teachers and students and it is worth the time to listen to what they have to say.
Some of the items on the agenda that I did not record were the student and staff recognition awards. I am truly sorry for missing that and for not being able to remember their names to mention them now. They did recognize the coaches and the players of the 7th and 8th grade basketball teams and congratulated them on having a undefeated season.