and residents of the district
about the public hearing scheduled for June 12, 2002. The lame
effort to update the districtís web site at the
last minute went almost completely unnoticed.
The districtís continuing
violation of the agreement made
with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the US Department of
Education, in which the district agreed to identify and maintain
contact with the non English speaking parents in the district is
ignored, as if it doesnít exist, by both the School Board and
the districtís Superintendent, Dr. Eric Eversley.
In the second part of the
meeting, past PTA Co-President, Stephanie Cieslik, asked why the
policies were not available in Spanish and English at the
meeting. The Superintendent, whose job it is to see that the
requirements of the districtís agreement with the OCR are
complied with, refused to answer. Board President, John Muscara,
remarked that Ms. Cieslik had brought up a good point.
Your reporter followed up Ms.
Cieslikís questions, directing his questions to the
FreeportNYNews (FNYN): How are
people advised that there are meetings taking place? How do they
know there is a meeting?
(Superintendent Eversley refuses
JOHN MUSCARA (Board President):
Thatís not the issue. We will talk about that later.
Asst. Supt. Tony Ciaglia (Asst.
Supt. of Curriculum): We are very diligent. Everybody that needs
to be advised, is advised.
FNYN: As these meetings
[district wide SAVE committee] appear to be subject to NYS
Open Meetings law, can you tell me why the public wasnít
advised that these meetings were taking place?
JOHN MUSCARA: Iím not sure
what the procedure is.
FNYN: Does anybody know? Mr.
Superintendent do you know?
JOHN MUSCARA: (Answering
for the Superintendent) Nobody knows.
FNYN: Can you tell me why this
document or any of the policy changes werenít available in
Spanish tonight at this meeting?
JOHN MUSCARA: It was probably
FNYN: Can you tell me where
the Spanish translators are at this meeting?
JOHN MUSCARA We stopped using
a translator, because we had no need for a translator.
FNYN: Could you please tell me
what you did to advise the Spanish speaking community, which I
understand is approaching fifty percent of the community, that
this meeting was going to be held tonight? We understand that
these policies affect their children and everybodyís
JOHN MUSCARA: The meetings
were posted the way all meetings are posted.
FNYN: Are they posted in
JOHN MUSCARA: I donít know.
FNYN: Does anybody know? Mr.
Superintendent, do you know?
SUPT. EVERSLEY: Eversley:
Mary, are they posted in Spanish?
Mary Bediako (Dist. Clerk):
No, they are not posted in Spanish.
SUPT. EVERSLEY: No, they are
not posted in Spanish.
The Internet Acceptable use
Public hearing was convened without the Board ever calling the
meeting to order. Board President John Muscara walked out and
the Superintendent never showed up.
Board member Michael Raab asked
what system would be in place to revoke studentís privileges.
Assist. Supt. Of Curriculum, Tony Ciaglia answered, "If the
student is involved in inappropriate Internet use, that card
will be pulled. No card, no Internet. The recourse for regaining
access, will be a (unintelligible).
Ciaglia continued, "The
kids using Optimum Online will have access to the sites already
pre determined by the school... When the child uses the Internet
in the high school library, they [staff] will know whoís on
and what they are doing.
Ciaglia came unprepared for the
public hearing, claiming that it was called due to the E-Rate
Regulations, when the reason for the hearing was the CIPA.
When your reporter asked Ciaglia
if he had a copy of the current Internet Use Policy at the
hearing, Ciagliaís replied, "I donít know that I do Mr.
FNYN: Do you have copy of the
district policy manual here?
ASST. SUPT. CIAGLIA: I donít
know that we do, Mr. Lilker.
FNYN: Do you know the number
of the old Internet use policy?
ASST. SUPT. CIAGLIA: Not off
hand, I donít have that stuck in my brain.
FNYN: Wouldnít it be easier
if we had it here?
ASST. SUPT. CIAGLIA: Yeah, but
(The clerk ran out and got
a copy of the district policy manual, which is supposed to be
at all board meetings.)
FNYN: Can you please tell me
what has changed in the new policy compared to old policy?
ASST. SUPT. CIAGLIA: I donít
know that I can, Mr. Lilker.
When your reporter questioned
Ciaglia about the new policy, it became clear that nobody in the
district did their homework regarding requirements of this
Your reporter addressed Ciaglia:
Item number one says that "No user will deliberately access
educationally inappropriate materials or show others how to do
the same." Could you please tell me who determines what is
educationally inappropriate and how it is determined?
Ciaglia replied: At this level
of the use, the first line of defense is the classroom teacher.
The second line of the backup is the school administration. The
third line is Ms. Schemp, our Coordinator Of Technology. The
fourth line would be me. The fifth line would be the
superintendent and ultimately, the sixth line would be the board
FNYN: There is nothing listed
in the district that explains what is inappropriate? Itís up
to the person who happens to walk by the computer screen and
look at the monitor? Isnít that right? A person could see
FreeportNYNews and say that it is inappropriate, because it
doesnít support the school district.
BOARD MEMBER RAAB: It is.
ASST. SUPT. CIAGLIA: The
inappropriate activities on the Internet are judgment calls
that are made at the classroom level by classroom teachers and
must relate to the educational lesson at hand. I hope you are
not suggesting that our teachers cannot make the distinction
about what is educationally appropriate and what is not.
FNYN: If someone reads a
manual of the KKK, is that inappropriate?
ASST. SUPT. CIAGLIA: It
depends on how it is being presented and how it is being used
in the class.
FNYN: So itís up to the
ASST. SUPT. CIAGLIA: Thatís
what we pay them for.
FNYN: There is nothing in the
district that explains, or what the school district attorney
has determined is inappropriate?
ASST. SUPT. CIAGLIA: No there
is not. There is not. If you have one, write it down for us.
We would be happy to review it. The classroom teacher and the
building principal determines on a case by case basis what is
CIPA is clear regarding the
determination of what is inappropriate for minors. It is
unambiguous when it states, on page 17, "A determination
regarding what matter is inappropriate for minors shall be made
by the school board..."
The law is also specific when it
comes to defining "child pornography," what is
"harmful to minors," who is a "minor," what
is "obscene," and the term "sexual act."
As the so called public hearing
closed, Ciaglia explained that the teachers in their lesson
plans would define what site the student should be using and
"where they should be." He said, "There must be
rigorous supervision of students while they are on the
Internet." He concluded, "The teacher will set up the
Internet sites in advance. The students will go through the
research and learning applications without actually having
access to the Internet."
Ciaglia never addressed the
issue that the high retention rates in the high school make many
students older than the legall definition of a minor, which is
anyone under the age of seventeen. As CIPA effects only minors,
it us unclear what the district intends to do about the students
in the district who are classified as adults.
minutes after the hearing began, the room was almost empty,
echoing the absence of the Board president and superintendent.
Seated, from left to right. Mike Raab, Joe Cattano, Ron Ellerbe,
Kishore Kuncham, Tony Ciaglia. Standing, Mary Bediako.)