Top, Green sneakers, green T-shirts, green undies, green hair, green sunglasses, green arm bands, green plastic leis, green banners....The greenies were out in force Tuesday, Nov. 27 after Coach Chuck Mullen asked in an OpEd column, ?what would happen if everyone at the school decided to wear green every Tuesday until this situation is resolved?? Students are protesting what they say are mismanagement of athletic programs and what they believe may have been misappropriation of about $4,500 in Associated Student Body funds by Principal Dan Penner and Athletic Director Rob Roy (who is also ASB advisor). They say a golf cart was purchased without ASB agreement. If the photo above seems as if it is in a blur, it is. The bell to halt lunch period rang five minutes early ?to try to keep us from taking a picture,? students reported. This was taken on the stage in the cafetorium as students dashed back to class. Bottom, Superintendent Mason (l) spoke of insurance. Paula Regan (r) was the only trustee who did not vote to table the ?donation.?
Questions about issues surrounding attempts to obtain student signatures on letters to "donate" a golf cart purchased with student funds at Frazier Mountain High School continued this week. Parents and students reported they held several meetings before and after the Thanksgiving break to seek information from Rob Roy, who holds dual roles as Frazier Mountain High School Athletic Director and Associated Student Body Advisor.
Questions focus on why some ASB student officers have been asked (some use the word "pressured") to sign letters offering to donate the vehicle to the El Tejon Unified School District.
Senior Eric Hallmark reported Tuesday, Nov. 27 that the ASB class, with about 29 students, met with Penner, Roy and counselor Mike Stroh on Monday, Nov. 19 to ask about the purchase of the golf cart and about their desire to hold an election to replace ASB Executive President Mitchell Bates, who they say was "impeached" by Penner and Roy after he refused to sign a letter which was nonetheless presented to the ETUSD Board of Trustees as if it was valid. Bates, as reported last week, said he accepted being removed from office as punishment for an unrelated action. Hallmark said that questions addressed to Roy at the meeting with students were answered by Penner, and that the exchange became heated.
Hallmark, who is ASB executive treasurer, said he had been promised paperwork by Penner "weeks ago," but that it had not been forthcoming. He said the class was dismayed to be told by Roy and Penner that students would "not be allowed" to elect a new class president.
Roy was contacted Wednesday while driving. He said he would be able to comment "after press time, tomorrow." Attempts to reach Principal Dan Penner by phone were unsuccessful Wednesday afternoon.
Superintendent Shelly Mason said at the board meeting November 14 that if the students don’t make the donation, the cart is not covered by insurance. Roy has been driving the cart on campus for over a year.
Student officers said they have no records that the purchase was discussed in advance with ASB members, and no records indicating it was an authorized purchase.
Numerous parents have contacted The Mountain Enterprise with concern about actions that they characterize as "bullying" by administrators, but say they are fearful of "retaliation" against their children if they speak out publicly. One parent, a frequent school volunteer elected to the FMHS Booster Club, to which Roy is the liaison, said she had removed her children from the school because of her concerns about lack of "fairness."
"I’ve seen my own child stressed out over this," another parent said. "It makes them [students] wonder if they can trust their mentors and advisors." She said she is glad trustees voted to table the "donation" and is sure that they will investigate the situation: "Show us the spreadsheet; show us the accounting, that is a simple question."
—By Patric Hedlund
See related stories:
Should Student Activity Funds be Used to Buy Golf Cart for High School Administrators?, commentary by Patric Hedlund
Wisdom and Doubt, commentary by Patric Hedlund
With Leaders Like This, Who Needs Enemies?, Opinion by Coach Chuck Mullen
This is part of the November 30, 2007 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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