I just donated a bunch of my works to DeKalb County libraries

DeKalb author Jonathan Grant with Kim Hill, manager of the Tucker-Reid Cofer branch library

Libraries are having a tough time these days, with their acquisitions budgets being cut to shreds. I had already donated several copies of Chain Gang Elementary to my library system for their local author program, so I pushed forward with Brambleman as well. (Click here to see Chain Gang Elementary holdigns.) I also offered to help them replenish their stocks of The Way It Was in the Sotuh: The Black Experience in Georgia. Once upon a time, DeKalb libraries had 20 copies of the book, but holdings declined to just seven copies. (Click here for holdings.) In all, I gave them 20 books today, which should mean there will be 10 copies of Chain Gang Elementary, 8 of Brambleman, and 13 of The Way It Was on the shelves. You should be able to find Brambleman in the catalog very soon.

After uproar on facebook, grade school cancels beauty pageant

Charming–or Alarming?

Thanks again, South Carolina.

An elementary school event focused on “facial beauty” sets off a facebook protest and a quick cancellation by Indian Land Elementary School’s principal. This controversy became high profile when it was picked up by ABC News.

The pageant’s organizer remains defiant, fuming about political correctness.

Tracy Hyland, one of the pageant organizers, said she thinks the whole situation has been blown out of proportion.

“What really frustrates me is they need to look at the big picture. It was just an opportunity for a fundraiser for local people to get together for the children. Nothing like ‘Honey Boo Boo’ or ‘Toddlers and Tiaras,’ just kids coming on in their school clothes, waving to mom and dad in the audience, winning a title,” Hyland said.

The event was originally created to raise money for a $15,000 piece of equipment to be donated to the school, in honor of a faculty member who had passed away. The pageant was also going to be held at a local church because the school does not have an auditorium.

Hyland, 52, of Fort Mill, S.C, admits she did make one mistake on the flyer.

“My mistake, and I’ll admit it, is that I did not put on there it was a fundraiser. And because I failed to do so, I created my own personal fire storm,” Hyland said. “But the fact that in order to be politically correct, someone has stood up and said we can’t do this, and now they’re telling me a hobby I’ve done with my child for 20 years is wrong, that upsets me more than anything.”

Read more.


Embezzler offers to pay back PTA 70 cents on the dollar

Our latest fiscal train wreck occurs in the state of Washington.

There are so many things wrong here. First of all, I wonder about the suspect’s situation. This isn’t the first instance I’ve seen of a military spouse being involved in a case like this–I think I’ve covered three. So there may be some larger issues at play, but first of all there’s the money, which is missing.  This was a very clumsy crime. Only one signature on PTA when there should be two, bank accounts gutted completely, and a very late call to police. Oh, yeah. Then she wants to shortchange the PTA on restitution.

From the Central Kitsap Reporter:

A local Navy wife stands accused of stealing more than $14,000 from the Clear Creek Elementary School Parent Teachers Association and leaving the organization’s savings account empty and the checking account overdrawn.

Authorities claim that Clear Creek PTA treasurer and Silverdale resident Michelle Eley, 30, wrote checks to herself and for cash totaling $14,627 without authorization to do so. Money was also spent through electronic checks written to companies such as Target.

Eley was booked into the Kitsap County Jail for theft in the first degree and later released without bail.

The president of the PTA first called the sheriff on Sept. 14 after returning for the start of the new school year to find the PTA accounts empty. Desiree Hartman told investigators that she first started to notice something was amiss at the end of the school year in June. Hartman said that Eley blamed the bank for making errors when confronted about the account balances.

According to Hartman and another PTA member, the checks should have required two signatures to be cashed. Investigators said only Eley signed the checks.

In a incident report prepared by the sheriff’s office, Hartman is listed as saying the $14,000 allegedly taken by Eley does not include any “cash deposits that may have been stolen or siphoned off” because no cash deposit slips can be found.

“Hartman said that Eley confessed to the PTA board that she stole $10,000 and that she knew it was wrong,” wrote Deputy Jeff Schaffer in a report on the the matter.

Schaffer said that Eley offered to pay back $10,000.

Read more.

And stay out of the Woodward!



With apologies to the Coen brothers. OK, so it’s not Woolworth’s. I still love that line.

Starting next fall, Atlanta’s  prestigious Woodward Academy administer random drug tests to high school students. Parents are for it (most of them, anyway), and while Woodward won’t be the first private high school in the area to do screenings, other local headmasters are reluctant to take such a draconian step to deal with teenage drug use. (A first fail can yield disciplinary measures including commnity service and a second fail may result in expulsion.)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

 “There’s certainly the impulse to be aggressive about this,” said Paul Bianchi, the headmaster at The Paideia School, which instead of testing for drugs focuses on drug education. “But I think [random drug tests] create too much of an adversarial relationship in the school between adults and students.”

… “You’re not educating the student’s best self” when he is taking drugs, said Bianchi, Paideia’s headmaster. “… That’s part of the deal that you’re going to try hard and grow, academically and in personal ways. If you’re under the influence … not everyone is entering into a clear-minded contract.”

Read more.

Also, Maureen Downey is blogging the issue at Get Schooled.