EDITOR’S NOTE: The following email was received today from AWS Board member Doug Zimmerman, with the subject stating “One of the “Untouchables”. It was CC’d to Jim Fritz, Superintendent of AWS Schools. I feel it is only fair to share the email in it’s entirety. My response will be forthcoming.
As it seems you enjoy a good story, I shall share with you one from my day today.
I received a text from my 21 year old daughter this morning, her Facebook page was blowing up with your “blog” about yesterday morning’s meeting.
I gave her a call, and the first words out of her mouth were “I’m guessing this guy doesn’t have all the facts or you wouldn’t have spoken up.”
I explained to her the whole story and all she could say was “WOW” and “I’m proud of you dad”
Based on a quick review of your “blog”, I felt compelled to share this with you since you may never be as lucky to receive this comment from your children.
Now to answer your question about how I can sit there without any compassion; because I have all the facts.
It is not my arrogance that should be questioned, but your ignorance.
First let me tell you that I have all the compassion and respect for Mr. & Mrs. Halko and their family.
I have no idea how they make it through each and every day, let alone moment dealing with the issue involved in raising Kaley.
I truly don’t know if I would have had to strength to endure this situation and count my blessings everyday because of people like them.
If I could, I would give them both the biggest hug, thank them and encourage them to stay positive.
Secondly, because of my respect for them, I understand their level of frustration in this situation and wish them only the best as they move on.
Because of my layman’s understanding of human nature, I fear that they are making their second biggest mistake leaving the Anthony Wayne community.
Their first biggest mistake was getting involve with gossip mongers like yourself and misdirected “friends” that have been encouraging them to vilify a young boy.
I would like to say “shame on you”, but question if you even have any.
You don’t have, nor do you care to, nor are you allowed to have all of the facts.
And quite frankly, I don’t think you are man enough to even want them.
Not that you care, but I went down to One Government Center and took our my petitions for the AW School Board thirteen years ago.
Not because I had an agenda, not because I wanted to affect “change”, but because I thought it was the right thing to do to serve my community.
I am the son, grandson and nephew of educators and farmers.
I bring to the table nothing but an open mind, some common sense and a desire to help ALL the students and families where I choose to raise my family.
It was my choice, I stepped up alone and have done it three more times since.
I am not in this for money or fame.
Or approval of everyone in my community, I know and expect to make decision that some will dislike.
I am willing to stand up for what is right, even when a portion of them don’t agree.
And I will always stand in front of all of the good people working and doing their best at Anthony Wayne Local Schools.
In that time, few people in my community have chosen to do the same thing; Pam, Vicki, Barry and Ron are the only new members.
It is a thankless job, filled with little rewards other then the smiling faces of graduates and mixed smiles and tears of first time kindergarten parents.
Whenever I am asked why or what it is like to be a school board member, I always use this analogy:
It is like taking your entire family to a restaurant, paying for your meal and then getting invited into the kitchen.
You have to see the good and the bad of how your meals are prepared.
Then you have to return to your family and eat the meal you paid for.
Not everything at AW is perfect, just like I’m sure is the case at the Baumhower home or work place.
We have the daunting task of educating over 4,000 students while meeting the demands of every changing state/federal policies and a fixed budget.
And every year since I have been on this Board (please note I’m am not nor will I take credit for this), AW student, faculty and staff have received and “EXCELLENT” rating or better from the state.
Do we have bullying at Anthony Wayne?
Yes, just like every other school and every community in the state of Ohio and across this country.
We are dealing with young people growing, changing, learning and even sometimes crossing the line.
Our Principals, Administrator, Teachers and Parents do all they can do every day to guide each and every student in the right direction.
And regardless of all the effort; some, many, most, all of them will make mistakes even kids like Kaley.
They say we did nothing, I say we are the only ones that did something.
The Instagram page was shown to law enforcement, prosecutors and children services – all of them said it was not a direct threat.
Judges issued restraining orders; then dismissed them.
Where is your anger, vitriol and half truths about them?
Anthony Wayne spent countless hours investigating, counseling and even punished.
Oh, but we did not do it to the liking of you nor the “friends” of Kaley.
All of whom have forgotten that at the other end of this story is another 10 year old student of our community and our school, for whom we are also responsible to educate.
You can call it arrogance if you want, I really don’t care.
I call it responsibility and respect AND the job I stepped up to FOUR TIMES for this community.
I and the Administration, Faculty and Staff of Anthony Wayne don’t have the luxury to pick and choose which students we want to help…we have to work with and help ALL of them.
Not everything I want goes my way, nor will it for you, nor will it for the Halko family.
Everyone needs to stop, step back and realize this once and a while.
Finally, I encourage you to get out from behind your keyboard, step up and do something for your community, where ever it is that you live.
This is an off year, but school board election will be held throughout the state next year.
Head down to One Government Center, pick up a petition, walk around your community and get signatures run for office.
Put down your stones and step into our glass house, take on some responsibility…and maybe in the end you may earn the respect of your children for doing the right thing.
Still sleeping very well at night.
10*** ***** Rd.
Whitehouse, OH 43571
PS: I’m sorry Dr. Fritz. I know I have told you and told you not to take people like this to heart – it is not a personal attack. But I could not help myself. Like you, I believe we all can learn and grow; I hope that holds true for Mr. Baumhower also.