Castle Roland

Chapter 69

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During the break, Ken and Bill got out their cell phones and made some quick calls. Collin, on the other hand, just sat and watched. By then, some of the kids at school who knew him came up to him along with their parents. Collin asked them if they knew anything about the two very verbal board members and what they might be doing. In asking that question, Collin found out that those men knew the other boys involved either through being close friends of the family or had business dealings with them. The parents expressed their opinions loud enough that both Bill and Ken heard what was being said, which caused them to make a few more quick phone calls. Then it was time for the meeting to resume and everyone took their seats.

The board president gaveled the meeting back into order and asked if anyone had anything to say to the board before they began to discuss the outcome of the meeting.

Bill Jackson stood up and said he had something to say. Ransberger called him forward to introduce himself and then say what was on his mind.

"My name is William Jackson, I am the senior partner in the law firm of Jackson, Jackson and Jackson, and I am here tonight in representation for Collin Wilkerson. Gentlemen, I want you all to know I have extensively researched this issue and I am putting you all on notice that if you do not bring this school district up to the State's maximum standards for harassment and bullying, and at least the federal minimum standards, I will take serious action that none of you will want to endure. This is NOT a threat I assure you.

"You have been remiss, as a school board, from implementing any worthwhile standards of conduct in regards to harassment and bullying within this entire school district. Yes, I know you have a student handbook of the dos and dont's but you have failed to implement any reporting and/or grievance procedures, investigational methods and disciplinary measures. You have given no guidance to the teachers and staff as to how to handle any harassment and bullying they become aware of, and some of you, tonight, have tried to turn a blind eye on what happened to Collin here.

"I am now asking that those two board members, who were so intent on interrupting tonight's meeting, recuse themselves from any deliberations on this matter."

When the board president heard that, he became indignant and told Bill he was out of order, and that he should refrain from telling the board what they can and can not do even if he was a lawyer representing Collin.

"Mister President, I am within my rights, as Mr. Wilkinson's lawyer, to ask those two men to recuse themselves from any further proceedings. They know exactly why I am requesting that they be no longer involved with any hearings on this matter," announced Mr. Jackson.

"Now, see here, Mr. Jackson," spoke Mr. Jordan. "As a duly elected Trustee member of this school district, I take my election to this prestigious position here very seriously and I would never let my personal dealings interfere with the proper care and running of this school district. If you think I am going to recuse myself and shirk my duties to that which I was elected to do, you are seriously mistaken."

"Okay, so now that you made your political speech, for the upcoming election, why don't you tell everyone here what personal dealings you are referring to," asked Bill with a big smile on his face.

"Well, I'll have you know that I don't have any dealings that would preclude my participation and even if I did, my integrity is above reproach, as everyone here knows, and thus I can be an impartial judge and make the hard decisions this school district needs and demands," spoke the now sweating board member.

"Thank you, again, for the stump speech," said Bill Jackson. "Now, what about you," Bill said, as he pointed to Matthew Drucker, the other board member who was also trying to derail the proceedings.

"I have nothing to say other than I too was dully elected and am above reproach with my personal dealings and, too, will not stand down," was all Mr. Drucker said.

"Okay, so you both want to play me as being stupid and ill informed. Therefore, since neither of you wish to tell what 'personal dealings' I am referring to, I will let the rest of the board know. As well as the assembled crowd here tonight; and I am sure the morning papers will have it as front page news.

With that pronouncement; the assembled crowd began to talk out loud amongst themselves and the noise inside the room became quite loud. Mister Ransberger had to pound his gavel repeatedly in order to get the room to quite down. Then he asked Mr. Jackson to explain himself.

"Mister President, and assembled parents, teachers, and students, I can at this time, and without a doubt, assure you that both these men are either hard core family friends of at least two of the students involved in Collin's harassment and bullying, and the other has business dealings with at least two parents of the same group of boys. Without naming who is involved with whom and not naming the students, since they are under age, I ask those two board members, again to reconsider and recuse themselves right here and now." Bill Jackson just played another ace he had up his sleeve and was giving the two men their last chance to stand down without him revealing anything, but if they didn't, he would tell all and name names.

The crowd became increasingly restless after hearing what Bill had to say. They now began calling for the men to step down and others were yelling for them to resign while others were calling for Bill to tell them what he knew. All this time, Ken sat there smiling along with Collin, who he kept whispering to, with what he too knew about those men.

"Now, see here Mr. Jackson," the board president shouted. "You can't come in here trying to do what those boys are accused of and what this meeting is all about. This is a legally called meeting of the district school board and if you do not withdraw immediately, I will have you arrested for trespassing and interfering with a legal body. Do I make myself clear, Mr. Jackson?"

"Yes, Mr. President, you just made it perfectly clear that you too failed to do your homework prior to coming to tonight's meeting. Now, ask them both to what I am referring to, or should I tell everyone. Oh, by the way, you can have me arrested, but you will lose in court when I sue you and the school district, as it was you who asked me to speak. Now, what are you going to do about those two?"

The board president looked back and forth at Bill and then to the district police officers standing in the back of the room and then over towards the two board members who had caused the entire ruckus. Then Benedict Ransberger came to realize that if he didn't handle this in the right way, and get the full information out tonight, he would probably lose in the next election and he so loved the position and the power it gave him. He figured, though, if he made them reveal what they didn't want to tell, he would lose again and this time he'd lose the support from those who financed his elections and his next election. So, he decided to throw the dice.

"Mr. Jordan, would you like to tell us what Mr. Jackson here is talking about," asked Mr. Ransberger, the School Board President.

"No, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide, nor to reveal here tonight, that would cause me to recuse myself from these proceedings," responded Mr. Jordan.

"What about you, Matthew? Is there anything we need to know that would preclude you from being a part of this meeting?"

"No, sir, there is nothing that I am aware of that should take me off this Board for anything we are trying to get to the bottom of," replied Matthew Drucker.

"There you are, Mr. Jackson. Both men have indicted they have done nothing that would excuse them from this heading. Are you now satisfied?"

"Thank you, Mr. Ransberger for you deep probing efforts into this question, but knowing that you, too, are up for reelection, as well, I am forced to reveal why both these men should recuse themselves from this meeting, and any further deliberations of this question.

"First, I will begin with Tobias Jordan. His son, a high school senior, has been a life long friend of William Shappell, another high school senior, and who was one of the boys who turned himself in after the high school assembly last Thursday. Mr. Jordan is also William's godfather. Also, Tobias Jordan has been known to go boating with George Dennis and his son Melvin, another boy who identified himself as being involved with the harassment and bullying. Melvin is a junior at the high school. Both George Dennis and James Shappell are major contributors to Mr. Jordan's previous and present campaign funds. Do I need to go on, Mr. Jordan?"

All Tobias Jordan could do was shake his head back and forth as if to say No, you do not have to go on any further.

"Now, as for Mr. Drucker, he has contracts with," and before Bill could say another word, Matthew Drucker stood up and said he would recuse himself from the School District Board meeting.

"Are you saying, Mr. Drucker, that it is true that you have a building contract with Stanley Mitchell, who has a son who is a high school senior and also involved in the harassment and bullying, and you have another remodeling contract with Theodore Crown, whose son, a junior, who is also involved in this scandal?"

"You didn't have to go on and mention any names, I had already recused myself, Mr. Jackson," yelled out Matthew Drucker.

"Oh, on the contrary, Mr. Drucker, I needed to get into the record your involvement with those students' parents and how it fit into your attempt to derail tonight's hearing. Also, the people in attendance needed to know what it was, so when they vote this coming May, they will know who NOT to vote for.

"Mr. Jordan, do you recuse yourself from this hearing, dealing with the harassment and bullying in district schools and any further hearings or meetings concerning this matter?" asked Collin's lawyer.

"Yes … yes, I do," was all that was heard in reply to the question.

Bill Jackson hadn't intended to name names but was forced to do so by those men's arrogance. They knew he had some damaging information, but the men thought they could bluff their way along and no one would be the wiser. Now, both men would probably be rejected in the upcoming elections, because they thought they could use their position to undermine a much needed change in the school district's Code of Conduct for Students and Staff. But this issue was far from being over and new rules adopted and implemented, but it would be a great first start.

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