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Monday, January 30, 2006

I-69 Fence Draws Graffiti

Sound Barrier Along I-69 - One Big Long Canvas for Graffiti

Over the next two days the legislature will be debating the merits of a plan to finance a range of transportation projects in Indiana. Very good economic models exist that measure how adding highway capacity through the addition of lanes or other means will increase productivity.

That is, there are some very good tools to make a cost/benefit analysis of highway improvements. Then there are highway expenditures that don't increase transportation productivity.

The I-69 fence is one of those projects. There may be other benefits advanced by its advocates but those benefits aren't easily calculated. The benefits may flow to private residential property owners. Then there are some losses that attach to certain commercial properties. (e.g. businesses located between the Lima Road and Coldwater Road interchanges).

The benefit to the residential properties are generally going to be related to the property's ultimate resale value. The commercial losses are of two types. One is a decrease in property value relative to the value of the property with the benefit of visibility. The other is the loss of commercial traffic which results in an ongoing loss of potential income.

And, of course, not all of the costs are included in the initial construction contract. There are costs of maintenance and reconstruction. (The hard surface of the fence has already been a factor in one fatality along I-69).

One of the other costs is illustrated above.

The photos were taken January 28, 2005 between the Illinois Road and Jefferson Boulevard/US 24 interchanges.

Toll Poll

Toll Road Sale is Subject of This Week's News-Sentinel Poll

The News-Sentinel editorial page has selected Governor Mitch Daniel's plan to sell the Indiana Toll Road as its topic for this week's online poll question. You can participate in the poll and see the results by clicking here.

Meanwhile, the Indiana State Republicans are urging attendance at a "rally" late tomorrow morning at the Statehouse for the Governor's Toll Road sale and transportation plan. The event is scheduled for 11 AM.

The text of the invite:
Time to make some noise in support of the Governor's 10-year $10.6 Billion transportation plan that will boost job creation and fuel economic growth

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mary Wysong Files for NACS School Board

Wsyong files for an At-Large School Board seat in Northwest Allen County Schools.

Mary Wysong is the mother of Sam Wysong, a Carroll student who spoke up at a Northwest Allen County School Board meeting in support of Jeff Fraser. Fraser is the Carroll senior who was disciplined for writing a parody about Carroll based on America (The Book) by comedian Jon Stewart.

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette praised Sam Wysong for his role in the debate:
The real hero in this debate appears to be Sam Wysong, a 17-year old classmate of Fraser who appeared before the school board Monday night to question Fraser’s dismissal. Without Wysong’s articulate presentation, the public may not have learned of the expulsion.

Indiana Parley - Some Additions

This weblog is a work in progress.

It really is an exercise in editorial choices - every day. There is the choice between doing original reporting, doing commentary, or highlighting items that are, in my judgment, newsworthy or noteworthy.

Not every news item can be highlighted. There are choices between taking the time to do a longer editorial piece or doing quick takes on breaking events. There are choices between putting current items in historical context, for instance, and leaving that history for a later time when the writer can be more reflective.

There is always the conscious effort to maintain some sort of consistent style.

And then there are decisions as to what to include as a link. Some weblogs try to be comprehensive. This one will not. That's why God made search engines. You don't need to see a bunch of clutter along the side of the page.

We want the links to be useful to you.

All of this is a prelude to highlight the addition of some links.

I highly recommend you visit the links to the weblogs of two Indiana state representatives. Representatives Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) and Steve Heim (R-Culver) are both bright and personable. This comes across in their weblogs. They can give you a first-hand account of the legislature while it is in session. Both are open enough to give readers a real feel for the thought processes and experiences of being a state representative. I should know.

One of the first posts I wrote at the start of Indiana Parley was about the question "Why haven't more elected officials taken up blogging?" It was entitled , "Just Think of Blogging as a Big Fish Fry." In it, I talked about State Rep. Dvorak's then new weblog.

Both Rep. Dvorak and Rep. Heim are listed as among the 6 top bloggers among elected officials in the United States by the weblog "Lawmakers." This is a weblog promoting the idea that more elected officials should contribute to weblogs as a way to strengthen democracy. Lawmakers does such a good job it has also been added to the links.

Indiana Parley has also put together an expanded list of media links. These include links not just for Allen County but it includes college newspapers, the north and northeast regions of Indiana and the northwest region of Ohio.

One other item: Indiana Parley is returning - for the time being - to what is referred to by Blogspot as "normal size" font. This will allow for the fuller display of a single article on your screen. However, we know that this may not be a font useful for many with smaller displays. Please provide some feedback as to which font size you prefer.

Indiana Annexation News

Geist Reservoir Residents v. Town of Fishers

Indianapolis Star reports on the efforts of homeowners in an area targeted by the Town of Fishers, Indiana, to fight back.

What are the positions some of the folks to whom they are aiming their message? Well, one is the Governor of Indiana who had owned a house in the Geist area. Another is the Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives whose legislative district includes part of the proposed area to be annexed. The Noblesville Times has a story and photograph on the protest at a Republican fundraiser.

Coverage of the residents' side is provided by the website atgeist.com. The editor of the website, Tom Britt, writes:
The informational meeting that the Town of Fishers billed “One Night, One Town” was more like “Three-Hundred Residents, Three-Hundred No’s”.


Overwhelmingly, residents were disgruntled. Not because they didn’t like the Fishers policemen that were there. Not because they were afraid of the small snake that Danesa Stolz from Parks & Recreation had out. They were disgruntled because they weren’t getting the answer to the million dollar question, “What is in this for me as a Geist resident?”

Saturday, January 28, 2006

High Schoolers Videotape Fight Between Classmates

What Gets You Suspended - But Not Expelled - at an Alaskan High School

Megan Holland of the Anchorage Daily News reported on the doings among students at Dimond High School:

Fifteen Dimond High School students who officials say watched and cheered while two of their classmates bloodied each other in a videotaped fistfight at Kincaid Park last week have been suspended along with the fighters.

The fighters -- a 10th-grader and an 11th-grader -- may face criminal charges of disorderly conduct or assault for the clash that started over a girl, Anchorage police Lt. Gardner Cobb said.

One of boys reportedly suffered a broken nose and concussion, school officials said.

"It got pretty nasty," said Dimond High School principal Cheryl Guyett, who saw the video. "We don't tolerate this type of violence."


Confirmed spectators, who ranged from ninth-graders to 12th-graders, were suspended for three days; the fighters were suspended for nine days.

J-G Did Not Shoot a Cupid's Arrow

Journal-Gazette Editorial Page Gives Down Arrow to Assessor Love

Indiana Parley
pointed out the other day that Allen County Assessor Pat Love, in making her re-election announcement, exercised questionable judgement in holding her press-conference in a taxpayer-funded venue.

Well, what Indiana Parley pointed out, the
Journal-Gazette editorial staff characterized.

In their Saturday feature, the Weekly Scorecard, where the Journal-Gazette puts newsmakers in the winners, mixed or losers category, Ms. Love ended the week among the "losers."

There are many more weeks leading up to Election Day in November. This was just the January rating. Surely, Love will do better with arrows in February for St. Valentine's Day. Won't she?

Student Parody News from Around the Nation

Fort Wayne is not unique in dealing with high school student parodies. Current news from other school districts in Indiana and Pennsylvania show why.

Indiana Parley has already provided you the news about Kouts High School in northwest Indiana.

However, there is another case in Indiana where there school corporation is DEFENDING a high school parody about a student in the a high school paper. The Clark-Pleasant School Corporation in Whiteland, Indiana, has filed an appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals after it lost a trial court ruling on its motion to dismiss a suit by a student who claimed she was defamed by a parody in the school paper. From the Student Press Law Center story:
Heide Peek, a 2002 graduate of Whiteland Community High School in Whiteland, Ind., sued the Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation in 2003, claiming an article in the senior edition of the student newspaper contained defamatory comments about her. She also claimed that the statements invaded her privacy and caused her serious emotional distress. A motion to dismiss filed by the school district was rejected in October 2005.

The district filed the appeal Jan. 5 with the Indiana Court of Appeals, said Rosemary Borek, an attorney for the district.

Smoke Signals, the school's monthly student newspaper, gave Peek the "worst reputation" award in its May 2002 issue. The paper also said her favorite song was "Underneath Your Clothes," and in the "ambition" category, made a reference to her being raped by a monkey, according to the Oct. 11 trial court decision.

Peek was particularly sensitive to the comments because she was allegedly raped in April 2002, according to the decision.

In addition to the school district, the lawsuit also named the superintendent, the high school principal, vice principals and the student newspaper adviser as defendants. No student journalists were named in the suit.

In his ruling, Judge Kevin M. Barton refused the school district's request to throw out Peek's libel claims finding that a jury could conclude that the statements published in
Smoke Signals "imputed sexual misconduct" to Peek. However, the judge also acknowledged that a jury might find the statements were simply "nonsensical" and therefore not libelous.
And near Pittsburgh, a student has sued his school corporation for overly harsh punishment following an online parody about his high school principal. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story:
Three days after he posted the profile, Justin tried to remove it, Mr. Walczak said, but it had already been pulled from the site.

Then, on Dec. 21, Justin and his mother, Cheryl Layshock, were called in to meet with the school superintendant, district solicitor and the co-principal of the high school, Chris Gill, to discuss what they called "a potentially serious matter."

After that meeting, Justin both went to Mr. Trosch and sent him a letter of apology. He thought, Mr. Walczak said, that his apology had been accepted and the matter was finished. But on Jan. 3, Justin and his father, Donald Layshock, were called to the Hermitage police department and told that Mr. Trosch had asked that harassment charges be filed against Justin.

The officer said he would not file charges unless directed by his superiors. None have been filed.


At [a January 6th disciplinary] hearing, the school gave Justin a 10-day, out-of-school suspension and ordered him to finish high school in the Alternative Education Program. He has been told he cannot go to any of his regular classes.

The administration also banned Justin from participating in any school events, including the French tutoring he did for middle school students and attending his own graduation in the spring.

On Jan. 11, Justin's parents went to Mr. Gill and asked if Justin could serve a different punishment, such as community service or extra tutoring, but their request was denied.


Earlier this week, Justin was admonished by school officials for trying to speak with his trigonometry teacher, his lawyer said.

Besides the current punishment against Justin, the lawsuit also contends that this could have long-term effects on him.

He applied to Penn State University for college next fall, and he received a letter on Wednesday, telling him that a "registration hold," was placed on his application due to a "dismissal/suspension from Hickory High School."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Nancy Pelosi Praises Graham Richard in Speech

Democratic Leader Cites Mayor Richard and Four Other Democrats

SanFranciscoSentinel.com reports the remarks that Democratic U.S. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) delivered today to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

In her remarks she praised Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard:
"Taken together, our Democratic innovation agenda - education, R&D, public-private partnerships, energy independence - is a decision in favor of the future.


'That's exactly what Mayor Graham Richard, of Fort Wayne Indiana is doing in America's heartland. Under his leadership, Fort Wayne is the first city in the Midwest to have fiber optic broadband services for nearly 100,000 households, small businesses and schools. He is taking the lead to use high tech, high performance public private partnerships to improve city services and save taxpayers millions of dollars. As he said to you this week - Fort Wayne is 'Wired and Inspired to Compete in a Flat World.' Mayor Richard has made Fort Wayne a national model for innovation, and a strong city for a strong America. Mayor Richard: thank you for your leadership."
The other elected officials she singled out for praise in her remarks were Mayor Beverly O'Neill of Long Beach, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, and Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts.

Indiana Student Parody in the News

No, Not THAT One.
This Time it's Northwest Indiana and Kouts High School

Today's Northwest Indiana
Times carries a story about high school student parodies in Indiana resulting in discipline by the school authorities.

The high school in issue is Kouts High School. The medium this time is not print, but weblogs. The punishment this time is a 10 day suspension with threat of expulsion.

Times reporter Elizabeth Holmes has the story here entitled "Students Suspended Over Web Postings."
"The administration has always been a little irrational," said Kristi Lynch, a graduate of Kouts High School who now attends Indiana University. "To make such a large deal out of a parody is just them kind of making examples of them."

[Superintendent Rod] Gardin disagreed with Lynch's assertion.

"Any time a student is disciplined it's a response to their misconduct," he said.

Love v. Lopshire: The Campaign Begins

A comment in response to the earlier Indiana Parley post about the re-election announcement of Allen County Assessor Pat Love held in the Fort Wayne City Council Chambers on Tuesday:
Due to the fact that Mrs Lopshire was the most experienced in the office during the Love Administration, I dont understand how Mrs Love can go about criticizing her. Lopshire kept the office afloat through the 2002 Reassessment, as well as the many turbulent issues that have tumbled in during Love's "reign." If there was ever someone right to be County Assessor, it is Stacey Lopshire. If knowledge is key, Stacey Lopshire is the Master Key, being a Level II Certified Appraiser-Assessor for many years, while Mrs Love can barely scratch the 50% mark on the state issued examination. The office will hurt, undoubtedly, without the knowledge and experience Stacey Lopshire brought in, however... She will be back in 2007. That is a guarentee.
One of the things not mentioned in all of the coverage of the Assessor's race has been Stacey Lopshire's political pedigree for the office. Ms. Lopshire's grandfather, Walter Summers, served as Allen County Assessor for two terms.

Mr. Summers, now deceased, had also served as an Allen County Sheriff's deputy, Indiana State Representative, and Wayne Township Trustee. He was the Allen County Chairman for the gubernatorial campaigns of Otis R. Bowen in 1968 and 1972.

Indiana Parley first reported that Ms. Love's use of the Fort Wayne City Council chambers for campaign purposes, Fort Wayne, Indiana etc. has been researching ethics rules of the state, county and city.

Those readers who made need visual confirmation that Ms. Love did indeed use the City Council chambers can compare the
Journal-Gazette photo of her declaration of candidacy Tuesday with an Indiana Parley photo taken at the Fort Wayne City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

Bob Chase Takes Fraser's Side

It was said that when Lyndon Johnson heard Walter Cronkite came out against U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, LBJ remarked that the administration had lost the American people.

The Fort Wayne area's equivalent to 1960's Uncle Walter might be WOWO's Bob Chase, the venerated and honored voice of Komet Hockey. Such is Bob's golden reputation that the "voice" should properly by capitalized. He is a trusted touchstone in Fort Wayne today and in Fort Wayne's collective memory.

Bob Chase broadcast his regular commentary on today's
Fort Wayne's Morning News . The subject was the expulsion of Jeff Fraser and the "expulsion in everything but name" adopted last night by the Northwest Allen County Schools Board.

Bob Chase said the school's action was not right.

Bob Chase just celebrated his 80th birthday. He is sharp as a tack.

He has probably seen more generations of young people involved in high school activities than any other working broadcaster in Indiana.

You'll be able to hear Bob Chase's Fraser commentary on WOWO's website. We'll provide the link as soon as WOWO has it posted. (Here is the link to the written commentary.)

The NACS Statement

Tracy Warner comments on the statement released by Northwest Allen County Schools last night regarding the disposition of Jeff Fraser. Mr. Warner's full weblog, of course, contains many more posts he has made regarding the Fraser matter, includind the one titled "Fraser and the First Amendment."

The Journal-Gazette carries a story by Kelly Soderlund on last night's meeting. It included this comment from Carroll High Guidance Counselor Kathy Lepper:
“Carroll High School is not Comedy Central.”
No kidding.

No matter where one comes down on the Fraser issue, all can agree that statement is true.

WOWO Radio AM 1190 contains a link to Fort Wayne Observed and its posting of the actual pages of the Fraser "book." WOWO has a poll posted asking listeners to vote on whether the Northwest Allen County Schools over-reacted.

A full copy of the book in PDF format has been created and posted by Fort Wayne, Indiana etc.

NACS Board Meeting

FWCS Board Member Olinger at NACS Meeting

Jon Olinger, Fort Wayne Community Schools Board Member, was in attendance at last night's meeting of Northwest Allen County Schools. It's worth repeating what he posted earlier on Indiana Parley.

"...a classic case of school administration being devoid of common sense." - Jon Olinger, Fort Wayne Community Schools Board Member

The original post on Indiana Parley about the expulsion of Jeff Fraser resulted in a striking comment posted by a school board member. Jon Olinger, a member of the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board, commented on the decision in the Jeff Fraser case. He also went on to give examples from FWCS, as well.

Olinger wrote:
This appears to be a classic case of school administration being devoid of common sense. I don't know what the cause of this [affliction] is, but NWAC schools does not have a monopoly on it. Ocasionally a decision is taken by school administration, such as this, that makes me wonder...what were you thinking...

A few instances of this in FWCS recently..

School administrator taking a switch blade away from a student....then allowing him to retrieve it at the end of the day.

School administrator catching high school male students mooning a camera in a shower room..... Then developing the film to be used later in expulsion hearings.

Believe it or not bad decisions like this is the exception, not the rule... Keep in mind most educators have the kids' interest in mind, we just don't see the good decisions in the press.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Peer Review

Alex at What the Game's Been Missing Turns in a Carroll: The Book Review

Weblog pioneer Alex looks at Carroll: The Book
page by page. He provides an age-peer review of the contents. You can find it here.

CNN's Legal Analyst Toobin to Visit Fort Wayne

Jewish Federation Announces Two Upcoming Speakers

Israel's Midwest Deputy Consul General - January 30th

On Monday, January 30, Israel's Midwest Deputy Consul General Dr. Andy David will speak and present a power point program at B'nai Jacob, 7227 Bittersweet Moors Drive, Fort Wayne, at 7 PM.

His program is titled: " Myths and Reality-Rebranding Israel's Image in the American Public Eye." The Fort Wayne Jewish Federation's Community Relations Committee sponsors his visit.

A gifted speaker, Dr. Andy David began his appointment as Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Midwest in August 2004. A question and answer session will follow with coffee and dessert.

Please call the Federation (422-8566) or respond via email to FWJFBonnie@aol.com to indicate your plans so that seating and refreshments may be arranged.

CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin - February 27th

CNN Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin will be the Alex Honig Memorial Annual People of the Book speaker on Monday, February 27.

The program will be at the Achduth Vesholom Temple on Old Mill Road. The program will begin at 7:30 PM. A book signing and dessert reception will follow the program. Betty Stein is the chair of the committee.

Complete Fort Wayne Jewish Federation information can be found at www.jewishfortwayne.org.

Nancy Nall on Carroll High School

Nancy Nall Posts on Fraser; A Reader Responds

Nancy Nall, former News-Sentinel columnist and now a Michigander, writes about the Northwest Allen County Schools and its treatment of Jeff Fraser.

One of her readers, self-described as a former Carroll student ('79) has some interesting things to say.

It's all on NancyNall.com:

In Fort Wayne — speaking of things no one cares about — there’s been a mini-drama going on in blogs and (to a far lesser extent) in the newspaper, regarding a student’s expulsion over the “publication” (photocopying, I presume) of a “book” about his high school. It’s supposed to be a hilarious send-up of Carroll High School life, written in the tone and spirit of Jon Stewart’s “America (the book).”

School officials responded to this impertinence in the usual Allen County high-school-administrator fashion — i.e., they expelled the kid. (Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen had nothing on these folks.) One thing you need to know: The kid is either a founder or a member of the Allen County Teenage Republicans, which means he’s getting an awful lot of hand-holding and support from non-teenage Republicans in the area.

And all this discussion has been happening with only a few people having actually seen the book in question.

Well. Nathan Gotsch at Fort Wayne Observed has scanned and posted all 14 pages, and now we can all judge for ourselves. My take: Expulsion was overreacting, but if this kid thinks he has a career in comedy, he has inordinately high self-esteem.

My further cynical take: In two years he’ll be at some comfy university, offering $100 for examples of professors with liberal bias. Yawn. Fifteen minutes up….now.

And then Alex has his say:
As a Carroll alum (’79) it’s fun to see how suburbanization and the Age of Zero Tolerance has changed the place. When I was there it was a small country school. Today it’s a huge mega-campus.

In my day, expulsions were rare (and often reversed following threats of litigation from the pompous-ass lower-tier executive types who were the pioneers of the exurban migration). These folks regarded the administration as a bunch of rubes, which they were and probably still are, but operated under the delusion that only the farm and hilljack kids’ s*** smelled like s***.

Yeah, the punishment in the instant case is draconian, but not surprising. I see Mr. Niles Pfafman is still there and after all the abuse he and other administrators have taken over the years from the imperious nouveau riche p****s they deal with — and I’m talking about parents and the children of such — it’s no wonder they come down so hard.

President to Be Nearby in February


The President will be at Bethel College in Mishawaka on February 23rd.
Posted at 8:30 AM

Bush to be at "Message Event" at a North Central Indiana College

Indiana Daily Insight is reporting that President George W. Bush will be visiting northern Indiana February 23rd. It is reported that he will do a brief fundraiser for U.S. Representative Chris Chocola in conjunction with a 'message event' at a 'North Central" Indiana college.

IDI further states that it is NOT Notre Dame. Could it be Grace College in Warsaw? Could it be Huntington University? How about Bethel College?

Carroll Teacher Writes to the Journal-Gazette

Teacher Jamie Drake Offers Up His Opinion

The following column was printed in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette on Thursday, January 26, 2006

First Amendment doesn’t protect expelled student

By Jamie Drake

After reading the Jan. 19 editorial concerning the expulsion of Carroll High School student Jeff Fraser, it became readily apparent to me that The Journal Gazette, Fraser and Sam Wysong, Fraser’s friend and fellow Carroll student, were not seeing the issue clearly.

I am a teacher at CHS and, in fact, I am one of the people attacked by Fraser’s “satire” or “parody.” By all accounts, his attack on me is much milder than that aimed at others in the building. In his book, Fraser calls me a “communist” and declares that I should be fired. These words are not satirical; they are straight from Fraser’s heart.

Unfortunately, I have never met Fraser. Our only contact occurred in October through an exchange of opinions in our student newspaper. From that moment on, Fraser declared repeatedly to students that I should be fired because my views were different from his.

Sometime after those exchanges Fraser wrote his book, for which he refuses to be held accountable. Instead, Fraser has draped himself with the First Amendment banner, encouraged Wysong to speak at a recent school board meeting on his behalf and initially committed to appear on a local morning radio program.

What Fraser fails to see is that the First Amendment has always been regulated and limited in our country. For example, if speech incites violence, it is not protected by the First Amendment. Fraser’s words may not have caused violence, but they could have caused a potentially dramatic (and violent) effect in my life had the administration and board of Northwest Allen County Schools taken his false accusations to heart. Luckily for me, it is 2006, not 1956.

In addition, the First Amendment does not protect students if speech causes disruptions of the learning environment. Fraser’s book has definitely caused this. Even though most students have not seen it, they have brought up the book in class continuously since its distribution. Finally, the First Amendment does not protect speech, whether printed or spoken, that exposes a person to public ridicule, hatred or contempt or that injures a person’s reputation in any way if that speech is based on information that has no basis in fact. In short, libel is not protected by the First Amendment.

A democratic society depends on people playing by the rules and extends rewards and privileges to those who do, while punishing those who choose otherwise. Make no mistake: Fraser chose to go beyond the rules in writing his book. The administrators of Carroll High School and Northwest Allen County Schools have the duty, right and authority to protect their interests and those of its students and staff. Therefore, the administrators have done the right thing in expelling Fraser.

If the administrators had not acted on the book, or if they allowed him to return at this point, they would be giving free license to every student to stand in the classroom and tell their teachers that they are terrible, should be fired or worse. Teaching and learning are challenging enough without this kind of disruption in the classroom. While I forgive Fraser, my forgiveness does not preclude accountability. He should accept the punishment he has received and move on and rebuild his life.

Jamie Drake teaches Spanish and Latin American studies at Carroll High School. He wrote this for The Journal Gazette.

And a commenter on Leo Morris' weblog, Opening Argument, who identified herself as Carrol High School Teacher Beth Opel, writes:
As a teacher at Carroll High School, it was refreshing to see you [Leo Morris] take a more balanced look at our unfortunate situation. It has been troubling to me that so many who have thrown their opinions into the fray have done so without any real knowledge about what is going on here.

I must, however, take exception to your contention that students at Carroll feel alienated and unhappy. In this case, Leo, you didn't research your statement to confirm its accuracy. I don't even believe that Fraser was unhappy here--he was quite involved and had friends. I've asked a good number of students (one at a time) about the issue, and EVERY SINGLE ONE thinks that what Fraser did was idiotic. They offer comparisons to the jobplace--if an employee were to direct the type of remarks that Fraser put into BOOK form toward his/her employer, that employee could expect to be fired!

I wish that those who have been painting our students as automatons kept in line by cruel dictators would come to our building to see the truth. The News-Sentinel (coincidentally? I think not) featured our student newspaper in last night's issue. One article depicted a beloved teacher receiving the Golden Apple Award and singing the praises of the high standards to which we hold our students; the students described classes as hands-on, fun, and relevant. Another article reported on the success of a recent fundraiser involving a student-faculty basketball game. Carroll High School is a wonderful school where rigor and high expectations are reaping results. I believe that a decision to uphold the expulsion of Jeff Fraser will RELIEVE most students and restore the sense of order and civility they have come to expect.

Jan 26, 2006 5:47:16 AM

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

News-Sentinel Mailbag

Fort Wayne's "Good Evening" Newspaper Starts Publishing Letters About Carroll

There's the pro, essentially an edited version of what Mike Sylvester had earlier posted on his weblog:
NACS needs free-speech lesson

A Carroll High School student was recently expelled for writing a 10-page “satire” that was extremely critical of the Carroll High School administration. The student in question has no record of disciplinary problems and was a strong student academically as well as being a member of the student council, band, the political club, future business leaders and speech team.


There are many options a school can use to discipline a student who has misbehaved in some fashion; the most extreme is expulsion for the school year. Students who are a threat to the safety of other students or who are continuous discipline problems should be removed from school; however, this student does not fit these criteria.


If warranted, the student should be required to apologize to people he offended. This would be more than sufficient for a first offense.

Instead, the student can no longer attend Carroll High School and cannot be involved with the student activities he participated in.


One of the strengths of this great nation is the freedom of the press and speech. I am a proud military veteran extremely concerned about the constant erosion of our civil liberties.


Mike Sylvester, candidate Northwest Allen County Schools board
And the Con, where the writer sees larger societal forces at play:
Carroll ‘satire’ another sign of decay

We need to do something about the permissiveness regarding children. There seem to be few boundaries. Our society has an anything-goes attitude toward kids, and no one is supposed to say anything.

If a student breaks a rule, the parents sue, even though the rule is there to help protect the entire student population. If this Carroll High School student who distributed a “satire” about the school had something to say, why did he need to call the principal a female dog, using a vulgar term? What was the point of using vulgar language at all and then selling the booklet for $10?

It sounds like this student was trying to get attention while making a buck. If he was trying to get his point across, he went about it the wrong way. He could have passed out pamphlets outside school, minus the obscene language and a $10 charge. This student needs to be held accountable for his actions.

Laura J. Smyser
Note: There is no evidence that the student was selling his booklet. It is assumed that the letter's author was speaking of litigious parents in general and not about the parents of the student who is the subject of the letter.

Tracy Warner on the 1st Amendment

Tracy Warner has written a new post for his weblog about the possible outcomes to be expected from the Northwest Allen County School Board on the Jeff Fraser matter.
Some other bloggers in town, notably Fort Wayne Observed and Opening Arguments, seem to think the punishment against Carroll High School Jeff Fraser should be linked to the level of the fairness of criticism in Fraser's "Carroll (The Book.)" Using this logic, school administrators and school board members get to decide how much criticism is too much criticism. That's not the way the First Amendment works.
What of specific punishment? Warner writes:
Northwest Allen County Schools officials can never justify Fraser's expulsion based on the contents of his "book." This expulsion will have to be based on whether Fraser used school computer equipment in writing or printing out the book. If he did, discipline short of expulsion is appropriate. If he didn't -- if he was expelled because school officials didn't like what he had to say about them -- any discipline is inappropriate, immoral and unconstitutional.

19-Year Old Buckeye Announces for State Representative

Ben McCullough, 19, has filed to run for state representative in Ohio House District 79. The college freshman is running for the Democratic Party nomination.

WANE-TV reports:
The principal at Edon Northwest High School, Bob Morton, says, "He will surprise people in how poised he is in dealing with the public, with newspeople and with his opponents." And, no matter how his first attempt at politics turns out, this big Ben says eventually it will be "time" for him and his generation to lead. "Social security, healthcare, medicare.. we're the ones, believe it or not, who are going to be talking about these issues and finding the solutions to solve them."
Indiana Parley readers who might think Mr. McCullough too young to take on the challenge should know that your author was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives at age 22.

Feel the Love

Pat Love Makes Political Announcement in the City Council Chambers

Allen County Assessor Pat Love kicked off her re-election in, of all places, the Fort Wayne City Council Chambers. It has generally been considered improper to use taxpayer-funded facilities for political campaign purposes.

The use of taxpayer property such as the Statehouse for campaign photography has been an issue in recent campaigns.

Journal-Gazette carried a photograph of Ms. Love's announcement in this morning's newspaper.

She also used the opportunity to attack her likely Republican opponent, Stacey Lopshire, as part of the failed Ternet management team even though Ms. Love retained Stacey Lopshire as Chief Deputy.

Ms. Lopshire recently resigned so as to avoid a conflict with her campaign. More from the Journal-Gazette story by Benjamin Lanka:

“I am proud that after four years, the ineffectiveness of the Ternet management team is but a sad memory,” she said. “I have put together a winning team, and I am asking the voters of Allen County to allow me to lead our assessing community for another four years.”

Love, however, is running against Stacey Lopshire, not Ternet. When asked about this, Love said, “(Lopshire) was part of the management team that failed.”

Lopshire was Ternet’s chief deputy before being hired as chief deputy by Love. Lopshire said she was confused by Love’s criticism because Love hired her.

“I can only assume that if she kept me on, she kept me on for a reason, and that was to get the job done, and I did,” she said.

The Journal-Gazette also noted Assessor Love's multiple unsuccessful attempts to pass the Level 2 Assessor Test. Ms. Love said that she will try, try, try again.

Photo credit:
Janelle Sou Roberts for the Journal-Gazette

Fort Wayne Observed to Post Book

The Fort Wayne Observed weblog has announced it will be posting pages from "Carroll: The Book" on its site here.

His conclusion after reading the book: that production of the book doesn't merit expulsion but it does merit discipline. Most importantly, that the responsible and right thing would be for Mr. Fraser to apologize to several persons maligned in the text.
But what he ought to do, if he hasn't already, is take a look at Carroll (The Book) again, and exchange Deb Neumeyer's name with that of someone he cares about...like, perhaps, his mother. I wonder if he'd find that revised edition funny.

And then he ought to go apologize to the people he needs to apologize to -- not because it might help him get back into school, but because it's the right thing to do. And I'm not talking about sending a letter, which he's already done. He needs to apologize in person, which is much more difficult that firing off a note. He certainly ought to explain to those people what he was
trying to do, but he also needs to acknowledge his failure, and to take responsibility for it.

If he does that, what people will remember about this whole incident won't be what Fraser wrote; it will be the way he handled himself afterwards.
Leo Morris' editorial in today's News-Sentinel was an opinion piece but also contained some news as well.
We’ve learned that Fraser has sent a letter of apology to adminsitrators his book might have offended. That’s a good place for the school board, which will consider the issue tomorrow night, to start discussions.
Mr. Gotsch writes about his decision to post the book, his opinion of the contents, and the ground rules for those who would like to post a reaction to the writings. Gotsch writes:
Like you, I wanted to see it myself before passing judgment. Yesterday I read it and earlier this morning posted my thoughts.

And I think that you ought to be able to do the same thing before deciding if the author in question deserved to be expelled. That's why I've decided to post the pages of the book here on Fort Wayne Observed.

I've talked to Jeff Fraser, and -- surprise -- he doesn't want the book to be made public. But he's also trying to get as much public support for his plight as possible, and that's hard to do when you're not willing to let people read the book in question.

After all this talk about it, it's time for people to finally get a chance to see it for themselves.

I think, after reading it, many of you will come to the same conclusion I did -- it's not something you'd want to include in the family Christmas card, but Fraser didn't deserve to be expelled for writing it.

I also think you'll see just how of bright Fraser is. I'm looking forward to seeing what he'll be doing a year or two down the road, after he's put all this behind him.

I'm going to be posting each page individually so that readers can comment on each page. Please, please, please -- keep your comments clean and relevant. Feel free to debate with other commenters, but don't get personal or vulgar.

More Fraser

Leo Morris, writing for the News-Sentinel, comes down on the side of scaling back the expulsion for Jeff Fraser in an editorial written for today's afternoon edition.

But the NACS board should scale back the expulsion. That’s the option that would restore a sense of proportion. We’ve learned that Fraser has sent a letter of apology to adminsitrators his book might have offended. That’s a good place for the school board, which will consider the issue tomorrow night, to start discussions.

And the NACS patrons – parents, taxpayers, students, teachers, ordinary citizens – should encourage the board to do that, but in the spirit of a collaborative effort rather than a confrontational one. Students don’t have absolute First Amendment protection in a school setting, but they need a reasonable amount of free expression. Schools don’t have absolute dictatorial powers, but we must allow them to set and maintain the standards that will create a good learning environment

You Read It Here First

Journal-Gazette Story Comes Six Days After Indiana Parley Report

Journal-Gazette's Kelly Soderlund reports this morning that Jeff Fraser has been attending the alternative school at the Allen County Juvenile Center.

Indiana Parley readers knew this on Thursday, January 19th - 6 days ago. Indiana Parley's original report with original artwork can be found here.

Some of our readers actually work at Fort Wayne Newspapers; just like some radio and television station news departments subscribe to the

Ms. Soderlund did cite an original source. She stated that the fact of Jeff Fraser's attendance was confirmed by Joe Brita, Superintendent of the Allen County Juvenile Center.

Indiana Parley readers might wonder if the Allen County Juvenile Center is in the habit of confirming which minors are either confined to the Juvenile Center or attending the Alternative School housed there. IP will try to get that answer for you later today.

Journal-Gazette story also confirmed that the Student Law Press Center has offered its assistance to young Mr. Fraser.

Journal-Gazette story contained this sentence:
"Along with the assistance provided by the Allen County Juvenile Center, Fraser has also been offered help from the Student Law Press Center, an organization in Arlington, Va., that advises students on their First Amendment rights."
The sentence equates the voluntary offer of the Student Law Press Center with the "assistance" provided by the Allen County Juvenile Center School.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

City Council Beats Back Property Tax Increase

Republicans Defeat Graham Richard Proposal to Raise Property Tax Levy

Indiana Parley was at the Fort Wayne Common Council meeting where Republicans, led by John Crawford, prevailed in defeating the Mayor's proposal to increase Fort Wayne's property tax levy.

More tomorrow morning.

Photo © 2006 by Mitch Harper

Book 'Em

Fort Wayne Observed Has Gone Carrolling

Indiana Parley hasn't seen it. Fort Wayne Observed has it.

Carroll: The Book

Butler University Story on Fraser

"Clearly, not all students guilty of PDA, uncooperative behavior, and unruliness in the halls are expelled; it would leave few students in the building."

Marcy Wilhelm has written a long piece for the Butler University's Student newsite, Dawgnet. The full story can be found here.

Ms. Wilhelm is a graduate of Carroll High School in Allen County. She writes:
The administration’s decision to punish Fraser seems to me similar to the recent lawsuit brought by the Recording Industry Association of America against a teenager for illegally downloading music; it seems to have been done in part to set an example for others. Unless the school plans to punish all students and faculty who use the school computers for non-academic reasons in the same manner, it is not fair to punish only Fraser for such an offense. The same applies to those whose offenses fall under “general misbehavior.” In addition to use of profanity, general misbehavior includes displays of affection, uncooperative behavior, running and yelling. Clearly, not all students guilty of PDA, uncooperative behavior, and unruliness in the halls are expelled; it would leave few students in the building.

Also similar to the RIAA case, it seems like the punishment is much harsher than the crime actually warrants. Expulsion is the most severe punishment a school can give a student. Fraser’s punishment is the equivalent of the punishment given to a student involved in three physical fights; it is a drastic punishment. It should be reserved for only the most severe of offenses, those which harm or may potentially harm other students or faculty members. Fraser’s “Carroll: The Book,” though, does neither. It did not hurt anyone, nor incite violence in others. It simply criticized the school. This does not warrant expulsion.

Wolkins Removes Provision from Eminent Domain Bill

Imminent Eminent Domain Deal?

The Indianapolis Star reports this morning that the Indiana Convention and Stadium Building Authority may have reached a deal to protect the N. K. Hurst Bean company property from the emininent domain claims by the Authority.

Rep. David Wolkins plans to back down from a legislative proposal that could have made it harder for stadium officials to seize N.K. Hurst Co.'s land, a signal that a deal has been reached to keep the bean factory in Downtown Indianapolis.

House Bill 1010 would still impose new eminent domain restrictions on governments that want to seize land and then give it to a private developer.

But Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, said Monday that he plans to remove a provision that he added to try to block stadium officials from taking 4.26 acres of the Hurst property for parking at the new $500 million Indianapolis Colts stadium.
An announcement of the results of negotiations between the Authority and Hurst could occur later today.

Suffice it to say, Representative Wolkins' legislation probably had the desired effect in concentrating the thinking of the Authority members. Dave Wolkins resides in Winona Lake, Indiana, and deserves the thanks of free peoples everywhere.

Canada Changes Government

Harper to Become Prime Minister; Martin Concedes

Stephen Harper is the new Prime Minister of Canada. Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin called Harper last night to concede and has announced he will step down as leader of the Liberal Party.

As reported at
"Tonight, friends, our great country has voted for change," said Mr Harper. "Canadians have asked our party to take the lead in delivering that change.

FWCS Board Member Comments on "Free Fraser"

"...a classic case of school administration being devoid of common sense." - Jon Olinger, Fort Wayne Community Schools Board Member

The original post on Indiana Parley about the expulsion of Jeff Fraser resulted in a striking comment posted by a school board member. Jon Olinger, a member of the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board, commented on the decision in the Jeff Fraser case. He also went on to give examples from FWCS, as well.

Olinger wrote:
This appears to be a classic case of school administration being devoid of common sense. I don't know what the cause of this [affliction] is, but NWAC schools does not have a monopoly on it. Ocasionally a decision is taken by school administration, such as this, that makes me wonder...what were you thinking...

A few instances of this in FWCS recently..

School administrator taking a switch blade away from a student....then allowing him to retrieve it at the end of the day.

School administrator catching high school male students mooning a camera in a shower room..... Then developing the film to be used later in expulsion hearings.

Believe it or not bad decisions like this is the exception, not the rule... Keep in mind most educators have the kids' interest in mind, we just don't see the good decisions in the press.
UPDATE: Leo Morris at his weblog Opening Argument has a new post with some new thoughts in several parts. One part is a reply brief to Tracy Warner.

He also provides a useful link to a November 2005 Wall Street Journal story on the topic of student weblogs.

Leo says he has now read the Fraser tome. (He doesn't say how he came across the work bearing a copyright.) He states that he believes that the Carroll adminstrators overreacted but he is still wrestling with many of the issues surrounding the book. He cites Indiana Parley in his discussion of those issues.

He is preparing an editorial for tomorrow's print News-Sentinel and freely admits he is not sure where he will end up on all of this. He is inviting readers to help him sort through these issues for that print editorial.
I'll be working on an editorial on this subject today for tomorrow's Evening Forum. I'm not sure what form it will take, although my posting here suggests several directions. As I said, the school probably overreacted, but it's more complicated than that. If you'd like to offer comments you think would make the editorial better informed, post them before 11 a.m.
Update: Blogger Steve Erbach cites this Indiana Parley post at his The Town Crank weblog.

Windy City

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for northeast Indiana. High winds are expected to start at approximately 1:00 PM today.

Wind speeds are projected to be as high as 45 mph this evening.
If today is trash pick-up day in your neighborhood, as it is in mine, secure your trash carts bearing the spiffy Fort Wayne seal. New Haven and Woodburn don't want those carts ending up in their cities.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Huntington County Challenger to Congressman Dan Burton

Michael Clements, 27, has filed as Democratic challenger in the United States Congressional District served by Dan Burton. Dave Schultz reports in the Huntington Herald-Press:
As Clements sees it, it's not about what his stands are - and he does sidestep his personal views on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. He sees those as state issues, not federal issues. "A lot of that stuff has to do with state's rights, I believe," he said.

What it is, he said, is what the people of the 5th District want.
Clements completed St. Thomas University School of Law in Florida in December 2005. He was the student American Bar Association Representative while there. Clements believes that the voters will respond positively to someone with a background in law. He told Schultz this:
"I look at it this way: If you're house needs plumbing, you don't call a carpenter," Clements said. "You call a plumber. I think it helps for (a politician) to have an understanding of the law and its ramifications."
He said he was influenced by his grandparents.
Clements grew up around politics. It was hard to avoid, with his grandfather serving on the Huntington Common Council and both of his grandparents party chairmen.

"My grandfather and my grandmother were very instrumental in the shaping of my desire to perform civic duty," he said.
The intermittent weblog "Fort Wayne Politics" reported on December 2, 2005 that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had listed Clements as a challenger to Mark Souder in the 3rd District in a weblog post entitled "Michael Clements for Congress. But in which District?" The weblog reported that:
Clements' Committee address was 5659 Coventry Lane in Fort Wayne but that was changed to 2266 Markle Road in Huntington on November 22nd.

Fort Wayne Gains Jobs

Business Start-Up Creates New Jobs; Fort Wayne Seen as Growing Market

David and Elizabeth Kulp of Fort Wayne have started a new business enterprise.

As far as is known, these entrepreneurs did it without a subsidy, training grant, tax abatement, or tax increment financing district. Nor was the redevelopment commission involved.

Despite the fact there were no economic development "tools" used you'd still think the economic development folks might be touting the addition of any jobs to the Fort Wayne market. It's not stopped officials before. If eco devo "tools" were not used, they tend to make the claim that they "created the business climate" for the new venture to take root.

So you'd think there might be some official crowing. It's always an honor to have the Mayor come out to turn the first shovel.

And the name of the new business is surprisingly close to the explanations offered up in the wake of the recent wave of job losses in the area.

What are we referring to? Well, the new business is called PoopHappens. It's a yard hygiene service for dog owners* who are too busy to keep up with their pets' doings. In other words, they deal with the aftermath of expulsions.

Erika Nordblom of the News-Sentinel had the full scoop in today's paper.

Dan, over at Fort Wayne, Indiana etc., thinks so much of the service he's become the newest customer. He wrote:

A unique part of the service is they will also let you know about any unusual waste your dog may have in his stool. That would have been interesting around my house 9 years ago when my Lab was a pup. One crispy fall morning I was walking through the yard and came across a pile-o-poop only to find two of my son's little plastic green army men sticking out of the pile. Upon further investigation, I found several more piles with as many as 20 of these poor GI's sticking out. Some ready to throw a grenade others crouched down ready to sniper the next Kraut.

*The term would be "dog guardians" in Bloomington IN

Canada Votes Today

Conservative Harper Predicted to be Headed to Victory

Stephen Harper, leader of Canada's Conservatives, was seen as leading his party to victory in today's national election. It is widely expected that Harper will have enough Parliamentary seats following balloting today to be elected Prime Minister.

Randall Palmer, writing for Reuters:
Harper built his campaign on appealing to regular Canadians on the need to clean up government, cut the national sales tax, crack down on crime and cut waiting times for the publicly funded health system.
We are not likely to get much more election news out of Canada until tomorrow. Palmer explains the reason why:
Canadian law bars the posting of news to the Internet until after the last polls are closed so as to keep voters from being influenced.
But you can see and listen to the video of Stephen Harper's rousing speech to the Conservative Party convention here. Conservatives here in the States can learn from some of the Harper lessons. As an added bonus, you get to see a lot of enthusiastic people waving around Harper signs.

Why is the Canadian election important here in Indiana? Well, according to a report:

Indiana exported to 190 foreign destinations in 2004. The state's largest export market, by far, is our NAFTA trading partner Canada. Indiana exported $8.5 billion worth of merchandise to Canada in 2004, almost half (45 percent) of the state total.


Indiana's biggest growth market, in dollar terms, is Canada. From 2000 to 2004, export shipments to Canada increased from $7.1 billion to $8.5 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion.

The Carter Family

Last week, Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter announced the appointment of three board members to clean up the administration of the Olin and Desta Schwab Foundation. The actions were taken by the A.G. to reform the Foundation following revelations of the conduct of the prior board led by attorney Richard Blaich.

Some folks in Fort Wayne who were following the Attorney General's nomination of the new board members understood the first two names, those of respected local attorneys Edward Beck and Erik Chickedantz, but didn't know much about the naming of the third member from Indianapolis, consultant/attorney J. Mark Mutz.

Mark Mutz is a principal in Mosaic Consulting. Mosaic has a contract with the Office of the Attorney General to provide certain services concerning the Attorney General's oversight of non-profit enties in Indiana.

Mark Mutz is also on the board of CICOA Aging and In-Home Services of central Indiana.

He is the son of former Lieutenant Governor John Mutz.

Attorney General Steve Carter got his start in state government by serving as an executive assistant to Lieutenant Governor John Mutz over 20 years ago.

John Mutz served as Lt. Governor from 1981 to 1989. He had earlier served with distinction as an Indiana State Senator from Marion County. He was the Republican nominee for Governor in 1988 and had earlier been the Republican nominee for State Treasurer.

Since his defeat for Governor, John Mutz has served in a variety of roles, most notably as head of Lilly Endowment, as CEO of Public Service Indiana (PSI), and as Chairman of the Lumina Foundation for Education. His is the Speaker's appointment to the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority.

What the Game's Been Missing

Alex at Snider Comments on "Free Fraser" at His Weblog.

There's another Fort Wayne weblog that has something to say. This one is "What the Game's Been Missing" by Alex.

He commented yesterday on his contemporary's situation at his post entitled "Free Fraser".

He's into speech, rap, and conservative politics. He self-describes himself as "definitely not a Republican." This is largely, because in his view, the Republicans nationally don't seem to be sufficiently concerned with smaller government.

His political self-description:
My name is Alex, and I am a conservative.

I'm not a Republican, keyword not. If you'd asked me when I started to be truly interested in politics (about mid-2003), I would have sided with the GOP, but I later started to learn more and more about how the GOP has failed to live up to their platform. It seems they live up more to the Democratic platform.

Maybe that's why Dems hate Republicans so much; Republicans do a better job at spending other people's money! On top of that, George W. Bush, budget-wise, is the most liberal President we've had since Lyndon Johnson ("Great Society," anyone?).

The Republican Party actually got some things done in the 90s, but only because they were not in executive power. Take for example the cutting down of spending and the deficit (NOT the "balancing" of the budget. That never happened, unless you call stealing money from Social Security to make a false surplus "balancing.")

The GOP Congress passed budget cuts through; Clinton took the alley-oop by signing the cuts and claimed the credit, because he's a player. (That's player with an er; he can't be a "playa" because he has horrible taste in women, Lewinsky oral sex innuendo not withstanding.)

Don't get me wrong -- the GOP is more likely to keep the flag red, white, and blue, and not let it turn just white.
Another sample:
So far, I've been less than impressed by Bloomington. Since it's a college town, I saw at least five cars with left-leaning bumper stickers on them. One of them said "DRAFT YOUNG REPUBLICANS." That pissed me off immensely, even though I don't throw it up for the GOP click. Most of the college kids are off on break, so the streets were rather quiet, but they just reeked of the kind of college-town coffee-shop mentality that I abhor.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Frank Gray - Speaking Frankly

Frank Gets It Right and Gets It Out

The people of Fort Wayne are lucky to have Frank Gray writing for them.

That's the way it ought to be expressed. Frank writes about the absurdities, raw deals, and the intended and the sometimes unintended or thoughtless consequences visited upon regular people.

Today, he wrote in the Fort Wayne
Journal-Gazette about the actions of the Carroll High School adminstrators in expelling Jeff Fraser. Only he didn't mention Jeff Fraser by name.

That allowed Frank Gray to keep the focus on the actions of the Carroll administration and the words that got them to "play the role of a giant crushing dissidents beneath its feet."

Frank walked his readers through the contents of the book. He provided much needed context about the whole discussion:
The foreword tells students how important they are. They do work that produces data which is compiled and placed on quality paper with silver and gold specks and sent to the North Central Association (a school accrediting organization), which is so impressed it names Carroll a four-star school. Students shouldn’t get the idea they’re four-star students, though. They’re just data generators so administrators can write gobbledygook that makes them look good.

The book makes reference to a legacy of losing teams, says the assistant principal for discipline spends 4 percent of his time disciplining students and 63 percent of his time is unaccounted for.

It says black students are guilty until proven innocent; asks who would enforce the cell phone ban if there were a crisis at the school, and suggests the graduation rate is determined by counting the number of students on the last day of school and comparing it to the number who graduate. That’s why the rates are so impressively high.

Any power students, such as the student council, have are not real powers but Austin Powers, it says.

It examines the parking habits of students and notes where overachievers, band members, kids to be found in detention and the mediocre masses park, and blasts one teacher for preaching communism.
And, of course, by so doing, Frank puts the issues, raised by Mr. Fraser in a satirical fashion, out for discussion by the whole community in a sober fashion.

Are administrators more concerned with presenting the school data in such a way that it gives an overly positive impression of student achievement? Are "zero tolerance" rules, such as those for cell phones, so strict that they defy common sense? Is there a double standard on discipline detrimental to black students?

Those questions, and the others suggested by the writing of Mr. Fraser and now catalogued by Frank Gray, are worth discussion by the School Board, the taxpayers, and the parents and students the school is to serve.

Individual taxpayers and parents in Northwest Allen Schools may come to different conclusions if they do, indeed, examine these questions. Yet, these are just the sorts of things that serious people should discuss seriously.

Just to cite one example, the parent of a Northwest Allen minority student has talked to me in the past about the differential treatment she thought her daughter and other minority students received in NWACS.

Which leads to another point. I haven't read a copy of the "book." So, I don't know the entire context nor everything that may have been written on any of the subjects that Frank Gray, who has read it, listed in his column today.

However, I think it was clear from the short description of the contents that Kelly Soderlund wrote in the
Journal-Gazette on Friday about Carroll (The Book) that Mr. Fraser was writing about the administration discipling black students unfairly. Ms. Soderlund quoted from the book's text:
“Contrary to what many may believe (because it is true), the school handbook does not mention anything about disciplining blacks over whites. Carroll’s definition of due process: innocent until proven guilty, unless you’re black.”
Frank Gray made more clear the fact that Mr. Fraser was pointing to what he perceived as an unjust treatment of minority students. That didn't keep some people in the blogosphere from jumping to the conclusion that any mention of minorities by someone calling himself a Republican must be negative. This seemed to result in a mental short-circuit which exposed just how qualified and relative their support of rights such as "Free Speech" really is.

Some examples:
This from Craig's comment to a post at the Left of Centrist weblog.
This story has been floating around the Ft. Wayne GOP blogs for a couple of days now. They all failed to mention the kid wrote some stuff about minorities. I think educators have a vested interest in curbing any kind of behavior that might lead to interracial tension within the school. A school isn't the public square.

I'm not saying race shouldn't be discussed in school, of course it should. But teachers and administrators are responsible for keeping the peace.
Craig has his own weblog, Reverent and Free where he wrote this charmer about Saturday morning's TAR meeting:
No word on whether or not any of those pesky black people that seem to bother Mr. Fraser so much were invited to the event.

Rumor has it the door prize was toilet paper imprinted with the 4th Amendment. A good time was had by all.
Poor Marie over at Hoosier Democrats. She first states she has an open mind but then goes on to label Mr. Fraser a "culprit" who has produced "victims." Despite the educational attempts by Mr. Sylvester, she knows that the school will "...air [sic] on the side of the victims."
She obviously diverges from the view expressed in Frank Gray's column this morning that the Carroll High School "adminstration has responded like some character out of a Dickens novel."

Frank's view is also not in sync with that of John Good, who has his own weblog
Left in Aboite, but made this comment in response to the post at the Left of Centrist weblog:
How ironic that NACS mirrored the standard GOP practice of silencing the opposition by any means possible.
Again, the people of Fort Wayne are lucky to have Frank Gray writing for them.

Photo left to right: State Representative Matt Bell, former school board member Kevin Howell, County Councilman Mike Cunegin, State Senator Tom Wyss at the January 21st TAR meeting.