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Posted By: Me

Posted On: Mar 16, 2004
Views: 1218
Newfane School

From the US&J: "The thought never crossed my mind to ever prosecute a reporter for entering George Southard School," Jack said. "It was unlocked, and that was OUR FAULT, not the reporter's. On the surface, (pressing charges) was probably not the right reaction. It would probably be better to sit down and find a way to make the school buildings more secure." DUH!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted By: Newfane Taxpayer

Posted On: Mar 12, 2004
Views: 1370
Arrested Development

I just entered this web site for the first time ever and tried to vote on this topic. My vote would have been "The law is the law!" but I received a message saying I had already voted and my vote would not count. Evidently Mr. Leffler does not consider the fact that more than one person may share a computer (e.g. all members of a family using the same computer). Given this information and the fact that Mr. Leffler apparently throws out comments and votes he deems innappropriate, I am sure the margin of error associated with this poll is large enough to be comical.

The U S & J reporter entered a public school which had notices clearly posted at entrances instructing him to report to the main office. The reporter ignored those notices as well as the request of a district employee. The reporter was in the building illegally and should be prosecuted. Members of the Press are not above the law. The U S & J is also not above the law. If it can be shown that the paper's management gave prior approval to the reporter's plans to trespass then the paper itself should also be prosecuted.


Posted By: Laurie

Posted On: Mar 12, 2004
Views: 1400
School Board

I'm suprised more people have not commented on this subject. Then again, I was surprised and shocked that more people did not show up to the March 1, 2004 Board meeting.

It was the first time I had ever been to a Board meeting. I really exspected more people to be there, especially with everything that has happened since the arrest of Mark Lindsay.

Anyhow, after some initial topics of dissucion, the Board went into an executive session. At that point approximatley five residents got up and left the meeting. There was my husband, myself, and another resident left at the meeting. Angelica Morrison, a reporter from the US&J was also there. She followed us out into the hall and noticed we were haveing some disscion. Not ever being to a Board meeting before we wondered if it was over and how we were supposed to get our questions about the Board's actions answered. Ms. Morrison was very helpful. She told us after the executive session the room would then be opened again and the Board would make a statement concerning their session. In the mean time, she asked us if we had any comments about the whole situation. We told told her that we did not want to make any comment at that time because we felt we needed more information from the Board's side in order to make a better informed descion and comment. She respected our descion not to comment.

So, the executive session comes to an end, the doors open and the Board read its statement which follows(www.newfane.wnyric.org/press):

The Union-Sun&Journal printed news articles
and an editiorial on 2/27/02 and printed a
follow-up editorial on 2/29/04 in its Sunday
edition.

The Newfane Board of Education takes strong
exception tothe factual content of the
articles as well as the tone and
condescending attitude of the newspaper. It
is the Board's position that the original
article written by reporter Mark Lindsay, as
well as the follow-up reports by David
Winters and Angelica Morrison are biased and
not reflective of the detail as the Board of
Education has come to know them.

The Board of Education stands firm that
reporter, Mark Lindsay, while on a mission
to expose alleged weaknesses in security,
violated the law and, as a consequence,
should be prosecuted. No exception should
be allowed as a result of his motives as a
reporter.

The Board of Education will not discuss the
specifics of this case in the press. The
press is an inappropriate venue for such
dialogue. Furthermore, if past experience
is any indicator, its not likely that an
appropriate balanced presentation would
prevail. The Board of Education seeks to
have this matter appropriately resolved in
the court system where it rightfully belongs.

For the record, the Board of Education has
reviewed the security at Newfane Elementary
and is comfortable with the level provided.
It appropriately matches with the rural
environment and the level of potential day-
to-day threat.

The Board of Education would like to thank
all the persons that have expredded their
overwhelming support for the Board's actions.


After reading their statement, they called the meeting to a close stating no further comment would be give. I then asked if there would be a time when the community could disscuss the issue with the Board. Mr. Mills stated that an open forum would be allowed at the March 9, 2004 Board meeting. However, we were allowed to approach the Board members individually with questions. They did not want to speak openly with a member of the press present. Eventually, Ms. Morrison left.

Our conversation with the Board lasted for approximately 30 minutes. However, we walked away with more questions than answers. Donna Hill stated that did not want to "tip their hand" by discussing details of the case in front of the press. Unfortunatley, they did not give us any details either, except to say when all the facts come out people will see a different story than what was portrayed in the press.

Now, in my opinion, if the Board is so sure the facts they have are enough to convict Mark Lindsay then they should state what those facts are. If it is clear that what he did was wrong the facts will speak for themselves.

In addition, the actions of Board member Langton makes me wonder if perhaps he himself is not sure the evidence is clear. Why would he even consider calling the D.A.? His actions may very well have damaged any hope the Board has of seeing a conviction in this case. Clearly, he did not consider the consequences of his actions. Clearly, he should be removed from the Board.

And what about Mr. Mills? I've been to several Board meetings now and must say that Mr. Mills is a very likeable person. However, I often find myself wondering as this case goes on if he's pondering thoughts of operating another district or perhaps becoming a fireman. He seems to have the job of putting out alot of fires lately.

To be continued I'm sure.






Posted By: Megan

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1436
And another thing

I can't believe you'd say that Donna Hill coersed people to vote in this poll, like anyone actually cares what YOU AND YOUR POORLY DESIGNED "WEBSITE" think about our school anyway. You're probably getting a huge ego trip from this, I hope this makes you feel really important. Please find a hobby other than sticking your nose where it doesn't belong. You make me sick.


Posted By: Megan

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1336
Reporter arrested for trespassing

I'm glad the reporter was arrested for trespassing. That article was a stupid idea, he was setting himself up to be arrested. It doesn't matter how easy or difficult it was to enter the school, that is no defense. There could be a line in the road that says "It is against the law to cross this line". It doesn't matter how easy it is to cross the line, its still against the law. I'll admit that the security isn't the best thing ever at the elementary school, but its what prevents it from looking like all the other schools/prisons in the area. If anything, the reporter should be put in jail for his stupidity!!


Posted By: Frank

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1337
NCS

I am a graduate of NCS and a friend of Donna Hill's.

She did not sway my vote nor did she coerce me to vote one way or another. As the President of the school board she has a responsibility to the tax payers of the town. If there was a pedofile or drug dealer trespassing on school property it would be expected that the President of the school board would press charges. As I see it, it doesn't matter if you steal 1 cent or 1,000 dollars, it's still stealing. The reporter was warned, by the signs posted, that coming onto the school property was illegal. He chose to disobey the sign and now has to suffer the consequence. He should also be man enough to admit he was wrong instead of claiming to be the victim. Be a man about it.

Did he give any thought to the fact that if he was injured or hurt on school property the school (town taxpayers) would be responsible? Did he have any concern that his actions could have caused an insurance claim against the school's insurance and cause an increase to the taxpayers? I don't think so. Does he pay Newfane School taxes.

Let's take responsibility for our actions instead of placing blame on others.


Posted By: Sue

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1289
Poll

I find it interesting that there is discussion at all about how accurate this poll is, since the only people to even know about it are a select few, who are home during the day, who listen to the local radio station, who even know there is such a talk program as Scott's.
Right there you limit the accuracy of any kind of poll.
Question, if you did not want the poll web site e-mailed on to others by those who DO listen to this radio program, why did you put the "email this poll" link on your site?
Like it or not, there is one thing that the media will never be able to change, Newfane is a great community with an absolutely wonderful school. The students coming out of this school are well prepared, have a strong sense of security and are able to compete in the outside world, whether in a job or at college. Our school's Regents diploma rate and "report cards" that come down from the state speak for themselves.
The local media can bash, the few in town who feel it their responsibility to speak in a negative manner about our board, can keep doing so, but just know the space in the paper and air time this is all getting, is a waste.
If you want a topic to talk about, how about asking this new group, Newfane CARES why, if they care so much, they don't stay at the board meetings to hear all the good our school is doing? After all, doesn't it say in the paper they are "Group Citizens for Accountability Responsibly in our Education System" yet they can't take the time to listen to our local principals tell all the good being done in our schools.
Way to go, guys!! Now there are some real concerned citizens!
For the record, I got the web site from one of my customers.


Posted By: Bridget

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1267
Update on Previous Comment and to others

Scott,

I wasn't referring to you when I wrote my previous comments; I was referring to Mark Lindsay. Sorry, I didn't specify earlier, I was on a roll with my thoughts and feelings.

Also, your comment about Mrs. Donna Hill, I never received an email and nor was I coaxed to come to your poll and vote by her or anyone else. Yea of course, my friend told me about the poll. If he didn't, I wouldn't have found out. I am glad that he did. I am sorry to inform you, but this is the first time that I have heard of you, more than likely I'm not the only one. I am sorry, but teenagers don't listen to your show. The people that you say are high schoolers writing in, aren't... we are all recent graduates that have been through the district or parents that know of the security measures that are taken.

We don't want to see our beloved school being trashed when we know that it isn't, we don't want to see our school turn into a jail.

Our community is a place were individuals can walk down the street and say 'hi' to one another, even if we don't know them. It is so beautiful and peaceful here. We don't have to worry about drug dealers on street corners, domestic violence, etc. Yea, I know it sounds too much like the movie 'Pleasantville,' but that is our way of life. We don't want to be walking down the road and have to pass a building that once used to be a beautiful school and now is a building with bar covered windows, metal fencing surrounding it, etc. etc.

Newfane's security and the measures that are taken to those who trespass are justifiable. We don't need to have drug dogs come in or cops being called in for fights constantly. If the school strengthens its security, I can guarantee that the kids will rebel against it causing more problems. Like I previously have mentioned, why try to change something that doesn't need changing? Our system works for the community, parents, students, teachers, all who are involved, leave it be.

Scott, I leave you with one question, what was it like where you went to school? Did bars in case the windows and doors? Was fingerprinting a way for identifying if you were a student enrolled in that specific school? I understand that times are changing. I have witnessed that. But if we constantly try to 'protect' the kids that are going to rebel, didn’t you ever do that while your parents became overprotective of you once in awhile? I know I did and probably still do here and there.

High school is a place to prepare kids to teach them to make the right decision. Granite, they aren't always going to do the right things all of the time, I know I haven't, and you probably can say the same thing. But high school is supposed to prepare them for college, most of the students will then be on their own because alot of our graduates move away from home and live on campuses. We can't baby them all of the time.

I realize that the reporter entered the elementary school and this is where the most emphasis on security should be. I know that this and NECC are really secured. As a senior in high school, I used to tutor with a third grade class. I always had to sign in even though I did this everyday. There were always many teachers asking to see my pass. This past summer, I was picking up a family friend from the elementary; I still was asked to see my pass, but always treated with respect.

In all honesty, Newfane is taking the appropriate precautions. They’re making an example out of this reporter, showing what does happen to those who break the law. I stand behind them 100%.


Posted By: Jamie

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1259
Correction

---Correction---

little less biased


Posted By: Jamie

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1262
Follow Up

----> Comment from SCOTT: The poll was tweaked ... I removed votes cast from identical IP addresses to reflect the "one vote - one person" philosophy.

Thats interesting considering your poll does not allow for a single IP address to cast more than one vote. So which votes exactly did you remove?

Removing votes is just a little more than unethical...

And really, whos the one that cant handle the truth? You or Donna Hill? I dont see Donna Hill deleteing the 'other sides' votes.

If you dont like the results of the poll... oops, i mean... If you didnt want people to take your poll simply pull the poll off the web.

However Scott, your removal of overtly rude or crass comments was more than appropriate, it is unfortunate that not everyone can handle themselves accecptably in a public manner, for that I commend you.

Attempt to be a little less unbiased in the future.

LONG LIVE THE TRUTH!!! (lol)


Posted By: Mark VanDerwater

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1290
US&J vs Newfane Schools

He went in to investigate how the schools handle intruders. The schools are showing him how they handle intruders. What's the problem?

Then again, if he gets away with it, imagine all the laws I could break if I claimed to have "investigative reporter immunity."


Posted By: Scott Leffler

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1296
It has come to my attention ...

My early assumptions were confirmed this afternoon when I got an email from someone who told me that Ms. Donna Hill, president of the Newfane School Board, sent out dozens of requests to people to vote in this poll. As I stated before, this poll is open to all ... but when school board members attempt to skew the results of the poll by stacking the deck, you have to wonder. Ms. Hill has whined that no one has asked for her point of view ... it seems to me that the board has referred all press inquiries to their attorney. It's not that their opinion hasn't been asked. If Ms. Hill really wants her opinion out there, fine. Consider this an official request for her and anyone she chooses to bring with her to come on my show as a guest ... to discuss this issue. In the mean time, I'll leave the poll up ... and won't edit the results (even when multiple votes are cast from the same computer). But understand ... the results are skewed by the impartial and unfair actions of the school board president. She seems to be one of those people who believe that if the "truth" isn't slanted in her direction, then it's a lie. Long live the truth.


Posted By: Kevin W. Pratt

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1317
Newfane Board

I appauld Newfane School Board for followimg a zero tolerance policy. I wish Lockport had done the same. In a day and age of "no child left behind" I think the super sleuth could have used common sense and worked with the Superintendents involved to set up a program to accomplish his goals / story, if his true intentions were for the safety of the children.As a High School sports official I have to under go fingerprinting, State and FBI background checks, and ID photo just to officiate a half dozen games a year. Those of us who have been around know that the local media has a past history of employing some less than desirable types. Does anyone remember Byers?


Posted By: Concerned citizen

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1347
Are you kidding me?

So...I check the poll today to see the results and what do I find? The fact that the "holder" of the poll keeps his finger on the trigger???

Where could he learn this type of past practice? Talk about ethics!!? I am confused by his comments. So is he saying that if you have a household and there are 4 adults (college students and parents perhaps) that you have to fight it out at home and come to only one outcome and then cast it? Come on!!! He must have learned more at college than journalism? Didn't he have to take ANY math courses like statistics or probabilty??? How do you get an honest result if you don't allow all votes to be cast! And isn't the idea of being allowed to tamper with the ballot box make the entire process a hoax in itself? Also, the accusations he has made in his own comment section he made are highly inappropriate and unfair!

Also, it appears that he has an attitude about the process in itself....why were the options so slanted? Shouldn't it have read something different than "Is the district being PETTY???"
"Newfane should have handled it differently" perhaps would have seemed to be more appropriate not to mention unbiased. Instead, he has shown immaturity and ignorance on his part. This is consistent with other behaviors he has exhibited and most likely will decrease his level of credibility with the public. Not a good move for a young energetic guy! Perhaps there are more voters in all households...yes, no, or indifferent! In addition, perhaps there ARE students that have been reading the papers away at college! Maybe parents send them the paper for a "touch of home"! Not to mention military personnel, senior citizens that relocate, etc etc.

There may have been a split vote in a household, but you will never get the true count because someone beat them to the computer I guess! What is that all about??? I assumed that he posted this poll in an attempt to get the pulse of the surrounding communities! Now it appears that it really is just an attempt to support his views! I hope I am wrong but all indicators point in that direction!

Personally, I thought that Scott of all people would seek both sides of a story before making a decision and jumping to assumptions! At the time he began the name calling on his radio show was when many people began to question his motives! His personal theories were introduced with only one view out on the streets! Many people did catch on that the paper was spending an awful lot of space and ink to tell their side of the story while it appeared that the school was waiting for their day in court to give their details! I suppose we will have to wait and see! Patience appears to be the lesson here!

I suppose the one thing that he isn't telling the public is that he may know and keep record of who actually votes on his website too! I certainly hope not! This will lead to even a greater decline in his credibility!

The biggest disappointment is that the results today will most likely be used on his radio show! Being able to control the ballot box is simply a crime and lack of integrity! Hopefully he will have the fortitude to admit that he makes the rules and changes the rules as he sees fit! Sounds more like he should work for the government instead of a small local radio station! However, to his credit I believe that he has created an awareness for ALL citizens to be wary of ALL polls! How can we be certain that we are not being manipulated by the author of the polls! Perhaps that would be a story worth looking into? But let's not break the law finding out!


Posted By: Janet

Posted On: Mar 11, 2004
Views: 1351
Safety of Children

Hi, Scott:

I agree that when people live in a small town, they may tend to be a little lax when it comes to being wary of evil-doers. We all need to be aware not to let our guard down, and to keep our eyes open for those who might want to do us or our children harm.

I think that your extreme measures demonstrate how "comfortable" we have become, and maybe that is a good wake up call.

I have entered the school many times (through the front door) and reported to the office (to sign in) and was issued a pass to visit the person that I came there to visit. I have always seen the security people, teachers,students and administrators notice me and the fact that I am wearing a tag.

However, even though you were trying to make the point that Newfane High School is not as safe a place for our children as we may think, let me ask you this - was there a way to make that point without breaking the law? I have ALWAYS found that it is better to try to work WITH people than against. What if, for example, you merely tested the outside doors to make sure that they were secured, or asked the authorities at the school to give you a tour and show you the facilities currently in place for protection of the students. Does being a writer suddenly give you authority to do anything you please without regard to what laws have been established for the rest of us? That is the question at hand. What if you could have made that point without breaking the law? Would it have sold as many papers? If you really care about the safety of the students, why not work with the staff at the school? Had you tried that first? The charges filed against you are correct; you did illegally enter the school. I would think that if I did the same thing as you, the school may prosecute me as well, I'm not sure it has anything to do with you being a reporter.

Oh, and could you let me know when you plan to test the speeding enforcement laws and where you plan to do it? I want to make sure that no one else is on the same road. (It's a safety thing)




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