Public Watchdog.org

“Screeching Vaginas” + Shameless Board = Thought Police

02.20.17

It has been a few weeks since Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Board member Dathan Paterno launched some boneheaded tweets about the Women’s Marches, including his description of some of the marchers as “vagina screechers.”

So although this editor’s day job may have cut into his civic duties vis-à-vis this blog for the past month, something as bizarre as Paterno’s tweets and the similarly bizarre responses they generated, deserve a decent critique before we wade into the last six weeks of this hotly-contested political season.

Paterno’s a psychologist, not a gynecologist, so we doubt that his use of “vagina screechers” was any kind of clinical term. But his tweets brought about 40 more people to the January 23 School Board meeting than usually show up for those bi-weekly exercises in shameless oligarchy – and turned it into perhaps the most ridiculous D-64 Board meeting we’ve ever seen.

Which is saying something for a Board that seems to strive for the ridiculous…and the shameless, simultaneously.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, Paterno wasn’t even at that meeting. He resigned earlier that day after being lambasted on social media. That didn’t stop a number of the assembled multitude from stepping up to the podium and barbecuing him in absentia, starting at the 21:10 mark of the meeting video

But it wasn’t long before the real goal of most of those in attendance became evident: Leveraging Paterno’s indiscretions into demands for official restrictions on Board members’ social media usage – to prevent them from engaging in what a majority of Board members might deem to be unpopular or offensive speech, no matter how tenuously related, or even unrelated, that speech might be to the Board member’s performance of his/her Board duties.

Take Stacy Kelly, for example, whose comments start at the 38:14 mark of the video. For someone ostensibly offended by Paterno’s comments, it was interesting to hear her promptly proclaim herself “one of those screaming vaginas in Washington, D.C.” And then she went on to accuse the Board of knowing about, and acquiescing in, Paterno’s uber-conservative views over the past four years of his Board tenure – before calling for “an independent review of the Board to ensure the community of Park Ridge that behavior [like Paterno’s tweets, a/k/a his political speech] will no longer go unchecked.”

For those of you who, like Ms. Kelly, may have forgotten about the First Amendment, you can find its text HERE

But that was nothing compared to Daisy Bowe (starting at the 38:14 mark), who kicked Stacy Kelly’s “screaming vagina” up another notch or two by proclaiming herself “a screeching, raging vagina” – although we suspect that “raging, screeching vagina” would have been the better syntax.

Bowe’s angry proclamation proved more than the delicate sensibilities of Board member Tom Sotos could bear.

“Can we not have to hear [‘vagina’],” interrupted the suddenly-sensitive Sotos, before going on to explain that the word “upset [him]” because it was “a bad word in this context” and “not being used in a positive way.”

How’s that for irony: A “screaming vagina” and a “screeching, raging vagina” claiming to be offended by a former Board member’s use of “vagina screechers” who, in turn, offend the guy who owns a Loop gin joint called the Tilted Kilt – think of it as Hooters-meets-Braveheart, but with much skimpier kilts and far more cleavage.

Bowe and the rest of the audience were having none of Sotos’ newly-discovered sensitivity, however, and Bowe went on to insist that “there needs to be a new code of behavior” restricting Board members’ publicly expressing their thoughts and opinions.

Not surprisingly, neither Kelly nor Bowe explained where it says that school board members – or any other elected officials, for that matter – give up their First Amendment rights upon taking office. But they didn’t have to because none of the 7 Dwarfs sitting at the big table, or Supt. Laurie Heinz, cared enough about such rights to even raise the issue, including attorney Sotos.

That’s what we get for electing an attorney who was wrapped up in Kilt Law when he should have been studying Con Law.

While that January 23rd meeting was merely bizarre, the February 6 special Board meeting is where the First Amendment was pushed in front of the speeding bus.

Starting at the 8:04 mark of that meeting videoBoard president Tony Borrelli led the Board in a lengthy discussion of a “new Board Policy 2:81” – which he smugly claimed to have borrowed from some un-named “north shore district,” as if that were some king of imprimatur – that would permit a majority of the Board to censure and even seek the removal of a fellow Board member for saying or writing things the majority didn’t like.

Or at least that’s what we were able to glean from listening to Borrelli, the foot doctor, educate Sotos, the attorney, about the legality of that new Policy 2:81. Their dueling bloviations consumed roughly 2/3 of the discussion that ran from the 37:25 mark to the 1:05:54 mark of the video. And listening was all we could do because the Board oh-so-conveniently failed to include the “NEW” Board Policy 2:81 in the Board packet published in advance of the meeting, making it impossible for any meeting attendees or the public generally to actually read the proposed new policy in advance, or even during the meeting, and to ask pesky questions.

As this Board and its predecessors have demonstrated time and time again, they couldn’t spell “Transparency” if somebody spotted them 5 of the 8 consonants and let them buy 2 vowels. And did it as a group project.

But Borrelli and the other 6 Dwarfs finally got up the nerve to publish the language of “2:81 NEW” in the packet for tomorrow (Feb. 21) night’s meeting, presumably because it’s already set for final approval on the “Consent Agenda.” No muss, no fuss, just your typical day at the office for the Dwarfs.

If there were any truth in advertising, they’d march in and out of the meeting room wearing sock hats and singing “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho.”

We’ll talk more about what a stupid, insulting and apparently unenforceable policy 2.81 is in tomorrow’s post. And we’ll also break down Borrelli’s equally stupid amendment to the Board’s conflict-of-interest policy – which Borrelli shockingly had the honesty to admit, in an article in the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“District 64 considers addition to conflict of interest policy,” Feb. 20), has “no teeth”!

Maybe Borrelli thinks he can gum perceived offenders into submission.

Meanwhile, if you decide to watch the meeting videos, try to figure out which one of the 7 Dwarfs is “Dopey”…du jour, of course, because the casting can change.

To read or post comments, click on title.

5 comments so far

The snowflakes have arrived in Park Ridge. How dumb this all is. And what’s the point of passing policies that have no teeth?

The D-64 Board sounds like the Trump Administration, only less competent.

I would much rather all board members, prospective board members, local politicians, and prospective politicians voiced their exact opinions on all social media all the time! as an example Fuska and his agents are doing a bang up job proving “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to talk and remove all doubt.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: In fairness, Paterno was never reticent about expressing his conservative views prior to his election to the D-64 Board.

Instead of concerning themselves with educational issues these board members are wasting their time on peripheral issues that are insignificant to the District’s mission.

Mark Twain was right about school boards.

EDITOR’S NOTE: When you are failing in your mission of improving the quality of education, come up with a meaningless shiny object to distract the simple-minded.

Dathan Paterno’s is a psychologist who works with children and teens in his professional capacity.

His comments, while protected by the first amendment, showed how vile and disgusting an individual he is. As a parent of kids in D-64, he crossed a line. He has no decency. His apology was not sincere. There is the first amendment that allow people to gather and / or protest peacefully.

You don’t have to agree with what they are protesting but insulting them in such degrading terms is not the representation that a school board member should exhibit. A school board should have the ability to remove a member for making such reprehensible comments about people even on social media in a nonofficial capacity.

You may not view this as ‘hate’ speech, but essentially that was what his comments were.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Then you had better contact your state senator and state representative to change state law, because currently there is no such mechanism.

And if your state senator is the pandering Laura Murphy and your state rep is the pandering Marty Moylan, both in the pocket of Speaker Mike Madigan, you should have a pretty good chance of gaining their support for suppressing free speech – THAT’s also part of the First Amendment, along with “gather and / or protest peacefully” – in the interest of protecting their hyper-sensitive constituents from hearing things they don’t want to hear.

You mentioned that when you are elected to the school board you don’t give up your rights to free speech.

If this Dathan made comments on social media on his personal account about supporting pedophile behavior, the school board couldn’t remove him?

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we noted in our Editor’s Note to your previous comment, that is correct based on current school law. And the same would go for comments supporting gun rights, transgender rights, animal rights, abortion, or other interests that might offend some segment of society or other.

Another reason to curtail those pesky First Amendment free-speech rights.



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