Chapin High: Home of the indulged, inerudite

Of the many things that have come out of Lexington-Richland School District 5 board member Kim Murphy’s attempt to keep Chapin High from paving over a stream on its property, among the most unpleasant is a confirmation of the high number of spoiled kids who attend the school.

Many would seem to be poster children for the “Me-Me-Me Generation,” missing no opportunity to excoriate Murphy for daring to hold up the addition of all kinds of new gizmos and gadgets for their school, in addition to modifying the existing structure.

And, yet, reading comments made by students in the media and on websites, one can’t help but come to the conclusion that perhaps the students have a point: Chapin High can’t possibly have the facilities necessary for competent instruction in areas such as composition and rhetoric.

Consider this comment from “bandgirl” on a story in The State that appeared earlier this week:

As a student at Chapin High School, I feel I have been done wrong. Please tell me what is right about attending a school where we can’t have a pep rally in our own gym because it is breaking fire hazard, or having to worry about being late to class by going through the school building because of the other hundred’s of students doing the same thing. Nor should teachers in portables have to teach in a closet when there is inclement weather in the area. Plus, the school should be able to have more than 1 computer lab, but instead it has to be taken up as classroom space because we at least 300 over capacity! Not to mention that many areas of the school NEED to be renovated. I have kept up with this legal battle, and I will say I don’t know about what has happened in the district in the past. But I will say that I should be able to attend a school that is safe. For the supporters of Mrs. Murphy, please remember that is about the students and their learning environment, not a legal battle.

Where does one begin? How about with the first sentence:

“As a student at Chapin High School, I feel I have been done wrong.”

Well, “bandgirl,” as a District 5 resident, seeing what apparently passes for intelligent discourse at Chapin High gives me the feeling that I, too, “have been done wrong.”

You ask, “… tell me what is right about attending a school where we can’t have a pep rally in our gym because it is breaking fire hazard, …”

Beyond the fact that the above clause is barely intelligible as written, one could argue that pep rallies, whether held inside or out, hardly constitute a core function of education.

The second part of the sentence reads “… or having to worry about being late to class by going through the school building because of the other hundred’s (sic) of students doing the same thing.”

How would you remedy that, bandgirl? Create additional high schools with no more than 100 students each, to enable you to quickly and with minimum inconvenience be able to pass through the halls from class to class?

Chapin High is the smallest of District 5’s three high schools. Were you at Irmo High or Dutch Fork High you would probably end up in a corner weeping after the first week, given the large enrollment at both those institutions.

You continue by stating “… the school should be able to have more than 1 computer lab, but instead it has to be taken up as classroom space because we at least 300 over capacity!”

I don’t know how big Chapin High’s computer lab is so I can’t say whether it is adequate for the size of the student body, but it would definitely appear more space is needed for English classes, based solely on the quality of your letter.

I was a mediocre student at best in high school many moons ago, but if I’d turned in a paper with a sentence that read, “…instead it has to be taken up as classroom space because we at least 300 over capacity,” I would have been identified as someone who most definitely needed additional help in English and possibly wasn’t ready to advance to the next grade.

Next up we have: “Not to mention that many areas of the school NEED to be renovated.”

Beyond being a sentence fragment, competent writers rarely feel the need the throw in a word in all capital letters. The same goes for exclamation points. A wise individual once detailed a good rule regarding exclamation points: “You are allowed to use three exclamation points over the course of your lifetime.” Bandgirl, you have two exclamation points left; use them wisely.

Perhaps my favorite part of bandgirl’s prattle is this: “I have kept up with this legal battle, and I will say I don’t know about what has happened in the district in the past.”

This appears both contradictory and grammatically awkward. Either way, it doesn’t seem to make sense.

Bandgirl ends with the usual won’t-someone-think-of-the-children tactic: “But I will say that I should be able to attend a school that is safe. For the supporters of Mrs. Murphy, please remember that is about the students and their learning environment, not a legal battle.”

Having perused media reports closely over the past few years, I was unaware of any safety issues at Chapin High.

Has there been a great crime wave that somehow went undetected by the press? That hardly seems possible given the fact that hardly a cross word can be uttered in Chapin without students and parents running toward television cameras like moths to a 150-watt incandescent light bulb.

There’s been enough hyperbole in this affair on the part of parents and students as it is, bandgirl. Unless you’ve got some hard facts regarding safety, or lack thereof, don’t play the woe-is-me card.

Finally, this isn’t just “about the students and their learning environment.” It’s about making sure the school and district make the best use of finite resources, both financial and natural.

Your “argument” smacks of the tired canard that says we should do everything we can to reduce traffic deaths. Well, we could reduce the speed limit to 5 miles per hour. That would all but ensure traffic deaths would drop to zero. However, it would also guarantee commerce would grind to a halt, few people would get to school, work, etc., on time, and general chaos would ensue.

At some point, costs outweigh benefits, even in education.

Lest one think I’ve cherry picked one half-literate Chapin High student to tar the school’s entire student body, here’s a little nugget that can be found on the website “Students for Building,” which seeks to stop Murphy’s appeal and get renovations at Chapin High underway:

Murphy Strikes Again

Just as we thought that we might FINALLY have our school’s construction begin, Kim Murphy appeals again. Judge Matthews ruled in favor of District 5 and DHEC. The Judge’s order will be put up under project documents soon for all to read.

However, thirty days after the trial she once again appealed the Judge’s decision. Construction has been put on hold once again. Kim Murphy puts students last one her agenda once again.

I’m not going to bother parsing the above abomination because I wouldn’t know where to begin. I will say that the language arts teachers at Chapin High certainly do seem to have their work cut out for them.

What neither bandgirl nor many other Chapin students seem to comprehend is that a harmonious society is one which is able to successfully negotiate tradeoffs regarding what its citizens value most.

Murphy, and many others in the district, for that matter, value the stream and what it means to the area. Others value expanding the school to overcome what they perceive as inadequacies in the available facilities. The ongoing legal action is a means to redress this conflict.

Sorry, bandgirl, if you feel you’ve “been done wrong,” but semi-intelligible whining neither reflects well on your school nor helps you make your case.

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27 thoughts on “Chapin High: Home of the indulged, inerudite

  1. “Murphy, and many others in the district, for that matter, value the stream and what it means to the area.”

    DHEC, DNR, US Fish and Wildlife, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Administrative Law Court have all heard your arguments and disagreed.

    When will Murphy get the message?

  2. Unlike you, anonymous blogger, I’m not afraid to attach my real name to my thoughts. Your post is mean-spirited and petty. Stick that in your pipe and parse it.

  3. Kevin, Be honest with your readers. Tell them the relationship between Murphy, the S.C. Policy Council, The Nerve, and you. Include all of your friends and family who have personal, business or legal relationships with Murphy. For example, be honest and tell your readers Murphy used to brag that she was a Citizen Reporter for The Nerve. What happened to all of your Citizen Reporters? That seems to have fizzled. Explain how and why you are tracking this so closely. Your business and personal bias needs to be explained.

    • Kim Murphy’s relationship with The Nerve was that she worked as a citizen reporter until she ran for the Lexington-Richland School District 5 board. One of the stipulations of the citizen reporter program is that an individual cannot both serve as a citizen reporter and run for or serve in elected office, so Murphy gave up her work for The Nerve.

      My wife is one of the attorneys representing Mrs. Murphy in her case against the district. As such, I have not written any stories for The Nerve about the district since my wife began representing Mrs. Murphy, although I have, on rare occasion written about the district on this, my own personal blog.

      I know of no friends or other family with personal, business or legal relationships with Mrs. Murphy.

      As for the citizen reporter program, it continues to chug along much as it has since its inception.

      As to how and why I am “tracking this so closely,” the stories that I write for this blog are based on media reports taken from outlets such as The State and WIS. As a parent, resident and taxpayer of District 5 I do indeed have a vested interest in how the district is run.

      By all means, if there’s something on this blog which is factually incorrect – not simply something that upsets you because it represents a dissenting opinion – let me know and I’ll double check the information. If you’re right, I’ll correct the error. This is an opinion blog and you may not like the opinions voiced here, but it’s not a propaganda machine for anyone or any cause.

  4. “It’s about making sure the school and district make the best use of finite resources, both financial and natural.”

    How is it a god use of resources for a sitting board member who has a voice and vote on the board to continue to pursue legal action that has cost 7+ million and counting?

    When you answer, please addrees the fact that Murphy has lost all legal decisions (between the 3 appeals I think you wife and her team have lost at least 4 decisions to date – they have yet to win a single decision) thus far and no less than four government agencies in charge of implementation of the Clean Water Act have told her she is wrong (DHEC, DNR, USFWS, ACOE).

    Since you have such insight into the matter, could you also address why the self elected defender of transparency and openness (Murphy) is refusing to release to the public a list of those who are funding her legal actions against the district?

    Could you also address the fact that Murphy’s own paid expert on stream ecology testified under oath that the district’s plans for the site woud likely improve downstream water quality? Why would Murphy continue to oppose a plan that enhances water quaility? This information is available in the ALC Order.

      • 6+ million in direct increased bond interest because we lost out on the Build America bonds that expired Dec 31st 2010. We could have taken advantage of these bonds if not for Murphy’s appeals. This information is available, please provide any facts that dispute this.

        The rest of the money is paying district attorneys and staff to fight these appeals. Please dispute this with facts.

        Also, the 7 million number does not even count the public money spent by DHEC and the ACOE to have their staff and attorneys fight these appeals.

        These are real dollars Kevin, I thought Murphy was all about saving taxpayer money?

        Why not address the money spent thus far in light of the fact Murphy and your wife have lost every single legal decision thus far?

  5. Kevin, Kevin, Where to start?

    First, honesty is best served as a first course.

    Not dessert.

    Second, who knows who created the posts you attacked? You may have cast bread upon the waters yourself. See above.

    Third. What if the posts you attacked were really made by students?

    Then, your attack is totally without class. Attacking children? It suggests a desperate attempt to generate hits to a lost blog.

    Who are you trying to emulate? Will Folks?

    Fourth, YOUR WIFE IS ONE OF THE ATTORNEYS FOR MURPHY? WHAT A SHOCK!

    Why didn’t you be honest with your readers about that sooner?

    5th, few people really care about your opinion.

    Your wife does, your boss at The Nerve does, Murphy does.

    But, we are certain your opinion can be bought.

    And stats show The Nerve has almost no traffic, and the politically motivated ‘grant’ money won’t last forever.

    Keep your resume current.

    • Again, feel free to point out any errors on my part. I’ll be glad to correct them.

      Meanwhile, what does “… who knows who created the posts you attacked? You may have cast bread upon the waters yourself. See above,” mean in the context of what we’re discussing?

      Second, I assume the post I wrote about was written by a student since it referred to not being able to have pep rallies in the gym, etc. If students can begin Internet campaigns, file lawsuits and comment on public forums, then why shouldn’t their opinions be open to interpretation?

      The charge that I’m “attacking children” makes it sound as if I’ve ridiculed a grade school student’s drawing, rather dissected a high school student’s views regarding the situation at Chapin High. Save the wailing and gnashing of teeth for your fellow clucking hens in District 5.

      Further, I don’t write to generate hits; I write because I enjoy writing. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to stop reading anytime you want. By the way, you’ve likely doubled my usually paltry traffic this week with your anonymous and somewhat puzzling tirades.

      If so few people care about my opinion, as you assert, why should I bother revealing who I’m married to and what she does for a living? And if so few people care about my blog, as you assert, I can assure you no one’s interested in buying my opinion.

      Finally, what The Nerve has to do with this I have no idea, but by all means, rant on, my logic-challenged friend.

  6. Kevin, poor Kevin: Your sad “logic-challenged” personal attack clearly reflects the sting that my last post inflicted.

    Indeed, honesty and openness are best served with the first course. You served them as a sour desert.

    Yes, Kevin, what your wife does for a living is a factor when you are employed by The Nerve and the S.C. Policy Council and Murphy was a so called “citizen reporter” for The Nerve.

    Particularly when your wife is being paid by Murphy (and whoever is helping her fund her foolishness).

    Gosh? Wonder who that could be?

    Chapin folks are not stupid. We follow money.

    And money is easy to follow.

    Care to help Murphy out? Lots of us have been asking her to release details of who is funding her attacks on our schools and children. Can your wife provide details?

    P.S. Glad we have helped your hit count. Don’t get used to it.
    See you again, soon. BTW, care to tell us what schools your kids attend? If D5 is so terrible, why send kids to D5 schools?

    • It’s unfortunate that you and those of your ilk find the redress of grievances through our judicial system – the course Mrs. Murphy has taken – as nothing more than “foolishness.”

      It has been said that the virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom. Mrs. Murphy is employing the legal system to the best of her ability to correct what she’s sees as an injustice. You and others may disagree with her course of action because it doesn’t serve your immediate purposes, but she’s simply exercising her rights as a citizen. Unless you’d like prefer a legal system similar to, say, that of the old Soviet Union, you’re going to have to put up with such “unpleasantness” as appeals.

      If money is so easy to follow, as you allege, you certainly don’t need my help. Many of you have been asking Mrs. Murphy to release details of who is funding her legal case. And you’re all mad as wet hens that she dares to cross you. Where’s the gulag when you need it, right?

      P.S. I don’t believe I’ve ever said or even intimated that District 5 schools are terrible. I’m quite pleased with the quality of the instruction my children receive. Conversely, if you’re so unhappy with the Mrs. Murphy and her “foolishness,” as you’ve pointed out repeatedly, why do you send your kids to Chapin?

      P.S.S. I believe the term you meant to use in your second paragraph was “sour dessert,” rather than “sour desert.” I suppose, though, you’ll find some way to attribute that slip to Mrs. Murphy’s legal actions, as well.

  7. Kevin, poor Kevin.

    You bait so easily. One word spelled wrong in my last post glared at you. Tanks for correcting my typo.

    Why didn’t you insult me like you did the Chapin kids?

    http://thinkexist.com/quotation/i_respect_a_man_who_knows_how_to_spell_a_word/177658.html

    I guess you feel good about taking cheep shots at kids, but maybe you think twice about cheap shots at adults?

    Murphy is abusing the system for political purposes, and everyone knows it. Including you.

    It’s a ditch.

    Kevin, go look.

    It’s a ditch.

    A drainage ditch that’s dry most of the time.

    The so called outdoor classroom has been abandoned for years. It was never used in the first place.

    Anyone who says otherwise is not honest, or they are uninformed.

    The benches are rotten, vines and downed trees block access. The place stinks from the sewer lift station nearby.

    Murphy has cost D5 taxpayers millions! That is a fact.

    And everyone of us who have children in Chapin schools know why Murphy is really doing this. So do you.

    That’s why what Murphy is doing (and her supporters, like you) stink worst than the sewer lift station at that ditch.

    Put that in your arrowgent cotton boll pipe and smoke it.

  8. Please strike the line in my last post that talks about your “arrowgent cotton boll pipe” and strike the part where I said what Murphy and you and her other supporters are doing stinks worse that the sewer lift station.

    Although it’s all true, I should not stoop to your level of insults.

    At least I do not insult children.

  9. Info on the cost of Murphy’s appeals, at least through May 2011, can be found in the June 13, 2011 board packet on the district website. The data is located on pages 8 & 9 (as defined by the pdf document).

    These are real dollars Kevin, I thought Murphy was all about saving taxpayer money?

    Why not address the money spent to date in light of the fact Murphy and your wife have lost every single legal decision thus far?

    • Kevin, I provided the information as requested. I find it shocking that a man in your position was unaware of the real cost of Murphy’s appeals.

      I guess your lack of response is a page out of Murphy’s playbook – ignore facts that run counter to your agenda or ideology.

      Could you also comment on why you think Murphy is continuing her appelas even though she and your wife have lost every single legal decision thus far?

  10. The silence from poor Kevin is deafening.

    He’s happy to attack children, but when adults get involved he suddenly is not responsive.

    Kevin. Be ashamed.

    Your children depend on you to support their skhool(s).

    You and your lawyer wife have sold out to a very small group of well finananced (for the moment) crackpots.

    But, you know that money will not last much longer. Will it?

    Then what?

    Please forgive our typos as we forgive your attacks on our little children.

  11. I provided the information regarding the cost of Murphy’s appeals Kevin. Do you not have a response?

    • Information found on page 8 of the packet sent out by the district on June 13, 2011 reads: “The district should expect bond cost to increase. Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, LLC estimates the impact at this time to be approximately $6,346,100 over the life of the planned borrowing.”

      First, I would say that these are anticipated future costs, so it would be inaccurate to say that Murphy’s legal actions have cost “$7+ million and counting.” The district has not paid out anywhere near this amount.

      Second, this is a prognostication on the part of Ross, Sinclaire & Associates. No matter how good this firm is, none of us can see beyond the present, know what the bond markets will do, or accurately forecast what the future holds. Bond rates may rise or they may actually decline. Given the state of the economy, the political situation in Washington, D.C., and the general lack of confidence in how quickly the US can bounce back from the current downturn, putting a great deal of stock in “anticipated” bond costs would seem to me to be an extremely risky proposition.

      • No one expects the ultra low rates provided by the feds under the build america bonds program to return. Look at the economy and the political situation in DC.

        These are real costs that will be realized once the bid is awarded. These are also real costs that will impact the overall budget for Chapin HS.

        You also have yet to address my question reagrding Muphy and your wife losing every single legal decision thus far.

  12. Are you ever going to address my question regarding Muphy and your wife losing every single legal decision thus far?

    • I am not an attorney, have not attended law school, nor am I familiar with the workings of South Carolina’s administrative law courts. As such, it would not make much sense for me to address the merits of a legal strategy undertaken by *any* attorney, not just one to whom I am married.

      I do know that my wife is the most ethical and conscientious individual I have ever met. And that is not simply me speaking as her spouse, but as someone who has seen many attorneys, and people, over the course of my life. If all attorneys had her compassion and empathy, the legal profession would be much better for it.

      Finally, you may disagree with the merits of this individual case, but that is why we have a legal system, to resolve such disputes. John Adams once wrote about the importance of having a “government of laws and not of men,” and in order for that to be so it crucial that all individuals get the opportunity to make their case in court, no matter how long it takes.

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