SCRAM! calls for school board member’s resignation at rally
by Michelle Babcock
July 10, 2013 12:30 AM | 7653 views | 16 16 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Canton resident and Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow! supporter Clark Menard is the first of many to speak out against Cherokee County School Board Member Kelly Marlow, who sent a letter to AdvancED, the organization that governs SACS accreditation for school districts, demanding an investigation into the school district based on allegations of mismanagement and lack of leadership. <br>Kelly J. Huff
Canton resident and Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow! supporter Clark Menard is the first of many to speak out against Cherokee County School Board Member Kelly Marlow, who sent a letter to AdvancED, the organization that governs SACS accreditation for school districts, demanding an investigation into the school district based on allegations of mismanagement and lack of leadership.
Kelly J. Huff
CANTON — More than 100 people, including teachers, parents, students and community stakeholders, crowded onto the driveway of a house in the BridgeMill community Monday afternoon to call for the resignation of a Cherokee County school board member and to show their support for Cherokee public schools.

The rally was organized by Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow, started by Christine Rea in response to Kelly Marlow’s June complaint and request for a formal investigation to AdvancED SACS, the agency charged with accreditation of schools in the South.

“I’m really proud of all of you,” Rea said to the crowd before introducing the first speaker. “We have had some obstacles and hurdles placed in our way the last 48 hours, but we have persevered.”

The rally originally was going to take place at the BridgeMill pavilion, but Friday afternoon Rea was notified by the BridgeMill Club manager that the event would have to be elsewhere because of the political nature of the event. By Saturday morning, Rea had found a new location for the rally.

Rea introduced nine speakers Monday that included CCSD parents, teachers, high school students and state Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), who attended the rally and voiced his support for the district.

Beach said the first thing companies and employers ask before coming into the county is, “Tell us about your education; tell us about your test scores.”

“The reason I ran was for the students and for education,” Beach said. “We can’t allow this to happen here in Cherokee County; we’ve got great administrators, we’ve got great leaders, our Chairman Janet Read, we’re (going) in the right direction.”

Beach said he’s visited several schools and was impressed by the teachers and administrators.

“We don’t have great jobs, we don’t have great parks, we don’t have good quality hospitals if we don’t have the foundation of great quality schools,” Beach said. “That’s the foundation; when you peel the onion back, it all starts with great quality education.”

Taylor Poole is a rising 10th-grader at Woodstock High School who said she’d been keeping up with reports of the situation and decided to speak at the rally.

“I feel very confused as to why Ms. Marlow is calling in the SACS committee,” Poole said. n will “SACS just came in about a year-and-a-half-ago and they found no problems with the way the board was functioning, or the schools, and I feel just appalled that she’s bringing them in because this is jeopardizing my future, and not only mine but all the other students in this district.”

Poole said she’s been going to school in the district for 10 years and is ranked fifth in her class, and said she has witnessed Marlow “waste valuable board time with petty arguments.”

“Ms. Marlow does have a chance to do the right thing,” Poole said. “I ask her to resign and leave the system in the hands of other board members.”

Clark Menard is a parent of two children in CCSD, one in elementary and one in middle school.

“When is asking questions a problem? When you continue to ask the same questions over and over and over, when you hear the answers but continue to ask the question,” Menard said. “Doing something over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.”

Menard said that there’s a difference between reform and radical change. He said reform is more gradual and “it sticks,” but radical change “is scary, uncomfortable, and a lot of times we backslide and find ourselves in an even worse place.”

Menard said that “you really have to know the box to think outside the box,” and “Marlow’s actions have shown us she doesn’t understand our box, that’s our schools system, therefore her actions have become a petulance exercise in resistance.”

Julie Olvin has two children in elementary school in CCSD, and said she got involved with SCRAM! as a parent who “has a lot of years ahead of me” with the school district. Olvin said her family moved to Cherokee for the schools.

“I have a lot of trust in the people that I leave my kids with every day,” Olvin said. “Before now, I have never had any complaints (with CCSD). But recently that has really changed; we all know why we’re here … As a parent, I see the attacks that Kelly Marlow has made on Cherokee County schools, and some of the personal attacks that she has made on some of the teachers, and that’s not something I can stand for.”

Olvin said she trusted CCSD teachers and administrators, but said, “I do not trust Kelly Marlow.”

“Kelly Marlow threatens the success of our school district, she threatens our administration and our teachers in ways that I think can only be called bullying, she threatens our accreditation,” Olvin said.

John Bowling is a rising senior at River Ridge High School and also spoke briefly at the rally. Bowling said , “We have worked too hard … to let it all go downhill.”

Jackie Kopeski was another one of the speakers at the rally, and said, “like Kelly Marlow, I’m a mom, I’ve got a calculator, it’s in my phone, it also has a clock and a calendar, and her time has run out.”

“Unlike Kelly Marlow, I’m a mom with skin in the game,” Kopeski said. “I have two children attending Cherokee County schools and I moved here in 2007 for that very reason.”

Kopeski said Marlow’s “40 advisers did not run for a political seat and neither did her political consultant.” She said Marlow, Trim and Marlow’s advisers should know that politics don’t have a place in the CCSD.

“We are armed with the facts, the facts are on our side, and the facts do not lie,” Kopeski said. “For the good of this community, we have to collectively do this.”

Kopeski said Marlow needs to “resign immediately.”

Jim Hughes said he was proud to stand with SCRAM! and said, “I support the call for her resignation.”

“She’s treated her post more as a vendetta platform than as a means of being productive, acting in the needs of our children,” Hughes said. “She’s created an atmosphere of division and embarrassment for our county.”

Amie Hannon is a CCSD teacher and said she was “happy to join the ranks” of SCRAM!

“My colleagues and I, at every elementary, middle and high school, will let nothing and no one stand in our way of promoting our schools as among the best in the state,” Hannon said. “Cherokee County School District should not be referred to as anything less than outstanding.”

Hannon said the petition asking for Marlow to rescind her complaint to AdvancED SACS showed that more than 1,100 people had already voiced concern for the students in CCSD. As of press time, the petition had more than 1,125 signatures.

Anita Geoghagan is a CCSD employee and said “once SCRAM! achieves its goal,” the Neighbors for a Better Cherokee committee will continue to fight for the community and their children.

“Our goal is to put into office candidates who do support public education,” Geoghagan said. “Our mission is to advocate for local control relative to public education initiatives and to support local political candidates who make public education and our community’s children their No. 1 priority.”

Near the end of the rally, a Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputy arrived in response to a disturbance in the crowd reported by Melody Rumpel, a woman in attendance at the rally who said she supported Marlow.

Rumpel claimed that a 61-year-old woman at the rally had stepped on her foot and said in the incident report, obtained by the Tribune, that “she believed she was targeted because of her support of Ms. Marlow and because ‘she was the only black person at this thing.’”

Rumpel is quoted in the police report as stating, “This women comes and stands directly in front of me, in my personal space. She makes contact with me with her back, and then she steps on my foot.”

Deputy Joseph Arena asked if the woman moved out of Rumpel’s personal space when requested and Rumpel stated “Yes, she moved when I asked her to,” according to the report.

The deputy said in the report that after inspecting Rumpel’s feet, there was no “bruising, swelling or cuts of any kind,” that “both feet appeared uninjured,” and “Rumpel was not exhibiting any difficulty walking or standing.”

The report states that Rumpel became upset and “stormed off before” she was given a case card for the incident.

A witness cited in the report said the woman apologized to Rumpel, and the report states that “he said Ms. Rumpel became upset at what he felt was nothing.”

Sheriff Deputy William Smith arrived to interview the woman Rumpel said had stepped on her foot, and stated in his report that the woman “appeared very upset and shaken up by the events,” and “was having trouble breathing.”

Smith said that he was concerned about the woman’s well-being and she appeared unsteady on her feet. After learning the woman had a pacemaker and health problems, “EMS was also contacted to come out and attend” to the woman.

According to Smith’s report, a witness said they “felt Ms. Rumpel just got loud in order to make a scene.” Another witness cited in the report stated they thought “Rumpel was trying to start something, because she kept pursuing the issue.”

The rally comes on the heels of the arrest by the Canton Police Department of Marlow, her campaign consultant Robert Trim and Cherokee County Republican Party Secretary Barbara Knowles over the weekend on charges of allegedly false statements to the police. All three were charged with a felony for providing a false statement.

A rally planned by Marlow for Monday night was postponed to a later unspecified date by the school board member Monday morning.

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S.M. Archer
July 10, 2013
Hey SCAM Artist. Kelly! had 2973 votes for her in the election last July.

-She's had 40 people come to her town hall(1.3%)

-It took 10 days for the Facebook page set up in her defense to gather a whopping 72 "likes". (2.4%) The page was shut down because the admin was embarrassed by the lack of support even before she was arrested.

-How many people showed up for the Kelly! support rally? Oh yea, there wasn't one. 0%

So, I think 100 people, sorry "minions", showing up with barely a week's notice the Monday after a holiday during the summer vacation season is impressive. Especially since the group just formed a few weeks ago. It's not like they've been stomping around town with their political consultant for a year trying to rally support.

And for someone so interested in the children's schools and A1 it's interesting to see you marginalize the kids attendance at an event created to support THEIR schools. Guess they don't mean anything in all of this to you, huh? No wonder you're a Kelly! fan. She doesn't seem to care about the kids either.
Lots of excuses
July 11, 2013
Reading that litany of excuses reminds me of the same tripe some district teachers & board members use to excuse their inability to graduate almost 30% of CCSD HS students on time.

It's ALWAYS someone else's fault with that crew of entitled gov't workers.
Smart Voting Minion
July 10, 2013
Mr. Scam Artist, go check out the pictures of the event and you'll see just how many people were there. And just where do you get your 60% figure? Oh, that's right... let's just make them up. Kind of like Kelly Marlow, Robert Trim, and Barbara Knowles make up incidents for the police, and Melody Rumpel makes up toe-stomping incidents.
Reading Comp Fail 1
July 11, 2013
60% of Cherokee County voted YES on Amendment 1. Look it up in the voting records. The Trib. doesn't allow posting of links here.

You NO crowd whiners got crushed! Don't ever forget that.
More Danny Math
July 10, 2013
Even if around 100 showed up (it was closer to 150-200), that is more than all of Kelly Marlow's town halls put together. Speaking of Marlow, looks like she was a no-show for her own meeting with a late-afternoon cancellation. This was a perfect opportunity to explain herself, but she remains in hiding, allowing her attorney to speak for her. Like you said about the audit, if there is nothing to hide...
July 11, 2013
The Trib clearly reports it as 'More than 100'. I trust them, not you.

SCAM Artist
July 10, 2013
So out of a Facebook group of over 1000 people...only 100 showed up, some of which were children, so - what - 60 people showed up out of 1000 'members'??

Nice 6% turnout!

Sounds like the petulant, curb-stomped losers of the Amendment 1 NO Crowd finally got to blow off some steam. All that foot-stomping and teeth-gnashing doesn't change the fact that 2 million Georgians (and 60% Cherokee County residents) aren't happy with the status quo of the public school system, regardless of how loudly these minions protest.
July 10, 2013
Hmmm sounds like another one of Marlow's cronies have been commenting again Cherokeeans! Notice how they called us minions??? Again??? It's getting old isn't it. Our feelings about Ms. Marlow and her crew have absolutely nothing to do with Amendment 1 so don't even try to put that spin on it. She's a pawn, her backers are crazy nuts who just want to cause trouble and they all need to GO.
Acme Fence Company
July 10, 2013
This has nothing to do with charter schools (typical deflection attempt), but everything to do with a bad board member. The 6% still outnumbered what you were able to garner in a weak "support Kelly" page attempt that you finally took down in embarrassment.
Acme Fence Company
July 11, 2013
Go look at your CCRPI scores for the charter school and tell us again how much better it is than "stats quo" Cherokee schools. Worst middle school scores in the county (below the state average even) and elementary scores than rank below 2/3 of the CCSD schools.
LOL @ Hypocrites
July 11, 2013
"This isn't about the charter schools" followed by a post where children are insulted = Typical Hypocrisy from the braindead, idea-less 'NO' crowd.

Enjoy your 72% graduation rate! Good job, CCSD! Nice D- grade there.
HeeHOE Here We Go.
July 18, 2013
I have kids at both CCSD and CCA. They both are and have done well all A's and each received a B in PE. Girls that don't like to sweat. I don't like convicting a person that has only been charged with a crime. Look at what's going on in Fl. It is not over until its over, I want to see what the out come will be from SACS I for one am very happy that we will either need to revamp what we are doing or we are doing well, right? Let's wait for the report.
Another Epic Fail
July 10, 2013
The deputy's report states there was no redness, no swelling, and no bruising. Melony, you wouldn't be lying to police would you? You know filing a false report and falsifying statements is a felony, right? Oh, I almost forgot to mention, there were cameras and cell phones recording everywhere. Team Marlow must be so proud!
July 18, 2013
Sadly, its true what happened to Mrs. Rumpel. I saw it all. She did not do anything wrong, she was noticed as being a former neighbor of Kelly's. She was just standing there and (lady 61) stood very close to her and in deed Mrs. Rumpel's toe nails were broken off. It is sad that it happened, I think if I had stepped in and or anyone else with a good heart and ask for our SCRAM member to offer Mrs. Rumpel a apology she may not have felt it was done on purpose. Her husband and friends saw the whole thing and the true report was not printed here. But I offer you a very heart felt apology Mrs. Rumpel you were never on a mission and you did nothing wrong. You. I am a Scram Parent and believe what we are doing is right, but what is said about you I cannot sit back and allow these lies to continue.
L Flory
July 10, 2013
How is it possible for one woman to cause so much trouble for an entire county? This vendetta of Kelly Marlow's is harming this county and the 39,000 students that attend CCSD. How is this going to end? How will you ever be able to show your face in public again if we are forced to have you recalled. How much humiliation are you will to bear? At this point you are facing possible jail time; what's next? Kelly Marlow do yourself and every Cherokee County resident a favor and resign.
other concerns
July 10, 2013
L Flory..........someone could say the same for you and your group of trouble makers......

talk about your "pot - kettle" scenario
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