Following the complaints, Post 1 School Board Member Kelly Marlow was requested to honor the chain of command by school officials, the emails show.
In email correspondence with the CCSD Director of Public Information Barbara Jacoby, Marlow was told that “such behavior creates an atmosphere of intimidation for employees, violates board policy and jeopardizes accreditation.”
Marlow was asked by Jacoby on behalf of the Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo “to refrain from questioning CCSD employees directly.”
According to email records obtained from the CCSD, two complaints from district teachers were filed against Marlow in June. Names of the teachers making the complaints were removed from the emails by the school system before releasing them.
Marlow issued a statement Tuesday in response to the complaints and requested it be published in full.
“Once again this administration and their pawns have orchestrated a false and misleading message via the local media. When I sought election to this seat, it was on behalf of the children and the taxpayers across Cherokee County; it was never to be popular with the employees. Are the local papers so concerned with a School Board member who questions an unethical basketball coach, the exclusion of special needs children from a county sporting event or a teacher who uses the media to further her own political aspirations?” the statement read.
“The citizens of this county need to know the answers to serious questions. Cherokee County’s graduation rate has fallen again, why? Why has the administration failed to publicize the complete findings of the auditors for fiscal year 2011? Many have found it interesting to know that two of the unverified complaints referenced in the local media came from teachers within days of my agenda request to further review the auditor’s findings. This obvious and concerted effort to distract the citizens of this county from the real and material financial issues and management questions will not go unanswered.”
In the statement, Marlow is referencing her request to further discuss a final independent audit report for 2010-11 at the school board’s meeting Thursday night.
A complaint on June 5 was presented to school officials in a joint email from the director and supervisor of Special Education, Charlotte Green and Dr. Pam Balloto, stating that a Cherokee County adapted physical education teacher felt “personally attacked” by Marlow.
According to a letter from the teacher and attached to the email, the teacher allegedly phoned Marlow about an issue and spoke for some time before realizing that he was talking to a school board member.
According to the complaint, “Marlow never identified herself as a school board member but as a Cherokee Charter Academy volunteer.” In the teacher’s complaint, he stated that Marlow accused him of denying CCA students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics.
According to the emails, the teacher said he explained to Marlow that the Special Olympics are different than the CCSD-sponsored Awareness Days. The teacher wrote that Marlow ignored his “statements regarding Cherokee County Special Olympics free year-round opportunities we offer to all community members with intellectual disabilities.”
The teacher told the director and supervisor of Special Education that he was “worried about the impact of these allegations that might result in a loss accreditation of Cherokee County Special Olympics.”
Marlow denied the accusations relayed to her through Jacoby, and wrote, “I respectfully ask that you and the Superintendent please refrain from making inflammatory accusations when you were not present, nor were you included in the conversation as it did not pertain to Cherokee County schools.”
Another complaint from a district teacher, filed June 10, complained about Marlow’s actions and statements at a discussion, hosted by the chairman of the Cherokee County Republican Party Rick Davies. In the complaint, the teacher stated that Marlow’s comments felt like “an attempt to intimidate me.”
The teacher claimed in the complaint that, while he was expressing why he became a teacher, Marlow “muttered, ‘Do we have to listen to this crap?’”
Two people who attended the discussion, Robert Strozier and Maly Copeland, said they didn’t hear Marlow say the statement while the teacher spoke.
Davies said Tuesday that the meeting referred to in the complaint was an attempt to bring two sides in the issue of education together and that he felt some progress in addressing areas of concern was made.
He said that while he did not personally remember a comment made by Marlow such as was described in the complaint, he was planning to review the recording he made when he returned to Cherokee County later this week from a trip.
The third complaint was filed March 11 in which a Cherokee Charter Academy parent alleged Marlow had “behaved inappropriately” at CCA Cherokee Youth Basketball games.
Marlow replied to the complaint stating, “At no time or place are any of these accusations accurate.”