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Fox Creek speaks out; opens mouth to change feet

A Column by the Editor

web posted April 19, 2007

COLUMN – Fox Creek Principle Tim Murph was interviewed by The Citizen News Editor Frank Johnson for an article published Wednesday April 18 in an effort for the school to refute reports published by EdgefieldDaily.com. If you have not read the article I encourage you to do so in order to obtain an even greater understanding of the constant incompetence displayed by their school officials. In the article Mr. Murph not only gives hair-brained excuses for creating a “potentially dangerous situation”, as Edgefield County School Superintendent Sharon Keesley described the un-called-for evacuation in the article, but outright misstates the facts.

When the bomb threats at Merriwether Middle and Elementary Schools were reported to the School District the district notified all county schools, including Fox Creek, of the situation and told them to “sit tight” and to monitor calls coming into the school. Though Fox Creek Charter High School is in the county and publicly funded, the district is under no obligation to notify the school because they are an independent school with their own school board. They were not notified of the most recent threat on Monday.

According to the article, Dr. Murph said one of the reasons he decided to evacuate the school was because a few weeks earlier a teacher seeking a job came to the wrong school. Dr. Murph is quoted as saying, “Anybody who is crazy enough to do a bomb threat might be crazy enough to get the schools mixed up.” The treats made were school specific the Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

It certainly is nice to know that such a sound mind is making decisions regarding the health and welfare of over 200 students.

Aside from that, Murph refuted that a car crash that happened during the chaos that followed the unprepared and unplanned evacuation was related to the situation. “Yes, there was an automobile wreck, but it... had nothing to do with us because it happened about one minute into our evacuation.”

That is not true.

I was on the scene of the two real threats made and was also there when the Sheriff’s Office and the Edgefield County School District Officials were made aware of the evacuation of Fox Creek. Both were bewildered by the decision. It was at least fifteen minutes after the report of the evacuation that the report of the crash was dispatched.

Not only that, but a former student hit a parent of a Fox Creek student trying to pick up her child at the school because of the evacuation. I suppose Dr. Murph could claim that the parent was psychic and was already in her Chevy Tahoe and traveled seven miles to be at the school within seconds of the evacuation. If not, there are dozens of NASCAR Team owners that want to talk to the mother and see blueprints of the motor she was using to reach supersonic speeds in the traffic on Martintown Road.

In addition, Dr. Murph made another false claim, “We’re not separate from the elementary and the middle school.” In fact, the opposite is true; Fox Creek Charter High School is not an Edgefield County School District school. They are an independent 501(3) C charter school that is funded by taxpayer dollars and is not accountable to the district.

Fox Creek has a history of claiming to be a district school when it fits their purpose and denying such when they vote to allow a student caught with drugs back into school just days later. You cannot have it both ways.

Dr. Murph claimed that by forcing the Sheriff’s Office to search the school, even though there was no threat, did not put an undue burden on Police. He even stated law enforcement officials were “happy” to do it and acknowledged that his actions “might have extended their work day a little bit”. Not a big deal though, because Dr. Murph said it was “part of their job”.

No, their job is to protect the public from actual threats, not non-existent crybaby panic attacks of the mentally challenged. Almost every officer on the scene was being paid overtime due to being called in for a true emergency. That “little bit” (two hours) rang up quite a bill for the county.

Also of note is that the Sheriff’s Office sent their own “drug detection dog” to search the school, not one of the trained explosive dogs. I guess that makes sense, as the school is known to allow those caught with drugs to remain in school - you might as well take advantage of the situation and look for what might actually be there while searching for nothing.

In closing I would like to congratulate the Citizen News Editor Frank Johnson for a fine article. I fear, however, the “leaders” of Fox Creek might ostracize yet another media outlet for reporting the truth. Welcome to my world Frank. For what it is worth, you have earned my utmost respect as a fellow Edgefield County journalist.

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