Depending on who you believe this is the second or third time this false and misleading statement had been posted to the CSDNR Facebook page over the past week.
What follows is an email to Stuart Shinske, Vice President, Media and Government Relations at FocusMediaUSA.com, the outside PR firm for the City School District of New Rochelle. The public has a right to know the shenanigans going on here but the short version is that the District is lying about the enrollment data, was called out on it in Facebook comments last week so “disappeared” the post and the comments. Not being someone willing to let that slide, I sent the following email to Stuart Shinske with copies to the New Rochelle Board of Education, New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Jonathan P. Raymond and the new CSDNR Director of Public Information.
I am stupid, right? That you all think I am stupid is the only explanation for why you all would send me such a reply.
And I am someone to lie to because school officials lying to me has worked so well for the City School District of New Rochelle over the past 15 years, right?
And I just “go away” when I get the runaround, right?
Is it possible that folks over there do not yet realize I am like a dog with a bone when someone lies to me?
And this comes in the context of about 4 months of you, Stu, ignoring my media inquiries up until I had to complain about it directly to New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Jonathan P. Raymond in an email on December 3, 2021.
Over the past couple months I have not gotten responses to media inquiries sent to Stu. I gave up on him and this week sent a couple questions to you – one via email, one via Ana. I did not get responses.
Over the past 15 years that has often been the case. The result is I stop trying to get the other side of a story and just run what I have. It changes nothing for me (it actually makes things easier for me) but my readership is less informed. It invariably causes problems for the district.
This week that amounts to 3 stories:
1 NRFUND – financial malfeasance and violations of federal law.
- 3 Days Paid Leave— changing employment agreements outside collective bargaining.
- REDACTED (see attached) – promoting people who should have separated from their employment with the District long ago.
Back to this latest incident. To recap, you all sent out a “press release” on January 21, 2022.
ENROLLMENT STUDY REFLECTS TRENDS IN NY
There is no time stamp on the web page on your website. The by-line is Angelica Haase. I have never heard of that person. There IS a tweet promoting the statement on the @NewRochelleED Twitter account with a time stamp of January 21, 2022 9:39 a.m.
There WAS a Facebook post containing the entire statement on January 21, 2022. It is reasonable to believe it was published about the time of the Tweet, the morning of Friday, January 21.
Three people commented on that Facebook post over the course of Friday, a total of four comments. On Saturday morning, when I attempted to reply to a comment directed at me, I received an error message prompting me to send an email on Saturday morning January 22 to New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Jonathan P. Raymond and the New Rochelle Board of Education.
Here is that email, sent Saturday at 11:19 am:
Your press release on student enrollment was posted to CSDNR Facebook yesterday.
Three comments were posted. One by Andrew Newman, Sharon DeGeorge and myself.
Sharon expressed a concern related to Stephenson School.
Andrew explained the different data sources.
I wrote a response to Sharon — and credited Mr. Raymond and yourself for having issued the statement.
Apparently Sharon replied to me.
This morning I could not access her comment. FB says I no longer have access to the CSDNR post but no explanation as to why.
I copied Mr. Raymond as between you I would like to know if I being prevented from accessing that post or if my comment was deleted or the post deleted.
I cannot imagine why the District would block or delete a post of what was essentially a press release.
Can anyone explain?
I included a link to my analysis of the various ways the statement was misleading:
After 7 Years, New Rochelle BOE Finally Acknowledges Catastrophic Student Enrollment Decline
GETTING RESULTS: After 7 Years, New Rochelle BOE Finally Acknowledges Catastrophic Student Enrollment Decline
I see from your email thread that the recently hired CSDNR Director of Information, Monica Mahaffey, sent you an email at 2:23 pm on Tuesday, January 25.
From: Monica Mahaffey
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 2:23 PM
To: Stu Shinske
Subject: Follow up on FB
Hi Stu. Can you confirm that you reached Bob Cox to apologize for the Facebook snafu? Thanks!
That is an interesting word choice given the definition of the term: Situation Normal All Fucked Up, a phrase used to describe a less than desirable scenario when similar less than desirable scenarios seem to be the norm in the given environment. originated a military phrase.
There was no “duplicate” post last week. There was one post.
Even if there WERE two versions of the same post (which there was not) why delete the post that had 4 comments on it? Why not delete the post with no comments on it (because there was no second post, obviously).
And why delete “both” posts?
On Friday evening, supposedly “both” posts were deleted. My comments and others were deleted. I asked for an explanation on Saturday morning. I heard nothing for three days.
On Tuesday afternoon at 2:23 pm Monica sent you an email asking you to “confirm” that you had “apologized” to me.
At 4:00 pm the same post was re-posted.
A few minutes later, you sent me an email.
From: Stu Shinske
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 4:07 PM
To: Robert Cox
Subject: Follow up on FB
Bob: Your email regarding the demographics story was forwarded to me. The post was removed because it appeared to be a duplicate post. The story has been reposted on the district’s Facebook page, and you’re welcome to add your comment. We will reach out to Mr. Newman and invite him to repost his comment as well. The story also has remained in the public realm on the school district’s website and Twitter account.
There is no apology to me (or Sharon DeGeorge or Andrew Newman) in your email just the bogus “duplicate post” claim and a false claim that the “story” (actually a press release) “remained in the public realm on the school district’s…Twitter account”. The statement was NEVER on Twitter. The Tweet contained a link to the school district’s website, that is all.
And what does “appeared to be a duplicate post” mean? It would be crystal clear if there was a duplicate post — not apparently but actually, observably the case.
Were you asked to apologize to me? When? If so, I am still waiting for an apology.
Monica Mahaffey’s email at 2:23 pm on Tuesday sounds like you were asked to contact me (by her?) before that and she was checking to see if you had done so.
In either case, within about 100 minutes of her 2:23 pm email, the deleted Facebook post was re-posted, and then you sent me a non-apology email with a obvious fake explanation for what you claim had occurred.
In that email your explanation is that TWO of the same posts were posted on Friday. “Both” posts were then deleted BY SOME UNNAMED PERSON on Friday rather than what would be the obvious thing to do — delete a single duplicate post leaving the one post.
A post with 4 comments on it was deleted and supposedly a duplicate post was deleted leaving no post at all. Having supposedly realized that the same post was posted twice and removed “both” posts you proceeded to do nothing at all for FOUR days, even after my email on Saturday, then the same post is suddenly reposted a “third” time after a series of emails originating with my Saturday email.
If it was important enough to post the statement on Facebook on Friday, why wait four days to act when you knew you had deleted “both” posts on Friday? Why not immediately re-post on Friday?
Of course, it would not be necessary to re-post anything if there were duplicate posts, you would just delete one of the two.
In short, your explanation is complete and utter… baloney.
How about this explanation?
You guys put up a post of your press release designed to both mollify the real estate folks and contradict my reporting over the past 2+ years, a classic “muddy the water” press release filled with false and misleading information. You did not anticipate corrective comments to that false/misleading post. When Andrew and I pointed out in our comments some of the various ways in which the statement was misleading someone over there who did not like being shown up panicked and deleted the one post (there was never a duplicate post) in an attempt to disappear the post and the comments and you got caught (by me)?
Until someone comes clean over there, the public will not know for sure what happened but at least my explanation has the benefit of plausibility whereas yours does not.
Talk of the Sound