David Lauderdale

Moss, school board haven’t fooled anyone

Jeff Moss listens to a speaker during the public comment portion of the special Beaufort County School Board meeting held last year to discuss issues surrounding the hiring of Moss’ wife to an administrative position with the district.
Jeff Moss listens to a speaker during the public comment portion of the special Beaufort County School Board meeting held last year to discuss issues surrounding the hiring of Moss’ wife to an administrative position with the district. jkarr@islandpacket.com

People still a’comin’ but the train’s done gone.

Why is that the line I remember most from my school days?

As our children trudge back to their multi-million-dollar schools on Monday in their hundred-dollar sneakers — their necks bent toward cellphones — I wonder why I’m not clinging to the lessons of the greats.

Like Rudyard Kipling:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same ...

Or William Shakespeare:

This above all: to thine own self be true.

But, no, it is the words of my chemistry teacher — country talk that would diagram like fingernails on the blackboard — that are still ringing in the cluttered locker between my ears.

It was her way of saying, “You’re late. Don’t give me that junk. You’re full of bull. I know it and you know it. Deal with it.”

She tried so hard to teach us the difference between molality and molarity, but she ended up teaching us morality.

She taught something that’s missing in today’s equation: Accountability.

She taught that we make choices, and we must own them, and face the consequences.

We as a people need to repeat chemistry class.

Why is it that we have liars and playground bullies as our only choices for president?

It’s because they don’t face consequences.

Why can the school superintendent get away with dancing around a comma like Bill Clinton danced around the meaning of “is” to say that black is white and white is black?

Jeff Moss, the lead “teacher” in the Beaufort County schools, treats us like the flunkies on the back row who don’t get the easiest of lessons: Thou shalt not hire thy wife to cushy jobs in the central office because it is blatantly unethical.

But as he admitted guilt this week to the State Ethics Commission on a couple of counts in a deal that slaps his wrist, Moss and others muddied the clear waters. That’s what they all do. The dog ate the crystal clear anti-nepotism policy — which at one point was clear enough to Moss that he unilaterally changed it in a fashion that could benefit his personal household income. Our state did not condone that move, but dismissed the ethics charge. Nevertheless, by making the change, and hiring his wife twice to school district jobs, and never accepting that there was a problem with that, Moss has repeatedly shown his true colors. It’s not a pretty sight.

But the school board majority and the spinmeisters on his payroll will only say: There is nothing to see here. Move along. You are the problem. It’s not us.

And we will move along, but we know unethical behavior when we see it. And we’ve been around the block in enough yellow buses and minivans to put this lack of accountability in simpler terms, with no commas, that a school superintendent and school board can understand:

“You’re late. Don’t give us that junk. You’re full of bull. We know it and you know it. Deal with it.”

Or maybe this little ode to accountability can ring in their minds:

People still a’comin’ but the train’s done gone.

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