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Dr. Trotter's Letter to Fulton's Vanairsdale!

April 12, 2004

Mr. Michael J. Vanairsdale
786 Cleveland Avenue, SW
Atlanta, GA 30315

Dear Mr. Vanairsdale:

From our conversations with teachers and students at McNair Middle School, it appears that the situation at that school is out of control. First of all, one of the teachers, Mr. Lloyd Foster, had been teaching at McNair for eleven years. A couple of weeks ago, when he was absent due to illness, about ten teachers called him at home to tell him that he had been transferred to Tri-Cities High School. These teachers knew about his abrupt transfer before he knew about it. He had received a threatening letter from the McNair principal, Mr. Ronald Taylor. (Enclosed is a copy of the letter.) He had approached a school board member, Ms. Linda Bryant, who had apparently concurred with Mr. Foster that the letter seemed threatening. She apparently encouraged Mr. Foster to meet with you. According to Mr. Foster, you too agreed that the letter was inappropriate. So, what did you do? You, as the CEO of the school system, had Mr. Foster transferred. This makes no sense at all -- unless your administrative modus operandus is to sweep all of your problems under the proverbial rug. The problem with this scenario is that your obvious problem is still at McNair Middle School. Another educator who apparently accused Mr. Taylor of making verbal threats toward him was likewise transferred. Mr. Taylor remains at McNair -- after returning from a four week suspension.

One teacher tells us that Mr. Taylor returned to McNair arrogant as ever. This teacher said that he said this to the faculty: "I told the board that I wasn’t going to stay home another day -- that when I got dressed, I was going to work," or words to that effect. Another teacher tells us that he said the following to the faculty: "Let me tell you one damn thing..." Another teacher tells us that he threatened to evaluate the teachers right on out of the school.

From talking to a number of teachers at McNair, it is apparent that the school’s atmosphere is one of paranoia and fear. You can’t have a good, healthy learning environment until you first have a good, healthy teaching environment. One teacher told us that the teachers were verbally abused by some of the parents at a recent PTA meeting. We hear that Mr. Taylor spices his conversations with threats and profanity. When we were picketing at the school on March 29, 2004, two of the McNair students came up to the picket line and stated that Mr. Taylor curses the children. Whether these statements from the children and the teachers are true is not for us to determine. It is your job to ascertain their veracity. All we can report to you is what people tell us. We do know that the letter to Mr. Foster is unconscionable. We wonder how long Mr. Taylor could last at a school in North Fulton if he wrote such an outrageous letter to a Faculty member there. We do know that he tried to "bully" us while we were conducting a Constitutionally-protested picket in a Category One Free Speech Forum -- on a public sidewalk. He tried to force us to leave. We refused to go, telling him that he could call all the police whom he wanted to call -- that we were not leaving. He stuck out his hand to shake my hand. I obliged. He held my hand tightly, initially refusing to release my hand. I reminded him that he was entering the realm of "battery" and that I had Mr. Haynes witnessing the entire episode. He finally released my hand.

Again, we can only report what we hear. We ask that you do a thorough investigation of the allegations which we have reported. The letter to Mr. Foster is not an allegation. I believe that Mr. Taylor has admitted sending this e-mail letter. The "bullying" at the picket line is a fact. I was there. If he tried to "bully" us in this fashion (and we don’t work at McNair), imagine what kind of tactics he may employ toward those whose careers may be drastically affected by him. I suppose that this letter can serve as a means of putting you, the school system, and the individual board members on notice. I think that it would be in everyone’s best interest if you and your staff thoroughly investigate this cauldering situation with all due alacrity.


John Trotter, Ed.D.
Executive Director



c. Lloyd Foster
    Katie Reeves
    Zenda J. Bowie
    Linda P. Bryant
    Julia C. Bernath
    Gail Dean
    Liz Hausmann
    Ron Jackson


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