Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tune In at Wootton continues

The Tuned In Wootton HS BBYO event become more curious the closer we get to the event.

This blogger can't figure out what is happening, so I'll be sharing the information as it becomes available.

We know that the school did not apply for a waiver from the noise ordinance in the county.  "Its in the works," according to one source.  Really?  This needs to be filed a month in advance and the community needs to have some notice.

Here is the letter from the SGE and Jennifer Taylor, the SGE sponsor, inviting one group to join in the fun.

This raises another question - is Ms. Taylor getting paid from school system funds to run this event? 

Her contact information is at the bottom of the letter.  The letter says to contact her for more information.

So Ms. Taylor - here is my question - shouldn't a school sponsored civic engagement event play by the rules?  Or are you teaching civil disobedience, by flagrantly flouting the rules that apply outside of the Wootton HS protectorate?

So many questions, so little time.

Service and Advocacy Invitation


  1. I'm struck by the many positives of this event. Students are clearly deeply involved in organizing an event around their responsibility to participate in the democracy. It appears to be open to a wide variety of organizations, including religious ones--perhaps because more teens are active in their religiously-affiliated groups outside school than politically-affiliated groups. The school staff has committed time and resources to responding to a timely and important need for information and discussion during the school day, rather than insisting on business-as-usual.

    I can see that there are possible negatives and difficulties with this project, but on the whole, don't we want to see our youth engaging? How can we support and guide this kind of engagement rather than knocking it?

    1. Open to a wide variety? But it is being sponsored by only one religious organization.

      Where's the money? Let's see the contract. How much is Wootton High School getting paid for putting on this event? This is not a student event, this is an adult event. Wootton High School is hiring 10 Montgomery County Police Officers, 5 Wootton security staff will be working overtime, Wootton is buying shuttle bus service for 3,000 people to transport them from the Universities at Shady Grove parking lots to Wootton, the Bermuda grass stadium field will be destroyed ($75,000+/- to replace) and will have to be replaced, porta-potties must be rented, and these bands don't show up for free...and the list goes on. Where's the money coming from for this event?

      Permits for this event were not secured, as would be required for this type of event.

      In 2008, this event was at 7 PM on a Thursday evening. This year it is at 8:30 PM on a Saturday night. How will student teen drivers get off the road before midnight as required by Maryland law?

      Reminder: the public can NOT rent the Wootton stadium field for any purpose whatsoever! No rentals of this field are permitted because of the potential for damage to the natural grass.

      How much is Wootton getting from BBYO (one religious organization) to hold this event? $50,000? $100,000? $200,000? There's got to be money somewhere. Local public schools don't just have piles of cash hanging around for rock concerts. Does Wootton get to keep the cash or does any of the profit flow back into the MCPS Operating Budget were it belongs?

      As for timing, we have heard from parents at the school that the 2 weeks of "pausing" the curriculum is right before AP exams. Why is this being held before exams instead of after? By the way, parents at Wootton didn't find out about this 2 week event until a robocall on Saturday, April 14th.

      As as one person commented to us, if [another religious group] wanted to hold a rock concert rally at a MCPS high school stadium would MCPS hand over a field to them?

  2. If this is a Wootton student event why are 1,000 of the tickets reserved for the religious organization's exclusive use?

  3. @Janis S, Parents should have know about this event way before April 14th, as it has been planned, I understand, since February at least. And if you go to the 'tunedin' website, these schools are added as partners:


    Due to popular demand, we welcome the following schools to the TUNED IN 2012 Coalition! While students across Montgomery County are all invited, we warmly welcome Walter Johnson High School, Quince Orchard High School, Churchill High School, Richard Montgomery High School and Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School to our team. All students and families are invited to purchase tickets on this site.

    So glad I don't live down the street from Wootton. I don't even want to think about the noise, and the traffic.

  4. I am a parent of a Wootton student.

    First, you need to remove the letter letter you've posted because it states the name and phone number of a minor student. As a parents' coalition, you should know better.

    Any educator in MCPS that sponsors a club is going above and beyond (most people don't enter the field of education for the money!). Furthermore, I have to applaud and marvel at the scale of this event. The SGA (not SGE) at high schools are student-run and I'm sure the students at Wootton are proud of their work. To have this blog, whose goal is ultimately commendable, actually go after a student-sponsored event?! I certainly hope the students who have worked so hard on this event do not read these posts.

    Regarding your facts, numbers, and other accusations, you have an incredible amount of misinformation. I suggest you stop because the more you post, the less credibility you have.

    I do agree with Heidi, there is a wide variety of organizations involved with this event.

    1. What is SGE?

      We hope students will read this blog. They should learn about how to actually schedule a public event. In real life, only property that is available to the public can be rented. Noise permits must be secured and police/fire notified for an event of this size.

      This event is using land that is not available to the public to rent, and permits were not secured. Please explain that to the rest of the county that must comply with the Montgomery County noise ordinance. How is this an exception?

      The letter above is on the Internet, it was not made public by us.

      There are not a wide variety of organizations involved in this event. Names are being added to the "list" without any financial or planning involvement. There is only 1 outside organization that is planning this event and that organization has control of 1/3 of all of the tickets for their exclusive use.

      High schools don't have budgets. They don't have money for concerts. Where is the money coming from to hire 10 police officers, 5 MCPS security guards, and rent buses to transport 3,000 attendees to an off-site parking area? And who is paying the bands? They don't work for free. We look forward to learning the answers to these very basic questions.

    2. I find it disgusting that this amazing event at Wootton is being tarnished by such nastiness. I am a teacher at Wootton and I have watched FROM THE INSIDE as a group of amazing students along with their dedicated and wonderful sponsor have worked tirelessly to present the whole student body with a remarkable program that has encompassed all of the academic disciplines. The lesson plans, which were designed by the students, have not favored any political party and have made the students more informed and interested in the election. I have spent time talking to all of my students about how informed they feel after participating in these lessons. The concert, which the student body is thrilled about, is the final activity in this wonderful spring program. It was not designed for any purpose but to entertain. There is no hidden agenda. It was planned for the students by the students. How dare you try to drag peoples name through the mud and accuse the school of having other agendas. The spring programs that Wootton puts on every year are some of the most amazing and creative events I have seen in my life. The students, along with the guidance of their sponsors, present topics such as internet danger, drinking and driving and poverty. By the end of the projects the students are more informed on topics that are very important to them. The amount of work that goes into planning these programs is amazing. The students at Wootton do this on top of their demanding academic schedules and other extra curricular activities. Shouldn't people spend more time praising their efforts instead of trying to destroy them?

    3. Please explain why County ordinances don't apply to Wootton.

      Can anyone rent the Wootton stadium for an event? No. It's not available for rental because of damage that would occur to the field.

      Can anyone hold a rock concert in their backyard and skirt the Montgomery County Noise Ordinance? No.

      Did students really plan an event for this late on a Saturday evening, knowing full well that teens can't drive after midnight in Maryland?

      If the students were actually learning something here it would be how to plan an event for 3,000 people and comply with local laws. Why aren't students learning to be good citizens while they are in high school?

    4. By the way, anonymous - you didn't sign your name or give your address so we don't know where you live.

      How are loud parties handled in your neighborhood?


If your comment does not appear in 24 hours, please send your comment directly to our e-mail address:
parentscoalitionmc AT outlook.com