SC

TB Scandal: More Evidence Against School District

We’ve maintained from the beginning that the tuberculosis epidemic which broke out in Greenwood County, S.C. earlier this year was primarily the fault of the local government-run school district. On what do we base this conclusion? The facts. As we’ve reported exclusively, district officials flagrantly violated state law when they…

We’ve maintained from the beginning that the tuberculosis epidemic which broke out in Greenwood County, S.C. earlier this year was primarily the fault of the local government-run school district.

On what do we base this conclusion? The facts. As we’ve reported exclusively, district officials flagrantly violated state law when they hired a janitor known to be infected with the highly contagious, airborne disease. This individual – who should have been sent to a doctor for testing – was instead allowed to start work at Ninety Six Primary School, which directly led to a tuberculosis outbreak infecting dozens of people (most of them students).

All of this went down in early March – yet the public wasn’t notified of the epidemic until late May. Blowing the whistle? S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) director Catherine Templeton – who uncovered the problem on May 21 during a random inspection of her agency’s local office in Greenwood.

For nakedly political reasons (see here and here) a trio of Democratic State Senators – Joel Lourie, Brad Hutto and Vincent Sheheen – have endeavored to fit Templeton for the black hat in this drama, arguing her agency was “incompetent” in responding to this epidemic. Of course their “investigation” has been based on two entirely political motivations – scoring points against S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (whose appointees selected Templeton to lead SCDHEC) and covering for the incompetence of the local school district (part of the nation’s worst government-run school system).

Accordingly, these three Senators are ignoring all of the evidence against the district – including another bombshell revelation which was unearthed during last week’s hearings on the epidemic.

During a recent school board meeting, Greenwood School District 52 vice chairman Dr. Michael Bryant – who is married to the school nurse at Ninety Six Primary School – admitted that he was informed of a “probable infectious disease” at the school on March 27.

Not only that Bryant – a devout social conservative whose 2012 campaign signs featured “praying hands” clip art – said he told his fellow school board members (and district superintendent Mark Petersen) to keep this information hidden from parents.

How Christian of him, right?

Ironically, Bryant claims on his website that he “especially enjoys seeing children and during the course of his visits” and that he “likes to evaluate not only the physical but the spiritual realizing that all things are through Christ which works in him to help others.”

Wow … guess Jesus told him to keep a lid on this tuberculosis scandal?

Anyway, the chairman of the medical affairs committee – Sen. Harvey Peeler (RINO-Cherokee) – was one of the few lawmakers who immediately grasped the implication of Bryant’s admission.

“I am married to a former school nurse and I would have heard a lot about this if this had happened in Gaffney,” Peeler told the local officials who testified before his committee. “I’ll tell you somebody else would have heard about it: our superintendent. Our school board would bring our superintendent to bear if this had happened in Cherokee County and they wouldn’t blame DHEC.”

Exactly …

Again, SCDHEC bears its fair share of the blame for this fiasco. It is inexcusable, for example, that it took more than two months for Templeton to become aware of the situation – especially when evidence suggests that one of her top lieutenants, former Haley staffer Jamie Shuster, knew what was happening in Greenwood as early as mid-April.

We knew there was a coverup culture at SCDHEC prior to Templeton’s arrival – but we had no idea it was that bad.

Templeton has already fired several of the individuals who failed to sound the alarm – and we believe Shuster should be next in line. But at the end of the day, culpability for this mess falls almost entirely on Greenwood School District 52. Its employees broke the law – and its leaders did everything in their power to cover up the resulting epidemic.

As much as Joel Lourie, Brad Hutto and Vincent Sheheen wish things were different, those are the essential – indisputable – facts of this case. And all the political spin in the world isn’t going to change them.

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44 comments

Thomas August 13, 2013 at 9:32 am

Uh, Michael Bryant didn’t testify at last week’s hearing.

Reply
EJB August 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

I didn’t get that Mr. Bryant testified to the Three Amigos last week. I got that Mr. Bryant admitted “During a recent school board meeting” he was told about the TB on March 27 and that Mr. Bryant’s admission was “unearthed during last week’s hearings on the epidemic.”

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Curious August 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

“During testimony to the S.C. Senate medical affairs committee, Greenwood
School District 52 vice chairman Dr. Michael Bryant – who is married to
the school nurse at Ninety Six Primary School – testified under oath
that he was informed of a “probable infectious disease” at the school
on March 27.”

He did not testify at the hearing.

Reply
Thomas August 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

It’s been changed in the story. It originally said during the hearing.

Reply
nitrat August 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

You mean he can’t even keep his own damn stories straight?

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Thomas August 13, 2013 at 9:32 am

Uh, Michael Bryant didn’t testify at last week’s hearing.

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EJB August 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

I didn’t get that Mr. Bryant testified to the Three Amigos last week. I got that Mr. Bryant admitted “During a recent school board meeting” he was told about the TB on March 27 and that Mr. Bryant’s admission was “unearthed during last week’s hearings on the epidemic.”

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Curious August 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

“During testimony to the S.C. Senate medical affairs committee, Greenwood
School District 52 vice chairman Dr. Michael Bryant – who is married to
the school nurse at Ninety Six Primary School – testified under oath
that he was informed of a “probable infectious disease” at the school
on March 27.”

He did not testify at the hearing.

Reply
Thomas August 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

It’s been changed in the story. It originally said during the hearing.

Reply
nitrat August 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

You mean he can’t even keep his own damn stories straight?

Reply
South of Broad Daze August 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

Religion poisons everything.

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The Colonel August 14, 2013 at 1:44 am

Thanks for that astute commentary.

Reply
South of Broad Daze August 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

Religion poisons everything.

Reply
The Colonel (R) August 14, 2013 at 1:44 am

Thanks for that astute commentary.

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Gumba August 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

Bullcrap – it was hitting the news in Greenville before DHEC ever made a statement. The parents knew before DHEC would admit that there was a problem. Say what you may about the district’s handling but at what point did DHEC assume control over the matter? You really are a Nikki shill.

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Jesus H. Christ! August 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

This is just part of Folks’s jihad against public education.

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Gumba August 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

Bullcrap – it was hitting the news in Greenville before DHEC ever made a statement. The parents knew before DHEC would admit that there was a problem. Say what you may about the district’s handling but at what point did DHEC assume control over the matter? You really are a Nikki shill.

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Jesus H. Christ! August 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

This is just part of Folks’s jihad against public education.

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Aristofannies August 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

According to my sources, Dr. Bryant had his children tested for exposure to TB last December. He knew about it well before March.

Reply
nitrat August 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm

And, I’m sure you have as much cold, hard, documented evidence as FITS…if you aren’t FITS…

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Aristofannies August 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

According to my sources, Dr. Bryant had his children tested for exposure to TB last December. He knew about it well before March.

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nitrat August 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm

And, I’m sure you have as much cold, hard, documented evidence as FITS…if you aren’t FITS…

Reply
nitrat August 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm

“government-run”
God DAMN, don’t you get tired of endlessly writing Koch brothers talking points ?
I understand that you people deal with a voting base of which the majority have IQs of 85 and under and you have to POUND ideology into their heads, but good grief it’s boring as hell !!!
FITSNEWS came late to this story because it obviously had to get its marching orders from somewhere….follow the Libertarian money, I guess. This story is obviously too technical for those who have worked for Mark Sanford and Nikki Haley and been impressed by them for longer than 5 minutes and you have no credibility here.

Reply
nitrat August 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm

“government-run”
God DAMN, don’t you get tired of endlessly writing Koch brothers talking points ?
I understand that you people deal with a voting base of which the majority have IQs of 85 and under and you have to POUND ideology into their heads, but good grief it’s boring as hell !!!
FITSNEWS came late to this story because it obviously had to get its marching orders from somewhere….follow the Libertarian money, I guess. This story is obviously too technical for those who have worked for Mark Sanford and Nikki Haley and been impressed by them for longer than 5 minutes and you have no credibility here.

Reply
Town Crier August 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

This may be in error: “…when they hired a janitor known to be infected with the highly contagious, airborne disease…” According to news reports, he was hired to begin work without undergoing a TB test. Big difference between something being common knowledge and allowing someone to start without undergoing the required TB test. First mistake, school district’s fault. Subsequent mistakes: DHEC’s fault. Statements from the nurses indicate repeated attempts to get direction from the Columbia office. Now we know that Jamie Schuster was reluctant to act since she didn’t believe there was a “confirmed case.” That was the reason for the slow response. And I find it preposterous to think that Schuster didn’t inform Templeton. And all too much of a coincidence that they traveled to the district when they did. Calling Templeton a “whistleblower” is just as preposterous. According to her testimony before the Senate, she acknowledged she was aware of the Ninety Six problem BEFORE her visit to the local DHEC clinic: ‘I knew that there was an investigation,’ Templeton told Hutto.” Her only role was to CYA, telling staff up there to speed things up. That ain’t whistleblowing. So enough with the Catherine Templeton worship. As a side note: The only thing I can fault the locals for, at this point, is trusting the bureaucracy waaay too much. They should have called their lawyers for guidance and let those attorneys go into attack mode on DHEC. Before anyone gets bent out of shape, I don’t work for the district, live in the district, etc. Nor do I work for DHEC, etc. I’m just an interested, concerned citizen.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/08/08/2908400/templeton-admits-some-top-dhec.html#storylink=cpy

Reply
? August 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm

“Dr. Mark Petersen, superintendent of Greenwood School District 52, testified before the committee following Templeton’s testimony. Petersen said that he was called on March 27 and informed that there was a potential case of tuberculosis at Ninety Six Primary School. The following day, representatives from DHEC toured the school. Petersen testified that he was informed that 12 staff members were tested for tuberculosis during Spring break. Petersen said that he met with the staff of the primary school to inform them that there was no new information on the potential exposure to tuberculosis at the school. Eight of the initial 12 staff members tested had a positive skin test.

Petersen testified that he did not notify parents of children at the school until there was a confirmed case of tuberculosis because he did not want to spread unconfirmed rumors. Petersen also said that he feared parents not allowing their children to come to school and staff members not showing up for work.”

This man either:

#1 Is the dumbest gov’t school employee to ever have existed

or

#2 Doesn’t give a rats ass about the welfare of the children under his care(let alone some adults that work for him)

One of the infected kids parents should pin this fucker down and let their kid cough in his face.

Shame on EVERY gov’t employee that knew there were skin tests coming back positive and did nothing out of fear for their own well being instead of protecting the kids. I’ll bet there at least 75 gov’t employees that knew before the infected kids parents.

Shame on each and every one of you. Fuck all of you.

Reply
? August 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Please ignore that Crier, it was meant for above, not in response to your post.

Reply
Town Crier August 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

This may be in error: “…when they hired a janitor known to be infected with the highly contagious, airborne disease…” According to news reports, he was hired to begin work without undergoing a TB test. Big difference between something being common knowledge and allowing someone to start without undergoing the required TB test. First mistake, school district’s fault. Subsequent mistakes: DHEC’s fault. Statements from the nurses indicate repeated attempts to get direction from the Columbia office. Now we know that Jamie Schuster was reluctant to act since she didn’t believe there was a “confirmed case.” That was the reason for the slow response. And I find it preposterous to think that Schuster didn’t inform Templeton. And all too much of a coincidence that they traveled to the district when they did. Calling Templeton a “whistleblower” is just as preposterous. According to her testimony before the Senate, she acknowledged she was aware of the Ninety Six problem BEFORE her visit to the local DHEC clinic: ‘I knew that there was an investigation,’ Templeton told Hutto.” Her only role was to CYA, telling staff up there to speed things up. That ain’t whistleblowing. So enough with the Catherine Templeton worship. As a side note: The only thing I can fault the locals for, at this point, is trusting the bureaucracy waaay too much. They should have called their lawyers for guidance and let those attorneys go into attack mode on DHEC. Before anyone gets bent out of shape, I don’t work for the district, live in the district, etc. Nor do I work for DHEC, etc. I’m just an interested, concerned citizen.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/08/08/2908400/templeton-admits-some-top-dhec.html#storylink=cpy

Reply
? August 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm

“Dr. Mark Petersen, superintendent of Greenwood School District 52, testified before the committee following Templeton’s testimony. Petersen said that he was called on March 27 and informed that there was a potential case of tuberculosis at Ninety Six Primary School. The following day, representatives from DHEC toured the school. Petersen testified that he was informed that 12 staff members were tested for tuberculosis during Spring break. Petersen said that he met with the staff of the primary school to inform them that there was no new information on the potential exposure to tuberculosis at the school. Eight of the initial 12 staff members tested had a positive skin test.

Petersen testified that he did not notify parents of children at the school until there was a confirmed case of tuberculosis because he did not want to spread unconfirmed rumors. Petersen also said that he feared parents not allowing their children to come to school and staff members not showing up for work.”

This man either:

#1 Is the dumbest gov’t school employee to ever have existed

or

#2 Doesn’t give a rats ass about the welfare of the children under his care(let alone some adults that work for him)

One of the infected kids parents should pin this fucker down and let their kid cough in his face.

Shame on EVERY gov’t employee that knew there were skin tests coming back positive and did nothing out of fear for their own well being instead of protecting the kids. I’ll bet there at least 75 gov’t employees that knew before the infected kids parents.

Shame on each and every one of you. Fuck all of you.

Reply
? August 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Please ignore that Crier, it was meant for above, not in response to your post.

Reply
? August 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm

“Dr. Mark Petersen, superintendent of Greenwood School District 52, testified before the committee following Templeton’s testimony. Petersen said that he was called on March 27 and informed that there was a potential case of tuberculosis at Ninety Six Primary School. The following day, representatives from DHEC toured the school. Petersen testified that he was informed that 12 staff members were tested for tuberculosis during Spring break. Petersen said that he met with the staff of the primary school to inform them that there was no new information on the potential exposure to tuberculosis at the school. Eight of the initial 12 staff members tested had a positive skin test.

Petersen testified that he did not notify parents of children at the school until there was a confirmed case of tuberculosis because he did not want to spread unconfirmed rumors. Petersen also said that he feared parents not allowing their children to come to school and staff members not showing up for work.”

This man either:

#1, Is the dumbest gov’t school employee to ever have existed

or

#2, Doesn’t give a rats ass about the welfare of the children under his care(let alone some adults that work for him)

One of the infected kids parents should pin this fucker down and let their kid cough in his face.

Shame on EVERY gov’t employee that knew there were skin tests coming back positive and did nothing out of fear for their own well being instead of protecting the kids. I’ll bet there at least 75 gov’t employees that knew before the infected kids parents.

Shame on each and every one of you. Fuck all of you.

Reply
Polyphemos August 14, 2013 at 12:39 am

No, now, don’t do that.. you’ll probably get TB.. or worse. :o)

Reply
? August 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm

“Dr. Mark Petersen, superintendent of Greenwood School District 52, testified before the committee following Templeton’s testimony. Petersen said that he was called on March 27 and informed that there was a potential case of tuberculosis at Ninety Six Primary School. The following day, representatives from DHEC toured the school. Petersen testified that he was informed that 12 staff members were tested for tuberculosis during Spring break. Petersen said that he met with the staff of the primary school to inform them that there was no new information on the potential exposure to tuberculosis at the school. Eight of the initial 12 staff members tested had a positive skin test.

Petersen testified that he did not notify parents of children at the school until there was a confirmed case of tuberculosis because he did not want to spread unconfirmed rumors. Petersen also said that he feared parents not allowing their children to come to school and staff members not showing up for work.”

This man either:

#1, Is the dumbest gov’t school employee to ever have existed

or

#2, Doesn’t give a rats ass about the welfare of the children under his care(let alone some adults that work for him)

One of the infected kids parents should pin this fucker down and let their kid cough in his face.

Shame on EVERY gov’t employee that knew there were skin tests coming back positive and did nothing out of fear for their own well being instead of protecting the kids. I’ll bet there at least 75 gov’t employees that knew before the infected kids parents.

Shame on each and every one of you. Fuck all of you.

Reply
Slartibartfast August 14, 2013 at 12:39 am

No, now, don’t do that.. you’ll probably get TB.. or worse. :o)

Reply
Buford Pusser August 13, 2013 at 6:24 pm

When The State publishes stories closer to the actual truth than yours Will you’ve got real problems.

Reply
Buford Pusser August 13, 2013 at 6:24 pm

When The State publishes stories closer to the actual truth than yours Will you’ve got real problems.

Reply
Dr. Goldberger's Ghost August 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

“We knew there was a coverup culture at SCDHEC prior to Templeton’s arrival – but we had no idea it was that bad.”
Yep. They have covered up far more and for far longer. Though a dire disease affecting little kids kind of takes the cake.
Templeton has a lot more to do to fix that place.

Reply
Dr. Goldberger's Ghost August 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

“We knew there was a coverup culture at SCDHEC prior to Templeton’s arrival – but we had no idea it was that bad.”
Yep. They have covered up far more and for far longer. Though a dire disease affecting little kids kind of takes the cake.
Templeton has a lot more to do to fix that place.

Reply
RHood2 August 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

You know, if the school nurse told her board member husband about the infection guess what?
Probably violates HIPPA. Patient privacy act.
She should have reported through the chain, but hubby (and Peeler with his grandstanding) ain’t in it. Bad all around, but you’re missing the point of the bad in this admission.

Reply
RHood2 August 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

You know, if the school nurse told her board member husband about the infection guess what?
Probably violates HIPPA. Patient privacy act.
She should have reported through the chain, but hubby (and Peeler with his grandstanding) ain’t in it. Bad all around, but you’re missing the point of the bad in this admission.

Reply
Polyphemos August 14, 2013 at 12:36 am

Yet, no-one will divulge whether or not the janitor was an illegal. How convenient that we have both State HR Policy and HIPPA regulations to keep us from ever finding out that it may have been the President’s lax border policy that might have caused this event. No? Then show us the hiring documents. If he wasn’t an illegal, fine. How did the janitor get Tuberculosis? And from WHOM?

Reply
Slartibartfast August 14, 2013 at 12:36 am

Yet, no-one will divulge whether or not the janitor was an illegal. How convenient that we have both State HR Policy and HIPPA regulations to keep us from ever finding out that it may have been the President’s lax border policy that might have caused this event. No? Then show us the hiring documents. If he wasn’t an illegal, fine. How did the janitor get Tuberculosis? And from WHOM?

Reply
PrettyPatty August 16, 2013 at 10:19 am

It’s HIPAA morons….

Reply
PrettyPatty August 16, 2013 at 10:19 am

It’s HIPAA morons….

Reply

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