As a graduate of the Bexley school system, I would like to express my discontent with the behavior of Joan Fishel, president of the Bexley Board of Education, at the board's March 14 meeting.

As a graduate of the Bexley school system, I would like to express my discontent with the behavior of Joan Fishel, president of the Bexley Board of Education, at the board's March 14 meeting.

I attended the meeting to express my support for girls' soccer coach Scott Dempsey. At least a dozen current players, several former players, and parents of both current and former players were at the meeting.

I am not writing to explain why Coach Dempsey's contract should have been renewed. That was adequately covered by the comments made to the Board at the meeting. I am writing to express my anger at the way in which Mrs. Fishel handled the matter. I am specifically concerned with Mrs. Fishel's seeming disregard for her obligations as a member of a public school board and the lack of respect she showed the parents and students who attended the meeting speak.

Beginning with her remarks that opened public comments, Mrs. Fishel's behavior was ill-befitting a member of a public school board. I appreciate Mrs. Fishel's desire to use the board's time efficiently by requesting that commenters limit their remarks and not simply read letters previously sent to the board or reiterate previous comments.

I do not appreciate Mrs. Fishel's condescension, however, when she all but dismissed those present, including the courageous teenage women who wanted to step forward and explain their feelings to the board.

Members of the board of education should feel that they have a duty to aid in the education of the students in their district. As such, Mrs. Fishel should have encouraged the young women who showed grace and poise in stepping up to speak.

Mrs. Fishel's blatant antagonism toward the parents who spoke was not only rude, her actions demonstrated a distinct lack of care for how the young women preparing to speak would be affected. Further, Mrs. Fishel's repeated request that comments be submitted in writing when possible ignores that passion cannot always be shown on paper And given evidence presented last night, the board and administration are unable to react to written requests, further showing the importance of public comments.

These girls and their parents had a right to respectfully express themselves to a board that showed them blatant disrespect.

Irrespective of the issue before the board and its feelings on the matter, the board should encourage such positive public discourse and civic engagement, particularly in young adults. Instead, Mrs. Fishel's behavior stifled the young women's education by discouraging them from speaking.

I applaud the young women who spoke out, and I hope that the next time students and parents have an issue about which they feel strongly enough to make public comments, Mrs. Fishel and the rest of the board will show them the respect they deserve.

As a Bexley taxpayer, former soccer dad, and significant financial supporter of both Bexley Athletics and Arts I, like a host of others, was deeply disappointed in the decision (or perhaps better said non-decision) regarding the non-renewal of Scott Dempsey's contract. I won't go into all the reasons why I think Scott is a superior person and coach; and why he and his family will be a major loss to the Bexley community. I also cannot criticize the non-renewal of his contract simply because I have no visibility to the rationale or process behind the School Board's and/or Superintendent's decision making assuming there was any of either in this case. Aside from losing Scott, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the entire situation is the utter failure of those in authority to provide a respectful, credible means of dealing with it. In full disclosure, I did not attend the March Board meeting and did not witness the communications that took place at the event. However, by all accounts I have heard, it was pretty much a perfunctory effort, providing little more than face time to some very caring, sincere folks in a manner that many would categorize as dismissive or even disrespectful.

The failure to at least listen to community response along with no clearly delineated reasons for action calls the character of all involved into question. It could be argued that the only party who is owed an explanation is Mr. Dempsey, but judging from his communications and the outpouring of others' communications following the Board meeting, no discernible information regarding grounds for non-renewal have been made available. So in short the whole thing stinks. I am not sure if any viable remedies are available to correct the situation. It's my understanding that at least one individual is looking into what can be done and I plan to join the effort. I hope others do as well. If nothing else, it should make one think long and hard about continuing to place faith in the decision making of those responsible for this very sad scenario.

BRAVO!, the annual event supporting the Bexley Education Foundation, was held last month at the DSW corporate offices. For the past 15 years, this event has served to rally the Bexley community around one cause: to ensure excellence in education for all who attend Bexley City Schools.

This year, though no different in purpose, far exceeded our expectations. A near-record crowd helped raise more than $105,000 that will be used to fund classroom and district-wide grants for the 2011 12 school year.

This year, Bexley students have benefited from BEF grants that include a wide range of initiatives, from scientists in residence to distance learning to a digital media content program for all schools; from an English resource center, to physical education, arts programming and support for an outdoor learning center.

BEF funds in past years have brought eReference books to the district, created a Global Technology Education Lab, and provided SMART Boards in every classroom.

These grants would not be possible without the funds raised at BRAVO!; and without our sponsors, donors and volunteers, BRAVO! itself would not be possible.

I'd like to thank all who worked to ensure the event's success. The 800-plus guests who attended all had a great time. You could see it and feel it. As we all know, these things don't just happen.

Thanks to DSW, which donated use of its corporate office for the second year in a row, providing a venue that was lively and sophisticated.

Thanks to 2011 BRAVO! co-chairs Beth Sauer and Lynnette Evans; subcommittee chairs Cindy Benedict, Fran Evans, Julie Block Glassman, Linda Hodge Hoyer, Amy Long, Leigh Phay, Heidi Ruckel, Kathleen Russo, Sarah Saxbe, Erika Siddiq. Linda Sinoway, Michael Vincent, and Denise Williams; and their committed team of nearly 70 volunteers. They deserve more thanks than we can give them.

Thanks to the many residents and businesses who signed on as BRAVO! sponsors. These include the 20 restaurants that donated the delightful cuisine: Aladdin's Eatery, Bakery Gingham, Bexley Pizza Plus, BRAVO/BRIO Restaurant Group, Bruegger's, Cameron Mitchell Catering, Capital City Cakes, Cherbourg Bakery, City Barbeque, G. Michael's Bistro, Gordon's Gourmet, The Greener Grocer/Local Matters, Johnson's Real Ice Cream, Katzinger's Delicatessen, Merry Milk Maid, Old 40 Tavern, Raising Cane's, Sher-Bliss Wine & Chocolates, The Top Steak House, and Wing's Restaurant.

Thanks also to the individuals and companies who donated more than 150 items for our silent auction, as well as the Bexley students who, with the help of art teachers, classroom teachers and parents, made more than 60 beautiful art objects for the Children's Art auction.

Thanks to those whose in-kind contributions played a special role in making the event a success: DSW, Erick & Lynnette Evans, Chris Giller, BHS Football players and Coach John Smith, Sean Britt/Superior Beverage Group, Don Dick & Gregg Steele/Capital City Ice, Cathy & Tom Kauffman, National Jean Company, John Page/Pagetech, Pistacia Vera, Reed Arts, Jamie & Susan Rupp, Beth Sauer, She She, Sher Bliss Wine & Chocolates, ShutterBooth, Stolz-Mead Global, Urban Moves, Watershed Distillery, Stephanie Welk and Seth Abel, and student volunteers from Bexley City Schools and Ohio State University.

And finally, thanks to those many community members who attended and supported BRAVO! Through their generosity, we will be able to support initiatives that impact Bexley students for years to come, and help each student achieve "What's Possible."