Watching video of Bartow school board member, you have to wonder: How do these folks win elections?

Bartow County school board vice chair Angela Cornett made a smart decision in resigning her post after a troubling surveillance video captured her seemingly lurching into a teen attempting to hold a parking spot in a Walmart.

The video has now gone viral, and Cornett has been charged with reckless conduct.

The teen involved appeared on national TV to decry the incident. Seventeen-year-old Emily Gulledge is a Bartow County student. On the “Today” show, Emily said, “I was the child in the situation and she acted like the child. I can’t believe somebody would actually hit somebody with a vehicle especially over a parking spot.”

This story first came to my attention when a Bartow resident sent me a link to the Bartow for a Better Board of Education site.

I was also sent a link to a video where Cornett goes after a teacher by name at a public board meeting.

After watching the videos of the parking lot incident and the school board meeting, I have to wonder if there are any functioning school boards left in Georgia.

According to the AJC:

A Bartow County school board member under fire for allegedly ramming a teenager with her SUV in a dispute over a Walmart parking space has resigned.

Angela Cornett, 41, was arrested last Friday and charged with reckless conduct after she allegedly lurched into the 17-year-old teen standing in the parking space at a Cartersville Walmart holding it for a friend.

“She just felt it was in the best interest of her, her family and the school district,” her attorney John T. Mroczko told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cornett’s resignation is effective immediately. Cornett had no other comment, Mroczko said.

Cornett claimed she didn’t intentionally ram the teen, but the incident — which has attracted national attention and local outrage — was caught on tape, and the store’s surveillance video convinced police to arrest Cornett.

Cornett had already been under fire for comments she made during a school board meeting in September in which she spoke disparagingly about a former school system employee after naming the employee in the public meeting.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

82 comments Add your comment

Martina

January 3rd, 2013
11:04 pm

The question was posed “How do these folks win elections?”
I’ve been asking myself the same thing after Victor Hill was elected sheriff in Clayton County!

Maureen Downey

January 3rd, 2013
11:09 pm

@Martina: That is also a puzzler given that he cost the county so much already in legal fees.
Maureen

Grasshopper

January 3rd, 2013
11:33 pm

If it was intentional, well, people have bad days and do dumb things sometimes.

But it could have been an accident I rear ended someone once when my size 14 hard soled shoe was pressing the brake and the gas at the same time. S#*^ happens sometimes.

But to make national headlines…well that shows what a sensationalized, (’if it’s on YouTube – we must show it one million times” say the bosses of the teleprompter readers on ABC) sad, voyeuristic lot of fools our uneducated masses are.

This lady could be a great board member, but we’ll never know. Her fifteen minutes are up with one barely stained teen jean in a Walmart parking lot.

Too many words already from me.It’s not so important. Fools been winning elections since the stinky process was dreamt up.

RCB

January 4th, 2013
12:19 am

Too bad there’s not a way to post to YouTube a video of how the Dekalb school superintendent ended up with FEDERAL charges against him. I know he was selected and not elected, but good grief.

I dropped my fried twinkie

January 4th, 2013
1:44 am

Why would the little Brat think she deserved the space when a CAR was ready to pull in the space but her mother and car were not there.
The kid is a Spoiled Entitled little brat.
Why would a parent ask their child to stand in the road to block a CAR?

Beverly Fraud

January 4th, 2013
5:29 am

The (supposedly) well educated voters in Atlanta routinely re-elected board members who turned a blind eye to a decade’s worth of systematic cheating.

Yet we don’t consider the possibility that these voters are, in some ways, as willfully ignorant as those in Clayton who re-elected Walking Small.

On top of that, SACS praised that board for its “good governance” so not only do our voters reward ignorance, our educational institutions reward ignorance as well.

Timmy

January 4th, 2013
5:59 am

It appears to me that both of these females are not too bright. At 17 years old you should be smart enough not to stand in a parking spot blocking it for a friend. However, ramming the 17 year old is even dumber. I guess these two ladies are just Dumb and Dumber.

gdfo

January 4th, 2013
6:14 am

I have a question about the Law. What is the legality of a pedestrian
blocking, for any reason, a legitimate designated parking area on private property?

Please note, I am not questioning the charges agaist the driver.

redweather

January 4th, 2013
6:31 am

“If it was intentional . . . people have bad days . . .”?

Which just goes to show that some people these days will make an excuse for anything.

mountain man

January 4th, 2013
6:31 am

I would like to know the answer to gdfo’s question, too? While I am not defending the driver, people get a little crazy around Christmastime about parking spots. IMHO, the driver should have pulled up to the entrance to the space, put it into park and waited for the teenager to move. Either that or just suck it up and find another parking space. She really screwed up when she accelerated toward the teen (17-year old).

mountain man

January 4th, 2013
6:34 am

It is also a little soon to say “Why did Bartow county elect her”. Had she done things like this in the past? She may have been an excellent school board member. And, to her credit, unlike Victor Hill, she has resigned her post after this incident.

mountain man

January 4th, 2013
6:35 am

I commented yesterday that it is a good thing she did not have a gun. People get irrational sometimes when they get mad. That is why I don’t carry a gun in my car; I don’t trust myself.

mountain man

January 4th, 2013
6:41 am

Another question: since it happened on Wal-mart’s privat property, what is Wal-mart’s position on pedestrians “holding” a parking space? Let’s hear it Wal-mart.

Slo Pony Dog Food Company

January 4th, 2013
6:53 am

Good question Maureen.Knowing in advance that this person would do this,the voters were clearly in the wrong to put her in office.

Sheesh. I don’t know this woman or have any connection with her,but I hope that all of the readers chastising her actions are never held up to public ridicule and derision because of a stupid,spur of the moment lapse of judgement.(And that is what this is.) All of you people chunkin’ rocks at her are (I trust) without sin.

Maureen,I know that you would rather be judged by your best day at your job rather than your worst.

Bartow Citizen

January 4th, 2013
7:23 am

To answer your questions…no, she was not a great board member. Look at the links provided. This board member micro-managed staff and called a teacher to yell at her about a personal matter…that teacher was then moved and her principal demoted. She used school phones to send text messages to trash school board members, employees, and the superintendent. The texts and phone call are online. Ms. Cornett then dug the hole deeper by trashing the teacher and principal, revealing personnel items during an open meeting (see video). The texts were so bad our paper reported on them but said they were too coarse for printing in the paper. Parents called for her resignation, but she would not step aside until this incident made big headlines. The parking lot incident just shows her attitude….”Don’t you know who I am?”

As to how she got elected….I voted for her opponent. He was a decent guy, but he wasn’t from here, and people voted for her because they went to high school with her and her daughter must have had a lot of friends. That’s the way it rolls up here in Bartow County. People look no deeper than if they knew them way back.

resno2

January 4th, 2013
7:49 am

How do these people get elected? The same way our national representatives get elected… just look at their voter base.

BeBop

January 4th, 2013
7:55 am

Not defending the driver…but this little idiot teen is acting like she’s a community hero and all she did was stand in a parking space jacking up traffic.

Burroughston Broch

January 4th, 2013
7:55 am

Maureen, this incident reflects badly on the voters as well as the former board member. I live in DeKalb, supported and voted for Nancy Jester, and now see her the odd member out. The other board members are either drones or hucksters milking DCSS for power and personal gain. I despair of reforming the DCSS Board.

Sage

January 4th, 2013
8:02 am

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, these folks get re-elected because the public is just too damn lazy to study the issues and the character of the candidates. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t know. Stop electing or re-electing these idiots!

Slo Pony Dog Food Company

January 4th, 2013
8:08 am

” this incident reflects badly on the voters as well as the former board member.”

How so? Elections in this day and age are not scholarly contests between enlightened saints.Politics today (even at the local level) comes down to a choice between the lesser of two evils.Campaigns become mud slinging character assasinations from the get-go.Honest people hardly have a chance,so the voters pull the lever and hope for the best. That’s how we get people like Ms. Cornett.We deserve the officials we elect.

Roni

January 4th, 2013
8:14 am

Ugh…way too many people (in these comments and on other articles about the subject) questioning if holding the spot was legal and expressing irritation at the teen. The fact is, if you are an adult, then just because you run into a teenager acting like….well, a teenager, then you have to continue to act like an adult. There is NO excuse for the woman ramming anyone with her car, even if she was irritated, even if it was Christmas and even if she was faced with a bratty teenager. Also, when you commit yourself to holding office, you need to be aware of how you present yourself at all times. Don’t like it? Then don’t hold public office.

Dunwoody Mom

January 4th, 2013
8:35 am

“How do these folks win elections?” I continually ask myself this question about the DeKalb BOE…

I think an earlier poster got it right…laziness on the part of the electorate…they go in a punch a name they “know” and don’t worry about researching said person.

Maureen Downey

January 4th, 2013
8:40 am

@Slo, There is a lot of public record on this board member. I have been hearing about the Bartow board issues for quite a while. It is fair to judge a board member on the whole of her service, and her record on all her days in office is not strong.
Maureen

Bartow Citizen

January 4th, 2013
8:41 am

I might also add that numerous complaints have been made to SACS about this board going back at least as far as April when the board ignored numerous complaints about the illegal appointment of a member to replace a member that resigned instead of immediately scheduling a special election as required by local law, followed by other complaints outlined on the Betterboe website. The reason citizens are being ignored? Bartow BOE Board chairman Davis Nelson is chairman of the Georgia council for SACS (AdvancEd). http://www.advanc-ed.org/locations/georgia-office/state-council Think there is a little conflict of interest in this? I believe every complaint has been immediately filed in the shredder.

teacher&mom

January 4th, 2013
8:44 am

Quite frankly, I don’t think the average voter takes the time to consider which school board candidate is the best. I believe they step into the voting booth and vote along party lines because the only name they recognize on the ballot is Republican/Democrat.

I believe school board elections should be nonpartisan.

Big Mama

January 4th, 2013
8:45 am

Not only did this woman ram her car into a child (if early news reports are correct) she also lied about it. There is no excuse whatsoever for running into someone over a parking spot!!! She’s lucky she isn’t facing more serious charges. I think by her own actions she has done a great service to the people of Paulding county…she has made certain that she will never again win an election in that county.

Bartow Citizen

January 4th, 2013
8:49 am

@teacher&mom,

We haven’t had a Democrat run for a school board seat since round about 2002. In fact, for the past several cycles almost every local race has been decided in the primary. I go back to my previous comment…people vote for someone they have known all their lives rather than looking at the qualifications/philosophies of the candidates.

Jack ®

January 4th, 2013
8:51 am

The teen wanted attention. And she got it.

Maureen Downey

January 4th, 2013
9:00 am

@Jack, Any teen would love to be flown to New York for the “Today” show, but I doubt that was on her mind when she was standing in the parking spot to hold it.
After watching the video, I have to ask the same thing that the “Today” show hosts asked: It was a large parking lot and it looked like there were spaces elsewhere. Why not drive around and get one of the other spots? Why get into a tussle over a parking spot?
This confirms my lifelong practice — hated by my children — of parking as far from the store as possible to get a bit of walking.
Maureen

Jameson

January 4th, 2013
9:02 am

After watching the video, a panel of vids come up. One displays the “F”word for all to see. Had the girl’s mother never assumed the parking spot was hers, the incident would never have happened.

private

January 4th, 2013
9:12 am

The girl was holding a space for a friend who had recently given birth, her parents were not there.
If you need to park close to limit walking, not sure why you are going in Walmart, unless you plan to use a wheelchair…
But I believe pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way, and an adult should never threaten a child, especially not an adult who is in a public elected office.

Maureen Downey

January 4th, 2013
9:15 am

@Jameson, New video/news story from AP up to replace the ABC news one that had the offending word in one of the panels that come up now with YouTube videos.
Maureen

Slo Pony Dog Food Company

January 4th, 2013
9:21 am

“@Slo, There is a lot of public record on this board member. I have been hearing about the Bartow board issues for quite a while. It is fair to judge a board member on the whole of her service, and her record on all her days in office is not strong.
Maureen”

I couldn’t agree more. But I’m pretty sure that this happened away from the board and on her personal time. It seems that you had a beef with her public service (deserved) and used a personal mistake to pounce.Again, if you have never had an embarassing moment (and with you having kids,I’ll bet you have) then you’re in the right here to question…Well,to question everything about this woman.If you have never had your passions inflamed when somebody did something stupid,then I want you to teach my Sunday School. But this kind of piling on is why journalists get a bad rap in this day and time. She’s facing criminal charges (Slight charges,to be sure. Nothing like aggravated assault or anything like that) and has already left her school board position,so her life is going to be uncomfortable for a while,to say the least.

But to state that you’ve “been hearing” about her board service…From who? Someone with an axe to grind? Fellow board members? Anonymous bloggers? These are questions that your editor should be asking. These are questions that the readers should be asking. I’m not taking up for her in this case-the video is pretty cut and dry,but before this happened,I don’t remember you making an issue of her board service. But now that everybody wants her scalp, you suddenly turned all Woodward & Bernstein.

skipper

January 4th, 2013
9:27 am

No excuse for hitting someone, but what in the world was she doing standing in a parking place????? She has enjoyed the publicity, and soon will enjoy the windfall that an attorney will collect for her. Lets see how this turns out………..

V for Vendetta

January 4th, 2013
9:29 am

The answer to this is as simple as it is for any other complaints we have about our elected officials at all levels:

It’s because we vote based on party lines instead of looking at individuals.

Maureen Downey

January 4th, 2013
9:37 am

@Slow, You make good points, but I have to disagree that this occurred on her time and does not reflect on her public board role. Politicians receive many perks and many advantages. But there is a price for that higher profile. They are not school board members only when attending meetings. And by hearing about her, I mean getting emails from readers and reading accounts in the local paper. (The AJC does not cover Bartow school board meetings or school news.)
If you get a DUI, you will not appear in the AJC — assuming you are not a high profile elected official. But an elected official will end up in the paper, and so will an AJC news reporter as one of my colleagues learned the hard way.
As to piling on, this school board member made a very public mistake that was documented with a video that has now been seen worldwide. In their training, elected officials are warned now that social media has changed the rules and that they must consider the possibility that everything they say or do in public will be seen. They are aware of that danger from the start, yet many still seek office so I assume they are willing to live with that fact.
Maureen

Gerald

January 4th, 2013
9:41 am

It is funny how the Dixiecrats try to change the subject to Fulton/Atlanta/Clayton/DeKalb when stuff like this happens.

skipper

January 4th, 2013
9:43 am

Maureen,
I (once again) do not agree with hitting someone. However, when all this is over, this little diva’s dad needs to tan her little smart-a$$ publicity-seeking tail. I haven’t seen a smirk like hers on the news since buck was a calf. She is no more injured than a bull after a fly lands on it horn. I do know what the video shows…..but once again, lets see how this turns out.

BartowCitizen

January 4th, 2013
9:48 am

I have a recording of a phone conversation Ms. Cornett had with another school member. Maureen, thanks for your good work. Have a listen, everybody:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6208MKPMlJ0

BehindEnemyLines

January 4th, 2013
9:52 am

{yawn} Not the smartest reaction, but the instigator is pretty clear here. Sad commentary on society that the teen isn’t subject to nearly as much derision.

Gerald

January 4th, 2013
9:53 am

@skipper:

What did the teenager do in this case to deserve having her hide tanned? And what does the fact that she wasn’t injured have to do with her getting rammed on purpose by a car?

Gerald

January 4th, 2013
9:56 am

BehindEnemyLines:

Why do you want the teen to get derided in this case? Let me guess … because the public official is a Bartow GOPer and not an Atlanta Democrat? Gee … imagine if it were a male Atlanta or DeKalb Democrat – Vernon Jones or Hank Johnson for example or maybe David Scott – ramming this same teen female with their car. Would you have the same tune? Or a different one?

skipper

January 4th, 2013
10:03 am

Gerald
1. Being stupid enough to stand in the way of a vehicle, when there is time to move, was nothing more than a defiant dumb thing. Nothing brave here. Never confuse bravery with stupidity.
2. She was not injured, because (it’ll come out) she probably knew it was showtime. The fact that she made (and this, too, will come out whether it is right or wrong) no effort at all to move is proof she knew nothing was going to happen badly.
I am a bicycle rider, and am always for safety and cars watching out for us. But, I also have enough sense to know that many of the auto-bike accidents do in fact occur because the person on the bike gets a defiant “I am going to ride in the middle of the road, and to heck with you” attitude. This is one point I know for a fact….I have been riding a LONG time, and have seen it too many times; it is harmful to those of us who ride properly. This is the same attitude this little “cherub” displayed. I venture as far as to say that (video and all) eventually another side will come out. I feel certain, because quite frankly if it was this ladies intention to take this kid out, she easily could have.

LadySiren

January 4th, 2013
10:04 am

Wow…all of y’all seemed to have such a warped sense of right and wrong.

The teenager didn’t make the smartest choice but in NO way does that justify someone – not only an adult but an elected official – ramming her with a 2,000+ lb. vehicle. Attention seeking? Hell yeah, I would be too if this woman had hit me with her car.

There is never, ever justification for this type of force, especially against a teenager who may not (but really should have) known better. This crazy woman was the aggressor in this; she’s an adult that is tasked with making RESPONSIBLE choices for an entire district of school children. She absolutely, positively should’ve known better. Our elected officials can, should, and must be held to a higher standard. Personally, I’m glad she resigned. I wouldn’t want this lunatic within 1,000 miles of my kids.

[...] Downey, in her Get Schooled blog, writes: “After watching the videos of the parking lot incident and the school board meeting, [...]

KIM

January 4th, 2013
10:09 am

A person cannot serve two masters. Either you have integrity or you don’t. Either you respect life or you don’t. Either you have good judgement or you don’t. And those are the reasons this is significant for a person elected. School boards should not be voted on frivolously any more than the President of the U should be..

Disgusted

January 4th, 2013
10:15 am

Whether a pedestrian has a right to save a parking spot aside (and I don’t think they do), I am sickened by the victim role that this uninjured girl has assumed. If she wants a cause, she can lobby for Wal-Mart to put up signs reserving certain parking spaces for pregnant women or women with small children; I’ve seen them at other stores.

homeschooler

January 4th, 2013
10:17 am

There’s no argument that this woman was out of line. Looking at the video I think the reckless conduct charge is warranted. No, I do not think she rammed the kid on purpose, I don’t think she meant to run her over or harm her. It looks to me like she pulled in, quickly to one side of the girl. The girl might have even jumped up against the car rather than moving out of the way but it was still reckless on the part of the woman to let her emotions/anger at the girl rise to that level.
Now, having said that, the girl, in the Today Show interview is SO on my nerves. I can’t stand someone playing the victim like this. Get over it. YOU started the whole situation. The woman’s reaction was out of line but your actions put the whole situation in motion. You were not injured. You are thriving on this attention which makes me feel much less sorry for you.

Mikey D.

January 4th, 2013
10:19 am

Unfortunately, most people don’t pay much attention to local races. They don’t get the pre-canned sound bites in the local races that they do in the state and national races, so in order to elect quality people you have to do a little research. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our electorate is too lazy to do that. We want things simple and dumbed down, so we use the easiest thing we can get… Either “R” or “D” behind the name, depending upon where you live. It’s why Chip Rogers stayed in office, why Cynthia McKinney kept getting sent back to Washington, and why we elected a man governor who had been listed as one of the 10 most corrupt members of congress (and given today’s congress, that’s really saying something!!)

Pride and Joy

January 4th, 2013
10:22 am

Maureen and I have something in common “This confirms my lifelong practice — hated by my children — of parking as far from the store as possible to get a bit of walking.”
I do this as well. I park away from other cars but under a light if it is in the evening.