» Testimonials /site Tue, 12 Mar 2013 17:28:11 +0000 en hourly 1 HATS OFF TO BETTY BURNEY /site/2009/07/betty-burney-honored/ /site/2009/07/betty-burney-honored/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2009 05:15:06 +0000 Admin /site/?p=159

As I was reading a bulletin on MySpace titled “Ribault’s School Grade ’06-’07 is …,” I noticed that several students noted how “nice” and “involved” School Board member Betty Burney is. It amazes me that my peers keep track of elected officials who represent our schools.

I’m impressed with Burney because she wrote If these Chains Could Talk. I’m sure this book has inspired many youth throughout Jacksonville. I was thrilled to hear that eighth-graders in Duval County would receive a free copy of this book.

Burney, along with State Sen. Tony Hill, has proposed a new mentoring program for young black males.

Also, she has shown her commitment to incarcerated youth in Duval County by serving as a volunteer motivational mentor at the jail.

She recently attended the Boys 2Men retreat at the Main Library. Also, she has attended several community meetings and school events at the various schools she represents throughout the school year.

This is the definition of what a School Board member is and should be.

Hats off to Burney for being an outstanding and involved School Board member.

BRADFORD HALL, Ribault High School, Jacksonville


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THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN /site/2009/07/thumbs-up-thumbs-down/ /site/2009/07/thumbs-up-thumbs-down/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2009 04:29:28 +0000 Admin /site/?p=134 WJXT Editorial by John Rafferty, Aired December 8, 2006

It is time for some Thumbs Up and some Thumbs Down.Thumbs Down to the crooks who are stealing holiday decorations. Talk about modern day grinches…get a life. But Thumbs Up to efforts by the Duval County Schoolboard to punish parents who habitually drop their kids off at school late or pick them up early, because it “fits their schedule”. Administrators are trying to crack down on these problem parents. And Thumbs Up to School board member Betty Burney, who is trying to get an important “anti-crime” message out to our children. She has written a book called, “If These Chains Could Talk”, which contains letters written by juvenile offenders warning others of the consequences of getting in trouble. The goal is to have 10,000 copies printed to use in Duval County middle schools.


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AN INTENSIVE READING COURSE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS /site/2009/07/intensive-reading/ /site/2009/07/intensive-reading/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2009 17:07:56 +0000 Admin /site/?p=42 Betty’s book is the hottest read in our classroom libraries. If These Chains Could Talk is real and relevant to the students served by the STRIVE program, an intensive reading course for high school students. The stories are thought provoking and allow students to peek into the world of students who have made bad decisions in life.

The STRIVE motto is, “Think, Create, Share,” and after reading Mrs. Burney’s book, students created multimedia projects to share the issues with their peers. Students in other classes observed the presentations and the excitement spread throughout the schools. Teachers from other classes started to request copies of If These Chains Could Talk for their classrooms.

Simply put, If These Chains Could Talk is engaging and motivating. This book is a “must have” for any secondary teacher.


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TALKING CHAINS FOR CLINICAL THERAPY /site/2009/07/how-talking-chains/ /site/2009/07/how-talking-chains/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2009 02:52:51 +0000 Admin /site/?p=37

Good morning Mrs. Burney,

I am Andrea Ashby, (Wilma & Alfred Austin’s daughter).  I, along with Patricia Mays, am working with the Student Option for Success Program (S.O.S.) at Raines High School.  We meet in the evenings with primary and secondary students who have repeatedly violated the Student Code of Conduct.  Their parents choose to bring their children to the 6-session S.O.S. program rather than enrolling them in an alternative school. (The parents must attend each session with their child.)

We discuss making positive choices in an interactive group setting.  Your book, “If These Chains Could Talk” is absolutely perfect for these youth because all of them deal with the same issues as the inmates.  I have only been working with the program for a month; however, I feel that it would be more helpful to incorporate passages from your book with our lessons.  Therefore, I would like to know how I may purchase more copies of the book.  Also, since our program continuously rotates and new students enroll at various times throughout the school year, I would like to know if I may have permission to copy one or two pages of your book.  I would like to offer handouts for the students to keep as a reference.
Thank you for all you have done for our children, including contributing to the success of myself and AJ.
Andrea M.  Ashby, School Psychologist
Duval County Public Schools
EE/SS K-8 West Cluster – #75A
(904) 693-7942


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THE SOCIAL STATUS OF BLACK MEN AND WOMEN /site/2009/07/the-social-status-of-black-men-and-women/ /site/2009/07/the-social-status-of-black-men-and-women/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2009 02:36:39 +0000 Admin /site/?p=32 The pipeline begins at birth. All children need to be raised in enriching, nurturing, healthful, and cognitively stimulating environments from birth in order for them to develop to their maximum potential. Investing in quality ECE for young black male children will help to ensure that they enter the pipeline to higher education and the work force.

February 11, 2008

Dr. Billy Close, Chair
Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men & Boys
Bureau of Criminal Justice Programs
Office of the Attorney General
PL-01 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL  32399-1050

Dear Dr. Close:

I’m so glad that Betty Burney, author of the book, “If These Chains Could Talk,” decided to give voice to the harsh realities young men face when choosing to engage in criminal behavior. Last week, I had the opportunity to read the book. I wish that I could say that I picked it up out of interest or because I was using it for research. No. I read the book because my 14-year-old son was given it by his school’s Hearing Officer after being suspended from school and sent to an alternative school for 45 days.

I am the father of six school-aged children and I can tell you that I have relied on many people, experiences, and organizations to help me teach my children the importance of education and good behavior. But very few things have moved me the way Mrs. Burney’s book has. In the most realistic manner, the book highlighted the harsh realities children face when choosing to engage in criminal behavior. It also offered some straight-forward, “off-the-chain” advice for parents that spoke directly to me about things I failed to realize and understand. There is no job that is more important (or more difficult) than providing my children with the tools and the opportunities they need to be successful citizens.

It is my understanding that the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men & Boys is an organization that is striving to help communities improve the conditions for Black men and boys. As a Black man who works every day to ensure that I serve as a positive role model to my children, I can tell you that your work in “promoting an environment that is conducive to productivity, success, and excellence for Black men and boys throughout the state” is very important. Like me, you will also benefit from many of the lessons the young men offered in the book, If These Chains Could Talk. Please read the book and share it with the persons you strive to reach each day. You won’t be sorry; I sure wasn’t.


Ronald B. Hobbs

(904) 607-8465


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ADDRESSING THE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS /site/2009/07/addressing-the-mental-health-crisis/ /site/2009/07/addressing-the-mental-health-crisis/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2009 02:21:00 +0000 Admin /site/?p=26 63% of all children entering juvenile detention facilities are African American. Please review the testimonial below about how my book addresses the mental health issues affecting our youth.

Ms. Burney,

Hello! I am a subcontracted counselor with DJJ – I recently read your book, “If These Chains Could Talk”. I was informed of it by one of the kids in my group for juvenile felons and delinquents (although I hate that word!). Thank you for your words – we have been reading it in group and the young men are sometimes visibly shaken from hearing the letters – some of them lived that life.

Again, thank you and also for your service to our community!

Angela Atkins, M.Ed.

Mental Health Counselor Intern


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