In the past 51 days of school, Huntsville Police Department School Resource Officers have made a total of 81 arrests according to a report yesterday, and updated today, on WAFF. While HPD Sgt. Bates states that this number is “pretty consistent with the first few months of school,” this number is twice as high as the reported arrests in the Birmingham district over the same period of time. (Birmingham has about 2,000 more students than Huntsville and has had a total of 39 arrests of students in school over the same period. Perhaps we should have begged the state to take over our schools, too. They seem to be doing a better job in Birmingham than our board is here.)
Propagandizing Student Discipline Problems
On September 20, 2012, Dr. Wardynski had Judy Rushton, the director of Pupil Services offer a report in support of the new digital initiative claiming that principals were saying to him, “Dr. Wardynski, we don’t have any discipline problems, anymore.”
Ms. Rushton went on to claim that for the first 20 days of school that the district’s in school suspension and out of school suspension rate had been cut by approximately 56% when compared to last year. She made no mention of the number of arrests made during that time.
Dr. Wardynski then went on to explain:
And I asked the principals why that would be. Three of them volunteered, right off the bat, the students are engaged. They are now engaged, and uh, we don’t have discipline problems anymore. That’s what we expected to see. What drove us in this direction was Project RED study which was done nationally, 2,000 observations across schools, school systems. And the key findings are when you take this [digital conversion] approach, not just one to one technology, but content, professional development, leadership, uh, the key pieces have to be in place, uh, the things you’re going to see, uh, dramatic decrease in student discipline problems, dramatic increases in student achievement.
In other words, he was specifically using the “dramatic decrease in student discipline problems” to support his unplanned and poorly implemented digital initiative that even has the Secretary of Education talking.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
As I pointed out about a month ago, it’s fairly easy to show a dramatic decrease in student discipline problems when you control the reporting of incidents.
And that is exactly what Dr. Wardynski and the district have done.
- He has hired consultants (despite falsely claiming that he hadn’t), who train teachers on the importance of reducing discipline referrals.
- He has engaged in a systematic attempt to blame the victim when someone is attacked and bullied while at school.
- He denies any responsibility, and the board ignores physical abuse of at least 5 Huntsville City School middle school students whom he placed at The Pinnacle Schools.
- And he has, as has been reported here and now on WAFF, “told all principals and teachers to change the way they report incidents to the district to manipulate discipline numbers.”
Putting Children At Risk
This man is systematically putting our children, your children, at risk so that he can brag that his digital conversion has resulted in a “dramatic decrease in student discipline problems.”
While he may control the teachers and principals in his schools through fear and intimidation, he does not control the Huntsville Police Department. He does not control their data and actions.
And their data unequivocally shows that there has not be a reduction in the number of student discipline problems as a result of the digital initiative. As Sargent Bates told WAFF, the 81 arrests is average:
“It’s pretty consistent with the first few months of school,” he said. “They haven’t spiked, they haven’t dropped. It’s right where we expected it to be.”
Arrests have not gone up. Arrests have not gone down. And they certainly haven’t been reduced by “nearly 60%” as Wardynski likes to claim.
So now we know that Dr. Wardynski has been manipulating the data to serve two purposes: to make himself look good and to make teachers jobs even harder so that record numbers of them quit or retire.
And The Board Ignores The Issues . . . Again
And still the board of education does nothing to address this problem. They do nothing, absolutely nothing (there has been no mention of the abuse at Pinnacle by the board at all), to hold Dr. Wardynski accountable. (Funny, over a year ago, I wrote a post asking for the same board to hold Dr. Moore accountable for her illegal plan to segregate special education children across our district. They didn’t hold her accountable for her actions. They’re not holding Wardynski accountable for his actions. I think we’ve found the problem.)
A Paucity of Leadership
Dr. Wardynski likes to call himself a strong leader.
Strong leaders don’t blame the victim.
Strong leaders don’t use fear and intimidation to run off amazing teachers.
Strong leaders don’t manipulate data to make themselves look better.
What a shame that he has no idea what leadership actually is.
Maybe then we would have someone who wouldn’t run from the press and parents who ask questions by claiming we don’t “have time in [our] schedule to comment.”
Strong leaders don’t run and hide like a frightened bully when those he has been abusing stand up to him and say, “Enough.”
If you want to be a part of a group that is working hard to stand up to bullying in our schools, please go like S.O.S. – Support Our Students and volunteer to help get the word out. When we work together, we can change the world. Changing this school system is easy by comparison. Especially when it’s being led by someone who is scared to answer questions. But then I guess tonight is Halloween.
Hey, Dr. Wardynski?