District “Doesn’t Have Time” To Discuss Student Discipline

Wardynski

A Huntsville City Schools spokesman said they didn’t have time in their schedule to comment about the disciplinary report numbers and arrest numbers.

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?

Boo.

 
Russell
"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.

13 Comments

  1. Has anything been done to the Pinnacle security guard who abused the students? I know if any employee from HCS had abused any students like that, it would have hit national news! I am totally disgusted at how the board continues to “sweep wrong doings under the rug” in order to make the big “W”look good. However, maybe they don’t want the public to know how incompetent they really are!

  2. Before you run to far with the idea that the Pinnacle Security guard did what was said I suggest you look at the home life of the young man. A history exists with his family and DHR. That will be all I can say for now.

    1. That there were at least two boys with similar enough injuries that a nurse at the ER commented on hearing that the second boy had been beaten at Pinnacle that she had tended to another boy who had also been beaten there suggests that whatever has happened with the family in the past of one of the kids is irrelevant.

      It seems highly unlikely that two families beat their kids in the exact same manner despite having no connection with one another besides their kids being taken to discipline room at Pinnacle, doesn’t it?

      And would you not expect Pinnacle to have CCTV throughout its facility? I would. And thus if the accusations could be easily proven false by reviewing the tapes, why weren’t they immediately shown to be just that?

      Finally, it doesn’t follow that because a kid has been abused at home in the past — which is what you seem to be implying — that it is impossible or even unlikely that he could be abused out of his home as well.

  3. True, I understand how difficult these students are…but the security guard HAD NO RIGHT to beat that child. What if it had been your child?

  4. The bottom line is that at the end of the day every school in Huntsville City is unsafe. Teachers and staff are crazy and students are growing more and more worse in terms of behavior. For instance Huntsville High School is a problem waiting to happen. I see it everyday. These admins have no clue about how to keep these kids safe. And how can you its 1700-1800 kids in here. I’ve heard from several teachers that dr. w does want to limit referrals which equals to more problems for teachers. He is an idiot who has screwed me and my family before and is about as bad a leader as you can get.

  5. What Wardynski claimed earlier is odd. Look carefully at this: “The first twenty days of school, uh, last year compared with the first twenty days of school this year for Out Of School Suspension, last year, the system as a whole had 510 days of out of school suspension, and this year we have 201. For In School Suspensions last year the first twenty days we had 431 as a system. This year we have 215, which is about 50% decrease.”

    He is not comparing numbers of suspension in fall 2011 to number of suspensions in fall 2012.

    He is comparing DAYS of out/in school suspensions.

    To achieve a 50% drop in DAYS is easy — just half the time of the suspension.

    Say you had an offense that carried a 2-day suspension in 2011, and you had 50 cases of this offense. 50 suspensions x 2 days = 100 days.

    Now assign that same offense a 1-day suspension instead in 2012. You still have 50 cases, but 50 cases x 1 day = 50 days.

    Just like magic, you have reduced the number of DAYS of suspension by 50%

    But as far as discipline and safety are concerned, nothing has changed — or at least not for the better.

    If what once carried a 2-day suspension now carries a 1-day, then in theory the deterrence effect of suspension would be compromised (and if it has no deterrence effect, why bother?).

    All speculation of course, since facts needed to compare offenses and penalties case-by-case for the two years are not available nor are they forthcoming.

    1. Don’t forget that last year’s “Freshman Friday” events at Huntsville and Grissom High Schools netted the other 200+ out of school suspensions. Those were unusual events that were way outside the norm and got an unusual level of response under a newly installed military superintendent. His comments use that aberration in the usual pattern to portray improvement.

  6. My point was we simply don’t have all the facts. Lets not damn a man before we have all the details. Something happened. The marks in the picture show that. What exactly happened and we can only speculate. If the gentlemen is at fault then he should pay the price. To the person that mentioned camera I would also expect that they would have them but for no other reason but security.

    1. I knew it was just a matter of time before the good name and character of the victm was going to be drug through the mud as a weapon of mass distraction from the real issue, and to send a clear message to other silence other victims.

      1. I’m with you Redeye, and how can we be damning an un-named guard?

        The accusers have been willing to be named. If the guard is being railroaded, why doesn’t he fight back?

        The camera are needed for security — Concerned Dad, you are right there — but not just to protect the owners. They are needed to protect the kids. Or they should be considered as needed to protect the kids. Why would I not be one bit surprised to learn that the cameras weren’t working that day. . . we’ll see.

        Maybe.

        Actually, since it’s the rich and powerful Lees vs. a kid whose family hasn’t managed to stay off DHR’s books, I won’t be at all surprised if the whole matter mysteriously vanishes in the same way that the Lee brothers’ bust for trafficking didn’t rate a mention in the Times or al.com at the time, when the same week a burglary of some utensils at a Chinese restaurant was deemed newsworthy.

  7. I was told later one child was from a documented abusive home environment. I however, obtained information from a very reliable source the incidents did occur at Pinnacle and there are several children involved. Families and agencies are attempting to protect the children. It is apparent HCS and Pinnacle neglected they duties. Concerned Dad I have to say in this case this incident is true and the identies are silent to protect the innocent.

    1. Just because one child was “from a documented abusive home environment” doesn’t mean they should be abused at Pinnacle or any other place.

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