There will be a peaceful demonstration tomorrow (Monday, October 1, 2012) from 11:00am – 1:00pm outside of the Merts building at 200 White Street, N. to end the superintendent’s and the board of education’s disregard of student safety issues in our schools. On Thursday, September 20th, three days after a 15 year old girl was assaulted in a bathroom at Butler High School, Dr. Wardynski claimed that principals were telling him that they “don’t have any discipline problems” as a result of his decision to incorporate laptops into the classrooms. As I pointed out on Friday, it’s amazingly easy to reduce both in school and out of school suspensions when you refuse to allow incidents to be reported.
Teachers’ Reports on Student Safety Aren’t Being Submitted
Just today I had a conversation with a former employee of the district who reported to the office nearly 200 separate Class I, II, and III to his principal’s office last year. At the end of the year when he checked on the status of those reports basically 10% of the referrals had actually been reported to the central office.
This year they’re reporting even less.
Please don’t misunderstand: there are times when things get reported because the teacher and the administration are following the letter of the law. Most of us find the suspension of a six-year old for sexual harassment for singing “Sexy and I Know It,” (which occurred in Wardynski’s (and Cooper’s and Spinelli’s) old stomping ground of Aurora, Colorado) to be an extreme example of a school following the letter of the law unnecessarily.
But when a teacher is punched in the mouth by a student, and nothing happens to that student, then we know we have a problem.
Following The Broad Academy Playbook
In this area, Dr. Wardynski seems to be following standard Broad Academy procedures of creating a hostile working environment for teachers. Another Broad Academy Superintendent was accused of creating an atmosphere that lacked discipline. “Administrators were reluctant to suspend or expel disruptive students.”
It would be extremely interesting to compare incidents reported by teachers to those actually submitted to the district’s Pupil Services office, wouldn’t it?
I’d bet, however, that like times when I’ve asked for a report on how many TFAers were being hired this year and where they were being placed that a report showing incidents reported by teachers and those passed on by principals would be somewhere around the 10% average. Anyone want to take that bet?
Didn’t think so.
And this year they’re reporting about 50% less.
Putting Kids At Risk For PR
It makes for nice propaganda for the corporate (Pearson) handlers to put on their website, and for “research” like Project RED to report in their non-peer reviewed “studies” that show how computers are the new cure-all.
The superintendent is regularly putting all of our students at risk in order to promote his political/corporate agenda.
Think it won’t happen to your child? I certainly hope it won’t but if it happens to one child, it can happen to any child. He put Special Education children at risk a year ago, and then again this year.
Now he’s doing it to every child.
Breaking Alabama Administrative Code
Because safety doesn’t matter to him. If it did, he would have granted the transfer of the student from Butler immediately. If it did, once he did grant the transfer he wouldn’t have revealed which school she was being moved to in violation of Alabama Administrative Code 290-3-1-.02 (1) (e) 2 which reads:
A student who becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense committed on school property during school hours or at school-sponsored activities shall be given an opportunity to transfer to a safe public school within the LEA. The LEA shall notify the student’s parent/guardian of the right to transfer as soon as practicable, not to exceed ten (10) calendar days from the date of a final determination by the school board or its designee that a violent criminal offense has occurred.
The incident at Butler occurred on September 17th. The transfer was held up until September 28th or two days past the requirement of this code.
Again, if you think this can’t happen to your child at your school, take a look at the Student Incident Report from 2011-2012. This questionable report shows that incidents occurred at every school in the district except four.
In an environment where teachers are demoralized, overworked and exhausted; in an environment where principals are facing constant changes in staff and responsibilities; in an environment where the Superintendent is willing to put children at risk simply to make a public relations point:
EVERY CHILD IS AT RISK.
Tomorrow and Thursday are your opportunities to let the superintendent and the school board that you’re watching and that you’re not going to take it anymore.
Tomorrow a group of concerned parents and citizens are meeting at the Merts Building 200 White Street, N., Huntsville, AL. from 11:00am to 1:00pm come rain or shine.
Then on Thursday, October 4th at 5:30pm, we will be joined by students as we attend the school board meeting and speaking to the board directly.
If you would like to be placed on the list to speak, you must sign up to speak before the meeting starts. You may do so in two ways either by contacting the office of the Superintendent at 256-428-6810 and being asked to be placed on the Citizens’ Comments list. (Has anyone else noticed just how hard it is to get any actual contact information off the district’s website lately? Guess they don’t want you to call.) You will be asked your Name, the Group you represent, and the Purpose of your comments.
Alternately, you may simply show up for the meeting early (the doors typically open around 5:00pm), and sign in on the Citizens’ Comments sheet. That sheet is usually available in the hallway until about 5:15pm.
If there is any way you can join us tomorrow or Thursday, I would love to see you there as we stand up for our kids.