Freire Head of School Violated School’s Own Zero Tolerance Policy Today By Having A Rage Attack Against Protesters **UPDATED**

A few months back I put a post up about how many Brandywine residents are up in arms over the new Freire Charter School location.  Today some peaceful protesters decided to, you know, protest some more.  Apparently the head of school was in the area and got rather physical with them.  Please keep in mind several of the protesters were women and some were African-American.

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After calling the protesters racist, Freire Charter School of Wilmington Head of School William Porter charged the protesters, yelling and screaming.  Startled, one of the women almost fell to the ground.  It is unknown if she had any injuries, but five Wilmington police cars showed up at the scene, and the protesters were allowed to continue.

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The irony of a zero tolerance charter school and the Head of School going after a woman is just too crazy.  Freire Charter Schools are based on the beliefs of Paulo Freire.  A noted Marxist, Freire Charter School of Wilmington has this on their website about Paulo:

Who is Paulo Freire?

So, why a name so unique? While our name might be often mispronounced (we say Free-air-ee), we selected it because the educator, Paulo Freire, is a philosopher whose ideas inspired us to be a different kind of school. Paulo Freire believed in the value of a classical education (liberal arts and sciences) yet argued that most schools failed to provide such learning in an effective manner. In his mind, most schools instead promoted the values of the dominant class, creating a “culture of silence” where underserved individuals were deprived the means to think critically about their place in the world.

Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator and theorist who wrote several influential books, most notably Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Though he is most known for his progressive theories in this book, Freire spent much of his early life working on literacy with peasant farmers in Brazil. His dedication to provide the underserved with the necessary tools to reach liberation is his legacy.

Along with his contemporaries, like John Dewey, Freire pushed teachers and administrators to reconsider their role in learning. Are students vessels, needing only to be passively filled with facts and numbers to achieve competency? Or, are they active participants in a process built on equality, diversity, and critical thought? It was, and is, novel to consider students as learners and teachers.

At Freire Charter School, we believe students have much to learn and experience but, also, much to teach – to each other and our educators. This growth begins in the classroom and continues through the hallways and into our community. The students of Freire Wilmington carry the responsibility of their scholarship along with administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents. We believe this holistic approach, which values autonomy, equity, and community, honors the legacy of Paulo Freire.

I’m sure these peaceful protesters really loved Porter’s “holistic” approach.  So how did Freire even come to Wilmington?  That is a story in itself.  Apparently their backers bring with them millions of dollars in support.  And none other than Governor Jack Markell insisted they come to Wilmington.  Yes, this is the kind of school Delaware needs, one where they can’t even practice what they preach.  So does this mean that the school will enforce it’s zero tolerance policy on Porter?  One strike, and you’re out!  We shall see how this plays out…  Meanwhile, I’m sure Paulo is rolling around in his grave…

The Delaware State Board of Education just approved the school’s modification request to lower their enrollment minimum and to remove the specific interest of a zero tolerance school.  And yet, parents are required to sign the zero tolerance policy if they send their kids there.  Sounds like a lot of potential here… for a lawsuit!

In the meantime, here’s 10 Things To Know about this school, straight from their website.  I’m sure civil rights attorneys will be keeping a very close eye on this school!

Ten Things to Know About Freire Charter School Wilmington

1) Freire Wilmington serves any and all 8th-12th grade students in the City of Wilmington and surrounding suburbs. Where there are too many students and not enough spaces, Freire uses a random lottery system to determine enrollment. We do not discriminate based on race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, academic ability – or anything whatsoever.

2) The students who succeed at Freire are the ones who take action to help themselves, who see a bright future for themselves, and who are willing to do whatever it takes (i.e. long nights of homework; studying on the weekends; going to the library on a sunny day) to get the best high school education out there.

3) We mean what we say at Freire. Perhaps other schools tell you that if you break their code of conduct there will be consequences. But then when it comes right down to it, many of these schools do not enforce their rules. At Freire, we enforce everything we say. Honestly. We do what we say we are going to do. And we expect you to do the same.

4) We are a 100% nonviolent school. Safety is our first priority. If a student acts violently – whether in words or in actions- to anyone at school or on the DART bus OR ANYWHERE – he or she will be expelled. There are no second chances. Our second priority is helping students learn to resolve conflicts peacefully and without violence.

5) Freire is for students who plan to go to college. Do not send your child to Freire if college is not in the future plan. Your sons and daughters will not be happy at Freire if they want to do something other than college after high school.

6) Remaining a student at Freire takes hard work, courage, honesty, and constant determination every day. Getting into Freire means getting a space through our lottery. That’s the easy part. The hard part is staying at Freire. We guarantee there will be challenges at Freire, and we will ask community members to do things they think are beyond their abilities. Those who succeed at Freire are the ones who never stop trying, and who are willing to work as hard as it takes to achieve excellence. No excuses.

7) Freire teachers and staff are some of the most talented, dedicated and caring in the country. These professionals come to Freire to serve students and families to the best extent ever imagined in a school.

8) Parents/Guardians must be involved and must participate in their child’s education with us as equal partners. We will expect and demand this of all our families. Freire students need support, family involvement and encouragement every step of the way through high school.

9) Learning at Freire is painful and joyous, hard and exciting. And learning happens everywhere – in classrooms, on school trips, at internships, on athletic fields, using the internet, planning the school dance, eating healthy food before school, and doing homework at night.

10) Freire is a place to take risks, dream big, and then work hard every day to meet  those dreams head on. We strive for excellence in our community every minute of  every day. Freire is a school for those who want to do and be their best all the time.

To read more about this charter school that has only managed to enroll 105 students, please go here: http://freirewilmington.org/

24 thoughts on “Freire Head of School Violated School’s Own Zero Tolerance Policy Today By Having A Rage Attack Against Protesters **UPDATED**

  1. I took this quote directly from the Freire School website, “We will think before we act in order to make smarter decisions for ourselves and our school.”

    I wonder what William Porter was THINKING when he ACTING like a bully???

    I’ll say this much, Delaware issues gun permits. If that old lady had a pistol and a permit, she could have used deadly force if she felt her life was endangered. From the sound of Porter’s irrational behavior, it seems like she may have been in real danger.

    I’d double dog dare that sonofabitch to charge at me yelling and screaming like a mental midget. Of course, I have a JOB, so I don’t have time to protest anything. True dat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This type of “bullying” style of leadership has been going on for a quite a while in many of our state’s charter schools. Fear of losing your job is powerful, particularly when one speaks up about unethical and even illegal actions. It is often not worth the risk to speak up. This is just one of the many reasons charter schools do not welcome the idea of their teachers joining DSEA, even though their teachers have that right.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is easy to disparage Charter Schools. They are incompetent, mis-run, and disasters in the making for all attending children. But when you glimpse the psychology behind its leaders as one readily does in this case, it turns, and all must realize that Charter personnel are psychologically unfit to have anything to do with children.

    Shall we remind ourselves at what happened at say….. Tower Hill?

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  4. Wow. They don’t even have enough students for a principal unit, correct? How can they open? I mean…I know they can spend funds flexibly as they wish but, what will be lost?

    I might have defended this school leader’s intentions at some point since his arrival. But that was before I saw his behavior at an Council EYF meeting at which he was making a presentation on the school. After his presentation, he stepped out to take a call and hold a side conversation with a legislator. He didn’t stay to hear the discussion of a resolution supporting a charter moratorium that was being voted out of committee, or take the given opportunity to make a public comment about it. What he did do was, after adjournment, return to the hearing room and glibly approach the council people (all miniorities) on the dais to tell them why it was the wrong thing to do and what they *should* be doing. He didn’t relent despite the committee chair being absolutely clear in his well-composed position that he was not anti-charter (having his own child enrolled in one) but opposed aspects of the system which prevented city residents from developing educational opportunities as they see fit, rather than having their needs assumed by outside opportunists. His words fell on deaf, condescending and disrespectful ears.

    Knowing two of the older, female protesters pretty well and comparing what I know if them to my experiences of Mr. Porter, the ladies would not be the ones I would suspect of race-based prejudice first. Just saying.

    Further, I’m appalled by a school whose whole mission amounts to, “If you can’t make it here, that’s your problem.” But I am sure it sounds wonderful to parents who think it keeps their kid clear of “the riff-raff” in traditional environments. May they continue to be blessed with children who are never labeled as such in an effort not to serve them.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. So basically we have another publicly funded private school… that gets to make its own rules, quickly expel any problem students, and then tout their ‘record’ of academic success… And unfortunately, this is what our DEMOCRAT governor wants… Sad… Of course, many are getting wise to these ways and have spoken up… Hopefully they don’t even get to open up the doors. This act in and of itself is reason to revoke them. Shameful.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Where did you get the 105 enrollment number from? Freire specifically hasn’t released this information yet. Direct quote from this article (http://www.wdde.org/74562-charter-schools-coming-state-face-varied-challenges):

    “Neither Freire nor Design Lab would provide interim enrollment numbers, and officials at both schools, like Childs at Delaware Met, expressed concern that so many families were waiting for the choice program deadline to make their decisions.”

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  7. I just wanted to point out the absolute offensiveness of having a “zero tolerance policy” at a school using the name “Paulo Freire.” Do we really expect more from a person who apparently is leading a school on the very idea of hypocrisy? I’m sure that even with all his corporatist support and funding, he still feels he is “the oppressed” one.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, it is crazy that Freire Head of School, Bill Porter, attacked a group of elderly protesters. Because it isn’t true. Your reporting of Saturday’s event is riddled with inaccuracies which does nothing to illuminate the issue or further each side’s understanding of the other.

    Where do you get your information?

    Mr. Porter didn’t happen “to be in the area”–he was at the school welcoming prospective students and their parents at an open house. These residents protested a children’s event. Does anyone think that’s ok?

    Non-violence doesn’t mean that one can’t be angry, which I’m sure Mr. Porter was. I’ve been in the three neighborhood meetings that Mr. Porter and Ms. Davenport attended and they have remained calm, courteous and respectful when being verbally assaulted for over an hour by the residents.

    With students and their families all around, it’s inconceivable that he would be in a fit of rage or cause a senior citizen to fall to the ground. In fact, the senior citizen in question has set the record straight on her Facebook page saying that she lost her balance but did not hit the ground and admitting that she has balance issues. Further, she says that Mr. Porter never touched her.

    Where is your information coming from?

    You are right that the police were called. You failed to mention that Bill Porter himself called them to keep the protesters from blocking the driveway so the school’s guests could enter the event.

    Another inaccuracy is that there were three protesters. In fact, there were 7-8. Not three. Not that it matters because it’s such a laughably small number that no one could consider the group to represent the feelings of the entire neighborhood.

    Really, what is your source?

    Half truths taken out of context and pawned off as “facts” is what has plagued this debate from the beginning and kept it from being a dialog. Congratulations on keeping the polarity.

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    • I got my information from MULTIPLE sources who were present at the event. And I will add for the record that the woman who lost her balance (which I will correct) is not “elderly” as I previously reported (which I will correct). However, on that same Facebook post, she stated she was “yelled at and jostled as he tried to take my signs”. What kind of peaceful man would yell at a woman and try to take signs away? Does his perceived righteous anger give him permission to do that in front of prospective children and parents? It sounds like you are trying to make excuses for this man and I would have to wonder why…

      Once again, you downplay the number of protestors as representatives of the whole neighborhood in opposition to this school’s location. But they were the only ones actually in attendance that day. I believe more than 100 people out of the more than 200 signed this petition. So let’s not downplay this, okay?

      Liked by 1 person

    • The person who wrote this comment wasn’t there, I was. And I was the victim of both the physicaland verbal part of the attack. Two others there also received the verbal side of the attack. Mr. Porter called police after his attack because he thought the public sidewalk and State Park “belongs to Herules.” Where you got the number 8, I don’t know. The next day thee were 10 protesters. Mr. Porter was not there. Facts matter!

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  9. Your sources are other protesters? Very fair and balanced reporting.

    As for the petition, it’s from November and only shows that the signers opposed the site for a school until a traffic study was done. It’s old and moot. RIP already.

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    • And yet you have failed to answer my question: What is your connection and why are so rigorously defending Mr. Porter. Were you there that day? Do you agree with this school’s policies which have civil rights violations written all over them? Was this traffic study enough to assuage the bulk of the petition signers concerns? If you want to talk about fair and balanced, let’s do that. But don’t come on here only giving parts of the whole article and cherry-picking what suits you. This isn’t FOX news.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The petition was signed in December through mid-January. 118 signed. At your request, neighbors were asked if they wanted their names removed. You and four others did. Then, five others added their names. Back to 118 signers. 40 or 50 neighbors were at a 3-9-15 Public Hearing . 20 spoke against Freire. Only one spoke for: Freire’s CEO — no parents, no Board members, and not you!

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  10. I am correcting your account of what happened. I said my opinion of the Freire administrators is based on their interactions at hostile neighborhood meetings. I voiced my opinion on the petition past usefulness to the neighborhood and frankly am tired of it being dragged out to justify anything. I don’t intend to be dragged into a rhetorical debate here but I do appreciate your posting my comments. Thank you. Feel free to have the last word.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Bill Porter Removed As Head of School For Freire Charter School in Wilmington | Exceptional Delaware

  12. Pingback: Midtown Brandywine Neighborhood Association Lawyers Up To Stop Freire Charter School From Opening!!! | Exceptional Delaware

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