Charter School of Wilmington & Discrimination: Student Denied Due Process and Subject To Potential Profiling By Head Of School

When people think of the Charter School of Wilmington, they think about one of the highest-rated high schools in the state.  But beneath the shiny veneer, there is a very dark undertone that is pervasive throughout the school.   This became clear to a student who I will call Bill (to protect his identity), and his mother, Michelle (also protecting her identity).  Bill’s story is the part about Charter School of Wilmington nobody from the school will admit or own up to: a culture of superiority and class, with very few minorities other than Asians.  The very few minorities that are present at the school are few and far between compared to most Delaware schools.  For Bill, what happened to him could easily be seen as racial or even class profiling, or both.

Charter School of Wilmington has the following profiles for race: 63.7% White, 26.4% Asian, 6% African-American, 3.3% Hispanic/Latino, .4% American Indian and .3% Hawaiian.  For special education they have .2% of their students with an IEP, and no Early Language Learners in attendance.  In 2013-2014, no student was held back.  For those reading this, if you are not familiar with Wilmington, Delaware, it is a city with racial demographics as follows: 58% African-American, 32% White, 12% Hispanic/Latino, Below 1% for Asian, and Below 1% for Hawaiian.  So how does a charter school in Wilmington have such a vast difference in student populations compared to the population of the largest city in Delaware?

While some may call it cherry-picking, others call it enrollment preference, and with CSW, they add the extra layer of “specific interest” for their rigorous academic curriculum.  The school was named in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the local school district, Red Clay Consolidated School District, along with the Delaware Department of Education.

Bill belongs to one of the above minorities at CSW.  But you wouldn’t know it to look at him.  According to his mother Michelle, Bill looks as white as most of the students at the school.  What sets him apart is the fact that “he doesn’t fit the mold of the typical CSW student.”  He does not come from an affluent family, he lives downstate, he doesn’t comb his hair to the side, he drives a pick-up truck, and he doesn’t dress like his peers.  Michelle describes Bill as a young man who is very mechanical and always ready to fix something.  Bill is, however, a brilliant young man with a 3.2 grade point average, and he was already accepted to one of the state universities with a scholarship.  Bill’s mother also gave permission for me to tell Bill’s story.

On March 26th, 2015, everything changed for Bill.  What happened after to Bill was a denial of procedural due process and discrimination.  Bill’s mother received a call from the school that afternoon at 2:28 pm  to pick up Bill.  This is Michelle’s accounting of what happened:

 I received a call from Mr. Anderson stating I needed to pick up Bill.  He had been involved in incident at school (involving drugs). He would give me more information once I got to the school.

I met at school with Mr. Eddy, Bill and myself.  They had him in a back room off the main office where they store books etc. When I walked in he had his head down and was clearly upset.  Mr. Eddy explained what had happened.  Bill had been accused of selling marijuana to another student. All of his items including his gym bag, book bag and personal items were searched and his phone was confiscated.  His phone does not have a security code and many apps were opened that he did not open.  Bill was questioned from 1:40 until I was called.  I feel it was an extensive length of time based on the fact that he is 17 and no one who represented his best interest was present.  The other student that was caught selling/giving/dividing some of what he allegedly obtained from Bill and volunteered the information about Bill and showed him his text messages. He was told if he was honest it would go a long way.  I was told that Bill was suspended indefinitely and would have a meeting before the review board some within the next week.

Once we left CSW, Bill and I talked.  He said he was getting taped up for his lacrosse game.  He (Mr. Eddy) came to the trainer’s room and wanted to know where he had been?  He said he left class at 1:10 because he knew he had to get taped up before the game.  They told him he had to come with them.  Once he got upstairs he said they pulled the “good cop/bad cop” routine.  Mr. Paoli was screaming at him, telling him they got him now.  He was showing him a cell phone and reading messages dating back to October.  He also accused him of not just selling marijuana but pills also.  Bill kept saying he had no idea what they were talking about and Dr. Paoli stormed out of the room slamming the door.  Then Mr. Eddy started saying things like “we know Bill”, “another student told us” and “we have his phone and text messages”. It was at that point Bill said I want you to call my mom.  They said they would but now he needed to talk.  They sent someone to the locker room to get his phone.  He said around 2:15pm he asked again if anyone had called me and they said Mr. Anderson had and they were waiting on me to arrive however they continued to question him.  I am going to remind you the call to me was received at 2:28pm.

Bill was suspended for an entire week before a review meeting was to take place to go over the incident.  Michelle described the meeting as follows:

I received a call on Wednesday afternoon, April 1st, 2015, that a review meeting would be tomorrow April 2nd, 2015 at 11:00. Since I work for the district I requested an earlier or later time and was told that or 11:30 was all that was available.  It was too late to request a personal day so I had to call out Thursday April 2nd, 2015 to attend the review meeting.  Dr. Paoli sat outside of the room at his desk while we walked into the room.  The review board consisted of three teachers (Mr. Stella, Miss Volts, Mr. Messinger).  Mr. Stella was Bill’s 10th grade math teacher and Mr. Messinger was in charge of the ski trip, both are familiar with Bill.  Also present were Mr. Eddy, Bill and I.  Mr. Eddy wanted it on the record that although Bill’s phone had been confiscated, they never went through it.  Which I find unlikely based on the applications opened.  When we were finished he (Dr. Paoli) was still sitting at his desk.  Meeting was held from 11:15-11:52.  They thanked him for his honesty. They also seemed to understand that everyone makes mistakes and they would not judge him by this one mistake.  Mr. Eddy explained the board would make their recommendation and Dr. Paoli would have final say.

Michelle wrote about what happened in the next two weeks.

Thursday April 2nd, 2015, 3:00pm, received call from Mr. Eddy in reference to discipline.  Bill is not being expelled but would not be permitted back to campus.  His classes will be online and he would not be able to participate in any extracurricular activities, no lacrosse, clubs, prom etc.  The good news is he would graduate with a diploma from Charter.  When I asked about graduation he reiterated Bill would not be able to participate in any extracurricular activities.  However, graduation is not an extracurricular activity.  I explained that was not acceptable and requested a meeting with whomever the following week.

I was offered a meeting Thursday April 9th or Friday April 10th.  Neither of those was going to work because I was out of town Thursday and had a visit scheduled at U of D Friday.  I reached out to Mr. Eddy on Sunday April 12th, 2015 at 12:51.  I explained that although I was in agreement with him not being on campus or participating in extracurricular activities. I was not ok with Bill not walking at graduation, and since Dr. Paoli was the final decision, whom could I reach out too above Dr. Paoli?  He contacted me to say I needed to meet with Dr. Paoli again and would need to contact Susan Mussacchio at 651-2727 x 201.

Monday April 13, 2015- received call at 7:21am to meet with Dr. Paoli at 3:15pm today.  I am unsure why I am meeting with him since he is the overall deciding factor and he made the decision to not allow him to walk at graduation.  The reasons I feel he should be permitted to walk at graduation are as follows:

-Graduation is not an extracurricular activity
-If he was not expelled and is getting a high school diploma from Charter he should be able to participate in graduation with his classmates.
-He has met all of the State of Delaware, Board of Education requirements to graduate from a 4 year institution.
-While he understands and accepts full responsibility for his actions, by not allowing him back on campus, not participating in sports or prom, this is more than sufficient.
-In addition to penalizing him at this point, not allowing him to walk during graduation will penalize his entire family. 

Monday April 13, 2015 3:34pm- Met with Dr. Paoli and Mr. Eddy in the conference room. Dr. Paoli expressed his discontent that I had the audacity to question why Bill could not walk at graduation.  He had a copy of the student handbook which he assured me Bill had.  I explained I do not have Bill’s copy and the only online copy was from 2011-2012.  He read to me the section about “student caught selling drugs …… would be expelled”.  He felt the board and CSW had been very lenient because my son is, and I quote “a known drug dealer”.  I wanted to know, known by whom?  He said his own admission, text messages and drug money.  Drug money?  My son had $45 on him.  Text messages? Whose?  Because they said they didn’t look at his phone.  He also proceeded to tell me that if I didn’t accept, they would expel him and he would be out for 180 days, and this year would be a wash.  Maybe if another school would accept him he could graduate 2017, and because my son is a “known drug dealer” he is facing criminal charges.  According to him, the police were notified and if they have not notified me they will be.  I am trying to comprehend how I went before the review board and the focus was no longer on non-monetary restitution, but restoration.  Restoration of my son’s character and his reputation, the board agreed he is a good student and athlete.  They stated they would not let one incident dictate his four years at the school nor affect his future plans of attending U of D, mechanical engineering, and now today. I am again being told by Dr. Paoli that because my son is a known drug dealer and will have a criminal record his future is at stake.  All because I wanted to speak with whoever is above his head about Bill walking at graduation. 

Tuesday April 14th, 2015- approximately 9:30am.  I received a call from Devon Hynson (Education Voices). We discussed from the beginning what has transpired and he agreed to assist Bill and me.  As of this date I have not received any documentation or anything from CSW in writing advising me of the allegations and or disciplinary actions regarding the school, district or board level.

1:23pm- received a call from CSW, which I did not answer and no message was left.

4:57pm- received an email from Mr. Eddy explaining “he felt strongly about the board’s recommendation was fair” and asking me if I had made a decision.  He asked me to make a decision by Friday April 17th “so steps could be taken that were in the best interest of both Bill and CSW”.

At this point, Michelle reached out to Hugh Broomall, the Deputy superintendent at the Red Clay Consolidated School District.  Charter School of Wilmington is within the confines of Red Clay, and they were the charter authorizer for CSW.  She asked Broomall to see if he could intervene with CSW on this matter.  He agreed to reach out and see what he could do.  After he met with Dr. Paoli, Broomall told Michelle there was nothing Red Clay could do in this situation.  By talking to Broomall, Michelle did exactly what Paoli told her not to do, go above him.  But Michelle would not bow down to Paoli’s threat against her son.

Devon Hynson is an education advocate in Wilmington.  He’s helped many students in education matters, discipline matters and special education.  Hynson realized quickly that if Red Clay couldn’t do anything, he would file a complaint with the Delaware State Board of Education.  But something happened during this process that changed everything for Bill.  This can be read in the official Notice of Appeal which Hynson sent to the Delaware State Board of education on April 28th, 2015.  The original names in the document have been edited out for the purposes of this article and changed to Bill and Michelle.

I checked the state code for Delaware, and homebound instruction can be used in suspension or expulsion issues.

Oddly enough, Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy replied to the Notice of Appeal on May 5th, 2015, but the letterhead on the document was that of Teri Quinn Gray, PH. D, President (of the State Board of Education).

Scan0001

Scan0002

Based on the response by Secretary Murphy, Devon Hynson and Michelle have filed an official complaint with the State Board of Education, which was sent to them on May 13th, 2015

Scan0003

Scan0004

Scan0005

Dr. Sam Paoli has been the Head of School at Charter School of Wilmington for two years.  Michelle said the prior Head of School, Charles Baldwin, was very pleasant to deal with and found him to be a very compassionate person. She is unable to say the same about Dr. Paoli.  In speaking with Michelle, she added some other situations between Dr. Paoli and her son Bill.

Bill had a girlfriend at the school and they broke up.  Michelle was called to the school and it was explained to her that Bill was giving the ex-girlfriend a hard time and he could be expelled.  Michelle obtained Bill’s phone, went through all the messages, along with a print-out of the text charges to show no texts were deleted, and brought them back to the school.  She showed Dr. Paoli that it was the ex-girlfriend giving Bill a hard time, not the other way around.

Michelle also said whenever Bill drove his pick-up truck to school, he was not allowed to park it in the regular parking lot and had to use a parking lot away from the school to park his truck.  She explained Bill has received a rough time from Dr. Paoli the past two years, and feels he is targeted by him.  She is not sure why, other than the fact that Bill doesn’t fit in with the typical CSW student.  She has another son who has straight A’s.  He applied to CSW and was put on a wait list.  Michelle feels this was retaliation for Bill’s experiences at the school.  But she added that was okay, because she wouldn’t have to deal with Dr. Paoli ever again after this year.

All Michelle and Bill want is for Bill to walk at graduation.  He made a mistake, as the school pointed out, and Michelle believes he has paid the price.  While she doesn’t know the exact discipline of the other three students, she knows one was suspended like Bill and drugs were found in that student’s possession.  The other two are still on campus and one of them is not allowed to play lacrosse.  She was told by CSW that Bill is not allowed to have contact with any of the other students which Michelle found very puzzling.

She views Bill’s time at CSW under Dr. Paoli as an era of bullying and discrimination.  Not by other students, but by the Head of School.  She can’t understand why Bill seems to be hated so much by Dr. Paoli, she just wants her son to walk at graduation.  The next move is up to the Delaware State Board of Education.

In reviewing both the

Click to access csw-bylaws.pdf

and the

Click to access student-handbook-2014.pdf

for CSW, I see no mention of Due Process rights for a student or parent to appeal any decision made by the school against a student aside from the Review Board which must meet with the student or parent within 24-48 hours of a serious offense.  In Bill’s case, they did not meet for almost 7 calendar days.  Nor does it give any mention how CSW automatically reverts to Red Clay Consolidated School District for these types of actions.  In fact, there are no links to any Red Clay Consolidated policies anywhere on their website.  But in 16.7 in the Board of Director bylaws, it does state the Board, in carrying out it’s responsibilities, is accountable to the State of Delaware and the Red Clay Consolidated School District.  Since the President (Paoli), answers to the Board, and the Board answers to Red Clay and the State of Delaware, I’m pretty sure one of those two parties could make a determination on this issue.   Especially since Michelle has yet to receive anything in writing about the nature of the incident.  I’m pretty sure the responsibilities of the school and how they handle discipline issues should not include interrogations, threatening parents, and not misleading parents about school policies.

In the meantime, Bill will continue to stay home the next few weeks and hopefully he will be able to walk with his classmates at the Graduation ceremony on June 5th.  Either way, some will view Bill’s story as discrimination, whether it was his minority status or the lack of his looking like the CSW “model student perception”.

**Updated**10:04pm: Editor’s note: I did not write this story to condone Bill’s actions.  He made a mistake.  This is not a matter of debate.  He owned up to it, received his punishment, and is serving that punishment.  This story is about how the school handled it.  Like any regular court case, if due process is not followed, it is usually thrown out or a verdict of not guilty is rendered.  We can all rush to judgment very easily on Bill’s actions, but this is something I’m sure he is doing every day.  There is a history, both with Bill and with the school’s populace of a certain type of student that flies in the face of every single civil rights legislation.  Some may say the school was doing Bill a favor by not expelling him.  I tend to think, and this is just my opinion, that the school was covering their own reputation and did not want an expulsion showing up.  There was no evidence of any marijuana actually found on Bill, and two of the four boys involved have been reported to still be going to the school and are on campus.  These are the facts this story is delving into, not what Bill did.  Sadly, based on what Bill’s mother told me, there is a history of Bill having a target on him by Dr. Paoli.  In my eyes, these matters are the heart of this story.  I welcome debate on this issue, but if anyone names the student or leaves a trail of breadcrumbs that leads back to him, the comments will be deleted.

**Updated**5/20/15: I have received many comments on this from what I believe to be coming from CSW affiliated parents, staff, ex-students and pro-CSW supporters with some misleading information and slanted views.  All of which state my views are slanted.  This article is under severe moderation and has been the past few days.  My comments yesterday afternoon concerning this case have been deleted as they were inaccurate given the big picture of this story.  It’s not often where one of my articles becomes a part of the story, but it has happened in this case.  All views can be heard, but under a very close watch by yours truly.  Thank you.

68 thoughts on “Charter School of Wilmington & Discrimination: Student Denied Due Process and Subject To Potential Profiling By Head Of School

  1. Once again… Charter schools being given no accountability can do what ever they want.. Expel good students.. or steal money… No one looks over their shoulder… This should not be a surprise… IT IS IN THEIR CHARTER….. “You are a charter school: do what ever you want because no one cares.”

    Charter Schools have been around for 25 years… Now under close scrutiny we are finding they are nothing but businesses …. and they only benefit those who establish them… Not the students… Most student enrolled in charters are behind the eightball when compared to all public school students.

    It is way past time for charters to be eradicated and absorbed by the public school system… At they very least they should not be stealing money away from good schools to line the pockets of their wealthy benefactors while throwing every single child they enroll under the bus, and then backing across them twice to make sure they are dead… So at the least, they should be funded by line items in the state budget.

    But the real solution is to get rid of all charter schools NOW>….

    If they are sooooooooooooooooo great as Dave Sokola alledges how come all we hear about is the garbage they spew out? We never hear anything good from charters any more…. NEVER!!!!!

    So get rid of all charters now…. Call your representatives and demand that charters be eradicated for good…. and all that wealth of money they steal, be returned to the public educational system for the good of all..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know enough about charter schools as a whole but this is a completely ridiculous and biased claim against Charter School of Wilmington(CSW). First off, CSW is the best school in the state and it’s students win tons of awards and many go to top teir colleges so saying that nothing good comes from charter schools is idiotic. Secondly if he was caught selling drugs he should have been expelled, it doesn’t matter if he was a good student. And believe me, CSW does not get very much tax money and has very little resources and still produces great students year after year. I might not be a proponent of all charter school but a a huge proponent of this one and will argue for it any day.

      Like

      • “And believe me, CSW does not get very much tax money and has very little resources and still produces great students year after year.”

        Ha! What a LIE! All charter schools in Delaware get exactly the same per pupil funding as all public schools.

        Like

    • I don’t know where your extreme hate of charter schools comes from, but I believe that your views are misguided, especially those regarding the benefit to students.

      I attended the Charter School of Wilmington and it was the best move I ever made for college preparation, and overall learning environment. During the time I was there they received next-to-nothing funding from the state, but the teachers made do with outdated equipment, and run down facilities. They have proved time and time again to be the best school in the state, and usually rank in the top 50 nationally. Students who attend CSW are more likely to attend good universities, and do well in their programs, over those who go through the typical public school system in DE.

      All that said, Dr. Paoli was an ass, is an ass, and always will be an ass. He should never have been made head of the school.

      Like

      • I’m not saying it is not a good school. I just don’t think a school should be a good school because of their placement tests. By doing that, you are allowing your school to be great. Which is great if you are an NFL football team, but these are schools. For a school to be great, that means they are taking away from other schools, and getting the “best and brightest” based on a placement test. What invariably happens is the schools that lose these students get less funding (cause the charters take this portion of the local funding), students score less on “standardized tests”, they get unfairly punished, and more charters are created. This was NOT the original intent of charters in Delaware, and it has become something perverted, and far too many students in Delaware are affected by it. I have no doubt the CSW students get into the best colleges and all that. If CSW wants to become a private school, they can do whatever they want. But they are a PUBLIC school pretending to act like a private school. But we are seeing in Delaware that many charters don’t even know how to operate effectively at all. I’m not saying that’s the case with CSW, in fact, I have no doubt they run that place like a corporation. If they want to be called “Charter School of Wilmington”, it should be with students entirely from Wilmington, and all demographics. I do not hate charters. I hate some of the adults that run them that think they don’t have to follow the rules that all public schools do. Whether it is due process, special education or rampant spending on purchase cards. As much crap as I gave Family Foundations Academy when they went through their motions last Winter, I truly hope the new management and board gets it right. What I care about is the students, not the adults running them. And I’ll leave it at this, if Paoli wasn’t such an ass, I probably never would have been contacted to write this article. That’s something the board at CSW may want to consider…

        Like

      • What? Another former charter school student making the LIE that Wilmington Charter doesn’t get enough tax money. They get just as much per pupil funding as every other public school in the state.

        Like

  2. I think it is important to understand that procedural due process was not afforded to this student. If charter followed the state rules regarding discipline and expelled the student there would be no issues. However to harass, illegally search and bully students is unacceptable, illegal and certainly not consistent with what we expect from school leaders. In addition this student was not found in possession of any illegal substance and was punished consistent with the student that was ‘allegedly’ caught with the marijuana. Finally the school is required to report the incident within 48 hours and it took approximately 1 month. Not to mention charges were not pressed on any student nor was there discipline for any student until Education Voices got involved. The entire situation stinks to high heaven. If the student was wrong punish or give a consequence consistent with the student code of conduct, which by the way is deficient and border line illegal according to Delaware Title 14, and there’s no argument. Period. The school made a major mistake and now should be made to suffer their consequence which in this case is the student walking…

    Like

    • I agree Devon. There are so many red flags on the school’s part it isn’t even funny. At the end of the day, it’s about accountability and CSW thinks they walk on water and don’t have to follow any rules. Sounds a lot like a State Department we are all familiar with…

      Like

  3. Unbelievable. I am usually against the Charter Schools and although they are all administrative nightmares, this mother is a piece of work. Her son sells drugs as a part of ring in his school and is caught. They allow him to still graduate and she has an issue with that and continues to push the topic? Who exactly isn’t being accountable? She should have had him finish homebound, taken the piece of paper and brought him to picture people with a cap and gown and got pictures, then call it a day.

    If she had all of these other issues about parking, the girlfriend, etc. she should have gone above the Dr.’s head then, not begin crying discrimination after the fact. He IS a known drug dealer, and he should have been expelled, and he should have been turned into the police. I guess she should have taken her knocks and left it alone. She’ll win some monetary compensation because of technical violations, but they were after the fact of the crime being committed that he admitted to apparently and so did the mother. He deserves to go to trial for this, as do the other’s involved and let the courts decide how they will be punished.

    I wouldn’t be too quick to back this mother on this site, which is how it reads in your commentary. Why are you wasting your time. Is this student part of the “Exceptional Delaware” community?

    Like

  4. So are you also going to post the pictures of “Bill” on Twitter of him smoking dope, drinking beer, or giving to middle figure to the police? Just wondering.

    Like

    • It’s unbelievable because you’re bias and seemingly a member of the CSW community. Personally your entire statement is a misrepresentation because the child was not caught with anything. Another student was allegedly caught with drugs. In addition there were 3 other children who were allegedly involved but not in possession but the other 2 are still in school (white children might I add). Focus on the argument please and the facts at hand not your preconceived notions about this mother’s response to a crime that you presuppose was committed on the part of her son. One question if this narrative is correct should the school get a consequence for the cover up at least? Trying to cover up the data? What say you Del Mom?

      Liked by 1 person

        • eR I wish you were right about Bill being white unfortunately he may look it but he’s not. I also can agree that I am a piece of crap, spending my time fighting for children’s rights’, children that are not mine. In terms of race baiting unfortunately the bait was laid out for me to grab. Why not call me what you really wanna call black people your perceive are pieces of crap. I know you said it in your mind just say it out loud, on the blog, it’ll be liberating and you’ll get the blog communities’ applauds. Finally you’re upset with me for helping a child or siding with one, you’re defending adults. In my view you’re misguided and are acting despicably and are a border line coward, because you conceal your identity. Everyone knows Devon Hynson and just where to find em. I don’t honor your argument and name calling without the disclosure of your identity…

          Liked by 1 person

    • There’s no mention of middle fingers in the entire commentary eR. What makes you feel middle fingers were involved? Where were you taught that correlation? Btw I’ll personally post Bill’s pic standing next to me if you post your real name! 🙊#butthatwonthappen #talkinthedark

      Like

      • If only pictures could be posted here…. Look up “Bill” on Twitter and you won’t see the momma’s boy that is being portrayed here. He should have been expelled.

        Like

        • I appreciate your candor and disclosure of the fact that you judge children by there looks. My hope is that you’re not an educator. My goal now is to find out who you are because you are obviously very attached to this situation, CSW and are completely bias towards the school. I do not judge children by pictures. I think children should be afforded due process, no matter what school they attend…or color they are…or gender…or how they look…or social status. That did not happen in this case and CSW simultaneously broke the law. But your entire point is the boy is not an angel, my point is neither are the boys running this publicly funded private institution.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. The school should have documented “Bill’s” past incidents.
    The school also should have involved the police immediately–but such action seems to be something [Red Clay/Red Clay affiliated] schools are slow to do.

    That said, based on just this information presented, I have difficulty siding with the parent & student here. The family appears to have assigned an agreement with the school and were content with that agreement until they realized walking through graduation was off the table–even though it appears they signed off on that concession.

    Like

    • The parent only signed that she would accept the online classes. If you look at the agreement the line where she was supposed to sign is blank. She signed acknowledging receipt of the course work or they would not let the course begin. Not to mention this was the only option given. Is any possibility this kid was innocent? Remember he did not get caught with anything…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Possesion of any amount of marijuana near a delaware school is a felony. So is selling any amount of marijuana to a minor.

    The school could have easily expelled him, and put him up for criminal charges. That would have been “by the books.” Is that what this community would have wanted? A well documented process that turns a college bound senior into a highschool dropout facing felony drug charges?

    They were doing this kid a favor. 0 criminal charges. A basically undocumented disciplinary hearing. A perfectly normal diploma. He starts college with no record of this mistake and moves on with his life.

    Instead he’s going to make a stink over a photo op that not a single person on the planet will care about by the end of summer?

    Like

    • Where is the documentation that he had marijuana in his possession? Or an intent to sell? He has been ostracized by the school and other members of the school community. He cannot go to his prom, attend classes with his peers, or walk in his graduation ceremony. If ALL four of the kids involved got the same punishment, that would be one thing. But that is NOT the case as two of them are still attending school at CSW. Please explain the justice in that…

      Liked by 2 people

    • Wrong DelawareResident they pressed charges. Also he did not have Marijuana to the schools own admission. You want to justify this so bad you’re not even using reason and logic. Is this a nation of laws? Innocent til proven guilty? I guess only when you say so. ..

      Like

      • Yes. They pressed charges. After his mother went over the head of the principal. She strongly implies that these charges were retaliatory. Frankly, they probably were. The administration was being very kind to her son. She was being petty. She’s attempting to drag the adminstration into issues of racial segregation and Delaware school adminstration politics that had nothing to do with her drug dealing son.

        Ok sure. He did not “have marijuana.” He “had marijuana.” It was gone because he sold it. Which, again, is a felony. It was found on the person he sold it to. There is no legal requirement that you be caught physically holding the drugs. This is not a 4th grade arguement on Solipsism.

        Neither the author, the student, or the student’s mother have offered any serious assertion that he is “actually” innocent.

        The student confessed. His mom says he “accepts full responsibility for his actions.” The author says “he made a mistake. This is not a matter of debate.”

        The school has his confession, the collabating confessions of other students, the texts messages of other cooperating students outlining this and other drug deals going back “to October”, the drugs and the money. They could easily have even more evidence. Nowhere has anyone suggested that any exculpatory evidence exists. (Like an ATM record for a $45 withdrawl. ) No one is even attempting to offer an alternate narrative that explains the facts.

        He is, of course, entitled to insist he is innocent. But he isn’t entitled to a cushy deal where he walks with no charges and a highschool diploma.

        And he shouldn’t be surprised that when he brings in an advocate who attempts to accuse the people offering him this cushy deal of racism and get him off on technicalities and procedural violations that he find himself arguing these more technical points before the actual legal system instead.

        I honestly hope you all know what you are doing. Because it is hard for me to imagine this process yielding a better result for the student than what he started with.

        Like

        • I’m sorry, but can this discussion be an intelligent discussion without race being a factor? The drug dealing has nothing to do with your race, gender, height, weight, preference for breakfast or how much you like or dislike string beans. You see?

          Drug dealing to children is serious. Let’s keep it at that. The school should also be dealt with and investigated as to their procedures and adherence to our nation’s and state’s applicable laws.

          Stop muddying the waters to sensationalize or victimize the offender(s) or alleged offender(s).

          Like

  7. Here’s what say I. You don’t know the story with the other students, do you? And neither does this mother. You also don’t know what previous discipline has occurred other than the mother’s say so. Which I might ad she never pursued a complaint, so I can only assume she was o.k. with each at the time. He admitted to doing it and the mother accepted his admission. Now! What say you?

    Like

  8. devonhynson, you seem a bit too defensive. I wonder why? Like I said, I am NOT a fan of Charter Schools and I have seen then at their worst. Did they do everything right? Absolutely not. But STOP trying to shift to what everyone else did. That is a child’s argument. She’ll win because of technicalities. But her son does belong in a court room and facing prosecution to answer, as do he other children. Why didn’t the mother go o the police when her son admitted to dealing at school? How about that accountability? Now let her son face the music whether he is white, white, but really something else, Asian, black, purple, green, or blue.

    Like

    • Del Mom I cannot believe this is going over your head. I don’t care what they know it the ink they know or what your kids told you. I am concerned with the rule of law in this society. Which is constantly not applicable or expected when it comes to black or brown people. They should have followed the rules just like they’re expecting the student to….

      Like

      • Believe me devonhynson, it isn’t over my head, so the insult is inapplicable. I simply disagree with your opinion. I thought the article said the child looks white, but isn’t? Nothing about brown or black people as you so eloquently stated in your comment.
        What came first, the chicken or the egg? To simplify it for you, the egg is the student drug dealer, the chicken is the school and how they allegedly handled the situation. Because remember, the drug dealer admitted what the school accused him of doing. Dealing drugs.

        Like

        • Ok DelMom last try. I agree the student does not look black or brown. I should have stated the student is Hispanic and left out black people to not confuse matters. My point and knowing you are a reasonable person is that the adults have more responsibility to honor rules than the children do. If we are expecting and teaching kids to follow rules how much more are we obligated to do so. I guess I take it personal because I see the inequity everyday. There are 2 kids still in the building no consequence. This should be Bills fate also in my opinion. Either way my point with it not going over your head was to say I know you’re intelligent but it seems your emotions are over taking you in this one. Punish all (adults included) or none at all, is all!

          Like

  9. devonhynson, I would first like to say that the mom’s name is not redacted where she signed the consent for the online classes. Secondly, I agree that adults have more responsibility to honor rules than children but this child is a drug dealer by his own admission. The article states that the child found in possession of the substance had text messages dating back to October with Bill and that student is no longer at the school. There is no information above about what the other two children, who are still at the school, are accused of or did – dealing, buying , etc… so how do we know if the punishment fits the crime. DelMom is correct in where is the mom’s accountability? Her son admitted to the crime and the school was going to let him take online classes and leave with a diploma and a fresh start at college. She now has escalated this and for what .. to walk across a stage and a photo op? If this was my child, i would be thanking the school not crucifying them.

    Like

  10. It’s unfortunate that there appears to be unequal discipline (although there were not a lot of specifics about the other students’ actions) , but I believe that “Bill” got off pretty easy. Right in the student handbook, it says “The selling or dispensing of drugs to other students is a serious offense that results in expulsion and police notification.” The fact that the school is making an effort to preserve his reputation for college is a pretty good deal, in my opinion.

    Like

  11. I would like to know specific examples of CSW discriminating in the past. I see the claim, but not the facts. I’m not saying it did or did not happen. I’m just not willing to believe any claims until they are substantiated.

    Also, I would not expect an advocate, who I assume is a professional and would like to portray herself as one, to engage in trash talk in the comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Why does this start out as a slam against the makeup of the school population. I doubt that had anything to do with what happened. If they are discriminatory then wouldn’t they have thrown the book at him. Zero tolerance etc…. I interpreted the story as CSW trying to be nice to the kid and not expel him. Did they try and teach him a lesson? Maybe? He should be grateful that he had the chance to graduate and have a diploma and basically a clean record. His mother should be thanking the administration. I have had one kid graduate from CSW and another that is still there. We live south of the canal and are far from rich and affluent. We have had a pleasant experience so far and have worked with Mr. Baldwin, Dr. Paoli, and Mr. Anderson. Like vegannoms said in a comment. Sounds like a pretty good deal.

    Like

    • Rocco, I wrote the article based on the information presented to me by the mother. I still question the wisdom of “the deal”. If what happened did indeed happen the way it did, why would the school try to cover it up with a “deal” but not let him walk at graduation? I may not agree with what allegedly happened, but in seeing the school’s demographics AND the DOE online bullying/fighting reports, I firmly believe this school will handle any situation to give them the best possible public outcome possible, or in other words, nothing that will make it look like there are issues there. Every school has issues. But not one parent or citizen has addressed the issue about drugs on a “prestigious” high school campus.

      Like

  13. Keep in mind that CCSA is also there and I bet there are a lot of drugs there also. Why you are at it – what about St. Marks – I was told by people who went there that they had better drugs because they had the money to buy them. All schools have drugs. Educate your kids to not do them and stay on them. I grew up in South Florida in the 80’s. Drugs were everywhere and some kids died. I still never did them and if they were around I left. I also know of public schools that do not punish per the handbook. How many people freak out when a 6 year old gets expelled because of a zero tolerance policy for an innocent act. Schools/Administrations need to use common sense. I do not think this had anything to do with covering up statistics. I have no proof and I doubt you do. So you should not make accusations like that.

    Like

  14. The stay on them was not about staying on drugs but parenting your kids and staying on the kids about not doing drugs.

    Like

  15. Some important things that this article ignores.

    Firstly, the description of the distribution of ethnicity at Charter vs. the demographic of Wilmington, DE. The Charter School of Wilmington conducts its admittance based on an entrance exam. This exam is open to everyone, including the entire eight grade population of Wilmington. As a current student at CSW, it is to the best of my knowledge that there is a very slim number of the city of Wilmington residents that even apply to the school. This could likely be because students in the city may not feel like they have received an education that adequately prepares them for the rigor of CSW, which presents a new problem entirely. The education of Wilmington during the middle school years needs to be boosted and improved to a level where the students from that demographic can excel in the environment that CSW supports.

    CSW is not a school for everyone. What makes it so special to me is the drive and motivation that every student there possesses. I am one of four kids from my middle school that was accepted at CSW. We applied, were accepted, and excel because we take the extra step, we attend seminars, we do extracurriculars. It has nothing to do with discrimination. If you meet the standards of the school, you have as good a chance as ANYONE else to get in.

    Similar to the student in this article, I am not the general mold that you describe. I live out of the Red Clay School District, I don’t “comb my hair to the side”, and I take the bus every day as a senior (I would love a pick-up truck). I know the student who this article is mentioning, and I disagree in describing him as a minority who doesn’t fit in. I personally like him, and he has always been a popular, well known member of the community.

    I love the Charter School of Wilmington. It has presented me with varying challenges that push my boundaries, and I have used the opportunities presented to me to push myself and learn all that I can. Articles like this slander the name and reputation of a school that provides an incredible environment for exceptional and unique students. I have never once seen any form of discrimination, and personally am upset by these accusations.

    Like

    • Thank you for your comments CSW student. I think your comments do more to prove my point about selective student enrollment than anything I could have ever written. I never said the student didn’t fit in. CSW should be a school for everyone. I attended an Enrollment Preference Task Force meeting discussing the very idea of placement tests as a method of enrollment. It was overwhelmingly agreed by all but 2-3 people on this task force of about 20 members, that any placement test should be given AFTER a student was accepted. You wrote “this article slanders a school that provides an incredible environment for exceptional and unique students”. Would you like to know who else has exceptional and unique students? The rest of Delaware. In fact, the term “exceptional” in Delaware typically means students with disabilities, of which CSW has .2% of their students on an IEP. The discrimination happens before a student ever gets through the door there. By picking these “exceptional and unique students” the discrimination has already been committed.

      Like

      • Respectfully, this is what I feel you do not understand about Charter. CSW does not have the reputation that it does today because of unique things it does in the classroom. The instruction at the school is average to on par with all the public high schools available to me. There are many schools that have more access to technology and funding then Charter has. What makes Charter is the student, and that is why the entrance procedure is so important. If you aren’t excelling on an entrance exam before admittance, succeeding at Charter will be an ominous task. The exam is there to ensure that if you get in, you will be able to succeed. It is why scores are so high, why so many awards and merits are won.

        Rather than punish schools like Charter that provide these opportunities, the focus should be on improving education prior to high school to get more and more people to the level that is needed to succeed at Charter.

        Everyone has an opportunity to get into Charter. No one is stopped from applying. The application process is not unfair. It does prioritize students in the district that Charter is in (as do all public schools, they pull from their respective district), but other than that it is a level playing field. I fail to see the discrimination by Charter.

        Like

        • Which is exactly why Federal United States Department of Education guidance strongly suggests to ALL charter schools in the country not to have specified interest UNLESS it applies to the most vulnerable of students: minority, low-income, special needs, etc. Not to get the highest scores in the state. I need more of you to come on and prove to the rest of the state exactly how elitist this school is.

          Like

        • This comment needs to be posted everywhere. Finally, some truth from a Wilmington Charter school student in defense of the school: “Respectfully, this is what I feel you do not understand about Charter. CSW does not have the reputation that it does today because of unique things it does in the classroom. The instruction at the school is average to on par with all the public high schools available to me. There are many schools that have more access to technology and funding then Charter has. What makes Charter is the student, and that is why the entrance procedure is so important.”

          THAT is precisely why Wilmington Charter is violating the law. The most successful charter school in Delaware, and it has nothing to do with the school. Purely the fact that they can selectively choose their students through an illegal academic performance test.

          Like

    • Furthermore, your comments show exactly why CSW has the “reputation” it does as an outstanding school. Which is causing me to rethink some things. This article proves CSW may keep certain people out of the school but they can’t keep everyday problems out of the school. But they sure can do their best to cover it up to make everything look pretty on the outside. You have inspired me for my next article. Thank you.

      Like

      • I find it a unrealistic and biased stretch to call this a cover up. Charter could have expelled “Bill” immediately, yet they were lenient and gave a very fair punishment.

        I will look forward to reading how you spin that against Charter.

        Like

      • As another CSW student I find this comment rather unfair. I feel that Charter has a much smaller scale issue with “everyday” problems than most other schools that I know of. Also it is ridiculous to assume that simply because students achieve at high academic levels, they will not be subject to making common mistakes of teenage years. That is an unfair expectation and shows an obvious lack in logic and understanding of teenagers.

        Also, while the school, and most other institutions, will do their best to keep up appearances, the secrecy in the matter also helps to maintain the punished students reputation. If the school went public with the issues then larger scale punishments would follow from higher education institutions. While I am sure some members of the administration are concerned with maintaining Charter’s reputation, it is also completely unfair to assume that these educators are not at all concerned with preventing a child who made a mistake from pursuing further education.

        Furthermore, in response to your accusations of discrimination, I know of a specific administration member who spends the majority of her time reaching out to the inner-city Wilmington Area, which has the demographics you listed in the introduction of this article, in an attempt to attract more Wilmington 8th graders to CSW and get them to apply, the problem is a very small percentage does. As an active member in the DE Community Foundation, I know that the majority of 8th graders in the inner-city pursue either public school or vocational-technical schools for their high school experience. A plurality of students that apply and attend CSW are from the North Wilmington and Hockessin areas, which is a predominantly white and wealthy area. While the demographics of CSW are shocking, I think they reveal something very different than discrimination in the admissions process. These demographics are simply a symptom of a much larger problem: the lack of adequate public education in underprivileged areas, which have mostly minority students. I agree with my fellow student in that we should focus more on trying to fix this root of the problem, rather than they symptom and result of it that is shown through CSW and many other high-reputation high schools (ie Salesianum, Padua, Ursaline, all of which are in Wilmington and have predominantly white student bodies — and yes i recognize that these are private schools that cost money but these statistics are seen in many other institutions across the country).

        While I heartily disagree with certain actions and choices CSW made in this situation, your broad analysis of the school is not fail and shows a lacking in understanding of the system and you even redacted much of what you said today stating that “there is a valid reason punishment was meted out the way it was.” I agree with my fellow student above that it is the students that make CSW the place it is and it is our culture of learning that helps us to succeed, and I also agree that the school was lenient and fair to “Bill” based on previous incidents with administration and the school’s explicitly stated policies. Bill will still graduate with his diplomas, and while one must remain sympathetic to a mother standing up for her son, one must also objectively agree that based on the charge and admission the punishment was fair. Your call for full transparency from the school has flaws in and of itself based on the privacy wishes of students and parents, even though I do understand your well meaning, I also think from a personal standpoint that I would want issues such as this and mistakes of my teenage years handled more privately than to be put on display for everyone to criticize and judge.

        I apologize for the novel, but I hope you read this objectively before jumping into an extremely defensive response, as I mean none of it disrepectfully.

        Like

        • I like what you’re saying, please, tell me more. And just to clarify, issues of discipline and specific student issues are done in an executive session of a board meeting and are not included with details in board minutes or digital recordings of the schools that do record their board meetings. It is, however, state law that schools report stuff like this, and with a very specific deadline.

          Like

  16. Wow, from the mouths of babes, pure elitism. No regard for background, equity, or opportunity. Looks like CSW may need some new curriculum.

    Like

  17. Pingback: Reader Takes On Charter School of Wilmington Placement Tests & Specific Interest Enrollment Preference | Exceptional Delaware

  18. I am another student from the Charter School of Wilmington. I like ‘Bill’ am white and do not, in my own opinion, fit the mold of a typical Charter student. Another thing me and ‘Bill’ have in common is we both have a history of discipline. I was involved in a few minor disciplinary issues both my sophomore and junior years. During my senior year I was involved in another incident that had been a much more serious offense than my previous ones. I, like ‘Bill’, was brought into the conference room in the office and was given the whole “good cop, bad cop” routine with Mr. Eddy as the good cop and Dr. Paoli as the bad cop. Similar to what happened in ‘Bill’s’ case, they said they had video evidence of me committing the offense and they told me that if I tried to lie I that they would call the police and have them take me away in handcuffs. They basically in doing this forced me into making a statement without having someone that would be in my best interest to speak on my behalf. After they basically brought me to tears, I was convinced to make a statement. They then called my mother and told her I needed to be picked up from school and they said they would explain more when she got there, just like they told ‘Bill’s’ mother. After a lot of discussion among Mr. Eddy and Dr. Paoli, they decided to suspend me for 5 days and told me on my first day back I would have to meet with the Review Board (same teachers) and they would suggest to Dr. Paoli how he should determine what my future at CSW entailed. The only further discipline I received was that I was banned from extracurricular activities such as athletic events, playing a spring sport, prom, etc.

    All of this being said, 100% believe and support ‘Bill’ and his mother. I strongly believe that, not only does the Head of the School target certain students, but he also illegally forces them into making a statement when they are not in the right state of mind. I hope ‘Bill’ is allowed to walk at graduation and I would love to see the administrators faces as he walks across the stage and they hand him his well earned diploma. When President Baldwin stepped down, Dr. Paoli was just next in line and I think he has failed to do even half as good as President Baldwin did. I do not think Dr. Paoli is a good person for the job in any way, shape or form.

    Like

    • CSW student I suggest you have your parents call me (302) 559-7889. I’d like to help you also…sorry that this happened to you but let’s fix it!

      Like

  19. The defense of Wilmington Charter’s actions in the comments above are a joke. This child was not provided with due process, and the school VIOLATED THE LAW by not following the mandated legal procedures, including, most importantly, written documentation. You can argue about whatever else you want, but the simple fact is the school acted illegally. Due process is the most fundamental part of our justice system for a very good fucking reason, and if you think it is at all defensible to ignore it, then you either have some serious problems with understanding how school discipline is supposed to work or some other serious bias in your perspective.

    Like

  20. I know of a similar incident happening to my friend a few years back and have been a part of a group targeted by Paoli

    Like

  21. I am currently a student at CSW and have to say this school is horrible. First, Paoli has done this verbal assault thing to so many people that we have turned his name into a verb. Secondly, CSW is clearly biased on who they let in and how they act towards them. If you spend a day in the school you can tell. Lastly, I would like to say that attending CSW has been the worst decision of my life. The academics are sub par. The building itself is a dump. I’m only there to milk it for college, and even that isn’t true. Overall this school is highly flawed and I’m not satisfied. Nor am I surprised about this whole article

    Like

  22. If you students all have so many issues, enroll in public school. Nobody is putting a gun to your head to go there. AND, nobody is telling you to break the rules, deal drugs and possibly be disrespectful to your administration. Bring your beefs up to the school board as they are happening and stop just jumping on the bandwagon, where your friends are telling you to go and comment. Let’s face it. You didn’t just come across a blog like this accidentally.

    Might there be a reason you are being “targeted”? Maybe because you are in a trouble making crowd that needs to be watched. If you were doing what you were supposed to be doing, learning, there would be no reason and no ammunition to treat you so very badly as you claim. It is funny when the school won’t and can’t publicly comment how easy it is to spew any accusation out. So similar to what is going on in this country right now and it disgusts me!

    Like

    • Exceptional Mom the CSW crowd has become so accustomed to privilege and so engrossed in their separatism that you completely embodied the argument you oppose. The argument that alleges racism and bias are rampant at CSW, by suggesting CSW is not a public school and that students that don’t agree with the deliberate, willful and wanton breaking of Delaware laws related to schools should just go away. The only laws that matter are the ones you suggest right? You agree this child should be punished for his so-called law breaking? But not the school huh? Bottom line is CSW is a public school ma’am. It’s called a non traditional public school, phrased charter. In fact your kind have made it a publicly funded private school…

      Like

    • Furthermore I am relatively pleased that you’re disgusted. I have been disgusted with some of the injustices in this country since April 22, 1972. Get used to it- I had to!!!

      Like

  23. Pingback: Glitch In DOE Reporting Fails To Show School Offenses & Crimes Data For Charter School of Wilmington, Delaware College Prep, & Delaware Military Academy | Exceptional Delaware

  24. Pingback: Will Brandywine Get One Over On Arne Duncan? – Exceptional Delaware

  25. Pingback: In Honor Of St. Patrick’s Day: The Top 17 Lists – Exceptional Delaware 2017

Comments are closed.