Last week, according to Delaware State News and the Smyrna-Clayton Sun-Times, First State Military Academy military instructor Troy McQueen was arrested and charged with three counts of second degree unlawful sexual contact with a student under the age of 18. The charter school dismissed the employee the same day they found out about the incidents. However, what I found next was very disturbing as a parent.
Day: February 15, 2018
Christina Missing A Special Education DirectorChristina School District
When John Dewey retired from the Christina School District two months ago, it put the second largest school district in the state without a Special Services Senior Director. This is the title for the person overseeing special education in the district. So who is running special education in Christina School District? With the number of complaints I receive about special education in Christina you would think they would make sure this key vacancy in their district is filled. But nope, here we are two months later and nothing. How long are they going to keep this key position vacant?
Delaware DOE FAILS To Release 2016-2017 Bullying Report Required By Delaware LawDelaware School Bullying Report
The Delaware Department of Education has not released the state law required annual bullying report for the 2016-2017 school year. As per Title 14 of Delaware State Code:
(4) The Department of Education shall prepare an annual report, which must include a summary of all reported and all substantiated incidences of bullying, a summary of the information gathered under paragraph (b)(2)f. of this section, and the results of audits conducted under paragraph (d)(4) of this section. The Department shall post the report required by this subsection on its website.
I reached out to the Delaware DOE about this a month ago and received a response from the Public Information Officer, Alison May, that it “should be” released at the end of the month. Here we are, a month later, and no report. Which would have put this after the choice window closed in the beginning of January. How can parents make accurate and informed school choice decisions for their children without information like this? Bullying is a very big concern for many parents and it helps to know the numbers for these in Delaware schools. That is, assuming they are reported with fidelity. I recently heard a tale of a high school principal who took a stack of discipline referrals and put them in a shredder without acting on them.
I took a look at earlier years to see when those reports were released:
So why hasn’t the Delaware Dept. of Education released this report yet? Is there some type of issue? The year with a report issued at the latest date in the next school year was the 2015-2016 report. Here we are two and a half months after that date, in Mid-February, and no report.
I checked into other required reports that haven’t come out from the DOE yet. We have yet to see the annual report on Teen Dating Violence. I have to wonder what is going at the DOE under Secretary Bunting’s command. I know they are going through a “reorganization” but they are still required to comply with Delaware law. Annual reports need to be released in a timely fashion. I shouldn’t have to be some citizen watchdog writing about this stuff. I expect to be able to go to the DOE website and find what I’m looking for. I don’t mind doing that but I would rather they just do the right thing to begin with. I would prefer to write about a report instead of a lack of finding one. So what is the repercussion for the DOE not following state code on this? There is none. There is absolutely no accountability except for maybe the Governor calling Bunting and saying “Why am I reading about this on Kevin’s blog? Get the damn report out!” and Bunting saying “Yes sir”. There is no mechanism in Delaware to oversee these kind of things and alert the state agency about not following state law. When it comes to education, I guess that’s me. And people wonder why I seem upset sometimes and claim I never do some due diligence before I post stuff.
Hey Delaware DOE, You May Want To Make Sure Mitch & Our Schools Know This Stuff!Endrew v. Douglas County School District
It would be my hope that all Delaware schools, be they district or charter, have seen this. I would also hope the Exceptional Children Resources Group, the special education area of the Delaware Department of Education, led by Mary Ann Mieczkowski, circulated this to all our schools. If not, I’ll make sure they get this. And I won’t even charge them! But just in case they haven’t seen this, they may want to read this from top to bottom. Special education is NOT a choice. And you are expected to implement it with fidelity and as per federal law under IDEA. The below document, released by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the United States Department of Education issued guidance about the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on Endrew F v. Douglas County School District.