The New State Board of Education Has The Shortest Meeting In Living Memory!

(L to R) Vincent Lofink, Nina Lou Bunting, Secretary of Education Dr. Susan Bunting, Deputy Attorney General Valerie Dunkle, Whitney Sweeney, Dr. Audrey Noble, Wali Rushdan, Candice Fifer, Dr. Terry Whittaker

The State Board of Education meeting was over in half an hour today.

With so many new members, it was short but sweet.  The new members are new President Whitney Sweeney, former State Rep. Vince Lofink, and Candice Fifer.  The agenda was very light today.

Former State Board Vice President Nina Lou Bunting nominated Dr. Audrey Noble to be the new Vice President.  Board member Wali Rushdan seconded the nomination.  The board voted and Noble was unanimously selected as their Vice President.

The board passed a DIAA regulation.  The board got an update on DAPSS’ probation.  The new members introduced themselves.  Dr. Bunting introduced the new Deputy Secretary of Performance Support, Dr. Christine Alois.  She also introduced the new Associate Secretary of Academic Support, Monica Gant.  She is replacing Michael Watson, who left the DOE earlier this year.  Bunting announced that her restructuring of the Delaware DOE is now complete.

At the end of the meeting, the State Board of Education announced they would be going into Executive Session to discuss personnel issues.  The State Board of Education said they did have interviews for the Executive Director position and would be discussing that.  Based on that discussion, they could be letting Secretary Bunting know their decision.  At that point, the Human Resources Department of the Delaware DOE would be notified.  So we don’t have an announcement on who is replacing Donna Johnson just yet!

I believe the agenda was kept to a minimum so the new board members could acclimate to the process.  Whitney Sweeney did a good job in her new role as President.  I did get to meet Fifer and Lofink before the meeting.  I chatted with Lofink for a little bit.  He is a funny guy!

Attendance at the meeting was very low.  Aside from myself, a representative from DSEA, and some folks from the DOE, that was it.  But this is how it usually is at State Board meetings in July.  Next month they may go over the Smarter Balanced Assessment results and have some presentations, so attendance and the length of the meeting will pick up.  And with seven charter schools up for renewal this year, I know their December meeting will be a long one!

Updated, 9:22pm: No, Dr. Susan Bunting and Nina Lou Bunting are NOT related.  Bunting is like the last name “Smith” in Sussex County.  Several people have asked me this recently.

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Cape Henlopen Under Fire For Failure To Report Employee To State Police

Rob Petree with Delaware 105.9 reported Cape Henlopen School District lied about an offensive touching incident three years ago.

The incident, where an employee grabbed a female student’s pants to see her rear, was shocking enough.

“…and before she knew it he had stood up, grabbed the back of her pants, pulled them away from her body to get a look at her rear-end.”

But the school district told the student’s parent they reported it to the Delaware State Police.  Turns out they never did.

“The alleged incident was not reported to the Delaware State Police in May 2015 and handled by the Administration at the school,” said Sgt. Richard Bratz, Director of Public Information for Delaware State Police. “The school advised this did not rise to the level of a mandatory school report and that the school district resolved it.”

If the man was still at the school years later it doesn’t sound like the district “resolved” anything.  They made the employee work after hours when students were not present.  They openly lied to a news organization about reporting it to the police.  How is that okay?  In a way, this makes the original offense even worse for the victim.  It is saying “we don’t care, we stand by our employees”.  It is not okay for an adult to do that.  It is not okay for the same adult to walk around with racist comments and innuendos.

The response from the district sounds like one I’ve heard before when all of a sudden they are in the hot seat:

The Cape Henlopen School District said “due to the nature of the allegations made by the family and privacy rights of individuals involved, the district is not able to provide specific comments about the concerns.”

Yup, time for the game of say nothing, do nothing.  Sorry, they should have spoken loud and clear three years ago!  Should Superintendent Robert Fulton resign over this?  Any adult in a school is a person of trust.  By keeping an employee that does what he did, lying about how you reported it, and failing to protect students, Fulton allowed this erosion of trust.