Project Veritas released a video on May 2nd about a teacher union president that clearly shows him admitting the union will lie and manipulate to protect a teacher in a student abuse situation. The responses from the union president are shocking. Even more shocking are the responses from the Delaware State Education Association and the National Education Association to help members deal with this video. I am putting the video up which you can see below. Continue reading
Tonight, Rob Petree with 105.9 wrote an article about a Seaford School District parent who is claiming a teacher took unnecessary physical measures against her child with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the Autism spectrum. The mother explained what happened. When the student was told he could not go to the office when he became upset over not finding his writing journal, the mother claims the teacher took things a bit too far:
“My son said the teacher went so far as to stand in front of the door and block the door and not let him out. The teacher told him to get back in his seat, and he said ‘no I want to go to the office,’ and the teacher told him ‘no get in your seat or I’m going to put you in your seat,’ and Landon once again said no he wanted to go to the office, so the teacher grabbed him by his arm, picked him up, carried him across the room and slammed him down in his chair. Landon said he then got back up out of his chair and tried to go out the door again and the teacher wouldn’t let him out of the door. So he went over and sat down in the chair at the round table near the door, and the teacher again was telling him to get up and go get back in his seat and Landon refused. The teacher went over to try to grab ahold of Landon and Landon got upset, jumped up out of the chair, and grabbed the back of the chair and slammed the chair into the floor, trying to get around the teacher to get out the door. He said at that point the teacher said ‘I’ve had enough of this,’ and grabbed him up by his arm and physically carried him out of the door of the classroom, banging his forehead into the metal door facing in the process, and Landon said at that point as soon as the teacher sat him down in the hallway he ran straight to the office, and that’s when he called me.”
Even more alarming is the Seaford Middle School Principal’s response to her when she asked to see the video of the incident:
Today, I had a meeting with the Middle School Principal and basically what they told me today was that the teacher said that he asked Landon to leave several times and Landon wouldn’t leave the room, and that Landon was throwing pens, pencils, chairs and desks, and that they seen this on video; however, no one was able to produce any video to me showing my son behaving the way they said he behaved. I honestly, truly believe my son, and I believe this teacher is doing nothing but trying to protect himself and the school the same way. I cleaned my son’s locker out today, and he’s not going back to that school as long as that teacher is there.
This is unacceptable. I found out today the same thing happened to the parents of the child who was assaulted last week at Caesar Rodney High School. The district refused to release surveillance footage that captured the incident (and I will have more to say on that whole thing that hasn’t been made public yet). I tagged tons of our state legislators on my Facebook page with a link to the 105.9 article asking for legislation that would demand schools release video to parents whenever their child is harmed in any possible way.
The district will not respond to any of this. They will shut up unless they have to fire the teacher. People ask me why I write so much about bad stuff happening in our schools instead of the good. Sorry, this kind of crap outrages me. You can have many great things happening in schools, but this is what folks remember and talk about. This is a travesty. Even if this teacher used proper restraint and seclusion practices as dictated by state law, the district should still release the video to the parent. Instead, they are covering their asses.
A former board member for a district did tell me that video like this is released to the police department. They will review it and eventually it would be shared with the parent(s). I explained that the video could help a parent understand what happened. It could be necessary for them to see it so the parent can seek sufficient medical or counseling treatment for their child.
I wrote an article last year on the Delaware Dept. of Education’s annual Restraint & Seclusion report. Seaford Middle School had 13 incidents of restraint in the 2015-2016 school year. Compared to Milford’s middle school which had 1. In Seaford, they had 38 incidents of restraint affecting 21 students. But if this situation played out anywhere close to what the mother is claiming, this was no ordinary restraint. If it went down how she said it did, this teacher should face criminal charges for assault. Dealing with special education students can be challenging for teachers and parents. But if you don’t have the proper training required to take action like this, you should do nothing and contact someone who can help. Sadly, for this student, it will be a day he will never forget.
I don’t care where a video is: cafeteria, classroom, bus, hallway or anywhere on school property. If a parent asks to see it, you show it to them, no questions asked. The act of withholding something like that immediately sends red flags up with parents. Or saying you have it but then you don’t. You reap what you sow with that kind of logic. In the case of the Family Educational Records Protection Act (FERPA), that applies to educational records. If a parent requests records on their child, the school is obligated to produce it. But is surveillance video considered an educational record? That will be the argument here. But I don’t care. If a kid gets hurt, you do the right thing and show the parent. Cause it could mean the difference between a parent deciding whether or not to sue the district.
This should NOT happen in our schools. Tonight, I am very pissed off. At this. At Caesar Rodney. At other districts where I am trying to help parents navigate through special education issues with schools. So much of what I help parents with are things every school should know by now. Districts and charters complain all the time about getting sued so much and the “predatory” law firms. Guess what? The very act of protecting yourself is usually what gets you sued. How does that work out for you?
Updated, 9:50pm: A big thank you to special education advocate Devon Hynson for providing a link to what FERPA says about surveillance videos-
Schools are increasingly using security cameras as a tool to monitor and improve student safety. Images of students captured on security videotapes that are maintained by the school’s law enforcement unit are not considered education records under FERPA. Accordingly, these videotapes may be shared with parents of students whose images are on the video and with outside law enforcement authorities, as appropriate. Schools that do not have a designated law enforcement unit might consider designating an employee to serve as the “law enforcement unit” in order to maintain the security camera and determine the appropriate circumstances in which the school would disclose recorded images.
On Tuesday, a student with disabilities was beat up very badly in the Caesar Rodney High School cafeteria. According to WDEL’s Amy Cherry, this was not related to the racial slur associated with the high school mascot that shook the Caesar Rodney community this week.
The boy’s parents contacted their advocate, Diane Eastburn, because of the punishment meted out to their son who was massively beat up. He was charged by the school with “offensive touching” even though he is not seen on the video punching the other student. The word “bitch” was thrown around prior to the fight. The disabled student received two days of in-school suspension but his parents do not feel the punishment should have been given to their child since he wasn’t fighting. The parents and Eastburn contacted WDEL yesterday. In fairness, I sent Eastburn to WDEL because I was uncomfortable posting the video with minors on it. The video is very graphic as described by Cherry:
The student was repeatedly being punched in the back of the head as he used his hands to cover his head. The victim student suffered bumps and bruises to his head and face in the assault.
This has Eastburn wondering what is going on at Caesar Rodney High School since these two unrelated incidents happened in the same week:
“There seems to be an underlying hostility in that building,” alleged Eastburn. “And if they’re having problems they need to address it quickly. To be quite honest, they can’t afford not to. If they start having fights like this, someone’s going to get hurt or worse. These are lawsuits waiting to happen if they don’t start dealing with the undercurrent in that building.”
These are questions the district are going to have to look at. I sincerely hope the disabled child does not have a concussion or any lasting damage done in this brutal assault. I don’t think any student who is attacked should get a punishment like that, whether they are disabled or not. If words are said, let the punishment fit that category. But using a poor choice of words is not the same thing as offensive touching in any world.
Updated, 3:15pm: Caesar Rodney School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald issued the following statement regarding this incident on the district website-
STATEMENT FROM DR. FITZGERALD REGARDING CRHS CAFETERIA INCIDENT
“Recently a fight that previously took place in the Caesar Rodney High School cafeteria has been posted to the internet. This situation in no way is related to the recent mascot post. After an investigation by the school administration and the Delaware State Police, disciplinary action was taken and an arrest was made. Fights of this nature, while rare are unacceptable and are not tolerated in Caesar Rodney. The District will continue to work hard to insure the safety of our students.”
A few weeks before the violent assault at Howard High School of Technology, a group of Howard students jumped and beat up a student at Freire Charter School, in the mid-town Brandywine section of Wilmington. How come we haven’t heard about this? Because even though the Wilmington Police Department wants to act, they can’t. Apparently there is a memorandum of understanding between Howard High School of Technology and the Wilmington Police Department. There is a video of the incident but Howard refuses to name the students from their school. And they don’t have to because of the agreement with Wilmington P.D.
I searched high and low for this agreement, and the only reference to it came from the New Castle County Vo-Tech District’s Student Handbook:
While I doubt this is the real Memorandum of Agreement with Wilmington Police Department, I am hard pressed to find any justification for Howard’s administration to withhold the names of their students that assaulted another school’s student off their premises.
So what exactly is going on with this school and why is the district downplaying everything? They say their school is safe, but the things coming out indicate otherwise. As well, Howard’s school psychologist resigned February 5th of this year according to their February board minutes:
While it is not known if Howard hired a new psychologist since they haven’t updated their board minutes since, Randolph is still listed on the Staff Directory of Howard’s website. The school has a Principal, three Assistant Principals, and three Guidance Counselors.
I have to know: What kind of world are we living in when the police can’t act because a school is protecting students? Something is seriously wrong with this school and I am afraid more students are going to get hurt. What happened to Amy Francis-Joyner was an unspeakable tragedy, but no one else is tackling the problems with the administration at this school. How many more students will be hurt or even die before this district wakes the hell up?
You would think their Board of Education would say something, but they have not issued any press releases or talked to anyone publicly about what happened and continues to happen at Howard. Like the Delaware State Board of Education, vocational district boards in Delaware are appointed by the Governor of Delaware. That’s right. They were appointed by Governor Markell. And our Delaware Secretary of Education… where does he come from? New Castle County Vo-Tech.
I saw a segment on Channel 6 ABC News from Wednesday about the charges filed against the three students involved in Amy’s murder. They interviewed a student who said he is not allowed to talk about it. Excuse me? I knew the district put a gag order on the teachers but now they are doing it with students. So the next time I see Superintendent Dr. Vicki Gehrt at Legislative Hall or some education meeting and she wants to give me one of her indignant looks, know that she is withholding vital information about the safety of one of her schools. You can look like the wounded party, but your school is out of control and you damn well know it. You can choose to ignore the situation and risk the safety of more students or you can actually do something about it. Or the board can replace her. Either way, students’ lives are far more important than the illusion this district is casting.
Just this past Monday, Howard Principal Stanley Spoor rather arrogantly told students and the press to not believe everything you hear and say on social media. Well Mr. Spoor, maybe when the school and the district starts owning up to what is REALLY going on there, then you can start preaching from your pedestal. Until then, please keep your students safe and make sure there is adequate coverage in your school to watch students.
Donald Trump’s unfathomable success has been due to playing on the fears and worries of disenfranchised voters. I see the same thing with First State Liberty’s overzealous attacks on the Christina School District referendum taking place on March 23rd. It is becoming more than obvious there is more than meets the eye with First State Liberty. Meanwhile, none other than Governor Jack Alan Markell did a video for the district which supports the referendum and urges voters to say yes on Wednesday.
There are a multitude of things I don’t agree with Governor Markell about on education. But there are two things I think we can draw agreement on: support for the Christina referendum and we both oppose school vouchers. I think most can agree the whole referendum process stinks. But until there is another method or funding mechanism for our schools in Delaware, voting no on a referendum hurts children most of all. As I just said to someone on Facebook in regards to the mindset of First State Liberty: “We know the ship is going to sink. Instead of plugging the hole, we’re going to shoot a cannonball into it so it sinks faster.” If a district doesn’t pass a referendum when they really need the funds, it will have a downward spiral that comes down to each and every student in the district.
The referendum opposers are getting robo-calls and emails from a right-wing group called First State Liberty. I wrote an article about them the other day. Who is supporting them? The Delaware blogger Kavips did some digging last week and found out who was backing the robo-calls. Many of the leaders of these organizations put their children in private schools. They resent the fact they pay tuition for their children and pay school taxes. They seem to forget that all citizens pay this. They want voucher programs which have failed miserably in many states. In Delaware, State Rep. Deb Hudson has tried to get voucher legislation through, but it doesn’t get past the bill filing.
When pushed to respond to requests to come to Citizens Budget Oversight Committee meetings in Christina, the front people behind First State Liberty don’t even respond to the invitation. They come out once a year before these referendums and act like it is The Day After Tomorrow if a referendum passes. They forget children are involved in their schemes and agendas and don’t care if students are affected the most by the damage they do. They like to tout the Revolutionary War as their greatest inspiration. They don’t realize the differences between the people from 240 years ago and what is going on in the present. They will say and do anything to advance their agenda. They lure people into their fold and they spout lies and untruths. Then they get their followers to do the same. It is a sad and pathetic situation.
Do I think our school districts could do a better job? Absolutely. They all play the absurd “Delaware Way” game where parties must compromise. They just want a seat at the table without realizing they are on the table. The compromises result in districts being forced to shell out more money for services to properly educate children based on state mandates. What First State Liberty should take a more active role in is this conundrum. Instead, they want to target children and their classrooms. Forget everything they say about “administrative costs” and “spending per pupil”. Their theories are debunked on a daily basis anymore.
I’ve said it before, when children lose, we all lose. Even Governor Markell understands this simple fact. Why can’t First State Liberty, who could be doing so much more in Delaware, get this concept? Why do they target school districts but do absolutely nothing about the even bigger problem? Do they have the political muscle to do more than bully referendum voters? Of course, no one from their outfit will respond with intelligent answers on these issues. When challenged, they delete information from supporters or just ignore it. Why are they so hell-bent on destroying school districts? Is it because their kids aren’t in public education and they don’t care what happens to other families kids? I will fully admit, my son is in private school but I would still vote yes for this referendum if I lived in the Christina School District. It’s about the kids, not your wallets. Playing on the fears of unsuspecting citizens and giving false information while doing so is not only disingenuous, but bad form.
Lest we forget, this is the same outfit that thought it was okay to bring guns to Newark City Council meetings. This is the same outfit that some right-wing groups really don’t want to be associated with. But when it comes to referendums, it is okay for their hate and fear mongering? Wake up Delaware citizens. Don’t buy their hate-filled propaganda and smear campaigns. They aren’t in it for you, they are in it for themselves. I have some conservative ideals myself, but there is an ocean of difference between conservative ideals and this. Shame on you First State Liberty…
Patrick Wahl, the father of Joseph Wahls, is not giving up. He wants the world to know what happened to his son in the Brandywine School District. You can read about it here. If you want to really see Wahl open up, with a no holds barred video addressed to the world, this is a must-watch! You really need to watch the whole thing to see the “inserts”. Wahl clearly explains his perception of the events and why he is suing the district. I can’t picture the leaders of Brandywine releasing a video with their side of things. But it would be pretty cool to watch!
Yeah, that wasn’t the video he put up. But I thought it was a fitting intro. Can they work it out?
I don’t predict this story will end anytime soon…
Many have seen this video already, and it is highly disturbing. This child was being bullied by other students and he yelled to the bus driver to help. This was her response. The child’s parents are seething and I don’t blame them one bit.
This is what the parent wrote on Facebook:
This video needs to go viral…this is a video of my 11 year old son getting screamed at by his bus driver. He yelled at her because he felt she wasn’t helping a situation where he was being bullied and then hit several times about the face (we have pictures of his face) by the person bullying him. This is what followed. This is completely unacceptable! We are seething right now!!! We have contracted local authorities, transportation department, school and the local news. We WILL NOT stand for this! Our children need to be protected!!! His Dad and I will make sure this does NOT go away!!!
I agree, and make no mistake, adults can be bullies too. These parents know how to reach me, and if they need any help with this I am readily available. This nonsense with adults needs to stop.
John Young, blogger extraordinaire and board member of the Christina School District, shot a video with a very long message to the citizens of Delaware and Governor Markell. In a word, it is awesome! I won’t ruin one word of it for you it is that good! And remember, opt-out is dead, it is now REFUSE THE TEST!
This video needs to be watched by every parent in Delaware. If you think you know what is really going on with Common Core, you have no idea. We all have busy lives, but this is well worth 2 1/2 hours out of your life. This is the debate from January 24th that the Delaware Department of Education was supposed to be a part of but canceled at the last minute. I can see why they wouldn’t be able to after watching this video. They would have been slaughtered!