Request for Council Intervention Re DCPS Principal's Comments To The Press
Dear Chairman Gray and DC Council members:
I am truly disturbed by the comments made by Mr. Darrin Slade, DCPS Principal @ Ron Brown Middle School in the 3/13/09 Wash. Post article on page A 1. Mr. Slade's comments that teachers in the article are in the process of being terminated seems to be a violation of teachers' rights to confidentiality. One teacher in today's article denies being on a 90 day improvement plan as suggested by Mr. Slade. These comments are also inappropriate and unethical. At no time should a DC administrator openly discuss employee's personnel issues with the press. Principal Slade is also quoted in today's Post as per his school guide as threatening teachers with placement on a 90-day improvement plan instead of helping to provide support to teachers who may be in need of assistance.
It is also troubling that in this same article that two other Woodson Academy teachers who were assaulted had to speak on condition of anonymity because they fear losing their jobs if they spoke negatively in the press about their experiences with school violence. I would like to request that the DC City Council address this issue regarding Mr. Slade's comments in your oversight role of the District of Columbia Public Schools. I hope that you will take the lead to publicly advance this violation to the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of The Chancellor, the Deputy Mayor of Education, the Office of the Mayor and any other appropriate bodies so that it can be properly handled with appropriate sanctions. If Chancellor Michelle Rhee states that her office is unable to provide the names of DC teachers on 90 day plans to the Washington Teachers' Union due to the confidentiality of teachers, how is it that Mr. Slade at his level as a DC principal can discuss teachers' personnel matters openly in the press ?
Certainly in so doing, Mr. Slade as representative of the DC public schools poses a liability to the school system for potential defamation of character. It seems that the District of Columbia Public Schools is headed down a very slippery slope that ultimately will do more harm than good for DC students, teachers, administrators and our school system . Let's hope that Mr. Slade's behavior does not open the door to other DC principals acting in similar fashion.
I along with other DC Public School employees have testified before you on a number of occasions to appeal for your help on a number of fronts. I appreciate that you have held city council hearings to address some of our concerns as it relates to our employment, school violence issues and other matters. I request a timely written response to my request. Thanks for your attention.
WTU Board of Trustees
WTU Building Representative/city-wide teachers and related service providers
(Posted by The Washington Teacher)