Oct 2, 2009

Alleged Police Brutality of McKinley High Students On Black Friday

Today at McKinley after layoff notices were dispensed to teachers, counselors and other staff, it was reported that DC police officers committed acts of brutality against high school students for protesting layoffs. One young female student described at length incidents in which police covered their badges, rough housed students, pushed a student to the ground injuring her face on the concrete and using pepper spray against another. Unfortunately the details of this student report was not shown on all local news stations but was reported on channel 7. One McKinley high school student has been incarcerated as a result and remains in jail along with a parent who came to defend students right to assemble. Students and teachers reported that no security was present today at McKinley or Woodson Senior High.

To date it seems that school counselors have been hardest hit. In addition, four members of our Washington Teachers' Union Executive board have all been laid off including a school counselor who recently donned the Wash. Post metro at our rank and file rally on September 24. Two school counselors from Mckinley Technology high school were let go while another one of the school counselors reportedly left today leaving a school counselor for approximately 700 students. In addition, an attendance clerk and the school registrar were let go as well.

It has also been reported that nine staff members from Roosevelt Senior High were laid off with seven of them being teachers and most of them were African American women with 15 years of experience as reported by WTU Building Rep. Tom O'Rourke. A school counselor from Ann Beers elementary was let go after 21 years of service. A school counselor from Spingarn high school with 20 years of experience was let go. Fourteen staff members were let go from Woodson Senior High and 10 of these staff members were teachers. Many of the calls I received were from mid level teachers with 20 plus years of experience or more, disproportionately of color and disproportionately 40 and over.

What a sad day in the neighborhood for us all and what a sad day to work for DCPS.

Posted by The washington Teacher featuring Candi Peterson, bloger in residence,
Video courtesy of wjla.com


Anonymous said...

ALL employees who were laid off should IMMEDIATELY file EEOC complaints. There is something very wrong when everyone who receives a pink slip is black, female and has a median experience level of ten years or more, particularly when fired by a novice teacher whose experience cannot be substantiated. FILE EEOC complaints and sue this city like never before. The leaders of DC Government are out of control and must be stopped.

TFT said...

Good lord!

Anonymous said...

ok so ... rhee is helping that student get a better education. looks like he's being hurt and sprayed with pepper spray. who ordered the police to be so brutal to the children. ur wonderful mayor. this is just sickening.

The Washington Teacher said...

No one ever said this stock photo was from McKinley. I was on site as students were interviewed by a host of reporters this evening.

My understanding is that videos were taken of todays events.

The Washington Teacher said...

Moderated Response to Anonymous: I am not making this sound like anything. I am reporting what has been reported to me by DC teachers. Tom O'Rourke who happens to be white reported that the majority of his staff are African American women with experience. It is what it is whether you like the facts or not.
This is why it has been suggested that staff file EEOC complaints because disproportionately minority and veterans have been fired.

"Anonymous said:
"A white male was also laid-off at McKinley. Please... A white male was also laid-off at McKinley. Please stop making this sound like a racial issue! Black principals laid-off black teachers as well. Let's not forget the demographics of D.C. Words can be dangerous."

Gentrification said...

Principals may have been black who fired teachers but Rhee gave these principals their marching orders on who to fire. Don't worry Candi EEOC can see what's happening here even if those with blinders cannot.

Rhee's Gotta Go said...

Rhee has gotta go now. Call for her immediate resignation. Then
don't re-elect dim wit Fenty !

Anonymous said...

Candi, When dirt comes out in the wash some are nervous about the truth being revealed. You are doing a great job despite naysayers. Keep on doing exactly what you are doing.

Anonymous said...

I think the previous quote from Anonymous about the white male was the principal David Pinder himself. Wonder what Rhee thinks of Pinder after the McKinley TSHS melee ? Will it be his turn next for a pink slip ?

Anonymous said...

I am the husband of a talented and passionate young teaching fellow who was riffed today after more than two years of dedicated service to her students.

Her urgent dedication to helping raise the achievement of high need and disadvantaged students has been a theme of her career. In rural Nepal, aged just 18, she creatively led a class of primary students through an uninspiring national curriculum (often protecting them from the headmaster's cane). In east London, she worked patiently to improve the employment prospects and English language skills of impoverished Bangladeshi immigrants. In Sudan, she developed a practical curriculum to improve the spoken language skills and cultural awareness of thousands of primary school children and hundreds of university students. On arriving in the district, she worked to train teachers for placements overseas before being accepted into the DC Fellows program, where, for the last couple of years she has worked tirelessly to raise the achievement levels of DC's young men and women.

I am so angry about the turn of events that led to her dismissal and so totally exhausted by the lack of support and appreciation by the successive administrations of her school that my faith in the DC school system and its leadership is all but gone. I question both the competence and strategy of its leadership at both a district and school level, but most of all I cannot understand the turn of events that led to her being evaluated as teacher that should be dismissed under any circumstances.

I am the fortunate position to have witnessed her inspirational teaching and her tireless dedication to her students. I include myself amongst the many teachers she has trained, and was impressed and inspired when I taught alongside her in Sudan. She was observed for no more the five minutes by her current administration.

The DC public school system is truly in a sorry, sorry state. Today, in my humble opinion, DC students lost one of their most caring and committed advocates. They cannot afford to loose many more.

Anonymous said...

EEOC Washington Field Office:
131 M Street NE
Fourth Floor Suite 4NW02F
Washington DC 20507
Phone: 800.669.4000
TTY: 800.669.6820
Director: Mindy Weinstein
Regional Attorney: Lynette Barnes

Walk-in hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 - 2:00

Anonymous said...

I believe the school you are referring to is Anne Beers elementary school, not Anne Bears. Thanks for continuing to provide all this information- keep it coming.

Glenn Watson said...

In 2007 the Census estimated the District's population at 591,833. The population was 55.6% black, 36.3% white, 8.3% Hispanic.

I am not sure about the demographics of the teachers but I assume it is majority black.

In this light we can expect most of the people being fired to be black. Its not racist in its face.

Sharon B. said...

To all those who read this blog, both black and white alike; pay attention to the facts. The facts as they are speak for themselves. The only reason that SOME white and novice teachers are being let go, is to give the illusion that EVERYBODY, is on the hot seat. However, here is a question that those of you who wear blinders may want to research: How many of the 900 White, novice Non-educators, from TFA who were hired this summer before they even earned their degrees were separated from employment? When you get the correct answer, please post it on this blog. TFT, you can hooler "Good Lord" all you want. You may be next, and since you probably don't have a vested interest in black childrens' education, you may not care. You'll just move on. All others who see the handwriting on the wall, please make sure that when the City Council holds their meetings on this issue this month, that those that can attend, FLOOD the Wilson building. Also, we need to stick together as a unit and SHUT THE SCHOOLS DOWN !!!!!!! Let the 900 neebies run the school system.

The Washington Teacher said...

I have not made a charge of racism so I won't address the issue of racism on this blog should some continue to post . I am stating that DC teachers were let go who are disproportionately of color, disproportionately 40 and over and disproportionately veterans were let go over others.
Draw whatever conclusion that you desire.

Looking at this from a macro perspective in terms of the whole picture of massive terminations within DCPS is troubling.

Many of the teachers who were laid off were not evaluated so surely it had nothing to do with performance. Claims have been lodged that administrators did not even go through the competitive level process as required nor did they consult with the LSRT's within their respective schools and as has been suggested decisions were made at a much higher level than principals.

It is as I said such a sad day in this city. Many lawsuits and EEOC complaints will be filed because due process did not occur.

Anonymous said...

@ Candi: You're doing a great job reporting the truth. Thank God they didn't target you!! Keep on telling the truth.

@ Anonymous whose wife was fired: It's unfortunate many people were caught up in this latest web of lies to 'make the story right.' Your wife should've been protected by the contract in place because it's in place until another approved contract takes its place. Go to the EEO!!

@ Sharon B: You are so right. I am one of the principals who was released in the first group and it's racial and elitist. This latest move was orchestrated to make it appear that it wasn't. Some of the teachers who are white who got caught up in this mess are tokens of cover up and that is disgusting and repugnant. People need to pay attention.

Advise your friends to seek attorneys. If there is anyone who wants help in writing their complaints, let Candi know. I will get in touch with her to let her know who I am. I'm willing to help. This has to end.

Candi, can teachers go on strike? Because I believe every city worker should go on strike, shut the city down. Until the Rhee and Fenty supporters can truly see how bad things really are, things won't change. Something has to be done to help them remove their blinders.

Michael said...

I made the comment about a white male also being fired from McKinley. (I am not David Pinder) African-American women make up a significant majority of DCPS teachers! Therefore, when lay-offs occur, it seems logical to conclude that the majority would include African-American women. African-American women might be a minority in the U.S., but not in DCPS. Drop the Race Card. There are white teachers, hispanic teachers, asian teachers who are all hurt by this situation. If you turn this into a exclusively racial issue, you'll lose the support of other teachers who want to fight against the real problem. Michelle Rhee is the problem -- you're personal agenda's against specific principals are getting in the way of what the masses really want to accomplish. There are bigger fish to fry. Fired up, Ready to go!

Kat said...

"I am stating that DC teachers were let go who are disproportionately of color, disproportionately 40 and over and disproportionately veterans were let go over others.
Draw whatever conclusion that you desire."

But the staff is disproportionately of color, 40+ and [therefore] veterans. (Usually those last two are connected.) So, as Glenn stated, a RIF, if it's to be proportional, will logically affect more people of color, aged 40+ and with veteran status. So what are you proposing: white people should be fired in some perverse demonstration of reverse affirmative action??

I know you're not gonna post this, Candi, because your claim to want to "facilitate communication" begins and ends with people who agree with you. But you need to know that most don't take you seriously, partly because you throw incendiary comments out there, then back off from them. (There are many other reasons, but that's another discussion.)

You post a controversial stock photo, then claim you never said it was McKinley. Ahh yes, but you never said it was a stock photo.

You reference the unfairness of this RIF as it affects people of one race more than another, then claim you're not charging racism and coyly challenge people to draw their own conclusions.


You can only do this so many times before people just don't take you seriously anymore. You did it twice in this post alone.

Sharon B. said...

I have another inquiry: What are the names of the 39 schools that did not lose one teacher? What makes their situation unique? Maybe we should get our parents to transfer their children to one of those schools that are fully staffed...Huh? I LOVE THIS BLOGSPOT !!!!

@ Candi- Can you please post the time and date of the hearings that the City Council will conducting on the Budget/RIF issues? I'd like to be one who testifies. The invitation should be open to those who wish to testify AGAINST this travesty.

Anonymous said...

From the DCMR on the Anti-Deficiency Act:
1112.1: Inquiries by the Board are oficial inquiries by the Government of the District of Columbia. All officers, employees and members of boards, commissions and councils of the Government of the District of Columbia are required to respond to questions truthfully, whether orally or in writing, and must provide documents and other matters of oficial interest when requested by a representative of the Board. No employee shall prevent or prohibit the Board from initiating, carrying out, or completing any investivation within the jurisdiction of the Board.
1113.1 For purposes of the Board, the term:

(a) "Agency" means an agency, office, department, board, commission or independent agency or instrumentality of the District government.
(b) "Apportionment" means the division of an agency's appropriated budget authority by periods within a fiscal year.
(c) "Appropriation" means authority to spend funds appropriated by Congress and finanaced by District revrenues.
(e) "Disbursement" means the outflow or payment of cash, whether by check or electronic transfer of funds.
(f) "Employee" means an individual who performs a function of the District government, including a contract employee (excluding independent contractors), and who receives compensation for the performance of that function.
(g) "Encumbrance" means an amount of funds cocmmitted for the payment of goods and services ordered but not yet received.
(s) "reprogramming" means a specific kind of authorized budget change to reallocate funds to or from an agency's budget, without a new appropriation.

1113.2 The following actions are defined as violations by the Act and must be reported promptly to the CFO (or to the IG if there would be a conflict of interest for the CFO) for referral to the Board:
(a)Making or authorizing an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available in an appropriation or fund
(b)Involving the District in a contract or obligation for the payment of money before an appropriate is made unless authorized by law.
(e)Allowing an expenditure or obligation to exceed apportioned amounts.

MORE people had to lose jobs in addition to many before them. Anyone else disgusted?

DC Teacher Chic said...

I think Candi needs to be more careful (and more accurate) with the use of the term disproportionate. OF COURSE most of the fired teachers were African-American and over 40. That's because the OVERWHELMING majority of teachers in DCPS are over 40 and African-American. If I pull a marble out of a bag with 9 blue marbles and 1 green marble, I'm probably going to select a blue marble.

How many white teachers are at Springarn and Roosevelt? Maybe 1 or 2 per campus, or even less?

Anonymous said...

Two veteran teachers at Ross ES were fired on Friday -- both of them homeroom teachers (white). The counsellor and the principal came to the classroom of the fifth grade teacher, right after dismissal, and told her to pack her stuff and leave. At least one student witnessed this first hand who ran to the other students and told exactly what happened. The children started crying and were sent the principal's office who simply told them that she did it to improve the school their learning. When these 4 children asked for a reason, the principal simply said that The teacher had failed to raise the DC CAS scores by 20 points. As the crying did not stop the students were told that if they continued to act out, they would not be allowed to participate in the winter ski trip. For a very small school three new staff members were hired this year. So most likely this decision was long premeditated.

Ward 4 teacher said...

I agree with Kat and DC Teacher Chic. You are showing the demographics of those who were RIFed without mentioning other relevant demographic levels (e.g. those 900 who were hired this summer or, more importantly, the entire DCPS teaching force). Until you do that, you are making an incomplete comparison and one that is wholly OUT OF CONTEXT.

Candi, while I appreciate your efforts to spread information, I find that you are often putting a spin on the facts that lead other less questioning individuals to accept your statements as unquestioned truths.

For example, without full statistical evidence, you imply that older black women were the prime victims of the RIF. You base this statement on anecdotal evidence, from a couple schools and from random phone calls that you've received. What's problematic, then, is how people use this shaky foundation for drawing conclusions and actually make conclusions such as "there is something very wrong when EVERYONE who receives a pink slip is black, female..."

On the one hand, surely, this is a sign that people trust you. But that makes it your responsibility to be careful about exactly how you frame what you are trying to say.

Now that I think about it, given the amount of press coverage you've received, you are the emblem of the whole anti-Rhee movement. This would be fine in most situations. However, you proclaim to be a "neutral" participant in this debate that merely wants to defend teachers' and students' rights. However, based on many of your recent incendiary posts, I fail to see how this can be the case.

I've been following your blog for a while, since, really, you are the only source of info we have on DCPS (a sad reflection on the communication abilities of 825). But I am beginning to think that maybe I will stop reading your blog given the distorted statements you project. The problem is that your statements do have serious effects on how teachers perceive other teachers, principals, Michelle Rhee and the entire DCPS system. And when these statements are made with a slant, they can create unnecessary harm and hate. And they have.

The Washington Teacher said...

The Washington Teacher is one of many education blogs on the DC education scene. I encourage those that have a problem with what I write here to please tune out. I respect that there are those who will not agree with me and don't like my style. That is OK with me .

As I have stated repeatedly, I am not entering into a debate on this blog with those that disagree with me . I offer no apologies for this. I plan to use my energies at the grass roots level to build our rank and file movement to improve public education.

If you can live with my style as the blogger in residence on this site- then I welcome and appreciate your ongoing support. I post comments with an opposing viewpoints but reserve the right not to post certain comments. If you absolutely cannot live with my style as a blogger, I am so sorry to see you go.

Now if you don't mind, I must put a period at the end of this sentence and extend help on behalf of our fallen teacher colleagues and related school personnel to bring light to the unfair RIF's by the Rhee administration.

In struggle,

Kings said...

Sounds like Rhee's office should have prepared a script for how to tell kids aout the RIF too.

Now it's the kids' fault their teacher is RIFd? because the kids didn't learn enough last year?

I understand that Rhee puts all the responsibility for learning on to the teachers, but that doesn't mean kids see it that way. Kids generally feel personally guilty and responsible when something bad happens in their lives.

Kings said...

Kat - you're the person here I have trouble taking seriously, with your penchant for attacking people.

I didn't like the "stock photo" either and if you notice, it isn't there anymore - replaced with an actual video news report.

I also think it's better not to emphasize race, but see nothing wrong in mentioning facts, as was done here.

I'd like to know the racial/gender makeup of the 900 new teachers hired. I suspect it’s disproportionally white and female. I think it’s important demographic information and would not be racist to mention it. In fact, it seems racist to conceal it.

scinerd said...

Here is the issue as I see it. Six weeks in to school principals are told they will have to cut staff. At this point in the school year, no evaluations have taken place. One round of DC-BAS testing has taken place to set the benchmark. There is NO evidence of the new hires' abilities in the classroom. Every teacher knows that it takes a bit to really get into the groove with new kids, ESPECIALLY if you are new.

If this is the case, I find it hard for principals to justify firing veteran teachers over the new hires. Veteran teachers already have a proven record. Are there "bad" veteran teachers? Of course. Are there "bad" new teachers? Of course. But I assume that there are fewer "bad" veteran teachers than new teachers because of the wisdom of years spent in the classroom. I am in my 5th year of teaching and just now feel that I am getting "good".

So to say that it makes logical sense that the majority of the teachers RIF'd would be over 40 and black doesn't work for me. That only works if you randomly fire 10% of the staff. But if you are making targeted cuts, what these were supposed to be, then I don't see how you could come up with the same mix. And I say all this being young and white.

McKinley TSHS Parent said...

Mr. Pinder, principal at McKinley TSHS contacted the police about students becoming upset over seeing their teachers and counselors being escorted out the building. Students weren't violent and there was no need to call police. Parents were witnesses to the DC police brutality on Friday against students.

The Wash. Teacher responds to Glenn Watson said...

Response to Glenn Watson's post:

You can twist my words Glenn if you like. That is not what I said and you know it. I suggest you read my comment again. People post on this blog all the time that disagree with me. What is ironic is that you as well as others don't spend this much time giving DC Teacher Chic and other bloggers as much grief who delete comments all the time that they don't agree with. If you can't interpret the written word I don't know what to tell you.

Comment by Glenn Watson
Its your blog and you can do what you like. But in order to save me and perhaps others some time are you saying we are not allowed to agree with in writing about certain issues.

Anonymous said...

Here is the breakdown of laid off staff at McKinley Technology Senior High School according to race:

5 black teachers, 1 white teacher, 1 black librarian, 2 black school counselors, 1 black special education coordinator, 1 black administrative aide, 1 black attendance officer and 1 black custodian.

Glenn Watson said...

You as well as others don't spend this much time giving DC Teacher Chic as much grief>>>

That just not true. I was all over the original DC Chic for the way she quit last year. The new one I have no opinion on. I read you and Harry Potter now. Its good to know you will allow opposing sides to speak.

Here is the breakdown of laid off staff at McKinley 5 black teachers, 1 white , 1 black librarian, 2 black counselors, 1 black special ed coordinator, 1 black administrative aide, 1 black attendance officer and 1 black custodian.>>

That does seem suspicious and seems to have created what the Supreme Court calls "disparate impact" unless whites are about 10% of the staff.

Anonymous said...

The RIF is an issue of seniority and a cover-up.

This is not an issue of race, primarily because D.C.P.S. teachers are overwhelmingly black.It becomes a money issue because the more senior you are the more you are being paid. We know we are targeted. The instruments being used to evaluate and terminate are unfair and there is a conspiracy of sorts to rid the system of experience.There isn't one teacher who would disagree with reform and we know change is difficult, but the changes being implemented this year are half baked and unjust.

k0908 said...

I am currently confused over Rhee's intentions. If she wanted to fire simply older black female teachers this did not translate to the principals. I know five young alt track first year teachers who were laid off at three schools. At one school in Ward 8 four were laid off, two of whom were veteran teachers, two of whom were first year teachers in their 20's. It seems Rhee's plan backfired, or she's trying to cover up her tracks.

I_educ8 said...

Once all the data are in regarding the demographics of the 900 vs. those of the 388 (229 of whom are reportedly teachers), the EEOC will determine if race and age discrimination were factors. As many have pointed out also, there is no way teachers could have been evaluated fairly based on the bogus criteria provided to the principals.

I predict a major blow to rhee's so-called reform effort, especially when these unjustly fired teachers are reinstated!

Fire up your broom, rhee. You're on your way out of here!!

Sharon B. said...

@ Kat-If u have issues regarding race, gender, and facts because you are uncomfortable with them, then don't even bother with this blog. YES !!!! I do believe that "white teachers" should be fired (most of which are in the 900 neebies that were hired). Do they know more about educating "MY" black children or urban education than I do? I don't think so !!! If you do... PROVE IT !!!

@ King responding to Kat... I must say "THANK YOU" !!!!

@ DC Teacher Chic- What are you saying specifically?????

@ Anonymous-- You've published DCMR for ?????? Break it down pls.