Monday, November 23, 2009

Trouble at Jimmy Carter Middle School, more cover ups.

The beleaguered Jimmy Carter Middle School will be the
focus of more public attention this week as some long kept secrets and a few new ones, make their way out of the dark and into the light.

You will remember JCMS as the school where a teacher recently admitted to having sex with one of her students, link.

Before that, a teacher was accused of an assault on a student, was "appropriately disciplined" by the district and then returned to work, link.

Last year, there was the school climate survey, the results of which were quite damning of the administration, and were kept essentially secret from stakeholders, link.

Just revealed, a teacher choked a student and "body slammed" him to the floor in a crowded hallway. The incident was witnessed by many students and staff, link.

In a matter still to revealed, another teacher at that school has been accused of inappropriate touching of female students.

A common thread in all of these incidents is the effort by the leadership of the APS, to keep secret the details of the incidents.

The choking and body slamming of the student in the hallway, actually occurred last April and is just now coming to light.

Parents are justifiably outraged over being kept in the dark. They feel they have a right to know if a staff member has behaved inappropriately with students at school.

The leadership of the APS feel differently. KRQE reports;

Parents argued, they should have been notified about the
alleged attack, but APS said it didn't think it needed to
notify all parents.
(emphasis added)
Apparently, the parents of the students directly involved were notified. That has not always been the case. In one case, the parents of the student who was attacked were kept in the dark, as were as the APD police officers who were stationed at the school, link.

Stakeholders have a right to know the truth.

There are rare cases where the truth is kept from stakeholders
for good and ethical reasons. The Inspection of Public Records Act, and Open Meetings Act, between them, delineate all of the accepted exceptions. All of the rest of the truth belongs to stakeholders.

The controversy over whether APS stakeholders' right to know the truth is not new.

As long ago as the mid 1990's, the leadership of the APS was fighting against truth telling. At the time, I was a member of the union team that was negotiating the next teacher contract. The union's position was that teachers, and by logical extension, all stakeholders, have a right to know what is going on at their school.

Then AHS Principal Tom Savage argued against truth telling, saying,
"If I told the truth about what is going on at my school,
the realtors in my neighborhood would have my neck."
A week later, I was sitting across the table from West Point graduate and then APS Superintendent, Peter Horoscak.
He also refused to codify truth telling, explaining;
"You can't just tell the truth, you don't know how
someone might want to use it."
When the scandal in the APS Police Department, link, was uncovered, the then promoted to senior administrator, Tom Savage ordered employees to keep their mouths shut (or be fired for insubordination) link. The whole truth about that scandal is still being kept from stakeholders three years later, link.

The APS Student Standards of Conduct; the Pillars of Character Counts!, a nationally recognized, accepted and respected code of ethical conduct, require students to respond to legitimate questions by answering candidly, forthrightly, and honestly.

As role models of the standards they establish and enforce upon students, the leadership of the APS is compelled to do the same; answer legitimate questions candidly, forthrightly, and honestly. But they don't want to. Their only two choices;
  1. abdicate as role models, or

  2. lower the student standards of conduct to ones that do not require truth telling.
They're between a rock and a hard place, so their choice is to
stonewall the question.

When asked, they will not even admit that the Pillars of Character Counts! are actually the student standards of conduct. Nor will they admit to any responsibilities as role models of the student standards of conduct.

Their ongoing obstruction of an independent review of administrative standards and accountability is a manifestation of their unillingness to all stakeholders to know the truth.

A recent audit by the Council of the Great City Schools revealed that APS administrators routinely falsified crime statistics to protect the reputations of their schools.

The leadership of the APS, if you could get them to answer the question at all, would argue that they hide the truth in the public best interests.

The truth is, they hide the truth to cover their own asses.

It is as simple as that.


Anonymous said...

I work at JCMS, and I ask that everyone that knows about chidren's abuse are legally and ethically required to contact CYFD, despite APS' threats, despite JCMS threats, despite an imposed "gag order".
I did my duty today, and my conscience feels better. I called CYFD and reported Torres' abuse. It seemed as if they never had heard of this case.
I think CYFD can tell APS that such child abusers are no longer allowed on the school grounds.

Anonymous said...

After reading yesterdays story on the JROTC public forum debate I went to the APS website to view the meeting myself. Imagine my surprise when I found the whole meeting, which was supposed to be up and running as of last friday, is still not up. Here we go again! What is their excuse this time!

Anonymous said...

An interesting legal "catch-21" occured to me. If a teacher like Torres atttacks/abuses a child, isn't he legally liable to report himself to CYFD, or face state law penalties?
Law requires all people working with children to report adult abuse upon children (witnessed or suspected) and child-on-child chronic abuse.
**I doubt Anthony T. reported himself. ***

Anonymous said...

I find it dissapointing and ironic that saturday I qas qatching the video and reading the story of Anthony Torres on the KOAT-TV website. Others told me they saw the newcast on TV as well.
Then sunday...pooof!... all reference to this story vanished from their site, even in their site search there is nothing related.
Who had the power to yank this important story, and more importantly, why yank it?
I appreciate KRQUE-13 keeping to it's news stories, and actually covering stories more brilliantly than KOAT.
KOAT should look at FOX NEws channel and see it's future if they let people pull rank on their careers and news. FOX news channel is a joke, a tool f certain political interest. I have the feeling KOAT is heading in a similar fashion, bowing to local political powers, possibly Paula Maes (APS School Board) and company.
KOAT--look at Fox; look at your future if you don't be real with the Albuquerque community!

Blogengeezer said...

This behavior took the place of rules that worked for long many years. Rules including The Ten Commandments that were posted on the walls of schools, along with The Pledge of Allegiance. The Motto of the generation 'Now in Power' was "Make Love Not War". We see now just what they were referring to. HIV/AIDS and STD's are 'Topping the Charts'. This generation of students is learning from the teachings of this Agenda driven generation of 'Teachers', just what NOT to believe in.