lee drury de cesare
This blog entry goes statewide to K12 bureaucracies and state officers who supervise schools. It explores the problems that teachers and parents face when dealing with a school board and administration run to the psychological rhythm of a dictatorial superintendent for whom it’s my way or the highway or as filling station attendants express the condition, runaway narcissism. The ROSSAC administration is a temple to Ms. Elia’s ego, and all its residents bow down to her dictatorship for fear of losing their jobs.
No Hillsborough County board member has the courage or care for taxpayers, teachers, and students to fight this thuggish system. They function by choice and lack of courage as ceremonial ornaments only.
You will find a partial List of Education Blogs courtesy of The Wall blog, brain child of teacher Suzy Creamcheese. She uses this sobriquet because she knows the administration would make her life a living hell and fire her if they knew her identity.
Fear, unfortunately, is ubiquitous in the schools. The administration uses the Professional Standards office as a Gestapo unit to terrorize employees—especially teachers—so that they won’t let out a peep of protest that the administration with the board’s collusion has turned the school system into a racket of gluttony for power and bloated salaries for administrators.
To get other views of the school system, below are more blogs to consult. You are bound to one that suits your ethics and taste. Steve Kemp blogs as Goader, 4th on the list. If you read his blog, you will see that he is a serious educator. The administration in a profound miscarriage of justice has filed a charge of child abuse against Steve with the Sheriff’s department.
Blogger Richard Hancock of Motel Special Ed is the father of a special-needs child along with two normal children. He is my expert in the history of the special-needs defections from proper care of special-needs children that the schools engage in This neglect of special-needs children has earned the school district a law suit filed by the NAACP with the Southern Law Poverty Center. When I heard about this suit, I sent the Poverty Law Center a donation with my thanks for fighting these battles that orthodox attorneys won’t touch because they don’t yield big fees. Mr. Landry’s blog is The Motel Specialist... He has other blogs as well.
You should review The Alafia Experience to see what a group of gutsy parents can do to fight the administration and board combined when these parents saw the disenfranchising their children under the leadership of a incompetent principal. The Alafia parents have been an inspiration to us all who yearn for a decent school system with an administration and board that care about education and not about power and money that they have perverted the system to provide them.
My blog is Casting-room Couch. I say what I believe is true. This is a privilege of a mother of four, a grandmother of ten, a registered nurse, and a retired college professor of twenty-eight-years. We grannies are Teflon. Everything rolls off us. There is nothing so daunting that we won’t walk up to it and say, “Howdy, how come you are behaving like a crook and an ass?” lee
• Casting-Room Coach (aka LAMBo's Lee)
• education for the aughts w/Matthew Tabor
• Education Lessons We Left Behind
• Keeping Up With Goader
• LOOK OUT FOR: The Delphi Technique
• Right On The Left Coast
• Sound Off and Be Heard
• The Alafia Experience
• The Gradebook
• The Motel SpecialEd
• U of M Education Students Blog
• Board Meetings - Stream 'n' Scream!
• Ask To BE a Teamster! NOW!!!
• Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform
• CTA: Duties - Memo of Understanding
• Superintendent Elia's 2007 Evaluation
• Teacher Contract
• Trib Aug 22nd Elia Raise Article
• Trib June 7th Elia Article
Professional Standards’ Lies, Cruelty, and Vindictiveness for Teachers; Coddling, Support, and Counseling for Administrators
In its routine mistreatment of teachers, the Professional Standards office of the Hillsborough County School Board distills the sadism, vindictiveness, and inhumanity that afflict the board and administration in its punishment of teachers for the slightest infraction or even for a charge that the superintendent and the head of Professional Standards cook up to trap a teacher they want to get rid of.
I became aware of this Abu Gharib hellhole when my friend Bart Birdsall was sucked into its maw.
I had been trying to help Bart in his goal of getting a program for educating school personnel about bullying in the schools especially of gay children (Bart is gay), I remember chasing Dr Earl Lennard across a lobby of a hotel at a Tampa Tiger Bay meeting when he tried to escape me. Even though I had on 2 ½-inch Manohla Blanicks, I managed to catch him and extract a promise that he would have the seminars on bullying. He said he would.
Lies in all shades comprise a stable part of the running of the administration and board and especially in the conduct of the Professional Standards section.
Professional Standards’ head is Ms. Linda Kipley. Ms Kipley came to the job from being principal of my high school, Hillsborough, from which I graduated in 1951. I am indignant that such a person as Kipley got the honor of principalship of Hillsborough. When I was a student there, Mr. Vivian Gaither, a gentleman and a Latin scholar, was principal.
Ms. Kipley has a home ec degree. Home-ec degrees disappeared in the Pleistocene Age along with dinosaurs.No reputable college or university today gives home-ec degrees. These are redolent of sexism and low expectations for women and have no academic standing.
Ms. Kipley had lied so much to the teachers at Hillsborough High when she was there that some took tape recorders into an interview with her. She had messed up the job so badly that the administration should have fired her but instead put her into the spiffier position of head of Professional Standards, where her innate talent of sadism has flourished. This personnel migration involving Ms. Kipley shows the twisted, obtuse supervisory ethos of the administration. It validates the cynical assessment of teachers that in this administration “If you mess up, you move up.” The ROSSAC administration does not fire its incompetents. It promotes them.
La Kipley has done so much dirty work for the superintendent that when a job opened up requiring an accounting degree, Ms. Elia crammed Ms. Kipley’s husband into it despite his having only a high school diploma and no accounting experience, yet vice superintendent Dan Valdez assured Ms. Valdes when she asked him at a board meeting about Mr. Kipley’s credentials that Ms. Kipley’s husband was the best qualified for the job.
I reviewed the applicants’ files. There were at least four well qualified, one a disabled woman who had superb credentials. I tried to get her to file a charge with the EEOC and a challenge to the schools’ federal funds. I wanted her to challenge the board’s and administration’s empty promise of “We are an equal-employment-opportunity employer.” But the applicant was too timid to do so.
That so much discrimination continues comes from people discriminated against being unwilling to invoke the laws on the books since 1964 against job discrimination. The federal funds that the school has also have equal-employment-opportunity riders on them that no one has used to ensure fair employment practices in the county schools. That is a project I have been surveying for action myself.
Bart’s being targeted for a trumped-up case had to do with his critical emails to the county library director Joe Stines (also gay) for Stines’s cooperation in carrying out the anti-gay library exclusions that came from an ordinance by the homophobic County Commissioner (now state senator) Ronda Storms.
Since it is almost impossible to get valid information on such issues as retaliation against employees for using their civil rights, I infer the following happened:
Ms. Elia is buddies with Pat Bean, the county administrator, to whom the cowardly Stines complained about Bart’s emails instead of answering them. Ms. Bean forwarded the emails to Ms. Elia, new in her job and drunk with power. She decided to strut her potency to her friend Bean and had Linda Kipley file a charge against Bart in Professional Standards allegedly for using the school email for political purposes.
I also suspect Elia of a whiff of homophobia and fear of the Paleolithic homophobes that live in the fens and bogs of bigotry in the county’s political outback. Elia is afraid of bad press more than anything. She didn’t want the press’s writing about Bart’s opposition to the county library to gay rights because he worked for the schools and would contaminate her reputation with the gay issue.
Ms. Elia sent the emails to Ms. Home-ec Kipley of Professional Standards as catalyst for a case of some sort against Bart to terrify him into giving up his civil rights as the price for keeping his job.
Ms. Kipley’s files contain inchoate cases against teachers and lower-level school personnel that lie in her files to ripen with each additional tidbit of damning information about the culprit. I think there must be snitches all over the school community. There were in the Warsaw ghettos.
When a teacher makes a small boo boo, Ms. Kipley whips out the file for her and Ms. Elia to manufacture a case on which to pounce on the wretch. Ms. Elia sent Bart’s home-produced emails to the county to Ms. Kipley for one goal: to discover a cause for action against him to scare him into passivity or to fire him outright, depending on the level of Ms. Elia’s sadism that particular day.
Ms.Kiply summoned Bart to her office to tell him he was under investigation for violating the schools’ rule against using the mails for political purposes. It seems La Kipley had the tech department comb the mainframe in a fishing expedition on Bart’s files and discovered that he had posted on the community bulletin board a notice of a protest rally against the county library discrimination against gays. Clearly, that was the kind of notice that properly goes on a community bulletin board.
Bart had not used the school emails for political purposes; he had posted from his home a notice on the community bulletin board announcing a community rally. He was not pitching for somebody’s election.
But the minds of these characters who dish out punishment for the schools is such that they make words mean what they want them to mean. They learned this technique from the queen in Alice and Wonderland. Subtleties of logic linguistic or other flavors are not part of the administration’s lexicon when it comes to firing inconvenient people who want to make use of their Constitutional rights even though they are school employees.
So Home-ec Kipley notified Bart that he was in the cross-hairs of the administration’s juggernaut of extermination of people who show any scintilla of spirit and take their rights as citizens seriously.
Bart and I later confronted Ms. Elia at Tiger Bay when she spoke there, and she claimed with a straight face that she had forwarded Bart’s emails to Ms. Kipley for Professional Standards scrutiny because she, Ms. Elia, did not know how to decipher the “to” and “from” lines of an email.
This is the kind of Romper-Room lie Ms. Kipley has gotten away with and which she that day used on two people with advanced degrees and computer savvy. In case there is any doubt of my opinion of Ms. Elia’s ability to tell the truth in preference to telling an improbable lie, let me affirm that I think she is a lies instinctively. I suspect that Ms. Elia never deals with a piece of reality that she doesn’t reflexively massage into a tissue of compromised truth. The routine has made her supervisor of a large school district, so she keeps up lying because of its record of success in her case.
Ms. Kipley called Bart into her office for a mind-games session, one of her favorite activities, but he escaped the terror of losing his job and lived to protest another day. I suspect Ms. Elia let Bart off the hook because he was a rare victim who fought back. I told him that my experience in the Battling-Evil field had educated me to the truism that if you confront the Elves of Hell and face them down, you acquire a Teflon coating of invulnerability to walk the earth in freedom for the rest of your days.
And thus it has been for Bart since. In fact, I think he has become a kind of administration pet for show and tell that demonstrates that it does not subject every teacher it brings into Professional Standards to annihilation and food stamps.
Bart did not get the unadorned apology that he wanted, nor did he avoid going to a therapist to iron out the kinks that the experience left him with. But he lives, he eats, he sleeps, he breathes. These are victories indeed for the person who survives the noxious Bobsy Twins of evil: Les Kipley and Elia.
I filed a Professional Standards charge against Dr. Hamilton for his political use of the school emails to puff up his ego by showing off with tales of his dapper deportment in the saloon in Margarittaville. Grammar and punctuation errors festooned these products. I am sure he bought and paid for his doctorate.
So far as I have been able to determine, Linda Cobbe of Community Affairs is the only inhabitant of ROSSAC who can punctuate. In fact, I suspect that the inability to write the English language and to punctuate it correctly .is a bona fide occupational qualification for administrative positions.
The Professional Standards sadists didn’t answer my charge. Steve Hegarty, head of the Public Affairs office, who couldn’t write a graceful and grammatically correct memo if his life depended on it, excused the situation by the maxim of “That’s just how Dr. Hamilton is.”
The system is that teachers get punished for the most picayune things; administrators get punished for nothing at all-- unless they rub Ms. Elia the wrong way; then they are out the door usually behind the cover of early retirement. That was the story on Mr. Davis, head of technology, I believe, the companion henchman with Dr. Hamilton in the crucifixion of Mr. Erwin. So I shed no tears for Mr. Davis when he fell off after choosing to ride a hot horse and recently disappeared from the ROSSAC Star Chamber.
Recently the board and administration assisted by Attorney Gonzalez, who cooperates with the Simon-Legree tactics of the board and administration by citing stare decisis precedents to cover misdeeds with legal gloss, announced with fanfare, bells whistles, and fulsome encomiums to the wisdom of the board and the administration that the school board had adopted anti-bullying rules so strict that it was woe betide the malefactors who crossed these sacred boundaries that guarded humane conduct on school grounds.
This is how you know you have won: enemies adopt your cause and take credit for it.
With my observing Bart’s trial by fire and helping as much as I could, when the case of Steve Kemp, whose blog name is Goader, popped up two years after my experience with Bart’s case, I recognized the contours of the charges as being in retaliation mode. I figure that Goader’s file has existed in the Professional Standards “Let’s Get ‘Em” cabinet ever since the administration discovered that Steve has a blog.
The board and Ms. Elia hate blogs. Board members fear that voters’ finding out they are the back-up troops for Ms. Elia’s negative actions and that voters might thus turn them out of their sinecures. Then they will not have la gloire of gadding about town as education celebs. Ms. Elia fears the public will find out the truth about her inept, dictatorial reign that includes such details as the rumor that she curses out underlings in her office, besprinkling the epithets with the F-word. I have asked La Elia about the validity of this rumor, but so far she has remained silent on the subject of office profanity spiced with the F-word directed at subordinates.
I think La Elia knows that even this gutless current board would have a hard time retaining her if she confirmed that she engages in this sleazy practice. School administrators, even the ones in the badlands of Hillsborough County’s school system, can’t curse out employees in their office with diatribes adorned with one of the words you can’t say on TV.
My experience with Bart’s case made me ready to delve into Steve Kemp’s case when I heard he was up against the wall of the administration and board’s prejudice against teachers.
Steve Kemp is a special-ed teacher trained to teach educable special-ed children who have problems with language... Here is the link to Steve’s summary of his qualifications: steve's credentials.docx.
The day that Steve landed in a severely mentally retarded classroom was one in which an experienced aide had just burned out and left and was not replaced. The class needed a teacher. Thus Steve was alone with a client group whom he did not have the training to handle.
Principal Sharon Morris and Supervisor Sosa, of the special-ed division, were in a jam and threw the untrained Kemp into a room with three severely disabled children: two male and one female. These higher-ups dumped Steve in on his own. They did not ascertain his education background’s inviting such assignment. They were supposed to according to their job descriptions. They did not give Steve a scintilla of orientation although their job descriptions said they should have. The job descriptions of the supervisory personnel make plain that they should orientate and back up new personnel, not to mention unqualified ones in the field of service as was the case with Steve.
I cannot understand why these two— Principal Morris and Supervisor Sosa—have not had a Professional Standards charge filed against them for dereliction of duty in putting an untrained teacher with no orientation like Steve Kemp and leaving him alone in a situation that might endanger the severely retarded clients.
These details of indifference to special-needs children’s well being dovetails with the charges filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s case sponsored locally by the NAACP (see description of the case at The Southern Poverty Law center online.
The room in which the administration warehoused these children was not fit for them or any children.
This is the classroom that the administration heads of Special Ed—Mr. Smiley, Ms. Ross, and Ms. Morris—considered appropriate for the room in which they inserted the profoundly retarded children. This is the atmosphere that these children absorbed during their time in a classroom filled with junk. One knows that they are retarded, but I don’t think they are so retarded that they don’t know that the room says they are not important people, that they are thow-away children in the Hillsborough County school system.
Wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Suffer little children to come unto me for such is the kingdom of God”?
My bet is that Jesus would have given this injunction special weight for the profoundly retarded little souls that Steve cared for in that junk-filled classroom with no instruction on a job out of his field, no explanations of the forbidden restraint of children except on the bus apparently; nobody had bothered to take off their dangling harnesses as should have been done by the time Steve took charge of them.
Steve got, no word of encouragement or encouragement at all: he got nothing from the supervisors Smiley, Morris, and Sosa except being thrown in the room and then six days afterward charged with child abuse for hooking up one of the students to a chair while he chased down another.
Instead of dealing with special-needs children’s disabilities Hillsborough schools dump many of these children into police hands with the children’s getting a record of a high arrest rate as a result. You can’t get even low-level jobs with such arrest records on file. So the Special-ed administrators endanger these children’s employment chances.
Richard Hancock, who has son with severe hearing and sight problems, has done battle with the Special Ed straw bosses and knows this administrative genus well. Here you can read his assessment:http://richardspecialed.blogspot.com/.
Goader says that the two boys he was dealing with were acting like the toddlers that they were mentally: one and one-half to two years old. The bigger boy was seventeen; he is six feet tall and weighs about 200 pounds; the other boy is about 150 pounds. Neither can speak nor have any verbal ability. Richard says they were oblivious to the situation.
Goader reports that there was a third student in the room: a female student in a wheel chair.
Goader says that even though the two boys could not talk, they could walk and that although they had the minds of a 2-year old, they had the height and strength of an adult. They were constantly into everything as well as trying to escape into the hallway. It was next to impossible to chase after both at the same time.
Additionally, the room was a summer storage area for large tables, chairs, filing cabinets, and other miscellaneous items. Both of them would try to pull down stuff stacked. Imagine a 6-ft tall 2-year old in a room full of junk. It was not a suitable room for students with their level of disability.
Steve says of the room:”There are items stacked against the wall. There are long tables stacked top to top, therefore the ones on top have their legs pointing up. On top of the stacked tables are stackable chairs, a large gray filing cabinet, and other odds and ends one would find in an academic setting. None of it is meant for use with the severely retarded students that Ms. Moss assigned Steve to tend with no training... Two walls, a side wall and the back wall, are stacked for storage in this way. The large rectangular item in the picture is a filing cabinet.”
Steve adds that that “In one instance, the larger male student reached for it and was about to pull it down. An adult was leaning down doing something in front of it, and I had to run over and stop it from coming down on the person's head. The students were constantly touching and pulling at the items stacked against the walls. The room should have not been used for storage if these students were to be occupying it.”
In the grainy picture of the classroom, visible in front of the wheelchair are two male students lying prone on a mat on the floor.
When the two boys were acting up at once, Steve decided to restrain one with the harness he was wearing although we later found out that someone should have removed the harnesses when they entered the room. Steve hooked an end to a desk the student was sitting in.
Steve says that on the back of the harness, there were two stainless steel rings approximately two inches in diameter. They were located just above the waist in the back. Steve fed a six-foot long TV cable through the rings and tied it around the back of the student desk in which he was sitting. The cable did not come in contact with the student, the larger boy, in any way.
One wonders who was supposed to remove the harness as the boys entered the classroom in the morning and didn’t. I wonder why this oversight does not merit a Professional Standards charge. Could it be because the responsible person was not a teacher with a blog? And nobody told Steve that restraining one of the boys with his attached restraint would get the label of child abuse.
We get into Jesuitical territory here. If it’s ok to restrain the retarded children in their harnesses on the bus as is probably the case, why is it child abuse to restrain them temporarily in a classroom emergency?
Goader reports that three Special-ed people entered the room at once at this time: Ron Smiley, head of District 5 Special Ed. Ms.Ross, principal, and a male physical therapist. This was July 2.
Steve says that the principal said that she “didn’t want to lose her job for child abuse.” Smiley and the physical therapist said nothing.
Neither Mr. Smiley nor Ms. Ross offered Steve any corrections or suggestions before they exited. In fact, the special-ed administrators left Steve in this room with the same students for six days subsequently. Then they bestirred themselves to file a charge of child abuse against Steve Kemp. One wonders if somebody asked them this question, what they would have said: “If you believed Steve Kemp had engaged in child abuse by hooking the harness the boy was wearing to a chair, why did you employ Steve in that same class with those same children for six days before filing charges against him for child abuse?”
This behavior confirms my observation of the board and administration: Logic is not their long suit. I think they have gotten away with senseless orders and ukases to teachers for so long with the teachers’ being scared to challenge them, that administrators no long try to make sense since they feel invulnerable to the opinion of anyone but Ms. Elia. This is what psychologists call learned helplessness.
This trip to the Sheriff’s office to file felony child-abuse charges against Steve was a full six days after the harness incident took place. The time I infer comprised the planning of Steve’s firing. My analysis says that when the on-site people reported in to Les Kipley and Elia—and somebody was the rat fink, the two scanned their Professional Standards trap-this-one-who-has-a-blog file.”
“Nail him for firing on some charge,” quoth La Elia, one imagines. “He is one of those who have a blog. He thinks he has First Amendment rights. He doesn’t, nor do any of the teachers on my plantation have First Amendment rights. We want to get rid of that sort of troublemakers.”
Steve says that La Kipley summoned him to ROSSAC Abu Ghraib and informed him that the administration backed by the complicity of the school board was suspending him for child abuse.
Ms. Kipley, according to Steve, told him that he was on suspension until the hearing and that the district would recommend his termination. In other words, the hearing would have no effect on this decision. It was set in stone. When he asked Ms. Kipley for her prognosis, she told him that she had never known of a case of a teacher accused of child abuse not to end in termination. I imagine that she smacked her lips when she delivered that blow to Steve He said that when he questioned her on particulars, that she became irritated. As well she might: administrators are not accustomed to being questioned, period.
Asked how he felt about the situation then and now, Steve says:
“My predominant feeling was incredulousness. Other than concern about losing my means of income I have continued to feel incredulous. I cannot believe they are seriously thinking about termination for what was nothing more than a relatively minor mistake if anything at all. Additionally, their negligence of not informing me of any protocol when dealing with the most severely mentally disabled students, and then threatening to terminate me for it leads me to feel profoundly incredulous. I am scratching my head trying to figure out where they are coming from.”
One needs to know that Steve is a mild-mannered person. He does not get angry easily it seems. If he did, this situation would have set his temper on the boil.
Even though Steve had read the book former teacher William Wiesner Death by Education had written about his crucifixion under Dr. Lennard that preceded Mr. Erwin’s similar crucifixion, Steve still could not believe this nightmare was happening.
The Wiesner book Death by Education is now on sale on Alibris online for from 24 to 132 dollars. It is becoming a collector’s item. http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?qwork=1527727&wquery=death+by+education&qsort=p&matches=8&cm_sp=works*li, Steve says, “________________________________________
The board and administration do not like teachers. That’s my firm conviction based on two years of observation from the back of the board room. I think they are jealous of them. Teachers and their students are what schools are all about. The board and administration like to delude themselves that the Hillsborough County schools are all about them. But their proper role is backup for teachers and students. They are not the stars; they are the chorus.
The board and administration, however, have turned the school system into a racket so that they can exercise power to blow up their sense of importance and can spend money the state sends the district depending on the student head count on things the ROSSAC parasites consider important---like high salaries for administrators and board members’ gadding around the country on public funds when thousands of poor children in the country can’t afford supplies to participate in class projects. I consider the ROSSAC mob’s behavior selfish, cruel, and vindictive and their attitude toward education barbaric. The board and administration punish teachers because they want to show their power over them and make them feel small so that the administrative staff and board can feel important.
Nothing shows the double standard in the schools like the invidious difference in the treatment that teachers get as opposed to administrators when one of those mandarins gets into trouble. Teachers get referrals to the Professional Standards gauntlet for the least little thing—or nothing as Steve’s and Bart’s cases show. They both got Professional Standards referrals for manufactured reasons because Bart brought attention to the punishment of gays by the county library and Steve has a blog which the administration seized on after they found out about his hooking a special-needs child to a chair so that he could take care of the other one.
I wager the special-ed trio that monitored the chair incident didn’t think about it further, but in some kind of gabfest with Smiley, one of the ROSSAC fiends picked up the data and took it to Elia. That’s why six days elapsed before the Gestapo told Steve it was suspending him for child abuse after his tandem super visors Smiley and Ross and Area Director Smiley kept him on duty with these children for six days.
That they extemporize such outrageous abuse of power over trifles tells us that they have gotten away with doing it for so long that they think nothing of stretching the truth or even outright lying to demean a teacher and fire him or her.
When an administrator messes up in a way that cannot be ignored, there is a whole different attitude that one would have to call infinite indulgence.
The case of Principal Ellyn Smith of the Alafia Elementary School is a prime example of administrator coddling. The Alafia parents had reached the boiling point in their complaints against Ms. Smith’s inability to do her job and treat other people like human beings. One Alafia mother wrote my blog and said that Ms. Smith and Ms. Elia had similar leadership styles, not a compliment for Ms. Smith. Mothers called Dr. Otero to complain about Ms. Smith. He was supposed to be in charge of any problems involving her leadership. The mothers said Dr. Otero seemed uninvolved and hostile. He told a clerk to tell a mother who called him that he had heard from enough mothers about Ms. Smith and wouldn’t talk to her. One wonders what Dr. Otero thinks his job is if not to talk to worried parents.
I know little of Dr. Otero’s status or history. He applied for the superintendent’s job along with Ms. Elia, and she beat him out because one infers her politicking was better than his. The board wanted an inside known quantity that would not rock the boat of their incumbency; that turned out to be Ms. Elia. The board lowered the academic credentials to fit her reduced academic status and put a fake ad in national journals that cost the taxpayers $35,000 to cover their backsides on the issue of equal opportunity.
I reviewed the applications. Ms. Elia was the least qualified. Dr. Otero at least has a doctorate, but a teacher at the protest in board chambers when Ms. Elia downloaded an extra class on high school teachers with no warning told me that the only administrator who would have been worse than Ms. Elia as superintendent was Dr. Otero. His response to the Alafia mothers makes me begin to credit her assessment.
My prediction is that when Ms. Elia has bloated her salary sufficiently to up her pension to a stratospheric level, she will resign and Dr. Otero will become the new superintendent because he will have had sufficient time to signal the board that he will not interfere with any of its fun and games and ceremonial glory.
The Alafia parents dug in their heels because they could no longer abide Ms. Smith, so press attention forced Elia to have a couple of meetings with them. She apparently thought she was going to roll over the Alafia parents as she rolls over everyone in the school system. She didn’t. She couldn’t back these vigilant mothers down at the first meeting; they were too tough for her. She had to schedule another meeting with them. The parents prevailed at the second meeting as well.
But Ms. Elia continued to support Ms. Smith, who with her former-principal husband is a friend of Dr. Lamb. Ms. Elia had Grace Ippolito, erstwhile principal and Elia pal, act as “mentor” to Ms. Smith to teach her how to react to people in a humane fashion. The Ippolito pay was $340 a day. I have quoted this pay as $340 an hour, and I don’t think Elia would have demurred if it were, so eager is the administration to bolster Smith’s keeping her job. I understand a call went out to all administrators to support the administrator under fire. The order implied that an administrator can never be wrong, so solid is the support of the ROSSAC bunker denizens for administrative rectitude and invulnerability compared to the raw justice that teachers get for the least infraction or even one made up to cost the teacher his or her job.
Incredibly enough, Ms. Elia also cooked up a scheme to send Ms. Smith to Eckerd along with her vice principal to attend a course in ironing out personality kinks for $4500 a pop.
When it comes to saving an administrator’s skin, no amount of tax money is too much. Steve Hegarty revealed to the press that the district had had several principal crises during the past year and that all had gotten the kind of solicitude for that Ms. Smith’s unsuitable performance received. Mr. Hegarty spoke even of follow-up workshops, etc. When it comes to the care and feeding of administrators, nothing is too good if tax money can pay for it. (See for news articles on the situation on TBO and The Alafia Experience blog.)
Mr. Smiley was the Judas who had turned in Steve to the Sheriff’s Office; thankfully, the felony charge of child abuse went poof in the sheriff’s hands. He didn’t buy it. What sensible person not living in the alternative reality of the ROSSAC denizens would not have the same reaction?
But that fact of the sheriff’s dismissal of Steve’s case did not deter the administration from its grim pursuit of the charge, which today awaits the dreaded hearing that according to La Kipley has already been decided.
Meanwhile even someone as obdurate as Ms. Elia began to sense that she could not rescue Ms. Smith and keep her in place Alafia Elementary principal. I infer she began to talk to Ms. Smith in wheedling terms of her exiting with the promise of another and better-paying job. This routine complements teachers’ homily that in the administration, “When you mess up, you move up.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center can use Steve’s case in its lawsuit against the Hillsborough County schools for mistreatment of special-ed children. The room cluttered on three sides with dangerously unstable storage that the children could pull down on themselves will be a winner before a jury. The class room for special-ed children that is a storage room presents objective correlative for the disregard the special-ed administrators have for these thrown away children. This disregard coincides with their putting a teacher not trained in the profoundly retarded area into this storage- room class room without giving him orientation or any information at all about how to deal with the population of severely retarded children in this storage-room classroom.
During the Alafia scuffle, I got emails from a fan of April Griffin that said something Ms. Griffin would do in the unraveling of this Smith case would boggle my mind with admiration for the board member. What the event turned out to be was that April and Jennifer Falliero went in stealth to talk Ms. Smith into resigning no doubt to complement Elia’s belated efforts. Smith’s resigning would get Ms. Elia out of the bad-press spotlight the Alafia parents generated with resistance to her desire to keep Ms. Smith on the job despite her inappropriateness. Smith’s resignation would save the board’s grits as well since it had not done diddly to help the parents. Jennifer Falliero and April Griffin made soothing noises to the parents, but they didn’t do anything to help them.
This is what the board usually does: nothing. If the task does not involve the ceremony of appearing in public to make people think board members are deep into improving education, the board backs off and sits out the event, claiming it does not know a thing about it and being careful not to learn anything. I asked one board member if she were aware of the Kemp case, and she was not. Or she said she was not.
The board is careful not to admit it knows of the cruelty against teachers practiced by the Professional Standards office. If board members admitted knowing about the mistreatment of teachers, the public would demand that they do something.
So despite Ms. Falliero’s attempt to kick April Griffin out of the board room recently while Dr. Lamb whispered strategies in her ear to evict Board Member Griffin, Ms. Griffin teamed up with Pole Girl Falliero to go in the dark of night to persuade Ms. Smith to resign. Maybe April considers such compromises diplomacy. I call it rolling over.
Meanwhile, a board meeting intervened, and Elia’s not telling the parents that she would remove Ms. Smith resulted in the parents’ forming a posse to storm the board meeting to air their grievances. So more than a dozen showed up—am impressive turnout I can affirm from watching the meager few who usually show up at the board to protest. I punched my husband in the ribs and whispered, “Good Lord, look at all these Alafia people.”
As they streamed into the board room near the time for citizen comment, I hopped up to shake a few hands. I also accepted with delight the tee-shirt blazoned with the Alafia identity and draped it over my shoulders when I went to the speaker’s spot and announced to the board that I wore the Alafia colors in solidarity with the parents, that they had a perfect right to complain to the board about anything that concerned their school.
Meanwhile, in another of April’s diplomatically adroit moves, she joined Steve Hegarty in going back to where the Alafia contingent sat to beg the Alafia warriors not to speak. Unfortunately the administration duo succeeded and diminished Ms. Elia’s dilemma of the certainty of bad press as well as saving the Board franchise and revealing it was not capable of nor wanted to involve itself in anything but board and administration protection. It was not sympathetic to parents’ concern for the wellbeing of their children.
Some marshmallow-mouth guy got up as Alafia representative and became overwhelmed with addressing the board-and –administration Olympians on the dais and fell into the usual ineffective propitiation mode of shibboleths such as “We must all work together” and other such kumbaya twaddle.
How much more effective would it have been in driving home their determination to take care of their children would it have been if the different parents expressed their concern at the mike and outrage on the board’s and Ms. Elia’s coddling the principal at the expense of the children and their parents---and the teachers since Ms. Smith has compiled a negative record of teachers’ resigning.
Out of her noose, Ms. Elia delivered an oration of educanto boilerplate in which she lauded Ms. Smith’s noble willingness to withdraw for the good of the school community and its children and blah, blah, blah—the usual pack of lies and cover-up that the administration has a patent on. Ms Elia larded her comments with oblique insults to portray the Alafia parents as just a bunch of malcontents and troublemakers bound by malice to destroy the Smith Joan of Arc of Alafia.
Board members sat and accepted this duplicitous twaddle and did not say a word of defense for the Alafia parents, whom April Griffin and Steve Hegarty had just manipulated into silence. I don’t know if April is not smart enough to know that she has moved over into the ranks of the Dark Side or whether she has some labyrinthine diplomatic tangle in the back of her head that will show that she does indeed favor teachers. My analysis is that the ROSSAC milieu has overwhelmed her powers of reason and that Ms. Elia has Stockholmed April. Alas, alack, and weladay for the teachers and students. And na, na, na to me, who was dumb enough to support April with encouragement and money when she ran for office.
For a complete review of the valorous Alafia parents’ conduct of the successful coup against Ms. Elia and the supine board crowned by their getting a new principal who I am praying is a decent soul who knows how to treat people like human beings for a change.
The status of Ms. Smith, deposed Alafia principal remains in delicious doubt. Veterans of such affairs say that she is now ensconced in the most spacious of the ROSSAC office suites next to Ms. Elia’s so that the superintendent can handhold whilst thinking up more dirty tricks to retaliate against the rebels of Alafia, who are on her list in perpetuity whether they know it or not. Savants of the scene have not ruled out the board’s insistence that Ms.Smith and her valiant former-principal husband, who beat his chest in defiance during his wife’s ordeal, defending her with manly huffing and puffing at intervals for press consumption.
Ms. Elia meanwhile combs the personnel data for a suitable elevated place for Ms. Smith when she recovers from the activities accompanying a kick-out rare in the annals of ROSSAC, which usually triumphs in the defense of one of its mess-up administrators. In such scenarios, ROSSAC defeats the proletariat parents to rise in the glory on one more victory over them. Wagner’s The Flight of the Valkyries plays as theme song in ROSSAC for a solemn week of triumph.
Meanwhile, Steve Kemp continues in Limbo. He suffers a situation similar to that of Mr. Erwin when the administration finally paid attention to his complaints after he went to the press and gave reporters a tour of leaking roofs of buildings just completed. Then the administration mounted a for-show long-put-off investigation and put Mr. Erwin in a room by himself. Ordering him to figure out how to solve the problems that he had pointed out for several years with their ignoring him.
Putting a teacher victim of ROSSAC Abu Ghraib justice is one of the favorite tactics of the ROSSAC sadists. Mind games are its specialty. The police may have early ruled out as invalid Steve’s felony charge of child abuse, but ROSSAC doesn’t buy that namby pamby kind of wussie justice for wrongdoers like teacher Steve—or any teacher.
Administrators may have a soft landing after mess-ups great and small, but teachers get no quarter from the board and the administration.
To: Linda Kipley, Professional Standards
From: Lee Drury De Cesare, citizen
Please consider this a formal complaint against Mr. Ron Smiley, head of Section 5 of Special Ed.
In the matter of the case of Steve Kemp’s alleged child-abuse charge filed by Mr. Smiley at the Sheriff’s Department, I protest its validity on the grounds that Mr. Smiley himself bears guilt in the situation for his not rendering to Mr. Kemp the help that Mr. Smiley’s job description clearly outlines:
• Help teachers develop a strategy for the instruction and assessment of the subject area curriculum so that every student develops to his maximum potential;
• Be responsible for assisting the administration in monitoring absences and arranging coverage of classes when no substitute is present;
• To insure dissemination of information and subject area supervisors to all members of the department and to insure understanding of all directives issued;
• To assist the Principal and Assistant Principal for Curriculum for evaluation of teachers within the department and, when necessary, work with teachers to improve instruction;
• To become a trained classroom observer eligible to serve on Preparing New Educator Teams.
• To work with teachers within the department to produce the highest standards of teaching (This includes visiting classrooms, making helpful suggestions for improving lesson plans, counseling with teachers within the department, and coordinating the work of the group to achieve departmental standards.
Although Mr. Smiley visited Mr. Kemp’s classroom, he spoke not a word to Mr. Kemp in accordance with the above directives. Instead after the lapse of a week, he went to the Sheriff’s Department and filed felony child-abuse charges against Mr. Kemp for his hooking the harness one student had on to a chair while he dealt with another child.
The sheriff’s office has dismissed the felony charge, but the administration continues its baseless charge against Mr. Kemp when it is the supervisory people like Mr. Smiley who should be cited for abuse of Professional Standards.
To: Linda Kipley, Professional Standards
From: Lee Drury De Cesare, citizen
Professional Standards charge against Principal Marion Ross of Special Ed
Please consider this a formal complaint against Principal Marion Ross of the Special Ed division.
In the matter of the case of Steve Kemp’s alleged child-abuse charge filed by Mr. Smiley. District 5 head, at the Sheriff’s Department, I protest its validity on the grounds that Ms. Ross along with Mr. Smiley and Ms Sosa bear guilt in the situation for their not rendering to Mr. Kemp the help that the three’s job description clearly outlines:
Ms. Ross’s Job Description:
• Proactivity: Demonstrates readiness to initiate action and take responsibility for leading and enabling others to improve the circumstances being faced or anticipated;
• Organizational Sensitivity: Is aware of the effects of his/her behavior and decisions on all stakeholders both inside and outside the organization;
• Oversees and is responsible for school’s instructional program…and its results;
• Oversees and is responsible for the safety and discipline of the school’s students;
• Oversees and is responsible for the accuracy and timeliness of school’s records and reports.
Ms. Ross gave Steve Kemp no assistance that coincides with the above duties of her job in this case. The only thing she said when she entered the room with Mr. Smiley and a physical therapist was that she “didn’t want to lose her job for child abuse.” She gave no help to Steve Kemp before she threw him into a classroom of severely retarded children. Steve had no education in or training to serve this student population. Ms. Ross gave Steve no advice or orientation to help him do the job right... In this lack Ms. Ross was derelict in her duties as a principal; thus I file Professional Standards charges against her.
To: Linda Kipley, Professional Standards
From: Lee De Cesare, citizen
Please consider this a formal complain of breech of professional standards by Supervisor Sosa in the Special Ed division. This charge is a refutation of the charge of child abuse against teacher Steve Kemp.
Ms. Sosa assigned Steve to the substitute duty of teaching profoundly retarded children without ascertaining his training.
Mr. Kemp has no academic credentials in caring for profoundly retarded children. His education is in teaching children who have trouble reading to read.
• Ms. Sosa’s job description says that her duties include the following;
• Provide support for ESE teachers at assigned school;
• Assist teachers in monitoring the effectiveness of curriculum and materials used in the classroom;
• Assist teachers in the pre-referral process of intervention strategies, observations, and conferences;
• Provide in-service for general education teachers as needed;
• Provide program-specific orientation and training for newly hired teachers;
• Assist in developing intervention strategies in regard to behavior management and school discipline;
Provide support for parents and function as a liaison to the school, parents, and community agencies.
Supervisor Sosa was derelict in these duties when she and Principal Ross threw Steve as a substitute in a room the population of which was profoundly retarded children. Neither she nor Ms. Ross gave Mr. Kemp any orientation or comments on his conducting this unfamiliar client base, not a word. This is dereliction of Supervisor Ross’s written duties, and I protest her behavior and ask that she be subject to a Professional Standards charge.
As Steve awaits his fate at the dreaded hearing, Ms. Elia has done a make-over for her Web portrait. I think she could not take any more ragging for her signature mullet hairdo. One can’t exactly pin down this new Elia coiffeur, but I have a feeling its identical to Madam Defarge’s do for the guillotine execution rituals in the French Revolution. What do y’all think this new Elia hair do portends, citizens?
Keep in mind that just as the French people after the revolution succeeded had to get in line for the guillotine if they failed to address each other as “citizen,” the Hillsborough County teachers must salute smartly any ROSSAC personage; failure to do so means being sent immediately to Professional Standards for a serious charge of lese majeste without the due process that Steve Kemp is being deprived of as we speak.
If you want to comment on Steve’s treatment, send your missives to me at leedrurydecesarescasting-roomcouch.blogspot.com. I will see that all the administrators get them. lee
Reacting to the drumbeat of ridicule of her mullet hairdo, Ms. Elia has acquired a new do. I don’t know what you call it, but I have a suspicion that it’s modeled on that of Madame DeFarge’s coiffeur when she took her knitting to the guillotine holidays. Cette coiffure est plus laide que le mulet. Bien sur. lee
I can't get Ms. Elia's new air-brushed picture to pull up in this program. The program doesn't think it looks like her is my diagnosis for this malfunction. ldd