Saturday, July 04, 2009

Speak Truth to Power--Speak Loudly and Persistently

PRO On HCPS has left a new comment on your post "Thank You, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, and All the Sh...":

I can add to this story, and give it a local tie in.

"PRO on HCPS: A Piece of the Dysfunctional Puzzle:

"...Along with the identifying data, it contains the Subjects and the original grades. Two of the original grades were 'D's. They have been slashed through and have 'C' written next to them.

At the very bottom of the form is the following written by a teacher about an Area Director. It states:

' * These grades have been changed as per (name withheld)'s request although I feel it is unethical to do so. I have changed them solely to avoid any charges of insubordination'.

Once again, this is one 'small piece' of the dynamics I faced for many years."

Richard L. Hancock

Publish this comment.

Reject this comment.

Moderate comments for this blog.

Posted by PRO On HCPS to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 5:09 AM

Richard, people can't change grades even under duress from a higher-up. I ran into this problem at HCC. When my immediate administrator pressured me to pass a student who had plagiarized his term paper off the Internet, I said, "Keep this up, Jo Ann, and I will go before the board and report you." She stopped.

Another time an administrator changed the grade of a teacher friend of mine from failing to passing for a student. My friend with a Ph.D. but no guts did not have the moxie to fight. I fought for her. I called the president, Gwen Stevenson, twice. I told her she had to do something about that administrator's illegal action. The second time I called, I told her I would see that the action was made public and report that she did nothing about it. She then fired him. But he got a job at another college, of course. If I had had a good horse under me, I would have followed him.

But I tell you what I have found out in my years of civil-rights work: evil is a growth industry. Just get up every day and do what you can with the first piece of skulduggery you come across. Tomorrow, there will be plenty more to tackle.

Don't be afraid to confront and speak truth to power. Don't hang back and think they will reform themselves. Don't be nice. Don't beg. Don'plead. Don't cajole. Don't snivvel. Be
sufficiently mean so that the thugs get the idea that you mean business.

Give me enough information to identify the administrator, and I will ask him or her about the incident. I won't get killed. Just hated and feared.

I am glad to get your email address. I lost it and have had to leave you out on the email rounds. lee

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

This police chief has the same mindset as the administration and board of the Hillsborough County school system.

Sometimes you have to cheer when the courts get it right and defend the victim against these ghouls. This case is not as bad as the Erwin case, but it's in the ballpark.

Give somebody authority--even a little bit--and you will find out what that person is made of. lee


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J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 33:2:272-274 (2005)
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Privacy Violation in Fitness-for-Duty Evaluation
Police Officer's Statements in a Department-Ordered Fitness-for-Duty Evaluation Are Protected Under Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act From Further Disclosure Without the Officer's Consent

Facts of the Case

In McGreal v. Ostrov, 368 F.3d 657 (7th Cir. 2004) James T. McGreal was a police officer for the Village of Alsip, Illinois. His superior officers, Chief of Police Kenneth Wood and Field Operations Commander Lt. David Snooks, were appointees of the longstanding mayor, Arnold Andrews. Mr. McGreal, following a series of incidents in which he felt that the mayor and other village officials had acted improperly, challenged Mayor Andrews in the 1997 election. After his failed attempt to unseat the mayor, Mr. McGreal found himself under "unprecedented scrutiny" from his departmental superiors. He filed reports detailing the alleged infractions, which in one case initiated an investigation into the conduct of the mayor.

In November 1997, Mr. McGreal was ordered to appear for an administrative interview to address the matter. Despite his undergoing many hours of interrogation over four months, no charges or disciplinary actions were brought against him. Instead, he was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation to assess his fitness for duty.

Mr. McGreal was forced to sign a waiver with respect to the confidentiality and privacy of the information given to the psychologist and the dissemination of his report. He signed the waiver and noted it was "under duress." The psychologist's lengthy and detailed report concluded that to remain on the force, Mr. McGreal must "undertake a course of psychotherapy directed toward helping him gain insight into the vagaries of his reasoning processes, their potential for disruption in the police department and the community, and the relationship to his own psychological needs and functioning." Mr. McGreal agreed to the therapy, but Chief Wood chose to place him on paid sick leave until further notice. Mr. McGreal sued, and two weeks later he was terminated on the basis of "various acts of misconduct." Subsequent to the receipt of the report, Chief Wood forwarded the report to Mr. McGreal's colleagues in the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), supposedly in response to a grievance filed by Mr. McGreal, who objected to the disclosure of the report and questioned the validity of his consent and also the scope of the information disclosed in the report.

Mr. McGreal's suit claimed deprivation of First Amendment rights, deprivation of speech rights, and violation of the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act arising from the disclosure of the psychological report. The defendants moved for a dismissal of the final count, noting that there was no therapeutic relationship between the psychologist and Mr. McGreal and that further, Mr. McGreal had signed a waiver of confidentiality. The defendants moved for summary judgment on the remaining counts. The court granted judgment in favor of all the defendants, and Mr. McGreal appealed.

The lower court, in granting the defendants' motion for summary judgment, found that the Illinois statute (the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act, 740 ILCS 110/1 et seq.) did not apply in this situation, because Mr. McGreal was not a "recipient" of the psychologist's report pursuant to the waiver he signed.

The questions of law presented to the appellate court included whether Mr. McGreal's First Amendment right outweighed the "government's interest as an employer in efficiently providing government services," and if not, would Mr. McGreal have been disciplined "even in the absence of his speech?" The final question, most pertinent to psychiatry, was whether the psychologist's fitness-for-duty report was covered by the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act.

Ruling and Reasoning

The standard for granting a motion for summary judgment, as set forth in this case, is that Mr. McGreal need only demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact as to each element. All facts are construed in a light most favorable to Mr. McGreal, the party opposing summary judgment, and the court draws all reasonable inferences in his favor.

The appeals court found that Mr. McGreal's statements were worthy of First Amendment protection and that they played a substantial role in the department's decision to terminate him. However, they felt that there were "too many open questions" for a court to decide whether Mr. McGreal's First Amendment protection of speech was outweighed by the need for an employer to restrict such speech in the interest of "effective and efficient public service." With regard to The Village of Alsip's contention that it could not be held liable for the independent acts of the elected and appointed officials, the appeals court found instead that the Mayor and Chief Wood were acting as "final policymaking authorit[ies]" in initiating the termination process and mandating psychotherapy. This brings us to the final question of whether Mr. McGreal's communication with the appointed psychologist was protected by the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act.

The appeals court found that Mr. McGreal was entitled to have a jury hear his claim regarding the necessity of the ordered psychological evaluation and whether the extent of the report's dissemination went beyond the circumscribed departmental interest to establish his fitness for duty. The court of appeals held that the psychological fitness-for-duty evaluation was protected under the Confidentiality Act. The appeals court reasoned that the evaluator was a psychologist, thereby qualifying as "therapist" under the Act, and that his examination and diagnosis qualified as mental health services, for which Mr. McGreal was recipient. Therefore, the final document constituted a protected mental health record.

The Illinois Supreme Court had held, in Sangirardi v. Village of Stickney 342 Ill. App.3d 1 (2003), that a police chief maintained authority to order fitness-for-duty evaluations of his officers in the interest of public safety and that logically the police chief was entitled to the results of the examinations. The appeals court pointed out that the Illinois Confidentiality Act contained a detailed consent form, as well as a defined exception to the strict confidentiality, that is, the consent to disclose. Therefore, there was no necessary conflict between the need for disclosure and the right to privacy. Any such disclosure, however, was restricted to "that which is necessary to accomplish a particular purpose." While Mr. McGreal had reluctantly agreed to sign a Consent for Evaluation form, under orders from Lt. Snooks, this consent was inconsistent with what was provided by the statute. Furthermore, Mr. McGreal's psychological evaluation, which included sensitive personal information not relevant to his fitness for duty, had been disseminated far beyond the superiors responsible for the determination of his fitness.

The appeals court noted that:

The Confidentiality Act contains no disclosure exception for police departments performing mental health examinations to determine fitness for duty. It does allow for disclosure on consent, but the consent form used here does not meet the standards set forth by Illinois law. See 740 ILCS 110/5(b) (listing what is required for valid consent).

Further the appeals court noted:

...that a recipient may consent to disclosure of information for a limited purpose and that any agency or person who obtains confidential and privileged information may not redisclose the information without the recipient's specific consent.


With every forensic psychiatric evaluation, we begin with a statement documenting our disclosure to the evaluee that the information will be used in a report to the referring party and is, therefore, not confidential. We also explain that although we are psychiatrists, we have no patient-doctor relationship with those whom we evaluate in a forensic context. Yet, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted the application of the Illinois statute such that by virtue of the fact that the evaluator was a psychologist and in this role assessed Mr. McGreal, the forensic evaluation was construed as a mental health service. The report produced was therefore protected. The appellate court recognized that the statute does provide for a waiver in limited circumstances, but those exceptions must be narrowly read. The key facts on which this case turned are: (1) the waiver used did not meet the statutory exception to nondisclosure; (2) the Alsip Police Department redisclosed the report to another party, not required within the purpose of evaluating Mr. McGreal for his fitness for duty; and (3) the standard for review was that of a summary judgment motion interpreting an Illinois state statute. Thus, the McGreal decision instructs that forensic psychiatrists must follow the confidentiality statute(s) applicable in their jurisdiction. This means obtaining the legal consent specified by any relevant mental health confidentiality statute and limiting the dissemination to those permitted under the statute.

McGreal also raises questions about the "no doctor-patient" relationship that we define at the outset of our evaluations. This self-serving descriptor allows us to negate assumptions presumed in our medical role that cannot be reconciled with our forensic role. As forensic evaluators, we cannot promise to "first, do no harm" and that everything disclosed will remain strictly confidential. Yet, it is not only our psychiatric skill that allows us to elicit information from those we evaluate, but also the benevolent authority that is subsumed in the role of psychiatrist. It is precisely because of this combination of skill and authority that we are capable of eliciting information that an evaluee might not otherwise disclose. McGreal serves to remind us that with privilege comes responsibility. Under the wording of the Illinois Confidentiality Statue, by virtue of our identity as psychiatrists, we are providing mental health services to those we evaluate. Redefining ourselves at the start of the interview does not dismiss the evaluees' perceptions of us or reduce their vulnerability to our authority.

In sum, McGreal cautions that confidentiality remains paramount in all psychiatric services, and proper consent to disclosure should be obtained. Sensitive personal data that are irrelevant to the purpose of an evaluation should be withheld in the interest of privacy. And finally, we are reminded that disclosure is limited in scope and is permitted only for the purpose for which consent was provided.

Andrea Stolar, MD

Forensic Psychiatry Fellow
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

Leslie M. Koblenz, MD, JD

Staff Psychiatrist
Northcoast Behavioral Health Care
Cleveland, OH


Friday, July 03, 2009

Thank You, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, and All the Ships at Sea

Tough Teacher Vindicated

Jury Awards 1.4 Million For Mental Anguish and Punitive Damages

© Barbara Pytel

Apr 2, 2007
Tough Teacher Wins Court Battle,
Would you change students grades if ordered by administration to do so? This teacher refused and lost her job.

Background Story

Paula Payne, high school English teacher at West Feliciana High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been a teacher for 16 years. She has the reputation of being a tough teacher with high expectations. Her students refer to her class as the "House of Payne." She also has creative ideas in teaching her lessons. For example, she asked students to dress in togas for class when studying Shakespeare. She also began a Renaissance Festival at the high school. [Penny Brown,, March 30, 2007]

One would think that in the era of No Child Left Behind and the new emphasis being placed on rigor and relevance, Payne would be considered a model teacher by her principal. She was not.

Fall of 2004

In the first six weeks of the fall semester, Payne gave 70 percent of her English students a D or an F. 180 sophomores were not doing well in English II. How were the students doing in other classes? Much better. How were freshmen, juniors and seniors doing in other classes? Much better. Information that the jury heard about how rigorous her classes were is not available. Was she unreasonable in her expectations or do other instructors have exceptionally low expectations? That is something the jury had to take into consideration.

Louisiana Law

The State of Louisianna bars any principal, superintendent or school board member from tampering with grades submitted by a teacher. However, Payne maintains that she was told to change her grades by principal Michael Thornhill or she would be assigned to teach in the behavior modification clinic for troubled students.

Louisiana Education Association

A reasonable teacher in this vulnerable position would contact her local education association and seek legal advice. In November of 2004, Payne was asked to meet with administrators and she agreed but she wanted to be accompanied by members of the LEA, Louisiana Education Association. Superintendent Lloyd Lindsey and Thornhill refused to meet with her if a representative was present from the LEA. She was suspended for five days because she refused to meet with administration alone. It is standard procedure for a representative of an Education Association to meet with a teacher and a teacher's right to do so. Payne also told her story to a local television station that aired the story making this a public issue.

January 2005

In January, she was suspended for 45 days by the West Feliciana School Board for willful neglect of duty. After the 45 days were served, she returned to work but was no longer the English II instructor. Her new position was library monitor and tutoring--except there were no students to tutor. She was reduced to teaching only two English classes. Payne resigned at the end of the school year.


Payne sought legal advise from Jill Craft, her attorney, and filed a suit two years ago. Just last week, the case went to trial and a four-man, five-woman jury awarded Payne $1.4 million. $1.2 million for mental anguish and $200,000 in punitive damages.

After the verdict, Payne said, "I'm just so thankful the truth is known there. It's wrong for an administrator directly or indirectly to force a teacher to change grades. Teachers have rights, and they should be treated with respect."

The jury found the school guilty of the following:

  • violating Payne's First Amendment rights
  • harassing her about altering the grades
  • retaliating against her for refusing to do so
  • speaking about the matter to the media

Administration Claims

School administrators claim that they never demanded she change any grades. And, they claim that they did not retaliate against Payne for refusing to meet with them without an LEA representative. Obviously, the jury believed Payne's version of the story.

Payne now teaches English to prisoners at the Dixon Correctional Center. She has no plans to return to teaching in Louisiana public schools.

Norman Mailer: That Fifties Sexist Shit

Dear Vox: Norman Mailer was an utter sexist shit who beat up his wives.

I dragged my husband to a lecture with him, Germaine Greer and a whole bunch of New York intellectual luminaries including Diana Trilling in NYC forty years ago.

You could see that Mailer was taken with Germaine Greer: she was a foot taller than he and probably tripped his bondages fantasies.

Some woman came to the microphone at question time and queried Mailer's sexism, which included women's not using contraception because it "diminished the pleasure of men."

Mailer's response was, "You dames just don't understand men, which I outlined in The Naked and the Dead."

Germaine Greer--may egalitarian gods and goddesses bless this brilliant, beautiful woman---got up on the stage and stalked into Goader's space. She raised herself to her full six feet, two over diminutive personage Mailer, having the the hots for her as his fantasy Valkyrie female who could ring his five feet, three-inch chimes sans contraceptives, and said, looking down her nose at short-stuff Mailer, "Really, Norman, your Naked and the Dead is not the Divine Comedy. "

The hall erupted in laughter, and Norman slunk to his seat.

Coming home to Flushing, our four children and bourgeosie reality, my husband said, "Hell, why do you drag me to these feminist shoot-outs when I could be home watching the Yankees?"

"Because. dear." I replied, "you have had the ineffable privilege of marrying a woman rabble-rouser who is part of the fertilizing lump that changes history."

Love to to Vox Populi,


-----Original Message----- From: Vox Populi [] Sent: Friday, July 03, 2009 12:55 AM To: Subject: [Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch] New comment on Never Bow Down Before Flapdoodle. Vox Populi has left a new comment on your post "Never Bow Down Before Flapdoodle": Tell it !!! Very declasse' of the unsainted mr. CSL. I laugh so hard at these frumped up egos .. same as when Norman Mailer died .... (not that norman is ANY comparison) BUT .. the guy in sanfran or sandiego who had obviously been writing a five page diatribe for decades as he stewed in envy. This is what one gets from CSL, as well. If I were jealous of someone and wanted to best them I'd damn sure be doing it toe to toe. Not the wimpy way. Publish this comment. Reject this comment. Moderate comments for this blog. Posted by Vox Populi to Lee Drury De Cesare's Casting-Room Couch at 9:55 PM

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Never Bow Down Before Flapdoodle

Anonymous said...

Is there a list of title and salaries for those NOT school based? Salaries for teachers are on a chart.

I don't know the answer to this question; does anybody out there have a response for this reader? lee

Eking out Public Information for my needlepoint quilt of the school system:


Mr. (Dr.?) Otero:

About two years ago when Dr. Hamilton was due to retire, my impression was that he stayed past his July retirement date in a job created especially for him. At that time, a penciled-in caret appeared on the school Web page over your name adding Dr. Hamilton's name.

I thought this was an odd way to amend the official Web page since a computer-savvy person would have gone into the program and inserted the name with regular text after years. I said at the time that the insertion seemed to say that there were two deputy superintendents getting two salaries for the same job.

Can you shed light on when and why someone penciled in this careted insertion above your name and give your assessment to Ms. Cobbe of Public Affairs, whom I expect to convey it to me?

lee drury de cesare

I thought you might enjoy a book review I did recently. I can't concentrate on the Hillsborough County school system all the time. It would make me dumb. So I refresh my mind with the National Inquirer and reviewing some flossy book or other. This review is on Claude Levi Strauss's The Savage Mind.

Review of Claude Levy-Strauss's The Savage Mind

I suffered through this dense twaddle because the "critics" said it was profound.

Foucault and CLS have in common a designedly dense prose that doubles back on itself and aims to thwart comprehension of simple ideas tortured into twisted linguistic shapes to make them seem profound. I call this style pretentious flapdoodle.

After wading through every nuance of primitive people's relationship with totems--bears and opossums get their totemistic due--to a degree never imagined by a sane soul and undoubtedly never invented by the natives but by Mr.CLS's cross-eyed imagination, the final chapter administers the coup de grace by exploring without mercy Mr. CLS''s disagreements with Sartre. He shreds existentialism and Satire to tatters and kicks them to the curb.

This act shouldn't surprise since CLS has sneered at just about every big-time thinker in Western history throughout this book. Beating up on Sartre seems ungallant inasmuch as Sartre is only recently dead and Mr. CLS still alive at 100.

CLS savages Sartre I wager because the latter occasionally writes a coherent sentence.

The fool reviewers at the flossy publications of the New York Times, The Observer, and The Saturday Review quoted in the back-cover blurbs do obeisance before this clotted production to make people think they are among the elect that can appreciate this opaque tome on totemism with its cover-to-cover intellectual pretension, opaque allusions, and God knows what all.

The NYT acolyte of nonsense says this: "...every word, like a sacred object, has its place. No précis is possible. This extraordinary book must be read." Translated: "I didn't understand a word of The Savage Mind and hand the task off to the reader to make of it what he or she can." Had he said what he really thought of the book, his review would have been word for word like mine.

lee drury de cesare, Madeira Beach, FL

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Money Trail

Linda, here are the data below from the state pension people on Dr. Hamilton's retirement record.

I believe that the June date locates his beginning of the job that Ms. Elia created for him. That's when his name showed careted in pen or pencil above Mr. Otero's on the school Web site.

The clerk who handled his new job's record told me Dr. Hamilton's name went on that job before it was even posted officially. I am sure she did not realize she was giving out covert information, and if I knew her name, I would not reveal it because the poor woman would be drawn and quartered.

If Dr. Hamilton began his monthly pension benefit In July of 2007, I believe that the $6.548.95 state pension he received while still working for a salary on his created job in the school system.

I don't know when he began his IRS benefit, but I can find out by laying out the whole problem to the IRS and asking its services to assist me.

I figure that Dr. Hamilton's take comes to more than $78,000 a year in pension benefits alone; plus he gets Social Security as well. Plus his salary for the created job at the school board meant even more money for him.

All in all, the total is quite a haul. It puts into vivid contrast teachers' meager benefits and reveals why fellows who don't know the difference between "your" and "you're" head for the administration redoubt when they exit college instead of the class room.

I doubt that the IRS would consider this arrangement kosher.

I will find out if necessary. The school's money people must have a record of the payments Dr. Hamilton got on the $140,000 salary that the clerk told me the created job got. They can't give out tax money without keeping a record of it.

In a regular board meeting, I recall the chair of the board's saying that Dr. Hamilton was retiring to attenuated applause sometime in the fall of 2008. I think it was November.

What I can't figure out is why somebody who rakes in Dr. Hamilton's opulent tax-supplied monthly take would not be parading on one of those nude beaches in the Riviera demonstrating his physique to admiring hordes of groupies of the rich people who can afford to live there and living off their crumbs.

Another mystery is why Dr. Hamilton continues to extract tax monies via his sweetheart arrangement of Mixon and Associates in Tallahassee.

When is enough enough?

I am old. But one never gets too old to be astonished by such sagas of greed.

Please send me a record of the last two years employment of Dr. Hamilton for the school board with dates. Please include the monthly payout for the post-retirement-date job beginning in July and ending, I believe, in November.

When asked such questions as the above, the customary response of the ROSSAC quidnuncs is to try to make a case for anyone's asking questions like these as a crazed individual who needs a strait jacket, not information. Aged and frail though I am, I will psychologically and intellectually arm wrestle the whole ROSSAC horde of C students to quell that accusation.

I would not want to be on the public-affairs team who had to deal with a scenario like the one outlined above. lee drury de cesare

-----Original Message----- From: Inman, Ryan [] Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 9:20 AM To: lee Subject: RE: Regarding your Public Records Request Mr. De Cesare, Thank you for the additional identifying information. Mr. Hamilton enter the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) July 1, 2002 with an initial monthly benefit of $5,649.17. He terminated from the DROP program June 30, 2007 and received payment of his DROP accrual in the amount of $420,340.55 as a direct rollover. He then began receiving his monthly benefit directly in the amount of $6,548.95 in July of 2007. I hope this information fulfills your public records request. Please let me know if there is anything else I can provide you. Thank you and have a wonderful day! Ryan M. Inman Senior Benefits Analyst Division of Retirement Telephone: 850/488-5706 or Toll-free: 877/377-1737 Email: "With A Servant's Heart, We Serve Those Who Serve Florida" DISCLAIMER NOTICE: This email, along with any included attachment(s), is intended for use only by the person(s) or entity to which it is addressed. This message may contain confidential, proprietary, and/or legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. You are hereby notified that you are prohibited from printing, copying, storing, disseminating or distributing this communication. If you received this communication in error, please notify the sender by email or by telephone at (850) 488-5540 or toll-free at (866) 738-2366 if Tallahassee is not a local call for you. All record of the communication you received in error (electronic or otherwise) should be destroyed in its entirety. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this matter. From: lee [] Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 12:03 AM To: Inman, Ryan Subject: RE: Regarding your Public Records Request Dr. Hamilton worked for the Hillsborough County School Board. THank you. lee de cesare -----Original Message----- From: Inman, Ryan

Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 5:37 PM To: Subject: Regarding your Public Records Request Mr. De Cesare, Thank you for your public records request. With 47 “James Hamilton”s in our system, I will need some other identifying information in order to provide the information you have requested. Please tell me who the employer is for the Mr. Hamilton you are inquiring about or give me a birth date, Social Security number and/or a middle initial to use as an identifier. Thank you. Ryan M. Inman Senior Benefits Analyst Division of Retirement Telephone: 850/488-5706 or Toll-free: 877/377-1737 Email: "With A Servant's Heart, We Serve

Those Who Serve Florida"
DISCLAIMER NOTICE: This email, along with any included attachment(s), is intended for use only by the person(s) or entity to which it is addressed. This message may contain confidential, proprietary, and/or legally privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. You are hereby notified that you are prohibited from printing, copying, storing, disseminating or distributing this communication. If you received this communication in error, please notify the sender by email or by telephone at (850) 488-5540 or toll-free at (866) 738-2366 if Tallahassee is not a local call for you. All record of the communication you received in error (electronic or otherwise) should be destroyed in its entirety.

Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this matter.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Update on the Kemp Case for the Minions of the Light

Everybody recalls that the administration filed a child-abuse charge against Steve Kemp (aka Goader) because he hooked a special-needs child to a chair with a harness the child had on when Goader entered the junk-filled room that served as the children's classroom.

We later learned that these harnesses were supposed to come off children when they entered the room (one infers the children wore harnesses on the bus and that use of restraints is not illegal on the bus since it is a special circumstance cited in the law below). But their being left on the children all day probably was for the convenience of the person caring for them before Goader came on the scene (a long-time aide, apparently. She left for "burn out.)

I doubt that practice of leaving the restraints on in class meets Florida restraint standards, but the administrative staff did not recommend the aide to Professional Standards.

When the special-ed administrative staff threw Goader into the special-needs class-junk-room, they--Sosa, Morris, and Smilely) did not give him any orientation or instruction whatsoever although their job descriptions said that they should have done. Steve had no training in caring for special-needs children and learned on the go.
Two of the boys (one weighed 175 pounds Steve estimates) were interested in escaping the room through the door. That was when Steve hooked the already in-place harness of one to a chair so that he would not escape while Steve chased the other.

At this juncture the administrative trio of Smiley, Morris, and Sosa entered the room, and one of the women said she "didn't want to lose my job" when she spotted the harness restraining the student while Steve engaged in securing the other student.

Six days went by with Stevc still the teacher for the children although he was labeled a "child-abuser" in the charge that Smiley filed with the Sheriff's department after the six days had elapsed. The sheriff promptly threw out the charge.

It appears to me that the Florida Children's Services site quotes the law governing restraints as one that includes an exception that applies to Steve's case. (I highlight the exception in red below). But the administration was so eager to charge Steve with child abuse (because he has a blog that explores school issues is my analysis) that its power thugs ignored this exception in Steve's case, although he was totally ignorant of the restraint laws for special-ed children. But the aide who left the restraints on the children must have known about it. And the supervisors who supervised the aide surely knew about it and that restraints for the bus should have come off when the children entered class. But the administrators let the aide's defection pass because whe was one of the gang and left on the harnesses for convenience.

I am sure the mother in the article below is quite right that special-needs and even other children are restrained in schools for the convenience of the staff. Those restraints on the two boys in Steve's classroom were left on for the convenience of not having to take the restraints off in the morning and put them back on at the end of the day.

In psychiatric hospitals restraints are used routinely for the staff's convenience. It is a widespread and deplorable practice. I am a registered nurse and can say with assurance that I know convenience for the staff is as frequent a reason for putting patients in restraints as patients' rambunctious behaviour.

But in Steve's case, the administrative personnel cherrypicked a person to charge with child abuse, and the one they cherrypicked was Steve for reasons known to themselves. Maybe they needed a show victim
trapped in the claws of Professional Standards to keep the teachers in terror of their jobs, or maybe their sadism index was high six days after the restraint incident took place.

I have filed charges for child abuse against Smiley, Sosa, Morris, and Kipley--the last-named for for abetting the child abuse by not investigating my charge and not even acknowledging that she got it, which prolonged the danger to the children under the care of the three negligent administrators and the aide who did not remove the restraints when they entered the room in the morning. I filed the charge against Kipley with Mr. Valdez, but he adamantly refuses to answer it. There is one other person complicit that I shall include when I do enough research to decide with which agencies to file child-abuse charges.

I referred Steve Kemp to Board Member April Griffin to see if she could intervene in the process that had put him on suspension and get it straightened out. Although Steve didn't say much about the meeting, I got the impression it was non-productive and that Board Member Griffin urged him to keep quiet, that "good things were happening behind the scenes."

Board Member Griffin--despite children's safety being the board's constant drumbeat-- did not mention the danger posed to the special-needs children by the administrators' derelict behavior and would pose in the future because their drill with putting a non-trained teacher into a classroom situation in which he was unfamiliar with no briefing was S.O.P. for these administrative people, not irregular it appears.

Ms. Griffin, who poses as teachers' friend did not show herself as much of a friend to teachers or to special-needs students either in this demonstration of her wanting to escape from the responsibility of dealing with it. I detect no evidence that Ms. Griffin pursued the particulars of Steve's case and made the administrators demonstrate that the charge and one-year suspension were necessary. (Her visit with Steve came about the middle of his suspension, so he continued in that condition for months after the Griffin interview with no abatement of the suspension and no word of how his case was progressing.)

So when I decide what state agencies to appeal to for the child abuse demonstrated by the administrators of the Hillsborough County Schools, I shall have to add Board Member Griffin's name to the administrative child-abuse roster. She knew about it. She said nothing about it. She did nothing about it. She knew about the special-abuse administrative practice of putting an untrained teacher in a room to care for special-needs children with no instruction. That should have catalyzed corrective measures on her part because she ran for the office of board member ostensibly for the children's benefit foremost.

And Ms. Kipley knew of the details of the case and did nothing to rein in the negligent administrators in their reckless supervisory practices. So she abetted the abuse of the children.

I must ponder whether to name others on the board. The board members all knew about the case although its members feigned lack of knowledge.
I published the situation in my blog and sent them copies. I brought up the case at least twice to their dismay in public comments at board meetings.

The final paragraph of the guidelines for "Employee Misconduct Complaints" says this: "Once a case is closed, a copy of the report may be requested." I have requested my report of Steve's case and on an inspired thought, requested the five cases' reports that preceded Steve's.

Closed by Professional Standards, these cases are all public information, yet Bart Birdsall reports that several of the people whom he knows who went through Professional Standards have not gotten those statements and want them. This is professional administrative negligence that we must challenge both on the children's safety issue and also on Linda Kipley's failure to complete the cases by cataloguing the investigation and the recommendation to fire or not to fire.

These reports supposed to be written by home-ec credentialed Ms. Kipley are now public information now that the cases have been resolved. Steve and others who have run the Professional Standards gauntlet would have copies of their cases if Ms. Kipley did her job. Steve Kemp would know about his case's end if Ms. Kipley fulfilled her professional duties but instead had to spot his name on the fall class rolls to infer that the investigation cleared him.nless he had spotted his name on the fall class rolls. This is no way to treat victims of Professional Standards charges--legitimate or cooked up.

I will bet anybody who wants to gamble on the situation a hundred dollars that Kipley has not written these reports of the five I have requested, that they are nowhere to be found.

The administration has botched the Kemp case so badly that its members want to bury it. Tom Gonzalez spoke of the lawyers who settled the case in the third person. He said in effect, "It's those lawyers out there who settled the case months ago, not Mr. Kemp's lawyer and I who settled the case months ago."

But I won't let Minions of the Darkness bury the case. I may see if I can't persuade a librettist to mount it as an opera.

The ROSSAC thugs will hear of this case again and again with my work before the CRT screen of my computer. The Kemp case will become twin to the Erwin case in the sordid annals of the administration's sadism career.

I want to see if I can get hold of that mother crusading against restraints. This case falls in her purview.
I will also send a copy of any complaints with state agencies that I file to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It has a case in the legal pipeline now filed against the Hillsborough County School Board via the NAACP for its mistreatment of special-needs children.

We are never helpless, Minions of the Light, in the face of wrongdoing if we won't shut up. Only if good people speak out against injustice can we defeat the evil that crosses our path. lee

National Advocacy Group and Florida Mom Seek to End Restraints of Special Education Students - Problems with Injuries and Deaths

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Phyllis Musumeci is the founder of Florida Families Against Restraint and Seclusion and the National Families Against Restraint and Seclusion. Phyliss is also a mom on a mission to end restraints on special education / special need students. Unfortunately, many special education law students including those with autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities, are unduly restrained in public and private schools in Florida and the rest of the United States. Phyliss was asked to speak by the National Disability Rights Network in Washington, D.C.

A new report on the issue of restraints and seclusion of special education students show widespread use in public schools throughout the nation. Some child rights and education rights advocates believe that the restraints amount to abuse and neglect of these students. Furthermore, the use of these restraints often times causes serious personal injuries and the wrongful death of special education students.

Under Florida law, school officials can restrain a special education student who is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others in the school environment. Muscumeci and others believe that Florida law is too vague and that children are often restrained when there is no danger at all to themselves or others. In public schools, some students are restrained for convenience of the teacher or staff rather than for the safety and welfare of the student. You can read more about Phyliss Muscumeci's efforts and the problems of restraints of special education students at Child Advocacy Groups and Mom Seek to End Restraints of Special Education Students in Florida and Other States.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On the Paper Trail of the Forces of Darkness-- Yippy Ti Yi Yo Oh de Ladee!

The Hillsborough County Council of Trent aka as the Hiillsborough County School Board and Its Enablers


Please consider me a formal request for this public information:

A description of the restraint policy with the halters that some children wear on the bus apparently but are forbidden for use in the classroom.

This must be in a policy manual somewhere. Please retrieve it and send it to me.

I also request as public information the terminal reports by the Professional Standards Office for the last five people investigated for charges by the Professional Standards Office.

Lee DD

A Victory for the Constituional Rights of Students lee

Roberts: Court seeks school rule clarity

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. | Don't look to the Supreme Court to set school rules, only to clarify them when officials have abdicated that responsibility, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said Saturday.

At a judicial conference, Chief Justice Roberts was asked how school administrators should interpret seemingly conflicting messages from the court in two recent decisions, including one Thursday that said Arizona officials conducted an unconstitutional strip-search of a teenage girl. In 2007, the justices sided with an Alaska high school principal, ruling that administrators could restrict student speech if it appears to advocate illegal-drug use.

Chief Justice Roberts told the audience there was no conflict in the court's rulings, just clarity intended to deal with narrow issues that surface from government actions.

"You can't expect to get a whole list of regulations from the Supreme Court. That would be bad," he said. "We wouldn't do a good job at it."

In the Arizona case, the high court said school officials violated Savana Redding's rights when they strip-searched her for prescription-strength ibuprofen. The court said educators cannot force children to remove their clothing unless student safety is at risk.

Chief Justice Roberts said administrators should take comfort in the 8-1 ruling, which also found that officials could not be held financially liable when carrying out school policy.

"We recognized that they didn't have very clear guidance," Chief Justice Roberts said. "We laid down a rule about what they can and can't do, but we said they don't have to fork over damages from their own personal funds if they guess wrong."

He also defended the court's diversity - all nine justices are former federal appeals court judges. The issue has surfaced in light of Justice David H. Souter's decision to retire.

Senators from both parties have said the court needs justices who don't come from the federal bench, or the "judicial monastery," as Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, has called it. Mr. Leahy is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will begin hearings next month on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to succeed Justice Souter; she, too, is an appeals court judge.

Chief Justice Roberts said the current justices have a range of legal experience despite their shared background on the appeals level.

"I consider myself a practicing lawyer," the chief justice said, noting he was a judge for only a short time. He served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 2003 to 2005, when President George W. Bush nominated him to be chief justice.

Other justices have academic and political experience, he said, adding that Justice Clarence Thomas ran a federal agency. "We're also a pretty diverse bunch," he said.

Asked about his desire for more consensus among justices in the court's opinions, Chief Justice Roberts said he wasn't suggesting that justices compromise, but that agreement gives clearer guidance.

"The more we can speak with a broader degree of agreement, it looks a lot more like law," he said.