Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just Picking Away at the Rock of Resistance

Secretary George Sheldon
Department of Children and Families
1317 Wineward Boulevard
Building 1, Room 202
Tallahassee, FL 32300-0700

Dear George:

I have received a copy of Senator Storms's letter regarding my complaint about the abusive conditions that the profoundly retarded children endure in the Hillsborough county schools.

Your local bureau chief declined since he said your agency didn't have authority to intervene in abuse by Hillsborough County schools' personnel. That leaves a whole lot of county children uncovered by your agency's protection.

I have asked you for public information that I have not received yet. The Attorney General has said that 48 hours is a reasonable turnaround time for public information.

You have far exceeded that time frame in my public-information request. I ask for it again and add this: Give me a copy of the information in your agency manual that confirms that you don't have any control over abuse of children by school personnel; in fact, give me any exceptions to protection that this manual lists.

That this in an unexplored issue that your agency has not thought of or avoided is in question. It seems a giant oversight to me and needs attention. This meeting with the Hillsborough County superintendent and board could be a start.

Senator Storms has asked you to get back to her on what you do about this problem.

I request that you come to Tampa for a meeting with Ms. Elia, me, and others. Your station chief seems a tentative person to me, and we need a firm voice in this situation. I hope that you can provide it.

Also, this meeting should not be shut up. The school board and administration have a policy of giving out manipulated information only through the Public Affairs Laundromat so that the public is kept ignorant of how the schools are really run. So I ask that you not bar any press that wants to attend. Your boss Mr. Crist believes in government in the sunshine, and this allowing of press people in would enhance that goal.

I think the board should be at the meeting. This is something its members are responsible for monitoring but have not. Their presence would mean that they can no longer say that the problem of the abusive practices in the severely retarded area is something they don't know about. Claiming ignorance of problems in the schools that people elected them to monitor is their standard defense about doing anything.

I also have a couple of teachers who want to come, and they don't get out of school until five. So the meeting should be a few minutes after five.

The school board must have a conference room. I suggest that the meeting be there.
I appreciate your help in this matter.


c:Governor Crist
Marc Rubio
Sheryl S. Steckler

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