400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
To: Chief of Staff Eikenberg
Chief of Staff Eikenberg: You did not respond to the below letter to you with the Secretary of the Children's board name.
Nothing makes a voter mader than a politician's not responding to a request for information once in office.
This negligence differs markedly from the rapt attention a voter gets when the candidates are on the stump.
Please see that Governor Crist gets the below communication and that he acknowledges that he has done so. Thank you.
Lee Drury De Cesare
15316 Gulf Avenue 802
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
I append a letter to the Secretary of Children's Services, George Sheldon.
I asked for an investigation of the ongoing child-abuse practices of the Special Education retarded children's care in the Hillsborough County schools.
I append as well a picture of the junk room the administration assigned these children as a classroom. The picture is grainy, but it gives a flavor of the squalor and danger to the children of this classroom: it has unstable furniture piled against the walls that inquisitive children can pull down and injure themselves or others, That danger, a teacher alerted me to.
In addition, the junk class room has a storage room next door with a door that goes unlocked between the room and the children's classroom. The same teacher told me this adjacent room could contain dangerous substances. I can't confirm the last conjecture because it is seldom possible to get a straight answer from the administration and board. They are either in Nixon Ian cover-up or limited hangout mode, or they just plain lie.
In addition, one special-needs child wore a bus restraint throughout the class day. His having one on in class violates the state restraint laws as I read them. I infer the supervisors of this area--Mr. Smiley and Ms. Morris-- allow the regular staff members to keep the bus harness on the boy for its members' convenience, although these quixotic supervisors used the restraint law to trap untrained substitute teacher Steve Kemp into a Professional Standards restraint-violation charge that Superintendent Elia planned to use to fire him in a case of the pot's calling the kettle black.
The reason for the plan to fire Kemp, in my opinion, was that he had a blog discussing the schools. The board and administration don't believe in free speech and don't want the schools discussed; they want to sanitize all information about the schools by running it through the Community Affairs office to turn their depredations in to happy talk to fool the taxpayers.
In the Steven Kemp case, the special-needs supervisors did not follow the protocols listed in their job descriptions when admitting new, untrained substitute teacher Kemp into the classroom. In fact, the administration via Mr. Smiley, division head, and Ms. Morris, principal, put substitute teacher Kemp in this junk classroom without giving him a word of instruction or training of any kind in how to supervise these children, a specialty in which teacher Kemp had had no academic or workshop training. The board lawyer Gonzalez claims in a letter, however, that Mr. Kemp had training after a false charge of child abuse filed against Kemp by special-ed division supervisor Smiley with the sheriff's office.
Mr. Smiley's job descriptions and that of the principal involved, Ms.Morris, both say that they are responsible for orienting new teachers. They did not do so in the Kemp situation. These two have received no corrective action from Ms. Elia or other higher-up bureaucrats as far as is publicly known. Instead, these responsible for filing child-abuse charges against Mr. Kemp continue in their supervisory positions as far as the world knows.
The special-ed administration after Mr. Smiley's filing the child-abuse charges against Kemp then irrationally kept Kemp on duty in the classroom six days after the putative incident occurred, illogically and carelessly letting a teacher whom the administration labeled a child abuser remain in the classroom with the child whom he was accused as abusing and with other special-needs children as well.
Although they excel in skullduggery, the administration and board do not show stellar abilities in logic.
I filed Professional Standards charges against these errant supervisors. The Professional Standards office's head, Ms. Kipley, claimed after several months had gone by that she had not received my charges and then authored what she thought was a linguistic coup based on a copy of my inquires.
Ms. Kipley's academic background of home-ec degree does not prepare her to perform a linguistic coup or even an adequate job of punctuation. She is capable only of trapping teachers with Professional Standards charges when the administration wants to terrify these teachers about their job security.
La Kipley quoted my email out of context and with no scholarly indication of omissions and additions. This lack of skill is not to be wondered at since we deal here with a person with a home-ec degree that nevertheless makes $150,000 a year to carry out the administration and board orders to frame teachers who show the slightest signs of resistance with a Professional Standards charge.
The administration never files a Professional Standards charge against administrators, only teachers, because the Board and administration want to shut up teachers' complaints about how ill the Board and administration run the schools. So they have allocated Professional Standards charges to menace teachers and threaten their jobs. I recently asked the Professional Standards office via the Community Affairs office for public information about teachers' and administrators' Professional Standards complaints. I got sufficient teacher filings, but I got no administrator filings even though an administrator at King High School had recently invited pubescent boys into his office, ordered them to close the door, ordered them to remove their shoes and socks, and proceeded to fondle their feet.
I later learned that the administration had secretly had this apparent foot fetishist examined by a psychologist after parents' complaints and some question of lawsuits, but the administration and board typically did not release this information to the public.
Teacher complaints have validity because the public believe in teachers; hence teacher complaints if allowed menace administration and board power, their control of tax money, and their freedom to hire buddies without advertising the jobs, not to mention exercising other ad hoc perquisites for administration and board delectation.
Ms. Kipley is a prime example of unqualified people hired into administrative positions without credentials and without advertising. Ms. Kipley has home-ec degree in a job that calls for a master's in a valid academic area.
To top off this outrage against taxpayers, Ms. Elia recently hired Ms. Kipley's husband as an accountant. He had a high school diploma and no accounting experience. I examined applicants' submissions, and at least four had an accounting degree and experience. One was a handicapped woman for whom an affirmative-action plan should apply. The schools have no affirmative action plan for the handicapped as they should have according to Federal regulations.
Ms. Kipley is particularly under qualified for this important job of head of Professional Standards. Her sexist home-ec degree no respectable university grants any more. This degree manqué explains why she did not know standard punctuation protocols when she misquoted me. She is, of course, ethically challenged as well: giving ethics the back of one's hand is a bona fide occupational qualification for this job that the administration and board use to intimidate teachers into silence by cooking up professional-standards charges against them and threatening their jobs.
Ms. Kipley got the job without its being advertised presumably because the board and administration could count on her sycophancy in pressuring teachers they targeted with Professional Standards cooked-up charges.
Both Kipleys' hiring is emblematic of why the administration features such ubiquitous academic mediocrity, having only one Ph.D. in administrative midst, although the pay of administrators shows bloated, especially compared to that of teachers.
I know that you are involved in a threatening campaign with Mr. Rubio, who just won a straw poll in Pinellas, the county in which I live on the beach.
People care about education. Were you to treat this information I send you seriously and address it and let the press know that you are doing so and insist that Mr. Sheldon do so as well, I believe people would take your promise of being solicitous of education seriously.
I hope that you will take an interest in this charge that I have filed with the Child Welfare department, which gave it a brusque, unconvincing turndown by saying that the agency had no authority to investigate my charges because, I assumed, they were against high-level school bureaucrats. I further request that you to follow George Sheldon's handling of it. He has not provided me with public information that I asked for several months ago. The Attorney General says 48 hours turnaround is the citizen's right to expect with public information requests.
I want you and your staff to monitor Mr. Sheldon's further treatment of my charge and to let Senator Storms know that you approve of her vigilance in asking him to continue his review. I want you to alert Senator Storms, who took an interest in this important charge when I contacted her.
I have asked Mr. Sheldon to set up a meeting with the superintendent and board for those who want to weigh in on the problem. I do. I know at least two teachers who do. Other teachers would want to comment if the administration notified them of the meeting and their attending would not jeopardize their jobs.
humane treatment of the retarded. I was fortunate enough to have had the help of Senator Ronda Storms in this situation, thank goodness. Without her help, I don't think my charge of child abuse against higher-up school people would have had a chance of being attended to. She asked Mr. Sheldon to report back what he has done if anything to remedy it. Ms. Storms has the courage, all too rare in elected officials, of actually doing her job to help citizens get a decent society that includes humane treatment of the retarded.
Inspector General Steckler's online report of the child welfare agency that Mr. Sheldon heads says that the processing of the complaints by that agency is not up to par. I believe the turndown of my case by the local field officer of Child Protection, one young Mr. Turner, apparently ratified by Mr. Sheldon, confirms Inspector General Steckler's assessment.
Please ask Secretary of Education Smith to take a livelier interest in this situation than I have observed him to have done in the past problems that lie outside the bureaucratic rituals over which he presides hermetically sealed in his office complex.
c: George Sheldon
Inspector General Steckler
Senator Ronda Storms
Education Secretary Smith
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 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 they 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.
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.
Sheryl S. Steckler