No end to our legal troubles…

And in other news of ways we spend money on lawyers…
 
From the sikhsiyasat.net

New York, United States (May 11, 2013) According to a recent release by the Sikh Coalition in an unprecedented victory for Sikh students in United States, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into a landmark settlement agreement with the DeKalb County School District (School District) in Atlanta, Georgia on behalf of a Sikh victim of school bullying.

This is the first time the federal government has entered into a settlement on a school bullying matter involving a Sikh student. The settlement sends a clear message to school districts nationwide that they must take effective action to end bias-based bullying of all school children, including Sikh children”, the release reads.

. . . According to the Sikh Coalition the Sikh middle-schooler, whose identity is being withheld because he is a minor, had been subjected to years of bias-based bullying and verbal and physical harassment by a number of different students. The Sikh student was referred to as “Osama,” a “terrorist,” and “curryhead,” and told he has a “bomb on his head,” and to “go back to your country.” These incidents occurred both at school and on the school bus.

He also suffered physical harassment. In one incident, a few strands of his hair were cut by another student during class. The Sikh student reported these incidents to the School District and although it responded to some of the complaints by disciplining the harassers, the measures were ineffective in stopping the harassment.

Since October 2012, the Sikh Coalition has represented the student and placed the School District on notice of ongoing harassment, and demanded safety plans and effective remedial measures to diminish the hostile educational environment, including anti-harassment training. After repeated inaction from the School District, the Sikh Coalition filed legal complaints with the Department of Justice, alleging violations of federal law.

Read more about the settlement here >>
USA: Landmark Settlement for Sikh Middle Schooler targeted by Bullies; Justice Dept takes action on complaint by Sikh Coalition

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30 Responses to No end to our legal troubles…

  1. concernedmom30329 says:

    And we have to spend money on a consultant to train administrators and teachers on how to prevent/handle bullying…
    This school system is such a train wreck. Will the principal be held accountable? My friends tell me the bullying had really been going on since this child was in 6th grade. He is finishing 8th grade.

  2. dekalbite2 says:

    @Concernedmom30329We are already spending millions on a group called the Intervention/Prevention Specialists. This highly paid group does not have any certification requirements – most are not certified counselors, educators or social workers. They have been around for many years. One of the Prevention Intervention Specialists is listed as “Specialist II, Student Support” in the DCSS Staff Directory yet when you go to the Human Resources Compensation and Classification web page, there is no category labelled “Specialist II, Student Support”.

    http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/prevention-intervention

    There is supposed to be monthly training already taking place regarding bullying:
    http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/bullying-awareness

  3. Tired Mom says:

    This is heartbreaking for the student. And it would be equally upsetting for any student suffering bullying at any school in any school system in the US.

  4. Fed up father says:

    Do you want to stop bullying? Then throw the little brats out of school. Not all kids belong in school. Why should they wreck it for those that want to learn and get ahead. Send these brats back to their parents and let them suffer with what they raised. We may end up with a waisted generation, but the future generations will probably get the message and be better off.

  5. Tucker Teacher Source says:

    FYI- I am pretty sure I know who this student was; he is no longer a student in any DeKalb school and moved out of the county.

  6. John says:

    Fed up father: I agree 100%. ZERO TOLERANCE.

  7. Concerned Citizen says:

    Yes, but there has been such tolerance. Once upon a time an area supt said to me, “You just can’t suspend kids – you have too many suspensions!” This man now sits on the board, so you see, I know how interested he is in helpng students learn. My whole life has been focused on educating children; and I have no tolerance for him and the rest of the motley crew, talking such lies.

  8. dekalbite2 says:

    @concerned citizen
    Wasn’t the Board Chair Melvin Johnson an area superintendent? Is that who you are referring to

  9. Concerned Citizen says:

    Yes, dekalbite2. He was a PE teacher, then a principal, then an area supt., then a deputy supt. I’m sure that;s hard to believe because he doesn’t seem to have any leadership skills. He always depended on his height and his relationship with the son of the Associate Supt. He did real well! Ran sercvice stations and a real estate practice on the side; nobody ever knew where he was. Spent his time developing money holes like Eddie Long and his school there. But he still needed something: power. So he strongarmed his former pose and got the $20,000 to run for the board. It’s too disgusting; I really try to punch the memories back of the things he has done. Looks and behavior on the surface are not at all the real person behind the mask. No, i don’t trust him.He doesn’t care at all about students or teachers. He does not have the brains or heart to help DeKalb; if he did, he has had 40 years to do so and chose not to.

  10. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    Incestuous.
    Thurmond and Johnson were both speakers last year at a race relations symposium.

    Johnson’s campaign contributors include Wynndolyn and Ed Bouie, Felicia Mayfield. Ed Bouie’s
    first wife was an HR Exec at DeKalb. His second wife, Wendolyn Bouie, was promoted to Deputy Super under Crawford Lewis. Felicia Mayfield is related to Thad Mayfield who was appointed to the DCSD board and co-chaired Friends of DeKalb.

  11. Concerned Citizen says:

    Actually, Bouie’s lst wife(later to be promoted by her father -in-law, the Associate Supt. to principal then straight up the line) divorced him after he began an affair with a teacher who husband worked with the system. They adopted two special needs children; then, he began an affair with his third wife Wendolyn, who was already a Principal when they met. His supervisor this whole time was MJ, of course. It so encouraging to think of how much this group care about the students and teachers! All of them must go!

  12. Concerned Citizen says:

    Does anyone feel like grading the individual departments in the school system? I tried today but failed to find any department that is fully functioning. If anyone thinks otherwise, please say so. Maybe Instruction, HR, Finace, or perhaps Administration? WOW!!! It’s hard to find a single INDIVIDUAL is performing at top rate level. It’s sickening.

  13. Another comment says:

    The bullying is just as bad in Fulton and Cobb. My child with a Jewish sir name has been bullied by an Arab boy all year. Along with his two side kicks two black girls. They even let one of the female bullies go on the New Orleans trip on a scholarship. Their were at least ten kids too afraid of her too go.

    My child had previously been bullied in Cobb county. The brilliant principal their wanted my daughter to do a perp walk through the cafeteria to pick out the bully. Did she think my daughter was that stupid, one of the few whites, to walk through an almost all black cafeteria and finger someone.

    All of these schools do nothing about bullying. I have been told the camera’s on the bus, just didn’t work on the day my daughter got punched in the eye, in Cobb. Then Fulton won’t write a police report even when Scottish rite hospital doctors state your child show signs of physical abuse. Futlton school cops claim their cameras didn’t catch it. I didn’t know that they had 100% coverage at the schools. I certainly don’t see the camera’s covering 100% of the school and grounds.

  14. howdy1942 says:

    The headline of this particular blog refers to legal expenses. The mere size of our legal expenses that exceeds that of all our neighboring counties combines ought to really concern us. Lawsuits generally result from disputes, confusion, a lack of clarity between the parties, poor management, and unwillingness to arbitrate the matter. This is a real indictment of our school system beginning with the school board and working downward.

    Did anyone happen to read the articles in this past Sunday’s AJC written by four Dekalb County high school students? The failures of our school board are alive in the minds of our students. Members of the past school board should be tried for their dereliction of duty and banned from ever serving in any public capacity in Dekalb County. They worry about their “voting rights” when they have utterly failed our children. They have spent money on lawyers while our classrooms were paying the price. The best schools in the State are in other metro counties – Fulton, Cobb, Forsyth, Gwinnett. These schools excel in offering Advancement Placement courses while we barely offer the basics in classrooms that have increased in size. One quote states that students “love Lassiter and this shows in the classroom”. Based on what these four student in Dekalb say, that is obviously not the case in Dekalb. These neighboring schools send upwards of 70% of their students to colleges. Even the Atlanta Public School System has taken firm actions to get beyond the cheating scandals. APS seems to have very good leadership.

    Dekalb County doesn’t even know how much money it has and doesn’t seem to have a way to find out. How difficult is it to count? Take two students, given the Excel spreadsheets, count money in the left column as it comes in and count money in the right column as it goes out, and let one student verify the work of the second. You can give a third student the same information and project income and expenses by date and know what you will have when. Our administration steadfastly refuses to seek outside financial expertise that could help resolve this matter and let the taxpayers know that it cares. Incompetence seems to be the rule in the administration of the Dekalb County School System and not the exception. Incompetence is tolerated and even rewarded. Frankly, I would like a fresh start. It seems to be that it would be very productive to simply remove the top three layers of management in administration, hire some of the assistants and deputies of the achieving school systems and restore some order to our system. For what we are paying these people, the taxpayers deserve better.

    I strongly favor another way of selecting our school board members. The current process is too political, too focused on individual districts, and falls far short in insuring that the people selected are qualified to serve. Too often, school board candidates are listed at the bottom of the ballot and their real qualifications are known but to very few in the District. That’s how we ended up with the motley crew that called itself our previous school board. For one, I have nothing but praise for Governor Deal’s actions in removing this school board and I voted for President Obama. I think that the State has sent a message to Dekalb County, to Fulton County (for its miserable performance in conducting elections) and to the State as a whole that incompetence at the local level that jeopardizes the rights of our people will not be tolerated.

    Finally, we must all make decisions and take actions that will improve the achievement level of our students. Unless we do this, our students will pay a terrible price in the future as they compete against students from other districts and states that do have this focus on achievement.

  15. info says:

    I’m concerned that the continued lack of ethics (specifically cited by Elgart) and the lack of ability of so many of Dekalb’s leaders-in and out of the school house-will continue to drain our funds.

    How, exactly, is Thurmond evaluating such leaders? His thin 90-day plan doesn’t provide specifics and it seems as if everything is just fine.

  16. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    Thanks Concerned Citizen!
    I was going through the Friends Of DeKalb emails again. Talking about Friends and Family, Incestuous, and lack of ethics … does this email seem like a problem to anybody (I’ve put in bold some hints)…

    Sent: Fri, Sep 23, 2011 1:56 pm
    From: BARBARA M. COLMAN <[ mailto:BARBARA_M_COLMAN@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us]BARBARA_M_COLMAN@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
    To: Thad Mayfield<[ mailto:tmayf41463@aol.com ]tmayf41463@aol.com
    Cc: Robert Brown<[ mailto:rlbrownjr@rlbrown.com ]rlbrownjr@rlbrown.com
    Subject: Fwd: Re: SPLOST –
    Thad, note resend on the telephone number – BC
    Thad,
    Yesterday Robert Brown, R. L. Brown & Associates, one of our architectural firms, was here in a meeting. He said John Ahman, Atlanta Committee for Progress, 404.276-3939 came to see him regarding vendor participation in the upcoming SPLOST referendum. I told Robert about the PAC and he asked that you contact Mr. Ahman.
    Barbara M. Colman

  17. dekalbite2 says:

    @DeKalb Inside Out
    The fact he was in a PAC is on his bio:
    “He co-chaired the successful Friends of DeKalb Education SPLOST IV Campaign”

    Three of the current BOE members were. They were working with Barbara Colman and Dan Drake:
    “Friends of DeKalb represents the outstanding partnership between the DeKalb County School District and a political action committee”

    http://marshallorson.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/friends-of-dekalb-for-splost-iv/

    None of them were BOE members at that time, so it seems there was no conflict of interest.

  18. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    Let’s put aside the problems I have with “Friends of DeKalb” having such open access to Barbara Colman and Dan Drake. Let’s also put aside that Robert Brown, a construction vendor, is making recommendations to the administration for other SPLOST vendors.

    From this email chain, it would appear that “Friends of DeKalb” were rewarded by putting Robert Brown on the selection committee and appointing Thad Mayfield to the board. We were supposed to appoint the best, not reward friends for their efforts in getting SPLOST passed.

  19. @DeKalbInsideOut: Wow. These emails are so revealing as far as just how much manipulating is going on behind the scenes regarding SPLOST IV. This is a big concern, as the only people with ‘community’ knowledge still on the board are Johnson, McMahan and Orson. They also have strong supporters in Joe Martin and Amy Powers. So obviously, the Fernbank/Druid Hills, Lakeside and Stephenson/Arabia folks are being heard and represented!

    Read on >>

    Message 1/26/2011 9:41 AM
    From: marshallorson
    To: Daniel E. Drake
    Subject: follow-up
    Attachments: Attach0.html 2K
    Printed by:
    Audrey K Qualls
    Thursday, November 08, 2012 4:38:48 PM
    Title:
    Summary of Orson _ CommunityNET.txt : CommunityNET
    Page 4 of 147

    Dan,
    Thanks for your time on the phone yesterday. And, Amy relayed your message to her… On the funding front, Joe is also pulling together some numbers on the construction monies and agreed that there are some “plateaus” where facility funding benefits but with the caveat that these benefits are relatively small compared to the overall cost of facilities funding, most of which is borne locally. Also, he thinks he would have time next week to sit down with a group of DCSS personnel for a more in-depth conversation on funding mechanisms.

    Regards.
    Marshall D. Orson
    Devonwoodmedia, LLC and Melbourne Partners, LLC
    [ http://www.devonwoodmedia.com/ ]www.devonwoodmedia.com

  20. And another>>>

    Message 8/11/2011 1:49 PM
    From: “Marshall Orson”
    To: tmayf41463@aol.com terrmorr3@aol.com
    mthassinger@gmail.com presode@aol.com
    View in Browser
    Cc: mkcoward@hotmail.com dtredding@comcast.net
    brotimsr@yahoo.com kirste.young@gmail.com
    penkava@bellsouth.net
    rodney_jenkins@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
    rcchambers@smithcurrie.com
    purkettsanbdee@bellsouth.net Daniel E. Drake

    Subject: Re: SPLOST IV Strategy/Logistics

    I think we have to ignore the likely/potential Nos–it is unlikely we will have enough money to move them either to yes or to dissuade them from voting. our best bet, particularly in Dunwoody, is to target the Austin neighborhood since it is scheduled for replacement and hope there is some positive spillover in adjacent areas. On the other hand, the school board member from Dunwoody was the only one who voted against the SPLOST resolution!

    I am getting a prelim estimate on 2 to 3 mail pieces to see our potential reach. ideally, we would mail 3 times to our target but money and the calendar may limit us to 2 pieces. However, we will at least get an idea of the size of the universe we might reach. While this is going on, we need someone who takes a crack at creating the universe, based on the parameters I outlined or as modified.

  21. So he actually mocked Nancy Jester for voting against the SPLOST IV plan, [which she did as she considered it too vague, educationally unsound and without a formal priority list or plan – even though her own neighborhood – in fact, her children’s school – stood to benefit from SPLOST’s passage]. Nancy was looking at the overall picture for the ENTIRE county – while Marshall was jumping up and down for Fernbank. Oh, the irony!

  22. Stan Jester says:

    DSW, DIO, Concerned Citizen, et al., Thank you for staying on top of this and keeping us in the know.

    When it comes to SPLOST IV, I speak for a number of people when I say, “Thanks for nothing!” Looking at the forecasted enrollment and capacity estimates, one can see why SPLOST IV is no friend to North DeKalb.

    2016 Estimated Utilization – School
    99% – Austin ES
    136% – Ashford Park ES
    109% – Chestnut ES
    127% – Cary Reynolds ES
    125% – Dresden ES
    155% – Vanderlyn ES
    154% – Sagamore ES
    etc …

    Austin Elementary School will be at capacity on the day it opens. They are in dire need of renovations, but North DeKalb needs MORE CAPACITY! Why are we decommissioning schools in the South at 40%, 50%, 60% capacity and building new schools where capacity is just not a problem?

    I’m glad someone else noticed Thad Mayfield, co-chair of Friends of DeKalb, was appointed to the board.

    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/recorded-meetings/board-meetings/sacs-04032013/
    Mark Elgart spoke to the board about Equity vs Equality. In the past the administrations divided resources equally throughout the district, whether those resources were needed there or not. Let’s see if the current board and administration take Dr. Elgart’s advice on distributing resources where they are needed.

  23. AParent says:

    Stan, I think that is an oversimplification. There are open seats right now in Dunwoody – it’s just that those seats are located in Dunwoody ES. Vanderlyn parents would rather their kids spend their elementary school careers sitting in that trailer park behind the school than have them go to the brand new Dunwoody ES where there are empty seats. I am no fan of the DCSS central office but when Dunwoody parents turn up their noses at a perfectly nice brand new school like Dunwoody ES, I can understand why they are not rushing to build us another one (or two, which is really what we need).

  24. dekalbite2 says:

    “Message 8/11/2011 1:49 PM
    From: “Marshall Orson”
    To: tmayf41463@aol.com terrmorr3@aol.com
    mthassinger@gmail.com presode@aol.com
    View in Browser
    Cc: mkcoward@hotmail.com dtredding@comcast.net
    brotimsr@yahoo.com kirste.young@gmail.com
    penkava@bellsouth.net
    rodney_jenkins@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us
    rcchambers@smithcurrie.com
    purkettsanbdee@bellsouth.net Daniel E. Drake”

    I see there is the managing law partner of a firm that has “core areas of construction law and government contracting”.
    http://www.smithcurrie.com/attorneys.html

    What does this law firm have to do with SPLOST IV?

  25. dekalbite2 says:

    Look at this study regarding School Resource Officers (Security):
    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/2-investigates-school-resource-officers-troubled-p/nXrsw/
    “In DeKalb County, nearly 20 percent of all school officers in the past five years have had a POST investigation. Five are still on the job today.”….”Fleischer showed those records to DeKalb Schools spokesman Jeff Dickerson’…”If that’s the case, I think there are going to be some people on the board and in the administration who are going to want to look at those cases and look at them closely,” said Dickerson, adding that he believes the district could do a better job of following its policies.”

  26. dekalbite2 says:

    Regarding DeKalb Schools Security:
    The AJC says:
    “DeKalb Schools had the highest incidence of officers investigated or sanctioned by POST Georgia Police Officer Standards and Training Council): nearly one in five of the officers on the district’s payroll. Asked bout the AJC’s findings, a DeKalb spokesman said the district would investigate.”….”Gwinnett is the only major local district in which no officer has been investigated in the past five years”.
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/some-school-cops-dont-make-the-grade/nXr96/

    The data shows that DeKalb Schools spends almost $11,000,000 in salary and benefits for Security personnel while Gwinnett spends almost $3,000,000 in salary and benefits for Security. DeKalb has around 98,000 students to Gwinnett’s 164,000.

    Look at the enormous amount of money DeKalb spends on Security versus all of the other metro school systems including demographically comparable ones:
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/dcss-spending/the-cost-of-security/

    No wonder we have no money for teachers.

  27. AParent –

    I thought Vanderlyn parents, like all parents from DeKalb, were zoned for one particular school by the location of their residence. Special permission waivers are not given willy-nilly to North DeKalb parents at all, let alone to attend another elementary school in the cluster. Vanderlyn parents want their children to attend Vanderlyn because they live in the Vanderlyn attendance area. If they are now offered waivers for their children to attend Dunwoody Elementary, I am unaware of it.

  28. Stan Jester says:

    Hi AParent.
    Dunwoody ES is exactly where all the Dunwoody schools should be. According to the capacity forecast, DES is at 84% capacity today and will be at 99% capacity in 2016 right when the new school comes online. But, instead of a new additional school with 1,000 extra seats, Austin is rebuilt with 312 extra seats.

    3 schools are at 60% capacity or less and are getting decommissioned in South DeKalb. They will have new schools built for them (in a new location). Many of the parents I have spoken with down there like their current school and don’t want to move to a new one.

    Redistricting – Vanderlyn to DES
    That was the big debate 2 years ago during redistricting. A vocal group of people wanted to keep the 4-5 Academy such that everybody would still be zoned for Vanderlyn. That conversation in and of itself is deserving of it’s own thread, and I would be happy to ask DSW to start one for us if anybody wants to go into more detail. DES has one of the best principals in the county if not the state, it’s a beautiful campus, it’s next to a college, strong school council, Womack traffic was intolerable. I’m curious as to who would prefer Vanderlyn trailers to DES.

    I understand what you’re saying, but I firmly believe that was not their motivation.

    –Stan

  29. According to this recent article in the Dunwoody Patch, Dunwoody Elementary School is doing great! It’s a central focus of the community – busy and lively – check out the Arts Night photos —

    http://dunwoody.patch.com/announcements/evening-of-the-arts-dunwoody-elementary#photo-14212086

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