Thurmond puts the squeeze on Midvale principal – literally

Oh my. Check out how Thurmond keeps his hand firmly placed on Susan Wilson, principal of Midvale Elementary’s shoulder. Eyebrow-raisingly inappropriate – and uncomfortable for Ms. Wilson!

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Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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40 Responses to Thurmond puts the squeeze on Midvale principal – literally

  1. Mr. Thurmond repeatedly squeezes Principal Wilson and does not take his hands off her during the 3:30 long video clip — it is completely inappropriate for a Supervisor to touch a subordinate employee in that way!

  2. H.A. Hurley says:

    Just too weird – he never took his arm off her shoulder, squeezing her repeatedly.
    Smarmy!
    Yuck!
    Condescending!
    Totally unprofessional!
    What is wrong with this man?
    Where do they find these marginal human beings?
    She should have pulled away.
    Talk about Leaning In…needed to Lean Out!
    Thurmond was almost euphoric – why?
    STRANGE!

  3. H.A. Hurley says:

    Wait, did Mr. Thurmond say that the world was FLAT? Listen to the video, near the end when the principal announced that her school was an IB school. He adds his 2¢ worth! Just dribble?
    What is he smoking?

  4. midvaledad says:

    Funny how they didn’t mention the air conditioning wasn’t working on the first day of school.

  5. By jove, he did say that! As he added to Susan’s comment about a global economy — “It’s very, very important, when the world is flat… ”

    I know what he meant… implying a ‘level’ playing field globally – it just sounds kind of funny spoken as a quip.

  6. Longing for Integrity says:

    I don’t know how inappropriate it was, depending on how close they are. Maybe they’re good friends. I did feel a little sorry for her, though. Of course she’s not going to pull away or do anything to jeapordize her job. I’d like to ask her how it felt. Not that she’d tell the truth – again to protect her job.

    I wonder if he’ll be written up by the legal dept for inappropriate touching. They are so good at throwing that accusation at other employees with no justification.

  7. Augustus says:

    Incredibly inappropriate. And demeaning. And sexist. He would not have done that with a man.

  8. Longing for Integrity says:

    My husband, a federal employee, says that his touching her is VERY inappropriate. I guess he missed the workshop, we were all mandated to attend, regarding sexual harassment. Oh, that’s right he just started with Dekalb. I guess he hasn’t had a chance yet – or maybe his buddy, Ramsey, gave him a pass.

  9. H.A. Hurley says:

    There is a big difference between touching someone briefly on the arm, but letting go quickly. He held on to her and clutched her body next to his. What, are you kidding? You can even live under a rock for years, and understand how wrong his conduct was. He should publicly apologize to her, because I think this was demeaning to her as an employee of Dekalb County Schools.

  10. H.A. Hurley says:

    DekalbSchoolWatch: I wrote a letter to the BoE using the email addresses on the right of your Blog page. However, it bounced back because the emails addresses were not correct. Pls advise.

  11. Dekalbite2 says:

    “Wait, did Mr. Thurmond say that the world was FLAT? ”

    Comes from Thomas Friedman’s book – “The World is Flat” – his premise that technology has equalized opportunity around the world – flattening it in other words – so in a global economy no one nation has the ascendency over another – rather individuals who are well educated and creative can work for anyone from anywhere. Actually a pretty good comment to follow up her IB global comment.

    I think he wanted to show solidarity with the schoolhouse – Obviously he is feeling the pressure – notice he mentions the “core business” is educating students – That’s a new tone – however parents/taxpayers need to look at what he does rather than what he says. Perhaps a little too much body language, but pretty innocuous IMHO.

  12. Thanks H.A. We double-checked those email addresses and two or three of them had changed. We fixed our link — try it again and let us know if you have a problem.

  13. H.A. Hurley says:

    Thanks, but the entire list registers as invalid addresses. I will work on it again tomorrow.

  14. concerned citizen says:

    DSW: Where is this picture of Beauty and the Beast? I can’t find it!

  15. concerned citizen says:

    He should be reprimanded for this crazy sexual behavior , and so should she. A good hard slap in the face would have stopped him! Ouch — scandalous – I’m adding her to the spiderweb

  16. concerned citizen says:

    Augustus – how do you know for sure Thurmond wouldn’t have done that with a man? I’m not so sure..

  17. concerned citizen says:

    Where is this video to be found?

  18. H.A. Hurley says:

    Right at the top of this page.

  19. dsw2contributor says:

    The video was posted by WSB-TV on their website, under the title “Thurman says this will be best year for DeKalb Schools”:
    http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/thurman-says-this-will-be-best-year-for-dekalb/v8sBy/

  20. dsw2contributor says:

    P.S. That video appears to the only thing that came out of the “WSB-TV Interview Request”, that DSW2 posted on August 7, 2013:
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/wsb-tv-interview-request

  21. Not Amused says:

    Please keep your eyes on the ball folks…keep your eyes on the ball.

    The ball being: Accreditation, The County’s Fiscal Situation and our Student’s Pursuit of Academic Excellence.

    (in case you gossip girls forgot what the ball looks like)

  22. HA Hurley says:

    Wow, Not Amused~
    Keeping our eyes on the ball(s) is what we have been talking about. Thurmond’s gripping hand was so out of line and we can get outraged and keep our eyes on the ball(s) at the same time. After all, ETHICS, got us in the mess we are, up to our sweetbreads, in. Everyone in DCS must be ethical at all times. No grabbing principals on or off camera. He showed his lack of understanding, skills and intelligence in a couple of minutes in Midvale.
    We may need to encourage him to run for office, ASAP. Show him the door before we pay M$$$ in attorney fees for him, too.
    I know, I got the ball(s) covered. 😀

  23. dsw2contributor says:

    “Not Amused” @August 18, 2013 at 4:51 PM: But this videoclip *IS* related to Accreditation!

    The “AdvancED Standards for Quality School Systems” are posted on this website: http://advanc-ed.org/systems [Once on that page, click on “Review the AdvancED Accreditation Standards for Quality School Systems” to load the PDF.]

    Per SACS/AdvancED’s PDF, there are only five (5) standards that DCS would have to meet in order to be accredited. Standard #2 is “Governance and Leadership – The system operates under governance and leadership that promote and support student performance and school effectiveness.”

    On page 3 of the PDF, SACS lists six (6) indicators for Standard #2, including “Indicator 2.3 – The governing body ensures that the leadership at all levels has the autonomy to meet goals for achievement and instruction and to manage day-to-day operations effectively.”

    A Superintendent clutching a subordinate Principal, DURING A MEDIA EVENT HELD AT A SCHOOL, is not a sign that the Principal has “autonomy”.

    There is also “Indicator 2.4 – Leadership and staff at all levels of the system foster a culture consistent with the system’s purpose and direction.” Inappropriate touching — again, DURING A MEDIA EVENT HELD AT A SCHOOL — is not a sign of “foster a culture consistent with the system’s purpose and direction.”

  24. Stan Jester says:

    While I enjoy the platitudes of the administration as much as the next person (“Pursuit of Academic Excellence” or “Victory in Every Classroom”, whatever the term du jour is… ), I echo the words of a parent at the last DCPC meeting: “What I’d like to see, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, is to see a commitment to some sweeping changes”.

    DeKalb School’s Finances
    Overestimating FTEs, “service vehicles” for administrators, parent involvement centers, etc … The DSW community is all over the finances. From what I see, we’ve recycled “the greatest hits” from The Lewis Years.

    Accreditation
    A big part of the SACS report was hiring friends and family. Once again our “Nepotism Policy” has slipped the mind of our Interim Superintendent. He hired his campaign PR manager to work on the public payroll. He’ll be able to get Thurmond’s name out “early and often” in DCSS’ press releases. This is the epitome of Friends 2.0.

    To quote Elvis, “A little less conversation, a little more action please.”

    –Stan

  25. hopespringseternal says:

    Look — I agree that between the pained appearance of the principal and the Happy Hands of the Super, this is icky at best and in violation of something at worst. Sure hope the principal wasn’t feeling as pained as she looked, but in any event she’s a Big Girl who knows how to lodge a complaint if there is one. I would like for there to be more beef in the way of what teachers and students actually experience in our schoolhouses. That way, when I pose a hypothetical about how to clear the way for a resolution on the TSA vis-à-vis the budget, we don’t get responses like how we overpay for security. We may well overpay for it, and I’m annoyed with silly things like the school system’s participation in Juvenile Court programs (which the Juvenile Court should pay for!), but believe me — if you work in or attend school in one of our more challenging schools, you need all the security you can get. Let’s get some more ACTUAL things rolling in the way of student experiences, so that if someone’s out there reading it can be heard through the cacophony of complaints.

  26. H.A. Hurley says:

    ‘Overestimating FTE’ is knowingly falsifying information to the State to earn $$$ for serving SpEd students, Gifted Kids, Section 504 kids, ELL kids, Title 1, Remedial Kids & Early Intervention Kids, and Identified caseloads of remedial teachers, class sizes for serving students with disabilities.& many other indicators. The DCSD must have known exactly how to ‘Overestimate’ to falsify numbers of kids and earn tons of $$$$. In order to ‘Overestimate’ specific student information has to be altered to generate inflated numbers and earned FTE credits. They knew what to do!
    The State should have investigated their student records and when the specifics were changed in time of FTE Count Day. Could be M$$$?
    That is not just a slight mistake, this is stealing. THIEVERY! Huge! People lose jobs and certifications over this, and may even be considered to be criminal behavior.
    AdvancEd should know what this means.

  27. concerned citizen says:

    “Balls (or not amused)” now that DSwcontributor and others have explained the relevance of THURMOND’S ACTUAL BEHAVIOR AND WORDS, do you get it a little bit? Do you actually believe that the supt of schools should have his hands on a principal, female or male?! Get a grip, bucko. Seek out Fred and share a cool drink. Read a book about how professionals are expected to behave. See if you can “grasp” the contents.

  28. Prof says:

    I showed this video to some college students. They all thought Thurmond looked stoned.

  29. donna toulme says:

    Thomas Friedman…the world is flat. It’s a catchy title of a book.

  30. Ray-JayM says:

    I look to you to provide information related to DeKalb County schools that can be counted on to be unbiased and thought-provoking. I think you dropped to a low point here insinuating inappropriate behavior for sensationalism journalism. Please keep the information and viewpoints you share relevant.

  31. McAllister says:

    @not amused & @ ray-jayM
    It looks like the journalists on this blog have struck a nerve. Good for them. Keep it up. The inappropriate touching of an employee is definitely newsworthy and relevant to his competence as a leader. The clip makes anyone who watches it uncomfortable on several levels. @not amused and @ray-jay, your protest and attempt to divert our attention from Michael Thurmond will not work but they are interesting and a bit sad. Is Thurmond a bit like Beverly Hall – “Don’t look over here at what is really going on. Look at this flimsy, shiny facade I’m putting up.” ?

  32. hopespringseternal says:

    Yep, @Ray, you nailed it. To piggyback off of this morning’s AJC Get Schooled post, let’s see what DCSS is actually doing to kids. My own senior has a love of literature, a diagnosed sequencing problem, and will graduate high school able to write and speak on the history and current issues of the world, but he won’t be able to two-digit multiply. This is in large part because of the academic homicide being committed upon a large fraction of these children. You see, many of those unfilled positions are for interrelated teachers, which is a nice euphemism for NO support for those classes in which IEP students need the extra and mandated support but its not there. In my school, I’ve started this year with a set-up for failure. Math is not offered year-round, and will be offered only 2nd semester — on the eve of graduation. In the meantime, he must sit for a retake of the math part of the Georgia High School Graduation test. The school offers ‘remedial’ support this semester, but it is a joke. He will be one of those who is successful in AP courses in social studies but who stands a chance of getting a Certificate of Attendance vs. an actual diploma. Block scheduling has seriously wounded kids like him, such that last week’s scheduling nightmare had a direct impact on his graduation odds. But here’s what broke my heart: the assurances given to me included the statement: “Don’t worry (parent), he won’t fail. Don’t worry.” I broke down crying at the confirmation that they already know they’ll pass him, whether he can perform adequately in his math class or not. What a statement, and they didn’t even know what they were saying to me.

    Now — take this same scenario and pile on top of it a non-IEP student and an uninformed parent. What do you get? In all honesty, I know my child will eventually be OK, but what about those parents who can’t navigate?

    Want more? We’re still affected by that situation 1.5 years ago when, with the more hardened kids in school who targeted him as a weak link, beat him up and left him for dead in a school bathroom. Still paying the medical bills, and propping up my kid’s self esteem from that adventure. Complete with my own kid getting charged with a juvenile court offense and us sitting through a juvenile court session in which they came into a packed room of parents and telling us all “if you just sign here, where you sign over your kid’s rights, you’ll be home for dinner. All you must do is go to a day-long seminar on how to raise your child, given by the SCHOOL SYSTEM on Memorial Drive, and it’ll all be expunged and OK.” The room was packed with families, inculding those WHO COULDN’T SPEAK ENGLISH. But we were the only ones who didn’t sign. The only ones. They all signed over their childrens’ rights and as promised they were home for dinner.

    I am a proud graduate of this school system, and indeed this very school I speak of. Imagine my heartbreak about every half hour. And we’re talking about what is really BS. Cut me a break.

    I’m so grateful for my upbringing. I can teach my child what I was taught: that this school crap is just that; that just because you’re given a passing grade doesn’t mean you’re a rock star, and that even if you’re labeled, you still shouldn’t get an A for C work. The world will still expect you to be a functioning member of society, and no quarter is given for the least of these. And if you’re a minority, and a young man, you get NO passes. He’s rising to the occasion. He’s a fine human being. I’m so proud of him. But this pride has NO basis in what DCSS, or the State of Georgia, has done to help him. And he will go to college despite his challenges.

    A couple of things come to mind this last week: administrators who are so far removed from what really goes on, and Jaheem Herrera. For him, and for Jaheem, we should focus on what really matters. Not this other crap.

  33. concerned citizen says:

    not amused and ray-jay Thurmond and his crew are who we’re after. Nobody cares about your cock-eyed comments, buckos.

  34. H.A. Hurley says:

    Dear HopeSpringsEternal ~
    My heart breaks for you and your son. May I offer you one suggestion: hire an attorney! Due to your son’s learning disability and his legally mandated services, per his IEP, DCS is required to provide the services. The law, IDEA, does not state that a student only receives those services IF THE SYSTEM HAS THE RESOURCES or TEACHERS. Please, get an attorney specializing in Special Education Law. There are attorneys who have made a huge difference in a child’s life. These attnys are familiar with all the metro systems and their shenanigans.
    Do not wait until your son runs out of option re: graduation. Urgent!

  35. concerned citizen says:

    Dear HopeSpringsEternal – I echo RA Hurley. You deserve to have this situation put as right as it can be put. I just looked at the PATS and saw 6 mid and high Interrelated openings and 1 para Interrelated. Hope, the schools are REQUIRED to have a teacher for your son. Please, please, please get an attorney today. Contact DSW privately; they know who can help you. Best

  36. Teachingmom says:

    HopeSpringsEternal- Yes get an attorney but in the meantime call a meeting with your son’s case manager at his school (it should be on his IEP). If they are MIA call one with his Lead Teacher for Special Ed., there should be one for your building (or an interim). Mention that you know your rights and that you need to know how he is being served. He has to have services and the case manager on his IEP has to make sure it happens. Squeaky wheel time but back it up with an attorney. Your rights are under FEDERAL LAW.

  37. Dekalbite2 says:

    @hopespringseternal
    My child has a life threatening disability and a DCSS teacher who had discriminated against many other students with disabilities put her at risk. This teacher had connections in the Central Office so she had always gotten away with this at Chamblee HS. Like you I knew the way the system worked so I obtained the help of outside agencies that support children with disabilities like hers. My child also ended up okay, but it was very distressing to think what happened to students with parents who did not understand the system. The idea of this teacher getting continued passes for her totally inappropriate behavior toward students because of her Central Office connections was very disconcerting,

  38. Where is the SACS report from the May visit? Thurmond says we’re headed in the right direction…”. What does that mean? Where is the report from the May visit? Why keep it hush, hush? What now?

  39. concerned citizen says:

    Has SACS seen Thurmond’s amorous performance at Midvale? OMG! What is bad-boy Hudson’s advice to his pal about his weird looking countenance and muttering of platitudes, easily seen at Midvale and poor old McNair Thurmond, get out. You are the problem and have been since day 1 of your administration. I have to speculate as to the nature of your facial and vocal expressions. I won’t be the last with questions about your health and general fitness.

  40. Midvale Dad says:

    @Ullysses North https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dekalb.k12.ga.us%2Fwww%2Fdocuments%2Fadvanced-sacs-accreditation-review%2Fadvanced-report-2013.pdf

    If you go to the main DCSD web page, dekalbDOTk12DOTgaDOTus, and click on the button that says “SACS” you can find it.

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