Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If You Find Wrong Doing In Your School District, Report It!

If you find wrong doing in your school district, it is your duty as a citizen to report it.  That's what I was told to do by the Missouri DESE Compliance Officer back in 2008 after a phone conversation as to what was going on in the Fox C-6 School District.   The MO DESE Compliance Officer told me that I should file a complaint with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) because it appeared to him that our school district was not properly following the law.  However, if you file a complaint, you should be prepared to be retaliated against by your school district.  Well, at least that has been my experience and the experience of a couple of other parents that I know that have filed complaints or expressed their concerns with our school district, school board or school administrators.

MAY 2009 - Department of ED OCR Resolution Agreement
After 4 Years, Fox C-6 Has Yet To Fully Comply With Resolution Agreement

If our school district is truly following the law, then you should ask Mr. Dan Baker, assistant superintendent and the Fox C-6 School District 504 coordinator as to why the school district has still not fully complied with the Resolution Agreement that Mr. Baker signed in May of 2009 with ED OCR.  It has been nearly 4 years since Mr. Baker signed that agreement and the district has still been unable to comply with it.  There are several areas of the agreement that the district has not yet fully complied with.  One part of the agreement required the school district to update its policies and procedures, student handbooks and district website to more properly document and comply with federal laws.  It is my understanding from ED OCR monitoring letters, that this has still not been completed as of January 1, 2013.  The district has not yet updated their policies and regulations for simple grammatical and typographical errors. I first officially reported the errors to the school board at the April 2011 meeting.  Jim Chellew was documented in 2004 school board meeting minutes stating that school board policies and regulations are reviewed every year.  However, many policies and regulations still have typographical and grammatical errors that have existed since they were first adopted in November 1997.  As an example, one policy still has the text {common district name} in the policy where the template was not updated with the school district name.

MARCH 2010 - Washington DC Department of ED OCR District Wide Compliance Review
Fox C-6's District Wide Compliance Review Is Still An Open Investigation

Next, you should ask our superintendent and school board why the Fox C-6 School District is still undergoing a District Wide Compliance Review that was initiated by the Washington D.C. ED OCR Office in March 2010.  The District Wide Compliance Review WAS NOT initiated by a parent complaint as the school district and the school district attorney would like you to believe.  Mr. Dan Baker testified during a Due Process Hearing while being questioned by the school district attorney that it was.  However, documents from ED OCR show that this is not true.  District Wide Compliance Reviews are ALWAYS initiated out of the Washington D.C. Office.  The District Wide Compliance Review was requested by the Kansas City ED OCR Office to the Washington D.C. Office as a potential school district to perform a District Wide Compliance Review on.  Our school district was then chosen by the Washington D.C. ED OCR Office to undergo a District Wide Compliance Review after reviewing information provided by the Kansas City OCR Office.  Our U.S. Senators were notified of the District Wide Compliance Review in 2010 by the Washington D.C. office.

The District Wide Compliance Review is still open and ongoing.  I have asked our school board about the Compliance Review on multiple occasions.  I even received a response from the school district attorney telling me that there is nothing to report to the public about the review at this time because it is still ongoing and in doing so would possibly interfere with the compliance review.  If other law firms across the country are informing their school districts that Fox C-6 is undergoing a District Wide Compliance Review and teaching them how to avoid one, it would seem that it is only our school district that does not want the public to know about it.  It should be noted that Fox C-6 was only 1 of 2 school districts out of more than 20,000 districts across the country to be chosen in 2010 to undergo a District Wide Compliance Review for the area of concern that our school district is being investigated for.

AUGUST 2011 - USDA OCR Final Agency Decision Ruling
Fox C-6 and state of Missouri Found Non-Compliant With Federal Laws, Regulations and Guidelines

Next, you should ask your school board and superintendent why Fox C-6 and subsequently the entire state of Missouri was found to be Non-Compliant by the United States Department of Agriculture Office for Civil Rights Office (USDA OCR) Food Nutrition Services department in August 2011 with ADA, ADA AA, and Section 504 Laws and the USDA's Federal Regulations and Guidance.   Our school district filed an appeal with USDA OCR in November 2011.  However, the USDA denied their appeal in 2012 and has since been in involved in multiple discussions with the school district and the school district attorneys in an effort to bring our school district and the state of Missouri into compliance with Federal laws and regulations.  From information obtained from the USDA OCR Office, Fox has not yet complied with the USDA OCR Final Agency Decision as of January 1, 2013.  It has been nearly 18 months since the USDA Final Agency Decision ruling was sent to the school district and the school board.  Perhaps the school district does not want to comply with the ruling.  The USDA OCR Office has now handed the case over to the Department of Justice for enforcement.

As a patron of the school district, I will report wrong doing and will follow up with the federal agencies and the school district.  It is your taxpayer dollars that the school district is using to fight the federal agencies rather than comply with their requests.

You must ask yourself, why is our school district unwilling to comply with Federal laws?

Why would school district attorneys make Freedom Of Information Act Requests of the USDA for all correspondences between myself and the USDA?

My research has uncovered many issues and concerns.  In 2008, I forwarded a link to the USDA OCR Office of a video I found online that was made of a presentation given at the 2008 Missouri Annual School Law Seminar.  The video covered Section 504 Law and was being presented by school district attorneys from our state.  The presentation was educating Missouri school officials on Section 504 law.  The USDA OCR Office found the training in the video to be alarming and they considered some of the information being presented in the video to be incorrect according to Federal laws.  The video prompted training for the state of Missouri which was initiated by the USDA Colorado regional office.  No one from the Fox C-6 School District Food Nutrition Services department attended the training.