Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Did Comments Linked to the Baker's Residence Violate Section 504 Law?

When I saw the first news article about Dan and Angela Baker being allowed to return to work at Fox C-6, I thought it was a joke. They had been put on paid administrative leave on June 4, 2014. Being allowed to return to work with just a "slap on the wrist" sets a really poor example for our students and our community for a National District of Character.

To say that I was disappointed by the Fox C-6 school board's decision to allow them to return to work would be an extreme understatement. Since I was the person targeted by at least one defamatory post linked to the Baker's residence so far, the boards decision just seemed extremely disrespectful. 

One of many comment linked to the Baker's residence was posted on Topix within a couple of hours after I spoke at the January 15, 2013 Fox C-6 School Board Meeting. I even stated in my Public Comments that night that I was hopeful that no more online defamatory comments would be posted against me and others in the community who voiced their concerns. I have voiced my concerns to our school board during Public Comments at school board meetings 14 times since December 14, 2010. I have asked questions about the federal investigations and District Wide Compliance Review and USDA Non-Compliance.

Both Dianne Critchlow and Dan Baker have responded on occasion to my questions dismissively.

Why would they not want the public to know about non-compliance issues that falls under their responsibilities?

Dan Baker's Position in the District
Since Dan Baker is the assistant superintendent of elementary education at Fox C-6 and is Fox's Section 504 Coordinator, his online comments were even more inappropriate because of his position. Posting comments online about parents in his position should be grounds for dismissal. His comments violate Section 504 Law which prohibits retaliating against anyone advocating for civil rights in a school district.

Dan Baker and Dianne Critchlow have both been directly involved with OCR investigations dating back to 2008 being conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) and the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Office for Civil Rights (USDA OCR). I have personally been dealing with Mr. Baker and Mrs. Brown-Critchlow on issues in our district since 2008. So directing comments against me for my efforts is retaliation. That's why I was extremely surprised when I was provided information that linked defamatory comments posted on Topix to Dan Baker's residence considering his position in our school district and his direct involvement with OCR complaints being investigated by ED OCR and USDA OCR.

I wasn't surprised by the comments linked to the Critchlow's residence. Information posted in comments from their residence was only known by a few top administrators and the cease and desist letters were requested to be sent by Superintendent Critchlow.

It's also disappointing to know that I spoke to many school board members and sent them emails with documentation regarding these issues since 2008 as well. It appears to me that they did nothing to stop it or even investigate the issues. Now they are having to scramble to rebuild the trust of the community.

Fox's School Board Needs to Learn About Section 504 Law
Our school board members need to learn about Section 504 Law and what is required of our district. They need to learn why comments like those posted by administrators in our school district in charge of federal programs or are responsible for overseeing those in charge of those programs should be a major concern.

I recommend that our Fox C-6 school board members and the public read the following Dear Colleague Letter from the U.S. Department of Education's Assistant Secretary of the Office for Civil Rights that was published on April 24, 2013. A link to that letter can be found below.

The Fox C-6 School District has become the "poster child" that this Dear Colleague Letter was intended to educate. Superintendent Critchlow has been keeping the district's OCR investigations and non-compliance violations from the public for years. So no one really knew that the district was being investigated other than those that didn't want the public to know.

Now that the Fox C-6 taxpayers and others in our school community have learned first hand how some of our school district administrators retaliate against parents in our school district, I hope they start holding our school board accountable for the actions of our administrators.

I wrote about the Dear Colleague Letter from ED OCR in May 2013 as well. You can read about it in this post:

Dear Colleague Letter On Retaliation Law from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out for the Bakers and our school district as more information becomes available.

Online News Stories About the Bakers
The following news stories were published on Monday July 21, 2014 regarding the Baker's being allowed to return to work amid the internet scandal in our school district.

KMOX News Story:

KMOX Link to Fox C-6 Press Release:

Link from KMOX to other news article:

Post Dispatch Article:

Fox 2 News Story

KSDK News Story

KMOV News Story

KTRS News Story