Friday, July 25, 2014

The Bakers NOT Losing Their Jobs at Fox C-6 Was Discussed on Donnybrook Last Night!

What is Donnybrook?

Donnybrook is a weekly discussion / debate program that airs on Thursday night on KETC Channel 9 in St. Louis, MO. It's hosted by 5 journalists that discuss topics of local interest. Past episodes can be viewed online or seen on TV on Sunday evening if you missed Thursday's airing.

This week's discussion on Donnybrook started with the recent announcement of Dan and Angela Baker being allowed to keep their jobs at Fox C-6 after they had been placed on paid administrative leave June 4, 2014.

If you recall, online defamatory comments were traced to the Baker's residence as well as the residence of Superintendent Dianne Critchlow and her husband Jamie Critchlow the former Director of the At Risk program.

It needs to be noted that many comments were linked to the Baker's residence. There may have only been one comment documented in the original lawsuit petition but many more were posted in defense of the school district and our school board that were linked to the Baker's residence.

This is the second time that Fox C-6 has been a topic of discussion on the Donnybrook program. Superintendent Critchlow and the Internet scandal was first discussed on the June 5, 2014 Donnybrook program starting 19:15 in that episode. The prior episode of Donnybrook can be viewed online using the link found at the end of this article.

If you missed last night's episode you can view it online using the link below. It was a great discussion by the Donnybrook panelists regarding Dan and Angela Baker getting to keep their jobs as administrators at Fox C-6.

I believe the Donnybrook panelist's unbiased views believing that the Bakers should have been fired speaks load and clear to our school board and the community.

I'm biased because Dan Baker's defamatory comments were directed at me. I pointed that out during my Public Comments at this weeks Fox C-6 school board workshop.

As Fox C-6 administrator, Mr. Baker should have been fired immediately once our school board knew that he did in fact post online comments even if they weren't as vile as Troop's comments.

Mr. Baker spent July 2013 through October 2013 in discussions with Missouri DESE and the USDA's Office for Civil Rights attempting to correct issues in our school district and bring the district into compliance with federal law. Fox's school board members were copied on many of the correspondences with the USDA during that time period.

Fox C-6 had been found Non-Compliant by USDA OCR in August 2011. Superintendent Critchlow forwarded that letter of Non-Compliance to the Fox C-6 School Board back then informing the board that she had "received a really long letter from the USDA" but the district attorney found some mistakes in the letter. Dan Baker told me at the December 2011 school board meeting that the district filed an appeal. Mr. Baker said it wasn't fair that the district wasn't offered a chance to file an appeal. That's because it was a Final Agency Decision. In August 2013, the USDA OCR finally took action to enforce the August 2011 non-compliance notification and bring the district into compliance.

It's Not Just Bullying! It's Retaliation!
As an administrator you can't post defamatory comments abut parents that you've been dealing with while being under investigation by federal agencies. It's not just BULLYING! IT IS RETALIATION!

Mr. Baker may not have enjoyed dealing with federal investigations and Section 504 complaints, but that was his job. Mr. Baker was being paid more than $150,000 to ensure that our district followed Civil Rights laws and he failed to do so. That's why Fox C-6 was found Non-Compliant in August 2011. Not only did Dan Baker violate federal law, he violated our district's anti-bullying policy.

The comment from the Bakers house directed towards me were libelous and were meant to discredit me and my efforts towards getting our district to comply with federal law and and for my advocacy efforts on Section 504 issues at Fox C-6.

Since Dan Baker has been handling Section 504 issues for the district for the last 6+ years and working with us directly makes the comments from his residence even more damaging for him because of his position. The board needs to read the Dear Colleague Letter from ED OCR to understand that Dan Baker's comments were retaliatory. Even worse was the fact that he was in charge of ensuring that the district properly followed the ADA and Section 504 law. In his anonymous online comment posted under the pseudonym of "Seriously", he called out my "weird eye" which is due to paralysis from a 1978 car accident. I don't think that a disability coordinator for a school district should be publicly be making fun of a parent's disability. I doubt Mr. Baker would have posted the comment he using his own name. So, I'm betting he never thought that someone could find out that he posted comments online. His comments should have been cause for immediate dismissal once our school board reviewed the current lawsuit petition and knew which post he made.

Retaliation in Section 504 Law is a very serious offense as outlined in this 2013 Dear Colleague Letter from ED OCR.  Mr. Baker violated Section 504 Law and should be dismissed. The board cannot be allowed to be "satisfied with the discipline" that the Bakers received knowing that his comments violated Section 504 Law and school board policy. He should have been fired!

KETC's July 24, 2014 Donnybrook Episode 
Below is the link to the July 24, 2014 episode of Donnybrook that aired on KETC Channel 9. The discussion by the Donnybrook panelists about Fox is the very first topic of discussion. Guest host Eric Reid starts off the conversation by saying he asked a Fox High School student purchasing books at a bookstore what she thought about what had been happening lately in the Fox C-6 school district.

Host Eric Reid started the discussion asking, "Bill, do you think that these two who weren't necessarily vindicated but didn't do as much emailing as the others, do you think they should get to keep their jobs?"

Panelist Bill McClellen of the St. Louis Post Dispatch said, "No I don't. I thought they should be fired. Matter of fact I thought the board members should resign as well. And the other thing that bugged me about this is the discipline they got was being disciplined with pay. I mean, I'd like to be suspended with pay. You know if my boss were to say to me that's enough McClellan we're going to suspend you from pay for a week, I'd say, teach me a real lesson. You know, the idea that somebody does something wrong and you suspend them with pay, is crazy. I don't know what the board is thinking."

Host Eric Reid said, "Well, obviously this has festered for a while. But I guess they figured they came back and said like these two basically weren't as bad as the other players in all this. Now I don't know if that's not enough reason but and as I said, I guess I could see them keeping their job."

Guest panelist Brenda Talent of the Show-Me-Institute said, "And maybe the contract didn't allow them to quite do that. But I would say this, what a statement, what role models are we setting up for our children when this is the kind of conflict resolution they engage in by posting comments, which are rather sophomoric on internet sites. I mean that's what really offends me. These are supposed to be administrators. They're supposed to be mentors to the teachers and they're role models for the entire district. Pretty sad comment on the district."

Host Alvin Reid said, "Well I agree and I would have, I'm one that I would have dismissed them just for being in this conversation with these people in the first place. Never mind that they said some really vile things about people. Just the fact that, you know I agree with you, in that, wait a minute, why are you even involved in this banter?"

Panelist Bill McClellan said, "And not using their names. I mean they had to be found out. It's one thing if a person that works for the district wants to stand up for the district and take on the critics. But to do all of this stuff anonymously, that, that's just wrong on many levels."

Guest panelist D.J. Wilson of KDHX was surprised that an assistant principal at a middle school would be paid over $100,000. (Everyone should now be aware that Fox's administrative salaries have been way out of line for some time.)

Brenda Talent said, "And you're not counting the benefits."

Host Alvin Reid stated that Fox wasn't one of the states lowest performing districts but that it also wasn't one of the highest. D.J. Wilson stated that Fox's Average Composite ACT Score was 23. (NOTE: DESE records for 2013 show Fox's ACT Composite at 22.3).

D.J. Wilson said, "I'd love to be a student in a classroom and someone corrects me about what I said on email. What will they say back to the teacher."

Brenda Talent then said, "Well their comments may not have risen to the level of being libelous, whereas the others might have. But again, it's just sort of, this is how you resolve conflict? We're supposed to be adults here."

Bill McClellan reminded everyone that, "This was the school board that, that one of the board member's daughters-in-law was it, who worked at McDonald's was made dietician over the schools." 

One of the guest hosts said,"I guess they thought she deserved a break today." They all had a pretty good laugh out of that comment and then another person said, "She had it her way!".

Thanks to our soon to be retired Superintendent and former school board members and some current long time board members, our district has made national news and not in a good way.

Watch the June 5, 2014 Episode of Donnybrook on KETC
Superintendent Critchlow has touted our National District of Character award as a way to garner big raises for herself while at the same time bullying parents and critics of the district. The public and the board have been fooled for quite some time and the employees and taxpayers of Fox C-6 are now paying the price.