Friday, December 19, 2014

Another Extremely Bad Decision at Fox C-6!

Parents at Seckman Elementary in the Fox C-6 School District were informed in a letter on December 17, 2014 from acting superintendent Tim Crutchley that an interim principal was being assigned to their school mid-year.

Below is the text from that letter:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 
Dear Parents,

Earlier this month, it was announced that Ms. Simokaitis would be transferring from her role as principal of Seckman Elementary to an assistant principal role at another elementary school within the district. Again, I wish to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Simokaitis for her work with students and staff during her tenure at Seckman Elementary.

Creating a change in leadership can be difficult in the middle of a school year. Originally, the district planned to select an interim principal from current assistant principals in the district. Upon closer examination of the situation and needs of our students, we decided to explore another option that will prevent disruption and stress to the other elementary buildings.

Effective January 5th, 2015, Assistant Superintendent Dan Baker will be appointed as interim principal of Seckman Elementary for the second semester of the 2014-2015 school year.

Mr. Baker has extensive experience and dedication as an educator and as an elementary principal. His eagerness to take on the responsibilities of interim principal, along with his proven track record of achieving high student success as an elementary school principal, demonstrate he is the best option for Seckman Elementary students and families.

A permanent successor for the 2015-2016 school year will be hired through an extensive interview process during Spring 2015. Although his start date as superintendent with the district is not scheduled to begin until July 2015, Dr. Wipke plans to be engaged and involved in the process of selecting and hiring an ideal candidate as the next principal of Seckman Elementary.

As always, student learning is our top priority and expectation. I, along with Mr. Baker, and our talented teachers and staff members, will continue to work hard to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible.

Thank you for your time and understanding.

Tim Crutchley
Acting Superintendent

Many people may not know who Dan Baker is. Dan Baker is one of the administrators from the Fox C-6 School District that had online defamatory posts traced back to his home. He and his wife Angela Burns Baker were both put on paid administrative leave by the Fox C-6 school board shortly after it was publicly announced that comments had been linked to their home.

Defamatory Post From the Baker Household
Below is one of the online post that was "associated" with the Baker household on TOPIX.COM. The post below was made just a couple of hours after I spoke at the January 15, 2013 Fox C-6 school board meeting during the Public Comments session.

What's even more impressive about the post below is the fact that I stated during my public comment that night to the Fox C-6 school board and the administrators sitting at the table (which included Dan Baker) that I hoped that no one would post any online defamatory comments after myself and others spoke at the meeting that night.

It's obvious that the Baker "household" didn't respect my request.

01/15/2013 – 9:30PM (local time)
It is amazing how people believe complete nut jobs! Can't believe people would listen to that one crazy guy with the weird eye. I know him from Boy Scouts and he says some really strange things that do not sound right. I am pretty sure he has a closet where he hangs up newspaper clippings of board members and wears clown makeup while cutting up teddy bears. That guy is crazy!

Perhaps educators who are being called out for not properly doing their job and spend numerous hours and legal fees trying to get around Section 504 Law find it therapeutic to post online comments about parents who are calling them out. However, I don't condone posting things online that aren't true and defamatory because they can be traced. 

By the way, Mr. Baker doesn't know me from scouts. He knows me because he was Fox's Section 504 Coordinator. I've never seen him at any scouting events. Although Mr. Baker did make a payment using his school district VISA credit card to a STL BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA on April 7, 2011 for $100. Perhaps it was a donation.

Anyway, I would have to say that claiming to know me from scouts is not an honest statement. What does that say about integrity?

It's certainly NOT the type of behavior that I would expect from a dedicated educator.

I'm a parent who has learned a lot about Section 504 Law over the past 6+ years. I've learned what educators are supposed to do and not do with respect to that law. You expect people to do the right thing and follow the law but that doesn't always happen.

I've spent thousands of hours emailing and speaking with parents in our district, school board members, school employees, retired school employees, attorneys, attorneys at ED OCR, attorneys at USDA OCR, attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice, Senators, Congressman, state representatives, state senators and parents across the country on the subject. So, I've gained quite a bit of knowledge on the subject over the years. It took 6 years for the district to properly recognize students that qualify for Section 504.

I've documented and written quite a bit about my experiences on this subject. All of my research led me to discover even more problems occurring in our school district which has been nationally publicized. This is definitely not what I was planning on doing for the past 6+ years. But, it has certainly helped reshape our school district over the last several months. Some of our remaining administrators are simply having a tough time dealing with it all and are twisting things however they can to keep from losing their jobs.

So, I'm sure there are probably many parents in our school district that still aren't aware of all of the problems that have transpired over the last several years in the Fox C-6 School District. They may think that having an assistant superintendent step in as an "interim" principal may seem like a good thing especially with all of the experience that was touted by Mr. Crutchley about Mr. Baker in his letter to Seckman Elementary parents. However, you have to weigh Mr. Baker's experience against the facts of what Mr. Baker's "household" posted online during off hours.

Never mind the fact that Fox C-6 is a National District of Character and there all of those "Character Traits" that our school district employees and school board members have agreed to uphold like Honesty, Integrity and Respect as they set the example for our students and our community.

Baker Did Not Apologize!
I want to point out the fact that Mr. Baker pretended to apologize to the public for being linked to comments made online at the August 4, 2014 Fox C-6 school board meeting.

Mr. Baker and his wife didn't really apologize for posting the online defamatory statements. Mr. Baker apologized for the fact that his household was associated with the statements.

Dan Baker more or less said he was sorry for getting caught!

He also sounded nervous for having to read his statement to the public.

Below is a transcript of what Mr. Baker read aloud at the August 4 board meeting.
To the Fox school board and the school community

On behalf of my wife and myself, I would like to this opportunity to publicly express my sincere regret that the Baker household was associated with the recent unrest caused by posts to an internet forum. Even a cursory connection to such events is unacceptable to both of us and is outside of our personal and professional standards. 
We appreciate the Board’s willingness to weigh our combined 34 years of service to the Fox school district as they adjudicate this matter. Most regrettable is the time and energy diverted from the business of educating students in order to deal with the issue. We are grateful for this opportunity to continuing serving this community and look forward to focusing our attention on meeting the needs of our students and their families.

Thank you.

I've had the personal experience of having to deal with Mr. Baker in his professional duties as the former Fox C-6 Section 504 Coordinator for the school district for 6+ years. Knowing Mr. Baker and having to interact with him, I certainly don't believe that Mr. Baker should be appointed as the interim principal at Seckman Elementary. That's just my opinion based upon my own experience of dealing with Mr. Baker.

Most people believe that the Bakers should have been fired and so do I. 

I can tell you that Section 504 law states that it is a violation of the law to retaliate against parents for advocating for their children and others. Perhaps ED OCR or USDA OCR don't consider making defamatory comments in online forums about parents is retaliatory in nature because it's considered "freedom of speech". USDA OCR didn't have anything substantial to act on until we were able to send them court documents such as our defamation lawsuit once names were named.

However, if everyone knew everything that's gone on behind the scenes at Fox over the last 6 and a half years as we dealt with the both the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the USDA's Office for Civil Rights in our efforts to get the Fox C-6 School District to properly follow the law to which Mr. Baker was expected to uphold, you may have a better understanding of things.

Needless to say, I believe the community needs to step up and take action by emailing your current school board members and acting superintendent Tim Crutchley about this recent decision. You need to let them know that this decision is unacceptable.

Mr. Baker should not have even been considered for this position.

Dedication and Perseverance are really good character traits to follow when dealing with these types of issues!

Below is the list of character traits from Guffey Elementary's webpage

Perhaps Mr. Baker should have had a framed copy of them hanging in his office or at his house to remind him of what he was expected to follow.

Mr. Baker failed miserably in upholding the Character Education traits that our district has touted for so long. Impressionable students and the community are being taught the wrong thing with all of the incredibly poor decisions in the recent months.

Character Education Words
To work together as a team and allow others to voice their opinion
Being accountable for your own actions
Demonstrating good manners toward self, others, authority, and property
Working calmly and cooperatively with others
Showing kindness, courtesy, and compassion towards others
Always working hard to achieve your goals
Doing the right thing, even when no one is looking
To tell the truth no matter what the outcome may be
Positive Attitude
Always looking for the bright side of any situation
Taking responsibility for ones choices and commitments
Remaining dedicated to an idea or task and never giving up
To be a reliable and dependable friend