Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Was the Fox C-6 School Board Misled by the Bakers?

Everyone makes mistakes. What’s important is that we recognize when we make a mistake so we learn from it, thereby increasing the likelihood that we won’t repeat it. I'm not really sure that Fox C-6 Assistant Superintendent Dan Baker and his wife Fox C-6 Director of Federal Programs Angie Burns Baker learned much from their mistake.

I question whether or not the Bakers fully disclosed their online activities with the Fox C-6 Board of Education (BOE) in order to keep their jobs. It does not appear that they did.

Also, Mr. Baker didn't apologize for his transgressions as Mr. Crutchley would like you to believe. Mr. Baker didn't apologize to the people that he made derogatory comments about.

Mr. Baker read a very well crafted statement at the August 4, 2014 Fox C-6 school board meeting in which he admitted NO wrongdoing or culpability. He apologized for getting caught!

Mr. Baker was not remorseful to his victims. He was checking a box to save his job!

Without honestly taking responsibility for our mistakes, and learning from them, it’s very difficult to genuinely move forward.  I’d say that’s especially true for those who were injured by someone’s “mistake".

Dan and Angie Baker apparently made “a mistake” when they wrote derogatory posts about me and others on a public online forum. At the time the posts were made, Dan Baker was Fox C-6's Section 504 Coordinator. That's an important fact because my wife and I had been advocating for our daughter’s right to have a Section 504 plan in the district for over 4 years when online comments were being made by the Bakers.

Mr. Baker originally provided our daughter with a 504 plan in May 2008, but then revoked it a few months later. For the next 6 years, including the time period during which “the Baker household” made the derogatory posts, we continued to pursue with the District our daughter’s right to have a 504 plan.

We firmly believed the District (i.e. Mr. Baker) was not fulfilling their obligations to our daughter, and we repeatedly sought the help of our school board to rectify this mistake. When the school board refused to help us, we sought the assistance of federal agencies to investigate the District’s management or should I say mismanagement of Section 504. It was Missouri DESE's former Compliance Officer who suggested filing a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights because he believed what the district was doing was wrong.

Missouri DESE's former Compliance Officer was correct. Both the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) and the USDA's Office for Civil Rights (USDA OCR) have been investigating and monitoring Fox C-6 since 2008 and 2009 respectively to determine whether or not the District was fulfilling its legal obligations to our daughter and other students in the district properly.

In August 2011 Fox C-6 and Missouri DESE were notified in a Final Agency Decision from USDA OCR that they were found non-compliant with Section 504 and the ADA AA. They were told to correct the problem immediately. It took 3 years after the notification to immediately reinstate the 504 Plan for the district to properly correct the problem. In the meantime, we continued to email the federal agencies to follow up on the progress of their investigations and the progress with enforcing compliance. We also contacted our U.S. Senators and Congressman in hopes of expediting a resolution. Fox's former legal counsel also emailed our U.S. Senators in an attempt to curtail the investigations.

Persistence Leads To Backlash
Apparently, persisting in one's efforts to get your school district to do the right thing can lead to backlash from administrators who aren't properly doing their job and are being questioned in front of the school board.

What truly stands out is the great amount of effort that Dan Baker and Dianne Brown-Critchlow spent in order to avoid writing a 504 plan for our daughter, not to mention all of the time they spent posting in online forums from their homes, cell phones and school district computers.

Now that Dan Baker is no longer the Section 504 Coordinator for Fox C-6, students who were previously denied 504 Plans are now being found eligible and obtaining them.

This fact seems to document that Dan Baker wasn't properly managing and implementing Section 504 in our district for the 6 years that he was the Section 504 Coordinator, yet he continued to receive very large raises just like Dianne Brown-Critchlow and her husband received.

Did our school board not review Mr. Baker's performance as the district's Section 504 Coordinator given all of the money spent in legal fees related to Section 504 issues in our district battling the federal agencies?

Problems at Seckman Elementary School
That leads us to the next problem which involves the appointing of Dan Baker as the interim principal at Seckman Elementary School despite being named in a lawsuit for posting derogatory comments in a public online forum about myself and others.

Perhaps they posted comments because I had been questioning Mr. Baker's gross mismanagement of Section 504 in the district and had to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (ED OCR) as well as the USDA's Office for Civil Rights (USDA OCR) as he tried to subvert Section 504 Law for the past 6+ years.

August 2011 USDA OCR Final Agency Decision
In August 2011, Fox C-6 was sent a Final Agency Decision from USDA OCR directing the District to immediately reinstate our daughter's Section 504 plan that Dan Baker removed in September 2008.

The following paragraph was included on the next to last page of the USDA's Final Agency Decision. The language in the paragraph quoted below clearly spells out in fine detail that Section 504 Law PROHIBITS any form of retaliation against any person who files a civil rights complaint.

This is an extremely important paragraph. Dan Baker and Dianne Brown-Critchlow were very familiar with the USDA's Final Agency Decision and had even forwarded it to our Fox C-6 school board members in 2011. Dianne Brown-Critchlow forwarded me the email that she sent the Fox C-6 school board in December 2011 after I questioned her and Dan Baker as to whether or not the school board was even aware of the Final Agency Decision since Dan Smith and Ruth Ann Newman knew nothing about it when they were asked about it.

Here is the paragraph from the USDA's Final Agency Decision regarding retaliation:
No person shall be subjected to reprisal or harassment because he or she filed a discrimination complaint, participated in or contributed to the identification, investigation, prosecution, or resolution of a civil rights violation in or by a recipient of Federal financial assistance from USDA; or otherwise aided or supported the enforcement of Federal or USDA civil rights laws, rules, regulations, or policies. Any individual alleging such harassment or intimidation may file a complaint with USDA.
The language in the paragraph above didn't deter some of our administrators from participating in the online harassment and posting of derogatory comments on Topix that were directed at me and others. We filed complaints regarding retaliation but without have names and proof, nothing could be done. Now we have names and well documented proof.

I wrote an article about the Dear Colleague Letter that was issued by ED OCR in April 2013 to all school districts in the country regarding Retaliation. Here is a link to that article as well:

My pursuit to get the Fox C-6 School District to properly comply with Section 504 Law and the ADA AA and simply do the right thing led to an onslaught of online defamatory and derogatory posts that were traced back to the Bakers and the Critchlows.

Misled By the Bakers?
On July 24, the Arnold-Imperial Leader published an article titled, Bakers will keep Fox jobs. The article explained why the Bakers were allowed to keep their jobs based on a press release sent out by the District. The information provided by the District lead everyone to believe that the Bakers only made one comment from their home computer.

(UPDATED: 01/05/2015 - I've been informed that Fox's BOE was aware of the fact that more than one comment was posted and traced to the Bakers contrary to what was published in the Arnold-Imperial Leader. Then you have to question why the information wasn't properly documented by the Arnold-Imperial Leader. Supposedly, the District informed the paper that only one comment traced to the Bakers rose to a derogatory level. What was published in the Arnold-Imperial Leader with regards to the Bakers posting of comments mislead the public.)

The Arnold-Imperial Leader article stated that:
"School officials investigated the claims made in the lawsuit and decided only one comment was posted from the Bakers' home computer and that the two could keep their jobs, following disciplinary measures, Crutchley said."
The Bakers must not have fully informed school officials about all of their online activities related to Topix. Online posts were traced back to their cellular phone's browser as well. They didn't make just a single post from their home computer as stated in the Leader. They made many posts.

I've published some of the posts traced to the Bakers that are listed as exhibits in the lawsuit. It's interesting to note the language used by our dedicated educators. It's also interesting to note the statements that were made in respect to their children and grandchildren.

I know that Dan Baker's wife's daughter teaches at Seckman Elementary were Dan Baker was recently appointed to be the interim principal.

However, I did not realize that they had grandchildren that were old enough to attend school in our district as stated in one of their online comments.

It should also be noted that the online comments linked to the Bakers spanned nearly two months in time for those comments that were documented in the exhibits. So, the statement from the Leader that "only one comment was posted from the Baker's home computer" was misleading due to the misinformation provided in Fox's Press Release regarding the board's decision that allowed the Bakers to keep their jobs.

So, did the Bakers not tell the board members about all of the online posts that they made?

I documented the derogatory comment that the Bakers made about me in an article I wrote two weeks ago:

Here are some of the online comments posted on Topix that were traced back to a Baker owned cell phone:
Seriously wrote on 01/24/2013 at 7:16AM
The thing is no one says anything about being dissatisfied with any particular situation concerning a student. Because our children are well taken care of! Here is a thought...the main goal of the school district isn't about who did or didn't get the job they wanted. It is are our children able to succeed in the real world upon graduation? I can only speak for mine and mine graduated at the top of their class. And my grandchildren love their school and because of that I am grateful to our district employees from the bottom up.
Seriously wrote on 02/09/2013 at 7:19PM
This is the most stupid thread I have ever read. Not one thing ever gets said about students. It is all about what adult didn't get the job they wanted or who wants to make a jab because they are jealous and bitter. I support our district leaders and teachers. They get a better job done than most districts on a fraction of the cost. If you care so much about kids, step away from the keyboard and go spend some quality time with a child. When's the last time you read to a child, played catch or prayed with one? You want to see a positive change in this world, start with YOURSELF!
Haha wrote on 02/09/2013 at 9:28PM
Imagine "pulling kids into this" you big idiot it should be all about the kids and not what adult was chosen for the job and is all jealous and ticked, or the Hoosier custodian that got fired or the hag ex wife. Imagine, actually thinking about kids in a forum about children's education.
Haha wrote on 03/12/2013 at 9:23PM
If you had something worth real value to say you wouldn't find it on a public, free, anonymous forum. Really, truth be told this is nothing more than thinking out loud. Sorry but even people with screwed up views think a lie is the truth if enough (even anonymous people) agree with them. And just a word of advice to the common posters on could only be backed by 2 or 3 people who are signing on in different names. No offense intended to anyone but really this is like the "National Enquirer" of the Internet.
Haha wrote on 03/12/2013 at 9:54PM
Then send help because I just found out my cousin is an alien.
It appears from one of the post's above, that the Bakers weren't fond of the ex-wife or a custodian at Fox. People are certainly entitled to their opinions. Perhaps I just expect a lot more from individuals who are touted as dedicated professional educators.

Perhaps Fox's Board of Education should have questioned the Bakers and the Critchlows as to why there were making posts on a public internet forum in the first place about school district issues. They were high ranking officials in our school district and were expected to set good example for District employees, students and the community. I think they failed severely in that regard. Especially if you read the comments that were traced back to the Critchlows residence and to school district computers.

It's needless to say that their behavior was completely unacceptable but sometimes you have to state the obvious so people actually get it!

So, should Seckman Elementary School parents and teachers be concerned with the recent appointment of Dan Baker as the interim principal at SES?

Most people in the community I've spoken with want to know why the Bakers and the Critchlows weren't fired from the get go. I've been asked that question numerous times over the last 7 months.