During the Critchlow era at Fox C-6, one of the biggest problems I recognized and tried to bring to the attention of our school board and some of our retired administrators was the lack of honesty, integrity and transparency.
As I’ve been working on articles to address some of the issues that were swept under the rug for years, I sometimes find that I’ve already documented the issue years ago.
As a principal in our district is set to retire at the end of this school year, I thought it would be a good idea to point out why it’s never a good idea to tell parents in an email that:
“I think we have come up with a great plan and I’m feeling very confident that we will be able to handle anything that comes our way!!!!”
and then a year later when things on the “great plan” weren’t followed, tell the parents during a 504 team meeting that the email you sent them contained “just my notes” and that the items in the “bulleted list” that was sent “weren’t actionable items”.
From a parent’s perspective, this is one of the quickest ways to destroy a parent’s trust in a school leader.
An article I wrote in May 2016 documented this topic in more detail. My article covered several other issues that occurred in our district at the time as well, like the state audit. It's also why I’ve had parents reach out to me over the years thanking me for documenting what we went through in trying to get a 504 plan for our daughter. It's important for the community to know the facts instead of what they were led to believe.
It's also a great example as to why it’s important to have a written 504 Accommodation Plan instead of an email from a principal or just an Individualized Health Plan (IHP).
Individualized Health Plans are not legally binding agreements and therefore aren't enforceable like a written 504 Plan. That’s why school districts don’t like 504 plans.
This example is also the very reason why the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in Washington D.C. opened a District Wide Compliance Review investigation of Fox C-6 in March 2010.
The District Wide Compliance Review looked at whether or not Fox was issuing Individualized Health Plans to students with disabilities in our district instead of providing them with 504 Accommodation Plans. Considering the fact that Fox had recently taken away our daughter's 504 Accommodation Plan and provided us with an Individualized Health Plan in 2008, it was very obvious that it was happening at Fox.
In March 2010, a District Wide Compliance Review investigation was opened for the very same issue in the Memphis Tennessee School District.
The biggest difference between the two investigations is that it only took 22 months for the Atlanta Georgia Ed OCR office to complete their investigation of the Memphis Tennessee School District and issue a Resolution Agreement.
It took the Kansas City Ed OCR office 96 months to complete the investigation of Fox C-6 and issue a Resolution Agreement.
It makes you wonder what the difference is between the two OCR offices. I can assure you that I looked into what those differences were.
You can find my 2016 article here: