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Ellington principal: "We will not stand idly by"

Duke Ellington head of school Rory L. Pullens hasn't returned my e-mails or phone messages to discuss the possible relocation of the Georgetown arts school, described Sunday in The Post. But he and members of the school's governing board, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Project (DESAP), which met Tuesday, have plenty to say to the Fenty Administration, the D.C. Council and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

Here's what Pullens sent home to parents Wednesday:

"I am sure that many of you are well aware of the newspaper article that ran in last Sunday's Washington Post about the possible relocation of Duke Ellington. We, as an institution, will not idly stand by while such plans are taking place and not have our voices be heard! I met with our governing DESAP Board on Jan. 19, and among the many strategies we are employing, is the attached letter to Mayor Fenty, Chancellor Rhee, City Council, and others. This presents our official response and expectations of resolution. I will keep you posted on future developments in this most critical matter. Thank you for all your support today, and that support which may be needed in the future."

And here's the letter, signed by DESAP board president Michaele Christian:

"Dear Ms. Rhee:

I write on behalf of the Board of Directors of Duke Ellington School of the Arts Project, as well as the entire school community, to tell you that we were appalled by recent reports of a well developed proposal to move Ellington to a new location from its home at 3500 R Street, NW. Such a move, particularly to a facility as woefully inadequate as the suggested new site of Logan School, would eviscerate one of the most outstanding educational institutions in the District. It is shocking to us that the board of the school was not deeply engaged in even preliminary discussions, much less a fully developed plan, of such consequence to the future of the school, its students, and the entire Ellington community. Once again, we find ourselves distracted from the task at hand, creating the highest quality education that we can provide to our students, by politics and innuendo. We urge you and other District officials to recognize that Ellington's contribution to the education of a generation of talented students, as well as its tremendous success, in the face of continuing obstacles, in managing a dual curriculum of college preparatory academics and pre-professional arts instruction for its current student population of nearly 500, and to work with us, not against us, to create a world-class program.

Those who believe that Ellington can simply be moved to any other building do not understand the needs of a comprehensive arts high school. In addition to a college preparatory academic program, Ellington offers a wide variety of performing and visual arts programs that have special space needs. Since its inception, Ellington has worked within the current building structure to reach a point where, although it is certainly not perfect, does provide many of the facilities Ellington requires. Indeed, in the last five years, Ellington - together with its partners the Kennedy Center, The George Washington University, and many individual and corporate donors - has donated approximately $700,000 in funds and in-kind contributions to create such venues as a recording studio, a television studio, a professionally equipped theater, and a gallery to accommodate visual art works and the only high school museum studies program in the country. DCPS has also invested in Ellington, as a performing arts high school, by spending substantial sums to renovate high quality dance studios and other performance venues. Such facilities cannot be found in any other high school in the city.

If Ellington were to relocate, it should only be to a building that truly addresses the requirements of a school with Ellington's unique mission. These requirements would include:

-A safe location in which the school can safely operate a program that starts early and regularly involves student practice and rehearsals into the late night hours and weekends;
-A fully equipped performing arts theatre (not simply a school auditorium) with space for both rehearsal and technical design and production of major theatrical events, along with a black box theatre space and music recital hall;
-Several high quality dance studios;
-Several visual arts studios for both 2D and 3D art, graphic design and animation capabilities;
-A variety of large and small settings for vocal and instrumental music classes and practice rooms, insulated to keep sound from traveling;
-A full service audio recording studio and television production studio;
-A gallery for the exhibition of fine arts.

An example of such a facility is the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a performing arts high school in New York City recently built at a cost of approximately $78 million.

In addition, basic non-instructional operations costs including those for security, maintenance, cleaning and transportation to our partner institutions (George Washington University and the Kennedy Center) would increase with any move. As you know, our budget has not kept pace with our costs, to the point that we had to furlough teachers and staff this year. We are very concerned about the potential threat to our core curriculum that such additional costs would pose.

If the District cannot afford to build a new facility, then Ellington should remain in its present location and the District should proceed with the major renovation scheduled for 2012 to make this building an even better performing arts high school.

In stark contrast to a facility that would serve Ellington's needs is the Logan School, an elementary school built in 1935 whose sole qualification is its vacancy. Logan has none of the requirements listed above for a performing arts high school. While Logan could likely be renovated for purposes suitable to a school with only an academic program, no amount of renovation can change its location and structural deficiencies that make it unsuitable for a school with an arts and academic mission. In short, Logan is simply unacceptable. Ellington has a long history in its current location. It has successfully attracted students from all of the city's wards and, indeed, has had record applications in the past two years, including large numbers of students from outside D.C. public schools, and even the city.

In closing, as you might imagine, the entire Ellington community is now in complete upheaval over these recent events. The DESAP board would like to have an urgent meeting with you and other relevant city officials to discuss this nascent plan, and would also request that you meet with our parents and staff soon thereafter. The DESAP board will attempt to make itself available at a time of your choosing over the next few days. Please let us know which other city officials you feel should be present. In the press, Mayor Fenty and Jack Evans have been identified as participants in this planning, though of course Ellington is a citywide school and others will undoubtedly want to be involved. Meaningful engagement with Ellington on this critical issue has been lacking to date. The location of Duke Ellington School of the Arts and its facilities are far too important not to be addressed in a thorough and deliberative manner, and the involvement of those who know how to operate a performing arts high school with a full academic curriculum is essential. Please let us know how to proceed to schedule these meetings as soon as possible so that we can all get back to educating our students.

Sincerely,

Michaele C Christian, M.D.
On behalf of the DESAP Board of Directors


cc: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Mayor Adrian Fenty
Council Chairman Vincent Gray
Councilmember Jack Evans
Councilmember Yvette Alexander
Councilmember Marion Barry
Councilmember Muriel Bowser
Councilmember Kwame R. Brown
Councilmember Michael A. Brown
Councilmember David Catania
Councilmember Mary M. Cheh
Councilmember Jim Graham
Councilmember Phil Mendelson
Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr.
Councilmember Tommy Wells


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By Bill Turque  |  January 20, 2010; 8:12 PM ET
 
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Comments

OLD MAN evans in his Depends Diapers and pee-wee fenty in his jockstrap have exploited Ward 2 residents and others regarding the West End Library, the Historic Stevens Elementary School, the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club, and now the Historic Duke Ellington School of the Arts. When are these cigar-smoking, backroom dealing, Wall Street wannabee, good-old-boys gonna be held accountable Chairman Gray? p.s. 'Hartsock' Adrianne Todman!

Posted by: bob_dylan_rocks | January 21, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Good luck to the DESAP Board of Directors. For all the effort you and others have put into this school it deserves to stay where it is.

Posted by: jlp19 | January 21, 2010 5:30 AM | Report abuse

Get your resume together Rory, you're next. Every aspect of DCPS must have Rhee's "territorial markings" whether it makes sense or not. Take a look into those schools that Rhee gave to charter organizations(especially) as well as the other high schools with inexperienced principals and non certified teachers and you will agree that school climate has declined even further and DCPS is trying desperately to keep a lid on that.

Posted by: candycane1 | January 21, 2010 5:55 AM | Report abuse

For those who want to turn schools into the business work model they sure are getting their money's worth from Rhee. In business, money is valued over people. And under Rhee, that is what is happening to DCPS. The rich are being taken care of, and the poor are being taken advantage of.

Posted by: jlp19 | January 21, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Why isn't a story like this on the front page of the paper?

The WaPo is becoming such a joke. That they are complicit in covering up the egregious acts of the Mayor and Chancellor is becoming painfully obvious.

This story is of the magnitude that it needs to be on the front page of the paper, period.

Posted by: vscribe | January 21, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Bill, in your piece the other day, What We're About, you said that you saw this blog as a chance to expand and give deeper coverage of the news. But is that really happening? This is simply a follow-up on Sunday's paper but, as the last poster said, shouldn't this be in the print edition. What is not said in your article, nor investigated by your paper, are the deeper reasons why Michelle Rhee would disturb schools, like Hardy and Ellington, that are doing well. With so many schools in disarray why concentrate on these two? Why not support them instead of tear them down?

Evans should be challenged by a reporter on how many residents of Ward 2 would actually use either school (Evans children are in St. Alban's after all)- my guess is that they might for a year or so but not much more. Another challenge for Evans is the fact that Ellington is built on a lot of private donations - are the residents of Ward 2 going to simply step in and receive those benefits free of charge? These are people who, if you collectively took their private school tuition, could have built their own school by now. Why do the majority of negative articles about Rhee end up here (or the Wire)while the print edition continues to write, for the most part, laudatory articles and op-ed pieces praising Rhee?

Posted by: adcteacher1 | January 21, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Good start, Principal Pullen and Director Christian, but keep in mind that Rhee thrives on upheaval. The fact that the Ellington community is up in arms is music to her ears. Study the other communities she’s savaged and you’ll see that standing up to a raging mob is a specialty of hers. She relishes it so much, that she seems to court it.

Your righteous indignation is a start, but alone, it is no match for her. She’s got the stomach and the power to persevere. Over the last two and a half years, she’s become experienced and facile with her wrecking ball and history tells her she will win the day. Study her other successes. You are not different or special in her eyes.

Did any of you think that those RIFd teachers must have been very ineffective and that a mid-year shuffling of 200 “bad” teachers was justified by having hired 900 “good” teachers and saving summer school by hiding the budget? Did you think that there must have been good reasons for the successful principal of Hardy Middle School being deposed? If so, please revise your views. Like all of Rhee’s “reforms,” she perceives them as conquests and victories, all in the best interests of the children. Now it’s your turn.

It doesn’t matter that she’s wrong. While local school communities complain bitterly and suffer greatly, she has maintained the support of the Washington Post editorial board and the national media. She’s a star and I’m afraid too many people will assume that Ellington should be moved, or this fearless champion of children’s interests over adult interests would not have set her sights on you.

None of this is meant to discourage the Ellington community, but rather to steel you for a fight you can win. You need a different strategy to avoid fighting the same war the others have and to prevent losing it in the same way they did.

Posted by: efavorite | January 21, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Here's what I dont get - why does Rhee always seem to bother the schools that are doing well? How about concentrating on Spingarn or Dunbar. Better yet, start another Duke Ellington-like school in EVERY ward.

Posted by: missboo | January 21, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"Once again, we find ourselves distracted from the task at hand, creating the highest quality education that we can provide to our students, by politics and innuendo."

That's Mrs. Rhee's MO.

After all, she told the lie of her "Baltimore Miracle."

Posted by: edlharris | January 21, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Missboo: Follow the money. Ellington sits on an extremely valuable piece of land in a wealthy area. A developer is most likely waiting in the wings for it. This has NOTHING to do with education.

Efavorite: I think this is one of your best comments posted ever (among many, many great ones.) I hope that the Ellington community reads it and takes it to heart. It might be worth sending a print version of it to the Ellington community.

I, too, am very disappointed in the Washington Post for not putting this story on the front page, or at least the front page of the printed Metro section.

Keep digging, Bill, until you have unearthed the real motivation behind this ridiculous proposition.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 21, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The guy lost me with his first demand, that the school be in a safe place. Logan Elementary is in a safe place—it’s good enough for Gonzaga’s private school parents. And, importantly, because the school draws from all 8 wards, it is a central location with great Metro access.

The mention of the cost of the NYC arts school is a scare tactic. Dallas, TX just built an even better arts campus for less money.

Why do the children of ward 2 not deserve a high school? They once had Western High School, they should have it again.

Posted by: whatitdo | January 21, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Here is Rhee’s view of leadership, from advice* from Joel Klein, Chancellor of NYC schools:

“…sometimes you’ve got to lead from the front because if you’re too worried about trying to make everybody happy or get every last detail, then you’ll get bogged down and nothing will actually move…sometimes a leader can see things that other people can’t see, and has to push things that they know are the right things to push, and it takes other folks a little longer to get there.”

It sounds like she’s taken Klein’s advice to heart, justifying her outrageous actions with the conviction that she can “see things that other people can’t see.” [Others might call it hallucinating.]

She also prides herself on being impervious to criticism and community input. As she told a Harvard Kennedy School Bulletin* reporter in the winter of ‘09: “I don’t take things personally,” she says. “I never really cared what people think of me. I came to understand why six chancellors [sic] had come and gone in the 10 years before I arrived. If you let this stuff get to you, you start thinking, ‘maybe they are right.’ And at that point, you have lost.”

According to Rhee,* her mother noticed her antisocial tendencies as a child. “[My mother] said, 'You know, when you were young, you never used to care what people thought about you, and I always thought that you were going to be antisocial, but now I see this serving you well. 'I was, like, 'Yeah. '”

So, "like yeah," this is what you’re up against, Ellington, along with everyone else who takes Rhee on. It’s an utter disdain for the community she serves, under cover of “what’s best for children” and with the complete support of Mayor Fenty.

*references in the order mentioned above
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/06/nyregion/06klein.html?pagewanted=2&hp
http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/news/alumni/michelle-rhee
http://www.newsweek.com/id/154901/page/1

Posted by: efavorite | January 21, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

My daughter attended Ellington and, while it isn't directly by a metro station, it is accessible enough. It is on the 30s busline which crosses the city and stops by both the Foggy Bottom and Tenley metros and there are also 3 buses (D-2, D-6, G-2) that come over from the Dupont Circle metro.

But the main issue is the quality of the facilities and all the money that private funders have already put into them. How could it possibly be fair to force Ellington students to leave the school at 35th and R NW when private donors have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to adapt the building for an arts program? It's hard to believe that DCPS could ever hope to match the investment already made in the Georgetown school -- so are they willing to let these facilities built for arts students go to non-arts students while the arts students are stuck with inferior facilities in a smaller building?

It's just astonishing to me that they're even considering something so completely unfair.

Posted by: oldmh | January 21, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Rory Pullens, Michaele Christian and the Ellington School Community: Your time has arrived my friends. Time to draw a line in the sand. The Chancellor takes no prisoners. A plan has already been developed for Ellington and is now being implemented. Unless you gather your troops - those with some clout, you will be packing. Rhee is cunning and feeling like an undefeated quarterback. Her slogan of being for the children..is just that, a slogan. Her henchmen - Fenty and Nickles are ready to run offense. The citizens of DC are learning the hard way. Your input is not desired nor welcome. Unless Ellington is to gain a NEW facility designed for its curriculum and purposes in a desirable location,you must fight. Organize quickly and keep a loud and public voice at all times. When things quiet down - all is lost. FENTY MUST GO! and a one way ticket to Sacramento for Rhee is waiting.

Posted by: lightkeeper | January 21, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Before you rush to judgement of Rhee and Evans, I would consider the overall cost- benefit.

The potential benefit is that kids whose families are on the upper end of the socioeconomic ladder enter the public school system which means that parents of these kids become invested in the public school system. The personal investment of middle and upper class parents in our public schools is very important because politicians listen to them. The other benefit is that a neighborhood gets a school which does not currently have a school--all other wards have one, why shouldn't this one. The other benefit is that Ellington is moved to a more central location--this would suggest that students from the outer reaches of DC (southwest, etc.) have an easier time getting there.

What is the main cost? There is no indication that the Ellington school's enrollment diversity would change--it would still serve the same population just from a different location. So I'm not sure how this is hurting the poor as many are seeming to claim. Sure the administrators there don't necessarily "deserve" on a personal level to have this happen to them, but that is not the important factor here--we should be thinking of the system as a whole, not the political desserts of administrators, and the benefits that injecting middle and upper class stakeholders into the system presents. This is very very important.

It would seem that the Ellington letter about how expensive the facilities are to construct is a huge concern to overall cost and that to me is the biggest concern--would it cost a million dollars to re-start the school somewhere else? If so then, no, maybe its not worth moving--but not because of some perceived slight to the poor. If it's being centrally located, and there's no plans to change the enrollment, what's the problem?

Posted by: tribeca487 | January 21, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Ellington HS sits on one entire city block. Two streets away and even closer to Georgetown University and Georgetown University Hospital, (owned by a hospital chain), Ellington Field occupies another entire city block.

Ellington HS is due, per the letter, for complete renovation to begin in 2 years, There is no money for it, given DC finances, and no "swing space" for the Ellington program, given no real change under Fenty /Rhee in DC's ability or propensity to plan. (An entire building at UDC is only now being gutted and rush-re-fitted for Wilson HS's temporary occupancy next year.)

Look at the two Ellington land parcels, and see what institutions are nearby which have, on current or long range business models, expansion needs. Then,............. go figure.

Posted by: incredulous | January 21, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The guy lost me with his first demand, that the school be in a safe place. Logan Elementary is in a safe place—it’s good enough for Gonzaga’s private school parents.
whatitdo.

You must have missed the story a few weeks ago on Channel 4 or 7 about Gonzaga students targeted by muggers on Metro.

Posted by: edlharris | January 21, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

So Ellington students don't ride the Metro?

"oldmh" says that the students ride to Foggy Bottom, Dupont or Friendship Heights and then take the bus.

The principal's letter insinuates that the Logan site is not safe and that his students won't be able to stay late for rehersals. That is just plain false.

Posted by: whatitdo | January 21, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Here’s another recent example of Rhee’s character and what she’s willing to say with no evidence and no way of proving it without releasing personnel info:

In the 2/1/10 issue of FastCompany*, Rhee states that during the October RIF, "I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children….”

Gee, that’s the first I’m hearing about the RIF ridding the schools of child abusers, and I keep pretty close track! Up to now it’s just been “bad teachers” with an admission that some competent teachers were also let go. Clearly those physically abusive teachers she’s now mentioning, if they exist, should have at least been removed from classroom duties, irrespective of a RIF. It seems to me any school leader has an obligation to do that.

Ellington -- it’s a good thing you found a way to avoid RIFing teachers, if not, those you had to part with might now be suspected of child molestation.

*
http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/142/update-dc-report-card.html

Posted by: efavorite | January 21, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Excellent find, efavorite.
This peerson has no shame.
She claims to have riffed teachers who had sex with students.
For a minute, I thought she was speaking about the leader of St. Hope in Sacramento, who put the make on an underage young female employee.

Posted by: edlharris | January 21, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Efavorite:

I just read in FastCompany about Rhee's shocking allegations that she waited until a RIF to fire teachers who assaulted children and abused them sexually. Could this possibly be true? If so, why did she allow these teachers to remain on the job even one minute after these crimes were discovered? Not reporting this type of behavior is a crime.

Does anyone in DC care about such things? If so, please do some investigating and reporting to the proper authorities. As many of us suspected from the beginning, the district might have a person of very questionable character at the helm.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | January 21, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Gee, that’s the first I’m hearing about the RIF ridding the schools of child abusers, and I keep pretty close track
----------

Efavorite, I posted the story of a teacher who was fired by Rhee who hit a child last year. For you to say that it's the first time you heard about it, well, that just shows you don't know about DCPS now doesn't it?

I personally documented a case of a teacher who hit a child, I sent this information over the head of the principal and to the Chancellor's office. The union fought to keep the child abuser employed. The union supported a child abuser over the child victims.

If anyone wonders why I fight to get bad teachers out of DCPS then re-read the above.

Posted by: bbcrock | January 21, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Linda, why don't you ask the WTU why they support violent teachers instead of coming up with weirdo conspiracy theories.

You know why the WTU supports child abusers- they use lawyerspeak to throw doubt on children's claims, parents' claims and the claims of someone like myself, the ex-member of a PTA board who is known to have an ax to grind with phony "teachers."

How many people on the Post boards make fun of me or question my posts? Well the same people are teachers, union reps and the spouses of same and they have knee-jerk responses to anyone who asks that teachers be held to standards of professionalism that private industry adopted decades ago.

Posted by: bbcrock | January 21, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

So you people are really only against this because you don't like Rhee? You do realize that by constructing your arguments that way it makes them easier to ignore.

Upon first moving to DC I found it odd that Ellington was so far from the center of the city and Metrorail in general. I don't understand why it would be bad policy to have a city-wide magnet located at the very center of the city and near Metrorail. Nor do I understand why it would be bad for ward 2 to have a comprehensive high school within its boarders. Because they only have 6% unemployment? Because you imagine that everyone there is a Richie Rich? I can assure you that there are many people, of all colors, creeds, and credit levels who send there children to public schools from ward 2. I would rather not send my kid on a 45 minute commute on the red line to Wilson (our home school).

Posted by: whatitdo | January 21, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

by the way, I don't think Ellington should permanently move and I don't think that Ward 2 needs its own high school given that 50% or more of the children who attend it will be out of boundary students from Ward 7 and 8 parents who will drive their kids to escape the bad teachers in those wards.

Posted by: bbcrock | January 21, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

BBCrock:

A union does not hire or fire teachers. Legally a union must defend its members and that's what it does. This is the law. So, yes, if a district fires a teacher, the union is legally obligated to defend that person in order to ensure due process.

District administrators are responsible for firing teachers. By law, a teacher who is suspected of child abuse must be reported to the proper authorities and placed on administrative leave immediately. Sometimes these teachers are falsely accused and that's why they have legal rights (as do the rest of us, thank goodness).

Did you read what an administrator was quoted as saying in the Feb.1 issue of FastCompany? She said that she waited for the October RIF to dismiss abusive teachers. Could this possibly be true? If so, did she ever allow other teachers, principals or "managers" to remain in a school after they were suspected of abuse? Let's hope someone looks into this.

I do not support leaving abusive teachers in the classroom until it's convenient to dismiss them. Do you? If not, insist that the administrators of the district perform their duties as required by law. This is not a union job.

One more thing: When an accused teacher is defended by the union, it is the court, not the union, that makes the final decision.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | January 21, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

As interesting as these comments can be, anything posted on a message board is opinion and hearsay unless it cites official data, direct quotes or specific information sources.

If a DCPS parent was able to get the Chancellor to fire a teacher who hit a student, it seems odd that the Chancellor would wait until a RIF carried out for budgetary purposes to remove a teacher who had sex with a student.

Posted by: efavorite | January 21, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Dave Chappelle: You're a graduate of Ellington. Please come back to the district. There is fresh new material for you to use. Your Rick James and R. Kelly skits are memorable but to do Fenty? OMG we would so enjoy it!

Posted by: candycane1 | January 21, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million
http://www.city-journal.org/html/13_1_how_i_joined.html

"Believe me, you have to be made of iron, or something other than flesh and blood, to stand by passively while some enraged child is trying to inflict real harm on another eight-year-old. I couldn’t do it. And each time I let normal human instinct get the best of me and broke up a fight, one of the combatants would go home and fabricate a story about how I had hurt him or her. The parent, already suspicious of me, would report this accusation to Ms. Savoy, who would in turn call in a private investigative firm employed by D.C. Public Schools. Investigators would come to Emery and interview me, as well as several students whom the security guard thought might tell the truth about the alleged incident of corporal punishment.

I had previously heard of three other teachers at Emery that year who were being investigated for corporal punishment. When I talked to them—they were all experienced male teachers—they heatedly protested their innocence and bitterly complained about Ms. Savoy’s handling of the situation. Now that I had joined the club, I began to understand their fears and frustrations.

To define as “corporal punishment” the mere physical separation of two combatants not only puts students at risk but also gives children unconscionable power over teachers who choose to intervene. False allegations against me and other teachers snowballed, as certain students realized that they had the perfect tool for getting their teacher in deep trouble. As I began to be investigated on almost a weekly basis, parents came to school to berate and threaten me—naturally, without reprisals from the administration. One day, a rather large father came up to me after school and told me he was going to “get me” if he heard that I put my hands on his daughter one more time. Forget the fact that I had pulled her off of a boy whom she was clobbering at the time."

Posted by: edlharris | January 21, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

More from near the end of Joshua's adventure:
"Even after my acquittal, even after the accuracy of Raynard’s story had been seriously undermined, his mother and her big-firm lawyers aggressively pursued multi-million-dollar damage claims on the civil side. Yet even as the lawsuit dragged on and the legal cloud over me caused me to lose a job opportunity I really wanted, I refused to entertain Raynard’s mother’s offers to settle the case by my paying her $200,000—a demand that ultimately diminished to $40,000. The school system had no such scruples; it settled the mother’s tort claim in October 2002 for $75,000 (plus $15,000 from the teachers’ union’s insurance company—chump change compared with the cost of defending the litigation). It wasn’t $20 million, but it was still more money than I imagine this woman had seen in her life—a pretty good payout and hardly deterrence to other parents in the neighborhood who felt entitled to shanghai the system."

Posted by: edlharris | January 21, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate tribeca487's hopeful comment, but I think it is unrealistic to think that a comprehensive high school in Georgetown will be fully populated by in-boundary students. The demographics in Georgetown do not support it. Duke Ellington School of the Arts was decades ago the comprehensive Western High School; underutilized, if memory serves, it was vacant for some years before being converted to the present magnet school.

Posted by: ARzondzinska | January 22, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

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