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Rhee mum on teacher sex flap

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee passed on multiple chances Friday to explain her remark that some of the 266 DCPS teachers laid off last October had hit children or had sex with them. The quote appears in the February issue of Fast Company magazine.

In a brief item, Rhee addressed the union charge that she contrived the budget crunch to circumvent seniority rules and rid the system of older teachers.

"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?" she said.

The only official word came from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's spokeswoman, Mafara Hobson, who said (brace yourselves):

"The mayor cannot comment on personnel matters."

D.C. police also had nothing definitive to say. "We are still researching it and I cannot comment at this time," said spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump.

The pushback from teachers, however, was immediate and angry. WTU president George Parker said the union is usually notified whenever a teacher faces disciplinary action, and that, as far as he knew, none of the 266 had ever faced investigation for sexual activity with children. He said he knew of at least one of the 266 who had faced charges for corporal punishment

"This paints all teachers as being a group of child molesters who assault children and don't come to work," Parker said. "It damages the reputation of a lot of innocent, hardworking, dedicated teachers."

General vice president Nathan Saunders -- like Parker a candidate for union presidency in this spring's election--also expressed outrage.

"The statements are not only an affront to every single teacher that was riffed [laid off], but every single teacher currently employed in D.C. public schools," Saunders said. "It's irresponsible and she needs to be taken to task for it."

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By Bill Turque  |  January 22, 2010; 8:05 PM ET
 
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Comments

The Best of the District's School System: Not a word of concern for the children.
WTU president George Parker said "...as far as he knew, none of the 266 had ever faced investigation for sexual activity with children."
"This paints all teachers as being a group of child molesters...," Parker said. "It damages the reputation of a lot of innocent, hardworking, dedicated teachers."
General vice president Nathan Saunders -- like Parker a candidate for union presidency -- also expressed outrage.
"The statements are not only an affront to every single teacher... but every single teacher currently employed in D.C. public schools," Saunders said. "It's irresponsible and she needs to be taken to task for it."

Posted by: PaulLeddy | January 22, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Why another storiy on Rhee? She is the Chancellor of Schools and the post has made her a personality.

Now she is defamming not only fired teachers but all teachers in the district.

There must be an awsome clause in the WP reporter's contract. Turque, Stewart, should be case studies in Journalism 101 on how to keep a job at a newspaper without practicing the principles of your craft.

A good story is what's really behind the WP /Fenty relationship. Oh yeah, and why.

The institution of the working press at the Post has gone to the dogs.

Sitting by the phone waiting for instructions for your next Rhee story?

What about earned accolade for verifiable acumen.

The mayor and rhee should be called out for making such statements. People without respect for the rule of law couldn't give a hoot. But one time the Post did.

5 Ws and the H. Remember?

Posted by: gordonbundy | January 22, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Did she really say that? Can it be proved? I am a Rhee opponent, but I want to make sure that these words actually came out of her mouth.

Where were they said? And to whom?

Posted by: jlp19 | January 22, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Your "15 minutes" have just about expired, commandant rhee.

Posted by: schooletal | January 22, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

"The mayor cannot comment on personnel matters."

Since the accusations concern criminal matters, he should comment.

Posted by: jlp19 | January 22, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

jlp19 - I share your curiosity about the person who quoted Rhee. He is Jeff Chu, an Asian-American journalist and Princeton grad who wrote an article* about Rhee when she first came to DC. He started his career working for Time for seven years. * He says that someday, he’d like to teach writing in an urban inner-city high school. In scanning a few of his articles,* I noticed, that like many journalists, he uses direct quotes from the people he interviews.

I hope we hear more about him soon in relation to these recent quotes from Michelle Rhee.

*references in the order mentioned above
http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/128/the-iron-chancellor.html
http://www.magazine.org/diversity/ongoing_programs_and_initiatives/23791.aspx
http://www.fastcompany.com/user/jeff-chu

Posted by: efavorite | January 22, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I do hope that we get some answers. When such a statement is made, it should be backed up. When such a statement is made, the speaker should be braced to face the obvious and important questions that such a statement would raise. The fact that the questions have gone unanswered is unprofessional and is cause for concern.

Posted by: slevydc | January 23, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

If Rhee was misquoted, why wouldn't she just say, I was misquoted. I assume Fast Company has her statement on tape.

And yes, Bill, we know you work for an absuredly pro-Rhee, pro-Fenty paper. I'm just glad that 2 stories, that chink away at the armor made the paper edition this week, this one & the Ellington situation.

Note, I can't find your blog listed on the blog directory. Your pieces in the paper don't come up when I go to "eduction" from the home page, they do come up under "local news". Always wondering how deep the conspiracy goes. . .. please look into the links.

Thx

Posted by: parentof2redheads | January 23, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Of course she's mum. Although her mouth is big, the shoe in her mouth is bigger.

Posted by: candycane1 | January 23, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Rhee mum on fiance sex flap"

That might make for a more poignant story. Par for the NBA course, it seems.

Posted by: RealityCheckerInEffect | January 25, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Rhee is the worst kind of liar. She knew her fiance had inappropriate contact with litle girls and covered it up, even went the length of interfering in the federal investigation being conducted by former Inspector General Gerald Walpin. He was fired for investigating Kevin Johnson when he uncovered financial impropriety of federal funds and the sexual allegations.

Kevin Johnson's people, TO INCLUDE RHEE, put a spin on it, even tried to pay one of the girls a thousand dollars a month hush money. For what? Because he used to be able to bounce a ball? What does this communicate to the girls he abused?

This situation is no different than the way Ike Turner used to beat Tina and then showed up with gifts. This chancellor doesn't have the best interests of children at heart. She had several opportunities to stand up for children but she chose to stand by her man. When will he pull an Ike on her?

Posted by: southyrndiva | January 26, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

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