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Posted at 4:48 PM ET, 01/14/2011

McKinley Tech arrest involved laptops

By Bill Turque

Updated at 5:30 p.m. with information from charging documents

Ten missing laptop computers led to the arrest Thursday of a former McKinley Technology High School teacher, DCPS spokeswoman Safiya Simmons said Friday.

Simmons said the school system discovered that the laptops were missing while conducting an investigation into the status of a $100,000 award to the school from AARP. The money was intended to fund a community service program in which students taught senior citizens to use the Internet.

Simmons said that while investigating the award, the school system discovered that laptops were missing and reported the matter to the Metropolitan Police. Rick Kelsey, the school's former STEM (science, math, engineering and technology) education director, was arrested Thursday and charged with second-degree theft. Simmons said the investigation into the disposition of the $100,000 continues.

"DCPS' investigation into the McKinley award is an ongoing, separate investigation from MPD's arrest," Simmons said.

According to the affidavit in support of Kelsey's arrest warrant, DCPS investigator Eastern Stewart reported the ten missing Dell Latitude laptops to police on Nov. 4. Stewart later told police that a GPS track on one of the computers led him to a witness identified only as a former McKinley employee. The witness told police that he received the laptop from Kelsey, and that all of the laptops came from an AARP grant to the school.

Kelsey's arrest was first reported Friday by The Examiner. A phone call to his home number was not returned. His wife told The Examiner that Kelsey was given use of $60,000 from the award, some of which went to outfit a motorcoach with computers to take McKinley students to tutor senior citizens.

"He's innocent," Debbie Kelsey said.

Kelsey, 53, was arraigned Friday in D.C. Superior Court and released on personal recognizance, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said. He is due back in court on Feb. 2

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By Bill Turque  | January 14, 2011; 4:48 PM ET
 
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Comments

Information about McKinley principal from Washington TEacher blog:
http://thewashingtonteacher.blogspot.com/2009/10/world-according-to-principal-david.html

The top story according to RIF'd McKinley High School 12th grade counselor, Rhonda Robinson was her allegation that David Pinder created false transcripts of classes for certain McKinley High School students. Robinson reported that these students never took the classes that appeared on their transcripts and actually received high school credits and grades. Robinson shared with Chairman Vincent Gray that she has evidence of these acts by Principal Pinder and plans to submit proof to the city council chair.

Other acts reported by various students, staff and parents who testified before the council ranged from bribery of students and staff with money and other favors , failure to report drugs and guns on the school premises, an illegal audit, an OAG investigation, inappropriate behavior on the part of the principal with McKinley SH students on Face Book social network, Pinder disinvited students to attend McKinley High School without cause, intentionally reduced the enrollment of the student population, illegally suspends students or threatens to suspend students without cause, fails to consult with Local School restructuring Team, targeted certain staff members for termination, made the school top heavy by hiring numerous administrators, and discussed staff members in a derogatory manner in the presence of students, etc.

Posted by: edlharris | January 14, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line is management and oversight was and still is abysmal in DCPS. Not to point fingers at Rhee directly, but i constantly said nothing has changed in DCPS. DCPS has no form of cross checks or controls on any of its activities be it financial or program performance.

Rhee's tenure was a feel good session and over blown hype. Nothing changed in DCPS under her watch. Nothing. she did not address the core issues impacting DCPS. DCPS lacks controls. how in this day and age does $100K disappear. Just like $50M disappears from Tax and Revenue and we think it was just a lone person stealing. Wake up DC.

I am sure this is just tip of the iceberg. What's typical for DCPS is this audit will reveal related questionable acts. so let's prepare to say good bye to the wonderful principal at McKinley Tech that ushered out so many via police guard. he's going to get the blame for all of this under his watch.

Posted by: oknow1 | January 14, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"so let's prepare to say good bye to the wonderful principal at McKinley Tech that ushered out so many via police guard. he's going to get the blame for all of this under his watch."

Kidding, right? Do you really think Pinder is going to take the fall for this?

Posted by: efavorite | January 14, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

efavorite - he is the line of accountability. if the norm holds true, he should be held accountable and fired like so many before him. I saw principals fired for less when I was in DCPS. Admin people stole from Student Activity Funds, business managers were running kick back schemes and more. The principals fell on the sword for his/her lack of control and oversight.

If this guy does not face the same fate, others in DCPS should take license to not give a rats tail about anything they do. And it seems like McKinley has declined tremendously under his watch or post Dan Gohl.

Posted by: oknow1 | January 14, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

At my school the bank has at least $15,000 missing and we owe a yearbook company a ton of money. This is well know in DCPS and nothing was done about it. Our students will get a CD Rom for a yearbook instead of an actual book. SAD!

Posted by: marylight | January 14, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Now that DC has a teacher in custody - maybe Mr. Kelsey could continue his Video Production Program behind bars working with the DC Prisoners? That would be visionary!

Posted by: tny_flowers | January 14, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

tny_flowers,

Kelsey has not been sentenced and the accusations and witness listed are very sketchy. It seems wrong to assume he will be found guilty of anything before his trial and before he has a chance to defend himself. As most people assume, this is part of a much larger investigation and has "fall guy" written all over it.

Posted by: MTHS2008 | January 14, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

GPS monitoring helped catch this guy...His wife, instead of keeping her yap shut claims he is innocent...If he is innocent then she is guilty of being dumb....

Nothing less than some jail time is in order...stealing from any school and depriving the students of tools, particularly in the black community should never be tolerated by anyone...

Posted by: pentagon40 | January 14, 2011 10:17 PM | Report abuse

pentagon40: I concur with your comments.

I too taught school in PG County and was fired for teaching black kids dumb stuff while at Drew-Freeman Middle School, in Suitland.
But my union loves my kind.

Posted by: TheresaDudleyFat | January 15, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I am a former teacher from McKinley and worked in the Interactive Media Department. It is fantasy land to accuse Mr. Kelsey of theft. This man worked tirelessly to improve students' education and expand the variety of educational experiences. He created an directed an innovative summer and weekend program where DC student's could learn computer programming via computer game design and development and build on that knowledge by later teaching other students (this became the model for the Seniors to Seniors program). Many students are in college now as a direct result of his efforts at McKinley. Accusing Mr. Kelsey of stealing laptops reminds me of trumped up charges leveled at people during the Stalinist Purges (which is actually a fair assessment of what Mr. Pinder's regime).

The reality of the known lax security tolerated by the McKinley administration is that sometimes laptops and even desktops would be stolen. In one of my classes a laptop was actually stolen by a student because there was a time issue (the class length was shortened and I had forgotten that), students had to turn laptops in as they exited the class and did but one laptop still went missing and in fact there was one student who I did not remember getting a laptop from. A quick search of the room did not reveal a laptop and I then immediately reported the theft to the administration and to the contractors providing building security. The administration did NOTHING beyond checking the cameras (I expected them to immediately either remove all the students from my class from their subsequent class OR to at least interview them individually and this wasn't done). The student who I suspected of the theft could not be located by building security. Building security told me that I was foolish for not getting a written receipt from the individual student to whom I gave the laptop (I hadn't done that because of a lack of time - even though we had 80 minute or so normal periods, time is precious). So that was the last day I used laptops in that and probably all other classes. Sometimes even desktop machines would walk (in a building with cameras virtually everywhere). It took years for some unauthorized and uncovered exits (back gym doors for example) to be fixed. Sometimes classroom doors would be broken and would not lock automatically and the administration did little to resolve the issue (in contrast I always found in-house building maintenance highly responsive BTW).

Posted by: kirtu | January 15, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I am a former teacher from McKinley and worked in the Interactive Media Department. It is fantasy land to accuse Mr. Kelsey of theft. This man worked tirelessly to improve student education and expand the variety of educational experiences. He created and directed an innovative summer and weekend program where DC students could learn computer programming via computer game design and development and build on that knowledge by later teaching other students (this became the model for the Seniors to Seniors program) thus reinforcing their understanding of the material. Many students are in college now as a direct result of his efforts at McKinley. Accusing Mr. Kelsey of stealing laptops reminds me of trumped up charges leveled at people during the Stalinist Purges (which is actually a fair assessment of Mr. Pinder's and Ms. Rhee's respective regimes).

The reality of the known lax security tolerated by the McKinley administration is that sometimes laptops and even desktops would be stolen. In one of my classes a laptop was actually stolen by a student because owning to a shortened class period (which I had forgotten about) the class ended suddenly and students had to hurriedly turn laptops in as they exited the class. They did but one laptop still went missing. There was one student from whom I did not remember getting a laptop. I found her in the hallway and she denied stealing the laptop. A quick search of the room did not reveal a laptop and I then immediately reported the theft to the administration and to the contractors providing building security. The administration did NOTHING beyond checking the cameras (I expected them to immediately either remove all the students from my class from their subsequent class OR to at least interview them individually and this wasn't done). The student who I suspected of the theft could not be located by building security. Building security told me that I was foolish for not getting a written receipt from the individual student to whom I gave the laptop (I hadn't done that because of a lack of time - even though we had 80 minute or so normal periods, time is precious). So that was the last day I used laptops in that and probably all other classes. Sometimes even desktop machines would walk (in a building with cameras virtually everywhere). It took years for some unauthorized and uncovered exits (back gym doors for example) to be fixed. Sometimes classroom doors would be broken and would not lock automatically and the administration did little to resolve the issue (in contrast I always found in-house building maintenance highly responsive BTW).

Posted by: kirtu | January 15, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Excerpt from 4/24/08 Post article mentioning Kelsey [CAPS ADDED]:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/hs/mckinley/2008/04/virtual_bicycle_game_has_stude.html
Virtual Bicycle Game Has Students Pumping Pedals
By Karen Vanegas
Students pedal bikes hooked up to the USB port.
McKinley IT students are learning new ways to design virtual games. They are designing a game based on French marathon runner Philippe Fuchs, who is running from Paris, France to Beijing, China to promote the Olympics games. With portable stationary bikes hooked up to computers through the USB port, McKinley students travel the distance run by Fuchs with 3-D avatars on the computer screen. Students were able to make an application that animates a character to run whenever the pedals are used. IT TEACHERS MR. JEFF KELSEY AND MR. RICK KELSEY PURCHASED 20 PC GAMER BIKES FOR THE PROJECT WITH THEIR OWN MONEY.
-------
Excerpt from 12/17/10 Post article on the missing funds [CAPS ADDED]:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/17/AR2010121703367.html
Thomas Ammazzalorso, the former McKinley history and social science teacher who wrote the original application to AARP, said the MONEY DIDN'T BECOME AVAILABLE UNTIL THE SPRING OF 2008. HE SAID HE PLANNED ON USING IT FOR THE CLASSES OF 2009, 2010 AND 2011.
-----

So, Kelsey (and his brother? cousin?) purchased equipment for McKinley kids with their own money, possibly after (can’t tell, based on the article) the AARP money is awarded but before it’s dispersed (that seems definite, assuming the article is correct). Then two years later, Kelsey is charged with theft. Weird.

The plot thickens. More investigation is needed. The cops are doing it. The Post should too.

Posted by: efavorite | January 15, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

People you are missing the point. The point is computers were found missing at Mckinley under the leadership of Pinder. Accountability starts with him. It's time for him to go. He has been named in numerous scandals. He can't be innocent in all of them.

Posted by: helluvateacher | January 15, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Well. I worked at tech and in the short time I seen David Pinder give a Kid $3000 cash and he said he was helping the kid with paying for college .On another accuation a student wrecked his White Mercedes CLS 500 after they we drinking together and he was always protected because of NEW LEADER FOR NEW SCHOOLS he always statednthat he will always be protected and he was not lying he was fired by John David TWICE and went running to Michelle Rea .Well on Thursday he went Running to Kaya Henderson and Lisa Marie Ruda there is evidence that states Ms Ruda saying we need for this to go AWAY Fast .Let's just hope this doesn t go away like the investigation at Dumbar

Posted by: Darksecrettt | January 15, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I, too, agree with Kirtu stating that Kelsey created and directed an innovative summer and weekend program where DC students could learn computer programming via computer game design and development and build on that knowledge by later teaching other students. The students who participated in the programs on Saturdays or during the summer paid $100.00 to be in Kelsey's program "Be the Game." Does anyone believe that Kelsey gave the proceeds to David Pinder to "Beat the Game?"

Enough is Enough, Pinder must GO!

Posted by: sheilahgill | January 15, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I argee with Sheila Gill there comes a time when David Pinder can not run to anyone else it's over he needs to run to a Lawyer . He is driving a new Toyota to throw people off but if the investigator goes to his home In Baltimore he will be surprised of the findings there he will get the other computers and also check his sisters house for a Wii game . He's not the smartest man .Rick Kelsey is not going to take this alone Henderson has two major decisions to make. To get rid of Pinder and put Pope back at Hardy to keep her job

Posted by: Darksecrettt | January 15, 2011 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I worked with Rick Kelsey on summer youth programs. He was a motivated teacher who wanted his students to succeed. I have almost no firsthand knowledge of the AARP grant, but I find it very hard to believe that Kelsey is guilty. Schools can be chaotic and laptops sometimes go missing. I know the computer bus was real and Kelsey was proud of it. The Post should investigate this story.

Posted by: PostComment2 | January 16, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

A comment over at The Examiner:


Not sure why Mr. Kelsey was arrested, because in the end- any large financial transactions are approved by the Principal of a school. There are forms that need to be signed by the Principal of a High School before they disperse large amount of financial funds.

Note Washington Post article right after winning the $100,000:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/hs/mckinley/2008/02/mckinley_tech_wins_...

Quote: McKinley is now planning a program called "Senior to Senior," which will begin in the Fall of 2008. This program will involve the class of 2009 and senior citizens in the community. The purpose of it is to bridge the generation gap through technology.

The money was suppose to be spent on "Senior to Senior," and "Project Sweep" NOT "Be the Game."

Note Another Article: http://www.fas.org/blog/learningtech/tag/be-the-game

Another Article: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6484337.html

Be the Game, as noted in the articles was a SUMMER PROGRAM, that was held at McKinley Technology High School, but open to students DISTRICT wide. It was started prior to 2008, therefore McKinley did not even win the $100,000 money until the Spring of 2008. Obviously the Principal approved for such a large amount of money to be used in ways it was not suppose to be once he collected the check. The money was for McKinley students during the school year to travel around the district working on a program called SENIOR TO SENIOR, not for a summer program that students paid money to be a part of that was about making video games (Be the Game).

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2011/01/former-mckinley-teacher-arrested-theft#ixzz1BE4t4jua

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | January 16, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"pentagon40: I concur with your comments.

I too taught school in PG County and was fired for teaching black kids dumb stuff while at Drew-Freeman Middle School, in Suitland.
But my union loves my kind.

Posted by: TheresaDudleyFat | January 15, 2011 7:58 AM |"


Two things here:
1. Lack of logic This person claims to have been fired, yet the union loves her kind.
If PGCEA did, then why was she fired.

2. While it is certainly possible Theresa Dudley is a dumb as this and previous postings have made her out to be, it is more than likely someone else posing as Theresa to make her look like an idot.
The Post ought to ban this user.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | January 16, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Here's a video explaining the program: http://www.edutopia.org/digital-generation-game-design-video The bus appears at about 3:09 At here is a picture series documenting a session on the bus: http://www.flickr.com/photos/58295608@N07/sets/72157625697885493/with/5355254778

Posted by: kirtu | January 17, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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