Just Wondering

Now we know a few more things about the situation at Lowell and I just have to ask Dr. Enfield and Mr. Apostle a couple of questions:

This was in the comments section on the thread about the release of the investigation report. 

Last year, Gregory King shared with the entire staff during a staff meeting, a "This is my life" power point. In it he revealed that his father had been killed by white racists when he was just a young boy, I believe at age six. His brother was killed as a teen ager, also by presumed gang activities. We knew that he had gone through what would have a major impact on his phyche.

All year, when we saw teachers bullied, and his own outbursts, ranting at the staff, we all somewhat excused him, as we knew that he had suffered much in his growing up years.

Actually I have two questions here:
 1) Was this Powerpoint appropriate for staff? 

Mr. King could have explained that he had had a difficult childhood marked by violence and racism but he felt the need to be specific.  I know that I would have been very uncomfortable with this information and maybe even thought I was supposed to share intimate details of my life with him.

A bad childhood does not mean a supervisor should be excused for ranting and outbursts directed at staff. 

But teachers, help me out here.  Is this what most principals do in the "getting to know you" phase at a school?

2) One of the issues here is that one of the complainants used the ethics hotline and her outreach got spread far and wide among district staff.   

I can only imagine how you would feel as a staff member to be told to use the hotline and then get a call from a senior district staff member and realize your complaint had been compromised.

Is this what the district means by completely confidential? 

 It cannot be said that the Executive Director for Lowell and several other district staff members did not know about the issues being raised.

3)  Ms. Geoghagan said in the report that that she "would never want to decide whether someone should call CPS if she had not personally witnessed the purported abuse."  The report goes on: "Her statement is concerning given that she is required by statute to make reports to law enforcement in certain circumstances."

How is retraining going to help with her belief about doing an investigation about behavior issues if she has not seen the behavior herself?

 4)  Mr. King stated that he had felt the complaints were race-based.  How is retraining him going to help with his beliefs about race and how he deals with his staff?

5) What is the district going to do to regain the trust of parents and staff at both Lowell locations? 

6) What is the district going to do to regain the trust of parents who just enrolled their children in these programs?

I note that this investigation took a year to complete and to be released.  The report came out after Dr. Enfield secured her new position in Highline and after the end of Open Enrollment.  This timing seems to favor some within the district more than others.


Anonymous said…
Melissa, I won't repost but in the other thread I've posted ST and PI stories from 2008 about the Lawrence Hill case. SPS paid the biggest settlement ever, $3 million because principals didn't do anything. Hill abused girls for 20 years. SPS PR says they learned a lesson. They haven't. Dan's listing of the law is correct. Everyone is a mandatory reporter. I'm retired military. Racism is rampant. We deal with it when we're serious and overlook it if we're lazy or short-timing or racist as well. That's the way it is. I respect King's story but all I'd want to hear is what he plans to do as a leader for everyone in his building. My kid are grown and they never attended Lowell. Is Lowell a problem building with discrimination? All I'd want to know is who he is, what his plans are, and what he does when rules are broken. After that, just let me teach. What he did instead makes his actions personal at a minimum, and negligent overall. His story ceases to matter once he becomes a leader. That's my world. SPS has a culture of breaking laws and retaliating. That's the story.

Mr White
Anonymous said…
Document everything, parents and teachers. If you are having an issue with ANYTHING at your school, remember to keep records of your interactions with those involved. You can email yourself notes from meetings for a date stamp. It's SO important to keep your own record of events, because it is extremely obvious that the district cannot be trusted to 1) keep it's own records, or 2) tell the truth about events. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!

joanna said…
This is another link with basically the same story with a few different questions posted
Patrick said…
Jane, yes, documenting everything is a good idea, but e-mailing it is not. E-mail on public computers in Washington is a public record. Don't put anything in e-mail you don't want used or abused by your superiors or on the front page of the Times.
Patrick said…
The ethics hotline has been fatally damaged by this incident. It has consequences that will last for years at every school. Confidentiality WILL be breached, supervisors WILL retaliate, and they WILL NOT face any negative consequences for retaliating. The District might as well shut down the ethics hotline now. That would save a salary and not give the false promise of respecting confidentiality.
Olaf said…
I thought the "Ethics Hotline" was revealed as untrustworthy here about a month ago.

Did I mistakenly lose confidence in a District "spun" fantasy before the rest of you?

English already knew about me anyway. I worry about the rest of you.
Anonymous said…
A few things I am troubled about:

1. Has the behavior of the Instructional Assistant been addressed yet? If so, how?

2. Why has the IA's supervisor been allowing this to occur? This is clearly inappropriate behavior in a classroom setting, particularly for a SPED population.

3. Have Gregory and Rina attended additional training on their legal duties as a mandatory reporters? I found it deeply disturbing that Gregory claimed not to know his legal responsibilities, and Rina stated she was uncomfortable with being a mandatory reporter.

4. Were any changes to policies or procedures at Lowell made to prevent such behavior in the future? If so, what were they?

The lesson I took away from this is that any questionable behavior in the public schools should be brought directly to law enforcement or to CPS. Bypassing the district seems to be the only way to ensure the safety of a child. It seems that very few public school officials, outside of teachers, are willing to protect the interests of the children in their care. Their actions show that most of them are putting their own career interests above all else.

- what is this world coming to?
Catherine said…
Is this the new ethics hotline managed by the City after Pottergate? Or is this the "old" ethics hotline?
Anonymous said…
C'mon, let's just call it like it is: Both King and the assistant should have been fired by Enfield.

A powerpoint about a pitiful childhood shown to staff members is disgraceful. Attempting to preempt incompetence by tapping into white guilt would be lead to ostracizing in communites of color.

Excusing an employees for potentially kissing a disabled child's feet isn't being loyal to one's race--if anything, it's being a sellout.

This is ridiculous. I can only hope that Jennifer Gray and others get the huge lawsuit settlement they deserve.

This whole mess is such a metaphor for the continual chaos that the SPS administration and school board keeps perpetuating upon this district.

Ethics matter. Starting from the top. No more excuses for lies and half-truths from the administration and the board. Cases like this one are the result. No more situational ethics or your kids will continue to reap this dysfunction. Stop tolerating lies and unethical behavior in this district--even if it benefits you in the short-term.

--enough already
Someone said…
Well- I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say there are NO administrators who would not report/handle/manage this situation properly. Let's not paint everyone with the same sordid brush here - because at some point, that begins to smack of vigilante behavior.

However, I do think Melissa is spot on when she says whatever the horrors of one's childhood - they don't excuse a person at that mgmt level from poor behavior. One has to learn how rise above such difficult situations; if you can't then, certainly being a principal where issues of racism are likely to arise is inappropriate at best.

Ultimately, the questions of "what next" are paramount - what training, processes, policies have either been put in place or will be shortly to prevent this kind of situation from ever occuring again?

And yes, I too believe the bell rang quite a while ago on the ethics hotline.

What gets me so riled up here is the politics at play - the timing is so very suspicious - after Enfield's new job, after open enrollment - do SPS leadership think people are that stupid they won't notice such things? Yeah yeah - I know - they probably do - sigh....
Anonymous said…

--enough already
waterweim said…
I do not believe it. He probably lied about that like he has about everything else. What a psycho!
Anonymous said…
king is not the only principal to tell his story in front of staff. Last year the Broadview Thompson principal who is white cried while telling us his story of saving the poor black special Ed child. Maybe someone told them to tell their story. Sounds like a goodloe Johnson thing. Remember that story she told that wasn't even hers?!

Retaliation is rampant. A teacher a Broadview was forced to leave because she reported the shayne hil incident. NO ONE downtown stepped up to save her when she did the RIGHT thing.

It would be nice if someone would look into that. It also would be nice if teachers voices were listened to by downtown administration when principals are inept. It shouldn't take parents voices in mass to get rid of incompetent administrators who bulky staff. Why else would he need a third administrator every year to help him do his job, while other schools don't get that?!

Just saying.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris S. said…
Will the voices stop saying now that Enfield left because of the mean activists or inconvenient new board members? Yes the district is a mess, but it's not our fault.
Anonymous said…
"...do SPS leadership think people are that stupid they won't notice such things?"

No, they know that we notice things. It's just that if they time it right, it won't matter! This is what I am sick of Directors.....
Shame on all of you once again, including Enfield. While she may mean well, time and again, her timing is questionable.

Two and a quarter years to go.
dan dempsey said…
Like Mr. White wrote:

SPS has a culture of breaking laws and retaliating. That's the story.

The Board and the SPS Superintendents have modeled this behavior of law breaking in a variety of decisions. Good that Enfield chose not to hold the administrators at Lowell responsible .... It would have unfair not to give them a pass, given the number of passes taken by Central Admin and Board when violating laws ......

The Central Office and the Board violate laws .... and apparently the only official that notices is the State Auditor.
seattle citizen said…
Ironically, board members last Wednesday (and the Wednesday two weeks before) blew off the law regarding the use of emergency certification and said, basically, "we trust the principals to hire who they think is best. It doesn't matter what the intent and regulations are requiring full certification."
Disgusted said…
It didn't take long for the city to bothch this one. And, how much is the district paying for this service?
Anonymous said…
I personally know people who were devoted and exceptional teachers whose health suffered serious impairment due to the stress of working in this corrupt school district.

If you have a conscience, you can't help but suffer after working in this district for awhile. It has continued to get worse.

Watching the lies and lawbreaking in the past year has been totally pathetic. Yet, more than a few people are still sad because
"Susan" is leaving--despite lies, lawbreaking, double-crossing the public, making tasteless innuendos about board members, etc. etc. They "like" her. "Michael" and
"Kay" are "approachable" and

This unethical behavior will continue to be the outcome if you keep looking the other way.
As Flip Wilson said, "What you see is what you get." More chaos and lawbreaking is the reward for such denial and rationalizations.

--enough already
Dave said…
Hey Catherine:

The "new" Ethics Hotline was the same as the "old" Ethics Hotline (the other end was in the General Counsel's office so the "cat" knew before the "hens" did).

Unfortunately, I got "fooled again".

Guess I'm lucky I wasn't named in the newspaper.
7th son said…
Retaliation is rampant. A teacher a Broadview was forced to leave because she reported the shayne hil incident. NO ONE downtown stepped up to save her when she did the RIGHT thing.

Sadly, it's all true.

The principal who left immediately before the stuff hit the fan about Hill was Terri Skjei. She was one of Hill's closest confidants and supporters and she actively retaliated against a few teachers who reported Hill. At the time, nobody could understand why she suddenly decided to transfer.

She is STILL a principal with Seattle at View Ridge.

In my second year as a teacher (decades ago now) I had a student show me cigarette burns that he said his father did to him. I called CPS immediately and they came out the next day. The principal was furious at me for calling without getting her approval... despite what state law says.

If you see behavior that feels inappropriate to you, you should report it and it should be checked out... not always by the police if it's not obviously illegal, but an administrator MUST check into it.

King and Geoghan didn't do that. That was a serious mistake, if not an offense requiring dismissal.

When they did nothing and Jennifer Gary reported it to higher ups, King and Geoghan knew they'd been caught so they went after Gary. Retaliation against a reporter of abuse should result in immediate termination.

This investigation caught them red-handed in this. Not only that, when they were caught trying to cover their rear ends by harassing Gary and trying to pin the blame on her, they outright lied about it and what was said, even though there were several sources that proved they were lying.

This investigation caught them in the lie. Lying to a district investigator or your supervisors is an offense that requires termination from every job in the country. If a teacher did that, he/she would be gone immediately.

Not allowing Jennifer Gary to retract her resignation because she filed an ethics complaint amounts to retaliation by her supervisor, Marni Campbell, and by Human Resources.

This is sickening.
I am surprised that the district hired an investigator, that investigator found deep and troubling issues about both principals and yet the district's reaction is something of a public slap on the wrist.

I can't use the word I'd like about Mr. King and Ms. Geoghagan (because I don't want to get sued) but apparently they have an aversion to truth-telling.
Anonymous said…
Not credible.

To be credible is to be trustworthy, believable. Their statements were not trustworthy, not believable.

Why do these two still have their jobs? That, my friends, is the $64,000 question for Superintendent Enfield. Except you can bet that by the time the dust settles the cost will be much greater than $64,000. The problem is, I'm afraid that the payout will be going to King and Geoghagan. Call me a cynic.

Catherine said…
Thanks for the info. Will no doubt come in handy.
Very concerned said…
My son will be a new student at Lowell at Lincoln. This situation is mind blowing! My questions: L@L PTA what is your stance on this issue? If I was on the board of the PTA I would demand a meeting with G asap and ask her to clearly explain how she is going to handle any future abuse allegations. In fact, I intend to email her asking that exact question. I am not understanding how L@L parents can have any confidence in this principal after what she has both done and not done.
Anonymous said…
To Very Concerned:
Since the report just came out last Friday night, I am sure the L@L PTSA will meet tomorrow (or later this week) to discuss their future plan of actions. I am also sure that their plan will contain a meeting with R (if she won't resign tomorrow morning?) and possibly with the current parents also. So please stay tuned and you will hear about the happenings even if you are not a current parent.
-Be patient
Bird said…
Retaliation against a reporter of abuse should result in immediate termination.

This is the key point. I'm disappointed that an administrator wouldn't follow up on a report of inappropriate behavior by a staffer. That might, however, be remedied with training.

There's nothing, however, that can buy back an administrator's credibility with staff once they've retaliated against an employee under these circumstances.

It doesn't matter what these two reprimanded employees do at this point, or how the district might try to rehabilitate them.

Their actions have sent the message that their staff can't trust them to not turn around and harm them under similar circumstances.

Once that trust is broken, these managers can no longer fulfill the responsibilities of their position, and so the broken trust puts children under their care in jeopardy.

I really don't know what to make of all the bad blood at Lowell this year. I don't know whether these folks are good or bad beyond what detailed in the investigation, but the details of the investigation really point to only one thing -- they can't remain in their current positions.

I'm not keen to demand people get fired, particularly people I don't know, but I don't see how either of these two can adequately do their job at this point. They need to go. Sorry to say it, but at least the situation is entirely of their own making.
suep. said…
It's bitterly ironic that Susan Enfield's tenure in Seattle as interim superintendent may be book-ended by principal scandals -- both of which have been mishandled. In one, Enfield fired a principal who had done nothing wrong (Martin Floe), and now this episode in which she has not terminated principals who have been found guilty by an independent investigator of withholding information and failing to investigate a matter of child safety.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Why is it that principals can retaliate and destroy teachers' careers so easily, yet NO ONE holds them accountable? They either remain in place or get moved to another school? Lowell, Broadview....

It seems they are untouchable, no pun intended, unless they sexually harass someone.

Just saying
Dave said…
Say Anonymous.......

Principals have been doing these things for DECADES in Seattle.

That fact that the Lowell case involves a "teacher" now seems to make this seem more unjust. In my opinion, ANY HUMAN BEING treated these ways is an outrage.

Recently, in a space of a few months, a certain North End high school principal was found to have harassed a classified employee out of his position by forging several different "evaluations" until she came up with on the general counsel's office thought would work. When exposed, the Chamber (aka "Alliance") gave her an AWARD for leadership/

I kid you not!

It a Bizarro world they live in at our expense.

They fear nothing because they will use tax money to defend against virtually any crime.

The general counsel paralegal caught selling crack a year or so ago found out the"cover" doesn't extend to everyone though.
Anonymous said…
"What is the district going to do to regain the trust of parents who just enrolled their children in these programs?"

I'm one of THOSE parents.

My wife and I had weeks of debate and numerous sleepless nights trying to decide what would be best for our son: the perfectly good school that our son currently attends and enjoys, located just two blocks from our home vs. the bus ride to L@L with it's less-than-ideal facilities and uncertain future location.

We are very angry this report was released AFTER the open enrollment period had ended. Between the timing of its release, and some of details within the report, it seems like withholding important information is part of culture at SPS.

This lack of sound leadership at Lowell and the district's slap-on-the-wrist ruling is more than enough to make us question our decision.

If nothing changes, I doubt we'll be sticking around.

Perhaps this is how the district chooses to address the rapid growth of the APP program?? Just a thought.

-Arthur Dent
erik said…
As someone who knows both Gregory and Rina ( and has a kid at Lowell for as few years) I find the report so badly written and full of slanderous accuasations that I hope they both sue the heck out of the district. In my read of this report, C2 went to Rina on Jan 19th and said she thought she saw something but was not sure what. Rina looked into it (and spoke with the IA's teacher about it, who was shocked by the allegation-conviently left out of the report). Rina then told Gregory about it and that was that. Then someone saw the foot kissing after that and went to try and tell Rina or Gregory, but could not find them. They then waited three weeks (three weeks are you kidding me, why wait one day if you thought you saw some thing) to tell the nurse, who then reported it.A security person from the district comes and investigates and informs Gregory to the investigation. Whereby they find NOTHING WRONG. By c2 on addmission they said that they did not tell Rina about the foot kissing, why then are Gregory and Rina expected to know something about something that they were never told.
To further believe that rina and Gregory were trying to cover themeselves is laughable if you know them (which most of you do not). Further, to even address the issue that Gregory would have made a decision based on race is insulting to those of us who know him. He has always acted in the best interest of children and has had many battles with staff over this.
Lastly, The outside investigator is just one person who is not a judge or a jury. If you Goggle her she is an attorny who has been practicing for less than five years. I find it disterbing that somone with such a low level ofexperience is given such an important position. Her observation that Gregory was lying is unfounded. She has no real investigative experience (she has no law enforcement experience)to make these claims. She was the wrong person for the job.
These blogs are just hurting and not helping our kids at the schools.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, instead Enfield's BFF Marni Campbell gets promoted to Exec Dir of Schools so she can supervise more Greg Kings and RGs.

Mr Ed
Anonymous said…
To Erik:
I don't agree with your letter on many level because it shows a total lack of your understanding of the investigation that went on for more than 10 month. I am saying this even though I supported Mr K and Ms G since I know them so for me the whole story is really depressing.
But to say this as your final conclusion: "These blogs are just hurting and not helping our kids at the schools." is mindblowing.
I feel the exact opposite: we can go around many issues to talk about the different sides of the problems. These blogs are helping to understand what is going on in our schools, communities and in our district.
- Don't shoot the messenger if it brings you bad news
CT said…
Erik - Rina has a history of CYA behavior. She exhibited it as a teacher, she's doing the same now. She will say or do whatever she thinks she needs to do to protect herself, whether it includes untruths or retaliation against those she feels have wronged her or are threatening to her position.
Clearly you are the one who doesn't know her.
Anonymous said…

What do you prefer? That reporters of possible misconduct be retaliated against and no third-party investigations allowed?

And the blame it on the blogs slant is really getting ridiculous.

Mr Ed
Anonymous said…
The Executive Director for Lowell is NC, not MC.
Anonymous said…
"The Executive Director for Lowell is NC, not MC"

Anonymous, who was Gary's supervisor? The one who "couldn't" rescind her resignation? MC, who was promoted last summer after failing miserably as Exec Dir of Special Education.

Mr Ed
Anonymous said…
I have to say - I'm with Erik. As the parent of a student with a signficant disability, I find the sudden interest in students with disabilities disingenuous, especially when coming from a group of people who will move heaven and earth to have their kids seperated from students with disabilities in their classrooms.

First of all, was there any "sexual misconduct"? Foot kissing? Come on folks! That is such a nothing "report", as well as unsubstantiated. Is that even sexual to begin with? or abuse? if it even happened? It sounds like GK did what any reasonable person would do. He looked into it, and found it not credible. The investigator did the same, and found the same.

OK. So, maybe he WAS SUPPOSED to follow some other protocol. But, maybe he just thought that the whole thing amounted to nothing at all. And, he was right about that.

If there are other problems with GK, and it sounds like there are, - then that should be addressed by the proper protocol as well. If he deals with teachers unfairly, then that should be reflected in his review by the director. And given the level of student on student violence at so many of our schools, all under-reported, or unreported - why is that not the focus of this expose?

SPS parent
Anonymous said…
As an old Lowell APP parent, one of the things that was much beloved by the students, families and teachers was sharing that school with the low incident Special Ed students. This has been lost with the move to Lowell @ Lincoln. From my five years there with my child, some of the best experiences had to do with giving up recess or whatever to "help" with their special ed buddy's art, PE or recess.
NE Seattle Mom
Anonymous said…
We could all rest assured, even if / when the SPS fires Mr K and Ms G they will have no problem to find another job.

"A year after scandal, fired Seattle schools officials have new jobs"

SPS, did you read the report or just the Times? The Times has to sell papers so THEY said sexual misconduct.

At NO time did anyone filing a complaint say there was abuse, sexual or otherwise.

It is about the concern over a lot of overly friendly touching and yes, kissing of feet and what that behavior looks like to other staff and what children in the classroom take from it. (As well, I understand this employee had some of the same behavior in the lunchroom.)

Neither Ms. Geoghagan nor Mr,. King EVER did an investigation - that's one of the major points. There is a protocol to follow and they didn't do it. Principals, in case like this, cannot just use their own best judgment. Not when you are talking about the protection of children and protection of someone's job.

I have to wonder about your comment about student violence at other schools. Why are you trying to deflect from the issue of performance as school leaders by the two principals?
hschinske said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
hschinske said…
Reposting as the italics don't seem to be showing up and I want to be clear about which bit I'm quoting:

To SPS Parent: did you see Dorothy's points on the other thread?

"Whether or not this fellow had bad intentions, the damage is twofold. One is that it would allow a culture where someone like Hill who was grooming children for abuse to thrive. Second teaches by example that such affection at school is normal, which can thwart any teaching at home about proper touching and thus confuse children and perhaps make them more susceptible to predatory behavior later."

I was a kid who experienced several incidents of confusing unwanted touching from a couple of different teachers and a doctor. I am strongly in favor of it being normal to report even incidents that may be minor, so that well-meaning people have the opportunity to adjust their behavior to be more professional, and a track record of possibly inappropriate behavior exists for those who turn out to be predatory. That goes double or triple for anyone who works with an especially vulnerable population.

This isn't a case where any decent person will automatically do the right thing by a child, thus anyone who doesn't is automatically a terrible pedophile and must be fired instantly. It's entirely possible for a well-meaning person to touch a child inappropriately, AND THAT CAN STILL BE HARMFUL, REGARDLESS OF INTENT.

There's no reason for every incident of this type to be a high-pressure thing with accusations flying. The very fact that this became one after entirely appropriate reporting is a huge red flag to me of a dysfunctional culture at the school. True professionals take such incidents as a chance to learn and grow. I hope other principals in the system are taking the opportunity to have talks with their staff members about better ways to handle such problems.

Helen Schinske
Someone said…
OK. So, maybe he WAS SUPPOSED to follow some other protocol. But, maybe he just thought that the whole thing amounted to nothing at all. And, he was right about that.

No actually, he wasn't. There is a pretty clear protocol here that Mr. King does not get to sidestep, just because he feels like it - nor does any other principal/teacher/administrator - yes, maybe this was a relatively minor problem that could have easily been corrected. But, try to see the big picture here, SPS parent (and Erik). It's about innuendo and retaliation and attempting to shirk responsiblity because it's just tooo hard [insert whiny tone here].

I do NOT want any adult kissing the feet of my kid - no matter how seemingly harmless that action might be (and to me it's not in the slightest bit harmless). Because as Helen so eloquently states, it can still be damaging.
Patrick said…
SPS parent, No school employee should be kissing any part of any student's body, and it damn well should be reported and investigated any time it happens.
Anonymous said…
Although I have debated writing about this on this blog, I have received no response from SPS so I will add to Melissa's statement above that the same idividual had some inappropriate touching in the lunch room. Here's my story:
In the spring of 2010 I overheard my daughter and her friend talking about how lunch was "weird" that day. I asked why and they said that the lunch room monitor was being taunted by 5th grade boys to hug 5th grade girls, and that he was hugging students. I asked who the monitor was and was told that he was a young man who was an aid in one of the special ed classes. The next day I called Mr. King and reported what the girls told me. He called back 2 days later and said that he had interviewed my daughter and her friend and other witnesses and the aid in question. He said that he couldn't disclose more because of confidentiality but that he had reported the situation to HR and that he would institute some education for the staff.
When Melissa hinted in Feb. that the investigation of King involved a special ed aid, I called SPS to contact the investigation. I routed around to a few offices where someone took a brief statement and my contact info. No one ever called me back.
When I read of the report here, I asked my daughter if the aid was non-caucasion, and she said, yes, he was non-caucasion.
That's why I find this report shocking. I can't believe that King wouldn't be a high alert to address any allegations about inappropriate touching.

Former Lowell parent
Anonymous said…
Rina Geoghagan just sent an e-mail to the Lowell@Lincoln family distribution list:

Dear Lowell @ Lincoln Families,

This weekend the Seattle Times released an article regarding an administration issue that occurred last year at Lowell on Capitol Hill.

Please understand that I have always and will continue to have your children's best interest at heart. As a mother and principal, there is NOTHING I take more seriously than the well-being of children.

I ask for your support so we can move forward with the excellent teaching and learning community that we built this year at Lincoln.

Thank you,

Rina Geoghagan

-- Ebenezer
mirmac1 said…
Okay, Former Lowell Parent, that is just plain disturbing in so many ways. Did King have another noncredible moment? Yeah, I'd like to know whether that incident was, in fact, investigated BEYOND King's "interviews".
Kate Martin said…
Just thought I'd note that in the 2010-2011 school year principal evaluations, only 1 principal was rated unsatisfactory. 91 satisfactory, 1 unsatisfactory. Seems impossible.
"Please understand that I have always and will continue to have your children's best interest at heart. As a mother and principal, there is NOTHING I take more seriously than the well-being of children."

This is all good and well but where is her promise to follow the training and protocol in the future that she has been given?
TraceyS said…
As the parent of a fifth grade girl (not at Lowell), I would be deeply troubled to hear that any adult staff member was hugging her at school. Not only is uninvited close physical contact not ok in my book, but the bullying/harrassing aspect of the fifth grade boys successfully egging on an adult to hug their female classmates adds an especially ugly feel to the matter. I would be outraged to hear that a principal heard of such an incident and did nothing.

I wonder if there is any email or documentation of the incident that you know of, Former Lowell Parent.
Charlie Mas said…
I am very interested in erik's interpretation of the investigator's report as described in a comment made on 3/26/12 at 7:35am.

According to erik, the first that either Mr. King or Ms Geoghagan heard about any inappropriate behavior was January 19 when C2 reported it to Ms Geoghagan. According to Erik's reading, Ms Geoghagan took immediate action to investigate and found the account completely without merit.

They didn't hear anything more until weeks later when the nurse made a report to District headquarters. The District headquarters person calls Mr. King and Ms Geoghagan in for a meeting. They both deny receiving any previous report of any inappropriate behavior and, as they should, begin an investigation into C1 and C2's failure to report.

Sorry, erik, but I can go with that narrative.

If C2 reported to Ms Geoghagan, as you say, then why would Ms Geoghagan investigate C2 for failure to report?

The District official who came to Lowell and spoke with C1 and C2 in February told them that they had fulfilled their reporting obligations. Why do you dispute that interpretation? Are you in a more expert position than the person who conducted the investigation?

How could Mr. King or Ms Geoghagan agree to an investigation into whether C1 and C2 failed to report when Mr. King and Ms Geoghagan knew that there had been an investigation in response to their reports?

Sorry, erik, but that narrative doesn't work.

Yes, it is true that C1 did not make a report of foot-kissing to building administrators promptly in January. The report was made instead to District headquarters in February, and the district official said that met the reporting requirement.

Help me to understand your perspective, erik. Mr. King and Ms Geoghagan launched an investigation into C2's failure to report despite the fact that C2 HAD reported to Ms Geoghagan and she had told Mr. King about it. How is that okay?
Charlie Mas said…
Here's the part I don't like.

From page 5 of the second report:

"Meanwhile, also on April 15, C1 filed an ethics complaint through the ethics hotline, alleging the investigation into her and C2's actions was retaliatory.

"On April 19, CA2, E5, E6, CA1, and King met to discuss issues at Lowell, including C2's resignation and C1's ethics complaint."

The details of an ethics complaint made to the ethics hotline - including the name of the person who made it - was revealed within four days.

Is that some kind of record for breaches of confidentiality?
Anonymous said…
Former Lowell Parent here: At the time I felt that Mr. King addressed my report of what I heard from my daughter about the lunch room quickly and seriously. I have no records, but I wonder if there are any records anywhere. I remember when the Broadview-Thompson incident was being discussed that part of the problem was that teacher records get purged each year unless some special flag happens somehow. I don't know if the lunch room monitor aid is the same one alleged to have foot touching or not. It seems a strong possiblity that it is the same person. The future roles of King, Rina, and the aid in the schools is an open question. I now realize that I should get a trail of correspondence with SPS and the board. I am unclear about who at SPS to contact.

Former Lowell Parent
Anonymous said…
Questions to Rina:
Shall we just move on like nothing happened? Could you do that if your daughter had been involved in a same or similar situation?
How can we move on as you requested before you address the issues that were raised in the report?
Isn't this letter a little too late?
Don't we, parents deserve an explanations and / or least an apology more than this plain and simple letter?
How can we trust you with our students when you stated a year ago that you don't feel comfortable to deal with a child related issue blaming your inexperience? What happened since than? Do you feel comfortable with the same issue now? Wonder why?
And so on...
- Concerned
TraceyS said…
Thank you for the clarification, Former Lowell Parent. I wonder too if there are any written records, though I am not sure how to go about asking for them. Perhaps someone else on this blog does?

Even if the aide was given additional training at that point, I would very likely still be uncomfortable with him being around my own 5th grade daughter. He should have known from the get-go not to hug girls at the urging of their classmates, training or no. I would also expect my school principal to be keeping a close eye on him after hearing of such an incident. If this is indeed the same aide, then that adds a troubling twist to this story, IMHO.
Anonymous said…
My child also voiced complaints about the lunchroom monitor...belittling students, using the microphone for entertainment instead of announcements...it was the end of the year and we didn't report it, but now I'm wondering if we should have...is that person still at Lowell?

also former parent
Anonymous said…
Former Lowell Parent: here is what I would do. I would:

1. Contact Noel Treat and/or Mr. Apostle in the GC's office, and ask, as the complainant with respect to the incident, for some follow-up with respect to the incident that you reported. While I don't know exactly how much information you are entitled to (in terms of exactly what happened to the IA who you reported on), I think you are at least entitled to know whether the complaint was lodged and whether some kind of action was taken (that could be -- we interviewed the kids, decided they were lying or overstating, and did nothing; we interviewed the kids and the IA, decided that there were two sides to the story, and did nothing; we interviewed the kids and the IA and have taken what believe to be appropriate follow-up action --training, admonishment, etc. -- with the IA) -- but I think you deserve to know whether the report was ever taken seriously, and whether this incident did, in fact, get reported to HR, and whether any further training was ever instituted with the IA. Or were you just "blown off?" The reason I don't think King gets the benefit of the doubt here is that my impression from the report was that he was taking the position that there was no reason to believe that there might be any judgment lapses, inappropriate conduct, etc. by the IA. From your post, this is clearly NOT the case.

The reason this particularly bothers me is that it is the same "blindness" pattern that seemed to occur with Fred Stephens and Silas Potter -- where there were clearly problems with aspects of Potter's work, from the Sutor report -- and yet Stephens willfully remained "blind" to them -- and then claimed in the end that he was as shocked as anyone else when other bad stuff happened later.

2. Contact the ethics hotline AND the ombudsman, and report to both of them that you would like some confirmation that your report to Mr. King was, in fact, submitted to and recorded by HR -- and that while maybe you don't get to know the details of the follow up, that you want confirmation that what King told you -- that he had made the report AND taken follow-up training action -- is in fact true. I think you deserve to know that the process was actually followed, even if you don't get the details.

3. IF the District can't give you any confirmation that your incidence report was appropriately followed up on, I would contact the ST reporter who did the article (sorry, his name eludes me) and at least suggest to him that someone may need to follow up on the larger issue of whether there was systematic failure by Lowell administrators to follow reporting/training procedures.

And be glad your child is out of the school.

SeattleSped said…

That seems like a reasonable course of action. In future, however, parents should know to contact the Office of Professional Practices if they are not satisfied with the actions of the district.

How to File a Complaint Against a Teacher/Certificated Educator

Document as best you can and/or get others to corroborate your version of events.
erik said…
Why do you people keep talking about this. The district has investigated the Ia and found his behavior to be appropriate. You can want to believe that he is being left there to molest your kids. Do really think that the district would leave him in place after the investigation. Re
Anonymous said…
erik: well, I guess I am one of "you people." My suggestions were made because a poster seemed concerned that maybe her complaint was never reported, and never dealt with. This seems like a legitimate thing to wonder, as King seems to think he had never been given any reason to be concerned about the IA before the incident(s) that C2 raised -- part of the reason, I assume, he felt free to blow it off on the grounds that he assumed it was probably racially motivated.

Second, why do YOU keep bringing up "molestation." That was never claimed by those who raised the incident. They merely thought the things they were observing were potentially inappropriate, and grounds for further training. "Molestation" is a "straw man" argument here.

Finally, you ask "Do really think that the district would leave him in place after the investigation?" In a word, yes.

Unreasonable? Well, the District was happy to leave Potter in a position to steal funds from the District after an investigation showing that he had mismanaged a District program (and funds) in the Sutor report. All it appears to take is "protection" from on high. Potter had Stephens. The IA appears to have King. That said, I don't think this person is "molesting" kids -- those were your words. My only point is that I take no comfort in investigative reports, if District management has decided to look the other way.

Anonymous said…
All Mr. King would have had to do is have this person revisit the training that was given to the entire staff last year about what "professional touch" is allowed by the SPS. Teachers/staff are not to give frontal hugs. They are not supposed to touch someone's leg or knee, etc. Foot Kissing, or pretending to do foot kissing would not be considered professional conduct. The teachers who reported were not suggesting that this was "sexual touch," but rather "non-professional." It was seen as being a bit "creepy" and made them uncomfortable.

The fact that the reporting teachers were retaliated against and targeted, was a completely unwarranted response for an administrator to do. The fact that he dismissed the reporting as being "racist" in nature was also unwarranted. Calling the "race card" is a serious, inflamatory charge. Mr. King has been seen to say pubicaly that this entire investivation on him was a "racial" attack. I believe that he is using that as a smoke screen.

What was the story as to why he needed to leave his school district in Atlanta. Does anyone know how to find out about that. I would like to look that up. I've heard that it shows a story of unsuccessful handling of his staff. I believe it from what I witnessed at Lowell last year.

I'm glad the investigative report is out, and I hope that these two principals are taken out of their "power" positions.

Anonymous said…
Ellen, I am sorry to be a messenger but it doesn't look like the principals will soon be moved from their "power" position.
See the latest article about how to move on:


Anonymous said…
I have to say yelling at kids or belittling them happens in other schools as well. Friends have discussed this and it happens in very nice schools with great ratings. It happens usually when the teachers are tired, overwhelmed and have kids who are unrelenting with their misbehaviors and stirring up the classroom. I've also been on field trips when children are yelling on public buses, shoving, etc. and the teachers just sit there. It's the parents who must tell the kids to stop the behavior. I've seen kids getting hugs by teachers and parent volunteers. Sometimes it's the kids who come up and give the adults the hugs.

It's seem like there need to be some clearer boundaries set for all. But in the real world, if you hear a teacher yelling at a class or a group of kids about their ill manner or bad behavior, is that always bad? Is calling out their "behavior like those of idiots" going too far? What about when parent volunteers share stories about certain students with other parents (not related to the students) on the playground about test scores, behavioral issues, things they may have heard, speculated about, or may have discussed with classroom teacher? Sometimes what get discussed isn't even correct, and bad "info" gets passed on. I've intervened and refuted such stories only to get the sense that nipping gossip is like nipping air from people. In the end, gossips win. Kids lose.

-real world
Anonymous said…
Concerned and Ellen: it doesn't necessarily "have to" be true that nothing more happens, though I am sure that is what King, Geoghagan, and the District all want. But it will take a concerted effort on the part of parents (either as an ad hoc group or the PTA -- without the help of its president) AND the special ed parents as an independent group. If I were a parent of a special ed, APP, or ALO/Spectrum/regular ed kid, there is no way I would want someone as a principal for my child who did the things (or failed to do the things) that King did (or failed to do). There has to be another answer, beyond just the "oh well, ho hum" one that the Superintendent and the Board are giving.

This is terrible governance by the Superintendent. To think that King is staying, while she tried to get rid of Martin Floe. The mind boggles.

What they want now is for everyone to be "tired" of it. What they want now is for those seeking further relief to be told to "move past it" for "the sake of the kids." What they want now is for those who refuse to stop pressing for a more just solution to be branded as trouble-makers, or (in the words of the fine peter p on another post -- "haters.") Parents without kids in the school don't have much ability to affect this, though I am sure that many will support you if you refuse to say "baaaa" and lay down and chew grass. Just as the RBHS parents have had to be the ones to demand fair treatment of their kids, it will be up to parents at the two Lowell schools to insist on a better resolution than the bland, watered down slap-on-the-wrist that has been offered to date.

Anonymous said…
Lie. LIE down and eat grass. Apologies to English teachers everywhere.

Anonymous said…
Braesse is right, SPS would want us to just get tired of hearing about this story. They would want to sweep it under the carpet just as soon as they can. The next issue concerning finding a school site for north end APP will provide the opportunity for the issues over these principals to be eclipsed. It is important to keep both in full view.

APP supporter

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools