Monday, November 22, 2021

Seattle Times Finally Prints the Seattle School Board Harassment Story

Well, well, well, look who FINALLY printed the investigation story about Board directors Chandra Hampson and Zachary DeWolf being found to have used "positional authority" against two senior staffers. 

The Seattle Times.

Glad to know that persistence pays off because there is NO reason, ZERO, why this wasn't a story to be reported on. 

Of course the Times left out that the women who were feeling an uncomfortable work atmosphere were senior staffers. 

The story claims the Board - in voting to accept the report - was going to act on it. All they have done is say Hampson and DeWolf had to reread the HIB policy and that, going forward, new directors need that training. 

I sure those two things are sure to mend fences down at the JSCEE. 

Hilariously, know what else the Times didn't put in? A link to either the formal letter of complaint from the staffers OR the actual report. I'm not kidding. 

So meanwhile, in the Comments section, many people are very confused about what happened and are minimizing it. But how could they do otherwise from this shameful lack of good reporting. 

Many folks in the Comments asked the same two questions.

1) Why didn't the Times link the original letter of complaint and the actual report? I mean, taxpayers did pay for it all but it's not even available at the district's own website. 

I put in three comments with links to the information. 

2) Why didn't the Times write about this sooner? They did know about this months ago but sat on their hands. I can only speculate why but here goes.

The City has big plans for Memorial Stadium but alas and alack, the district owns those 9 acres of prime real estate. All are correct in believing that it is a rundown stadium AND that it could be revamp to support many more uses including summer concerts.

The key to all of this is the district's upcoming BTA V levy. This levy NEEDS to pass for the district to get the money (currently at about $18M) to at least give the stadium a facelift. (You'd need real money to do a total renovation.)

The City and the district WANT THIS LEVY TO PASS. 

But what is going to look like to voters if members of the Board are micromanaging staff and causing trouble?

What is it going to look like as the Board goes about the business of finding a new superintendent? Seriously, who could read these stories and not say, "Not for me. I'm not having pushy Board members tell my staff what to do."

Quite the dilemma. As I said, this is my speculation but it's the best one because A LOT of people in power in this city tried to pretend none of this happened and tried to tamp it down. 

What does that tell you?


Anonymous said...

I was a Precinct Committee Officer in a local Democratic Legislative District and I remember when school board endorsements came along, all of these board members were handily endorsed because they had tons of progressives telling us how great they were. But then a few years later we realize they were bullies, and not just in this one instance. I wish i had taken more time to study these candidates and backed other great candidates that would have done a better job. Although in Zachary’s race he was running against a charter school supporter if I remember right.

Unknown said...

It tells me we need two major daily papers in Seattle, so they can watch each other and report on what the other is burying.


Sunlight said...

Thanks for your persistence.

Hampson and De Wolf's attempt to silence individuals has not limited to those in the Investigative report. One just needs to watch board meetings.

The board would be smart to remove Hampson from leadership roles. She is a liability that has cost the district $153K for an Investigative Report. There have been other leadership failures, as the Seattle Times Editorial Board has pointed out.

Parent said...

I appreciate you pursuing this story, but I’m not convinced that the reason it hadn’t been carried by the Seattle Times is because of the Levy. Rather, I believe the story is embarrassing to both the School Board and senior staff. Keisha Scarlett and Manal Al-ansi did not want this investigated, and their accusations of discrimination were found to be unsubstantiated. Chandra Hampson and Zachary DeWolf also didn’t want it published because they were found guilty of HIB. I expect that they are all thinking first of themselves at this point.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, you don't get all these media sources to stay quiet on this type of story because of embarrassment. There was some kind of secret handshake going to get that to happen.

Race and equity are a national conversation and SPS has made serving Black boys an entire pillar of its Strategic Plan. So this story? It's news.

Is it embarrassing? Sure, because I think the initial complainant letter was way too heavy on accusations. And they were both naive to think it was going to be a "note on the Board's desk." These women thought that the rest of the Board would stand up to these two bullies? Was not gonna happen and it didn't even happen AFTER the report found they had abused their "positional authority."

I know what it's like to be called a racist so I'm not surprised that DeWolf and Hampson were very upset. However, leaders take a breath. Leaders sit down in good faith and work out differences. Especially people who claim to put kids first.

But no, Hampson and DeWolf were sooooo sure that they would be totally exonerated and look what happened. I think getting elected to anything again is going to be exceeding tough after this. I mean, what can you say to explain it away?

It's so interesting to find that people you believe are not good leaders end up proving that all by themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anon, it's true that DeWolf got local Democratic endorsements - largely because he skillfully hid his bullying nature and was running against a charter school guy. But neither Hampson nor Rankin got those endorsements, and local Dems went strongly for their opponents. Unfortunately, both of Hampson and Rankin were somehow endorsed by the Stranger in 2019, in what was clearly one of their worst mistakes, and that was what put them over the top.

We do need better education reporting in this town. The Times is too biased to trust, and hardly any other outlet seems to care. But there are surely several Pulitzer Prizes just waiting to be won for anyone willing to spend a bit of time digging into what are surely many epic scandals lurking within SPS...

Muck Raker