When Administrators and Educators Cross the Line, by Dr. Monica Lewis

I diagnosed myself with a severe case of writers block pondering about the content of this month’s article, I realized while sitting up til 2:30am this morning working on a personal matter regarding education I realized I discovered a cure.  For the past almost 60 days my husband and I have been battling to resolve and incident that occurred at our daughters High School where she was assaulted by her math teacher.  Here’s an excerpt from our petition we filed on Change.org: http://goo.gl/vVjlR

Being in education for several years, my husband and I believe that it’s time for parents to hold school districts NATIONWIDE accountable to state, district and school protocol and the safety of all students. We also feel that Child Protective Services (CPS) should handle all cases of neglect and abuse NATIONWIDE should be properly handled in a timely fashion with follow-up to parents regarding the abuse of their child or children.  Please take the time to read the incident report we forward to the Cedar Hill School District (modified for this petition).  Please note that as of April 13, 2012, it will be two months that there has yet to be any information regarding reprimand of the Principal Mariani's negligence as an administrator and a counselor or the teacher Jonathan Mullins as an educator or any follow up from the local Child Protective Services.
James & Dr. Monica Lewis

Our daughter Ms. AdJane’ A. Latimer junior at the high school was assaulted by her math teacher Mr. Jonathan Mullins on February 13, 2012 around or about 2:05pm-2:10pm during her 6th period math class.  AdJane’ expressed her concerns to me and her father that evening and it was quite uncomfortable for her to discuss.  She indicated that she placed her phone on her desk after entering class and settling in for instruction.  She and another student (will not be disclosed because of being a minor) were asked by Mr. Mullins to put their phones away.  AdJane’ indicated that Mr. Mullins struck the other student in the back of her head with his hand and again in the front of her face with papers in hand.  The student then left the room to contact their mother regarding the situation.  Mr. Mullins then noticed that AdJane’ had her phone on her leg and in turn struck her with an open hand on the left side of her face. She then asked him why he hit her.  She stated that Mr. Mullins indicated that she didn’t put her phone away.

What has been the most devastating for my husband and I have been a standard this country has faced for decades, but more prevalent since the Bush Administration, “the lack of following protocol and policy and the same but different rule”. My husband and I have been in the education field several years prior to owning our own private school. We live by the creed of following rules and always try to handle matters decent and in order. It has always been our creed to ensure the safety of students. This doesn’t appear to be the case in the public school system nor at Cedar Hill ISD. 

There have been numerous instances where students have been mistreated by students, educators, and administrators. School districts such as Cedar Hill ISD have security officers as well as on-site police units or Student Resource Offices (SRO’s) supplied by the city police department.  You would think that this would be a great implementation due to the increase of violence in schools over the past 10 years; however that is not the case. On-site police units are not only designated at schools for safety reasons, but it is also a way to isolate incidents such as the one we are dealing with. In most instances, if schools districts provide on-site police units at their campus, city police cannot get involved in campus related crimes unless it is a heinous crime which would be considered a felony.

Even after numerous attempts to resolve our issue with the school district regarding our daughter, their hope is that we will go away peacefully and not pursue the case further. What’s most disheartening about the situation is that an administrator who is by design a counselor failed to provide safe services and follow protocol within a timely fashion for a student who has been assaulted by a teacher. Our daughter was not removed from class and Child Protective Services was not called within the allotted time period of 24-48 hours.

It can be clearly justified to say that this is an epidemic due to the numerous events of instances throughout the country of students being injured on end up dead due to school administration and staff not following standard protocol or totally ignoring a student when they have concern about their safety.  CPS should also have a better system implemented that would make findings and reports completed in 30 days or less.

Most reports take 60 or more to resolve.  CPS in most cases would blame this on representatives have a heavy case load.  It appears that it is shear negligence on their behalf as well or that they are part of the cover up to idol or dismisses the situation as the school district would deem to avoid any negative attention.

Hutton and Bailey (2007) states that school safety requires a broad-based effort by the entire community, including educators, students, parents, law enforcement agencies, businesses, and faith-based organizations, among others. By adopting a comprehensive approach to addressing school safety focusing on prevention, intervention, and response, schools can increase the safety and security of students.  School campuses and districts have been able to get away with these occurrence’s not only due to the lack of following protocol, but parents not being aware of school and district policies as well as the lack of follow up and follow through of the incident.

As for the “same but different rule” teachers are and should be held to the same rules regarding student learning and education, however this is not the case. In most situations coaches receive preferential treatment and are allowed to get away with verbal and physical assault against students for the sake of “winning the game” and making the school’s athletic program a success.  Perkins (2000) further implies that Children and youth learn “how to play the game” from their coaches and parents. These adults are important teachers and role models, and the atmosphere they create determines whether a child’s sports experience is negative. This statement should be valid whether a coach is in his or her athletic capacity or instructing in the classroom. Coaches must be role models and perform as adults at all times regardless of a situation.

I highly encourage parents to stay involved at your child’s school campus and get engaged in groups and boards that will keep you informed of school, district and state policies.  Also complete your own research regarding these policies and procedures to keep abreast of any changes that school organizations may not be aware of.  Our children have the right to be safe while in public learning environments that are funded by our tax payer dollars.  The School District should also hire persons that will not only consider the best interest of the school district but, abide by safety and protocol procedures that are ensuring students first.

Bailey, K.  and Hutton, T. (2007). School Policies and Legal Issues; Supporting Safe Schools. The  Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence & Northwest Regional Educational  Laboratory. Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence; The George
Washington University.

Perkins, D. F. (2000), Coaches; Making Youth Sports a Positive Experiences.  Penn State University,
 College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension. Publication 5m11/00ps41598.
 University Park, PA.


Anonymous said...

This is so hard to believe this for me. Mr. Mullins was my teacher in 2013. Nothing but a kind man in my experience

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