Thursday, March 27, 2014

Zero Tolerance for Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham and East High principal Mary Kelley, Fire Them Now!!!!

As the father of a 15 year old honor student in high school, it blows my mind that adults in charge of East High school, and the district superintendent, would want to expel an honor student for the teenage mistake of bring alcohol on a field trip. Teenagers, no matter how smart, will make bad decisions from time to time. But when adults make even dumber decisions, they should be fired. Start with Jennifer Cheatham and Mary Kelley.

I can’t even imagine how disruption it would be for my son to go through a one and half year expulsion, just how disruptive it would be to his education, not to mention his close circle of friends during this major transitional time in his development. This shocking and irresponsible over reaction should not be tolerated by any parent. Do parents really need this possibility hanging over the head every time their kids makes a dumb mistake? I realizing now that this has been going on for years.
I’m pissed. Read about this extremely horrific reaction by, of all people, our educators. It turns my stomach. Keep in mind that while this is happening…
What a mistake....
WSJ: The Madison School Board (will be) vot(ing) on a comprehensive rewrite of the school district’s discipline code. Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham says the new code will move away from “zero tolerance” to methods that allow students to learn from their mistakes and stay in school.
That’s utter touchy feeling bullshit, since Cheatham’s real world response is just the opposite:
A high school honors student with no history of disciplinary problems pours a couple of shots of bourbon into a water bottle and brings it to school to take on a field trip. An anonymous tip leads school officials to confront the girl before she gets on the bus for the trip and the alcohol is confiscated.

What’s the appropriate punishment for this 14-year-old girl?

Mikki Smith, assistant principal at East, recommended Maia be expelled until the end of the current school year … But Cheatham recommended an additional year of expulsion, through the 2014-15 school year, for conduct “which endangered the property, health or safety of others,” she wrote in an affidavit.
Well, that will “allow students to learn from their mistakes.” Brutal and heartless...
Cheatham did not attend the expulsion hearing … But Smith, East High principal Mary Kelley, and district expulsion coordinator Joseph Hill spent hours convincing the hearing examiner that Maia should be expelled … independent hearing officer Alicia Connolly-Lohr, who heard the case … found Maia had endangered others by bringing alcohol to school and adopted Cheatham’s recommendation that she be expelled until June 2015. The School Board can accept, reject or amend the recommendation of the hearing officer.
According to the Isthmus article, Cheatham had this response to her hypocrisy:
Cheatham agreed some will see a contradiction in her comments about the future direction of student discipline and the expulsion recommendation she made for Maia. "Situations like these have actually led us to the proposed changes we're bringing to the board," she said. "I have no doubt that the board [will be]... making their final decisions with the new guiding principles in mind."
The response by teachers and parents?
Three teachers submitted letters asking that Maia be allowed to return to school, citing her contrition for what she had done and her potential as a student. One teacher said he had never witnessed “such austere” treatment of a student in many years in the classroom.

Maia's mother, Melissa Meyer (said) “This is a girl who craves learning, who loves to be with friends, who wants to play her sports, who wants to sing in the choir — they pulled all that out from under her. It has been very hard on her. She did not get out of bed for a week. We were very concerned.” 

The family explored sending Maia to the Phoenix expulsion diversion program offered by the school district, despite lesser educational opportunities offered through it. But Att. Spitzer-Resnick said that the district’s rule is that the Phoenix option is pulled off the table if a student decides to take the case to an expulsion hearing, and would not negotiate about keeping the option open. “It’s take it or leave it,” he said.

The bottom line is obvious:
“At no point did anyone talk about what is right for the child,” Meyer said.


  1. What is an alcoholic beverage?

  2. Under the current policy, if your son or daughter simply passed a water bottle containing alcohol from the one kid to another kid, he or she could be expelled. Just passing a drink or a joint is consider "distribution." There are more outrageous expulsions than this one, in Madison but this is bad enough. Thank goodness this parent can afford a lawyer; many can not.