"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

KIPP's Investigation of KIPP Finds KIPP Did Nothing Wrong

On November 16, photos taken at a New Orleans KIPP school showed a dean of students lifting a female student off the ground in a choke hold and then dragging the girl down the sidewalk. 

A few days later, the principal of the school concluded the dean of students had done nothing wrong.  From the Times-Picayune:
KIPP Leadership Academy in New Orleans has cleared and reinstated a staff member who was accused of choking a student. Principal Herneshia Dukes emailed parents Friday (Nov. 27) to share the decision.

"Our investigation revealed that the school administrator acted in good faith to de-escalate a physical altercation between two students and prevent them from harming one another," she wrote. "The school administrator will return to school Monday, November 30."  

The incident took place Nov. 16 as two girls got off the school bus at the elementary-middle school on St. Claude Avenue. KIPP has not identified the staffer, but Rebecca Solomon, the mother who charged that her daughter had been choked, said it was dean of students Wilfred Wright. The school put him on leave during its investigation.

Dukes initially told Solomon that Wright restrained her seventh-grade daughter using appropriate techniques, Solomon said. But after Solomon saw photos and a video of the incident, she pushed for an investigation. One photo shows Wright with his arm around the girl's neck as she clutches at it with both hands, her mouth open. Solomon did not have the video.

KIPP spokesman Jonathan Bertsch shared Dukes' email with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. He would not comment further.

Solomon said Monday she "already kind of figured it would go this way. ... I think they're standing up for each other."

She said she has retained a lawyer and plans to file a complaint with the KIPP New Orleans governing board while pursuing the complaint she filed with the Louisiana Education Department. Solomon also is trying to transfer her children to another school.

"The truth will out," she said. "I don't agree with (KIPP's decision), and I think any real mom who's seen what I've seen wouldn't agree with it either."

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