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

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Mike Feinberg's Lawyers Go After Abused Hispanic Family

In what has to be one of the greatest power disparities in the history of charter school sexual abuse, Mike Feinberg and his high-rolling legal team faced off against a girl and her mother last week at a hearing to determine if the predator KIPP founder will be able to keep his teacher's license after being fired for sexually abusing a middle school child.

Reading the excerpt from the Texas Tribune article below, it's not a tough call.  We will still have to wonder, however, if Feinberg will be able to buy his way clear.
. . . . In a petition calling for the hearing, a TEA lawyer said Feinberg allegedly performed a “yearly check up” on the former student, then a fifth grader attending KIPP in Houston in the late 1990s. While the two were in his office, the petition alleges, he placed his hand inside her shirt and rubbed up and down between her breasts and belly button. He had her “touch her toes while he ran his finger from her neck to her waist,” it says. 
A week or two later, Feinberg is alleged to have told the student he lost the file and had to redo the exam. He “took her back to his office,” closed the door and had her partially disrobe, the TEA petition claims. He inserted a Q-tip into her vagina for a few seconds and then instructed her to return to class, it says. He was a teacher and the principal of the school at the time. 
In testimony at the certification hearing Wednesday, the former student said she “felt confused” after the incidents. She put on her clothes, went back to class, and told her mother about it after returning home. Although her mother was upset, the student asked her not to share the information with her father. “I thought my dad was going to blame me for it and hit me,” she testified. 
Asked why she didn’t tell the school or police, the student responded, “They wouldn’t believe me because of my race.” She said she wanted to leave the school right away, but her mother didn’t know how to explain it to her father. She left a year later. “I wasn’t comfortable” anymore, she said. 
The student’s mother largely confirmed her daughter’s account. 
“I was in very bad shape. I started crying with her,” the mother testified through a Spanish translator. “I wanted to say something, but my daughter didn’t let me. We needed to talk to my husband, but we were scared of him because he was very strict and tough with her and with me.” 
Feinberg’s lawyers [called more than a dozen witnesses and] worked to dismantle the student’s testimony. Feinberg sat pensively observing, sometimes taking notes on a yellow legal pad, during much of the testimony. He winked at his wife as he sat down to testify; they clutched hands after he finished speaking and rejoined his lawyers at their table. 
“That did not happen … absolutely not,” Feinberg responded to detailed questions about the student’s allegations. Asked if he contended she was lying, he gave a long pause: “I contend that what she is saying are not the facts.” Asked why she would lodge the allegations, he said, “That would just be speculation.” . . . .

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