I heard that Keith Williams sent out an email this week discussing the district’s policy on Employee Electronic Communications, Social Media, etc. While I am glad that they are addressing that issue, I have to ask myself why they are addressing the issue. Is it because their employees spoke out recently? I had multiple DCS employees use social media to bully and threaten me. One of those individuals is sitting at county office, in a new position and with a nice pay raise. I don’t see how they are following policy by allowing that to happen. Electronic communications by this person’s former staff bullying me and one of their fellow co-workers went without any reprimand. I was simply told by the county office that if I was worried or felt threatened, I should file a police report. How could I do that when my best friend was still teaching at that school? Did I really want to make her life more complicated? I have been told by state and federal agencies that I should file complaints with the authorities. When an Administrator threatens you, what should happen?
At the beginning of the year and during this year’s legislative session, the school continued to ignore policy and sent out multiple electronic communications to employees dictating that they tell their State Reps how to vote on education legislation. When it comes to campaigning and politics, it is a NO NO for the district to use school resources to campaign or politic for their agendas. Multiple Jackson political blogs received copies of emails from DCS to employees. I reposted that information and informed state officials, including the Governor’s Office. Citizens and employees grew more frustrated with the county office’s ignoring the rules and pushing their personal agendas. The Superintendent sent out an email to Administrators instructing them to get the message to their employees and listed the email as IMPORTANCE – HIGH. One Administrator, that followed his boss’s instructions, was not targeted but rather used as the example of what goes on in our county when it comes to politics and campaigning.
This same Administrator’s wife allowed campaigning to go on at her school during the most recent Mayoral election. A letter of endorsement, written by her, was passed out to the parents of her students during the car rider line. This letter was approved by Keith Treadway (according to the candidate). Here again we have more campaigning which is a violation of board policy. Again, I posted information on the page about this constant and blatant failure to follow the rules by DCS. The rules only get followed when in their favor. The rest of the time, they skirt around the issues. The rules are followed on an ‘as it benefits us’ basis.
Shortly after this post I received, what I consider to be a threatening post on our FB page. The husband Administrator sent me the phone number to a personal injury attorney. On this same day, my BFF, a teacher at his school, received an anonymous note in her mailbox that read, “When you bite the hands that feeds you, there is a great chance you will go hungry”. I do not see this as a coincidence by any stretch of the imagination. My friend was blown off when she reported it. The Asst Principal and Principal down played it. A week or so later, the Principal confronted my friend, telling her he knew that she was the one that sent me a copy of the mass email he had sent out during legislation. He told her that she was the ONLY teacher at his school that was on my FB Page. She asked him if he put the letter in her mailbox. He denied it, but then went on to tell her that “YOUR FRIEND IS AFTER MY WIFE”. I took that as more proof this was all related and no coincidence. He then went into a teachers’ meeting and told them, “there is a TRAITOR amongst us”. My friend became alarmed and very unsettled. This creates a hostile work environment. Considering this individual would not be Principal the next year, it left my friend in the midst of co-workers that could become hostile over a situation they didn’t even have all the facts on. Our page was overwhelmed with fake FB people and pages sending threatening posts to an individual not even attached to this situation (allegedly another parent in the county had issues with some mishandling of funds at the wife Administrator’s school, which was a completely separate and unrelated situation to this one). The final straw came on the husband Administrator’s Good-Bye Luncheon day at the school. His speech consisted of telling the staff how he had enjoyed working with “some” of them. He spoke of how much he loved his wife, and then said that “IF ANYONE MESSES WITH MY WIFE, I WILL KICK THEIR ASS”. Uhh…..is there any other way to take this other than as a threat towards me and my teacher friend. Yes, county office was made aware. This was followed up by 5 teachers or so from that school posting negative things about me, our page and the teacher on FB. The Administrator and his cohorts created what I think most would consider to be a hostile work environment. Here again, all of these are violations of board policy, district and state code of ethics. All of these posts were documented and photographed. What action has been taken?
I am unaware of any action taken. I have received no formal apology or word that the individuals were reprimanded in any way. When we get to the point in this world where people that do wrong try to make people that follow the rules look bad AND people believe them, we have serious issues. People don’t want to believe the facts because sometimes the facts are just hard to hear. If I was to recap the last year or so of DCS, I don’t see how anyone could deny that we have serious issues with our leadership and administration.
We have what used to be an all STAR rated district that now has turned into a B rated district (even that rating was shown by multiple news outlets to have been altered by MDE to make our district score higher than we should have). In this district, we have schools that are struggling to not be failing status. The 2 excuses you will here to explain this away are: 1. the state has changed the grading scale, making it more difficult for schools to realistically achieve star status or 2. the growth of the county is what has brought this on. My answer to this: 1. Star rated schools and children will succeed no matter what standards are put before them to achieve the STAR rating. 2. If a leader of an organization cannot handle the growth of their organization, should they have ever been the leader to begin with? A CEO of a corporation would have a lot of explaining to do if they failed to handle success and growth and left the Vice President alone to run the company (especially when that VP spends way too much money and does not have the qualifications required to do their job).
In the last year alone, we have an OB Administration that embezzled money from the school. We have a former DCS employee that had many issues, was allowed to continue to work for the school through Kelly Services instead of being fired and was arrested for statutory rape consequently. We had an OB Administrator trying to filter school money through the PTO bank account. We had an OB school full of environmental conditions making kids and teachers sick, and we know this is not the only school in the district to have these issues. We have multiple school Administrators following the Superintendents orders, sending staff campaign materials and pushing political agendas on staff and parents. We have a school district that built schools in areas we did NOT need them instead of in the lower income areas that did need them, thus this resulted in the district trying to rezone the schools without parents finding out. We had the President of the School Board violating policy by telling parents in the district that certain issues, not yet voted on, were already a done deal and there was nothing that parents could do about it. This same School Board member violated policy by telling parents that called her with issues to contact their School Board Representative and refused to talk to them. School Board members, according to policy, represent the community AT LARGE. This means they are all obligated to help the entire county and not just their district. The school district had multiple EPA violations, all documented by MDEQ. They did not have the federal required asbestos management plan in place as it should have been. They renovated schools that contain asbestos without the required abatement teams. The list goes on and on. Does this sound like everything is well in the district? Could this be the reason parents and staff are beyond frustration?! How many times have the county office Superintendents or Directors been out to the schools in trouble or having problems?
We have a Superintendent that is retired. We have at least 4 other county office employees retired and working only 5 days a month (which sadly are probably the only ones that should be working at county office in positions of authority). We have the only Assistant Superintendent of the district that taught very little, was never an Asst Principal or Principal, yet she is running the district for the Superintendent. Her husband was promoted from Drivers Ed to Athletic Director at a High School in the district. The county office is saturated with what we like to call THE POWER COUPLES. These are married people that are friends of, neighbors of, church members with or relatives of our Superintendent. If you are honest, of good character, over 55, highly educated or anything else that makes you NOT vulnerable to the dark side, do not count on moving up the ladder at DCS. If you are a criminal, have ever been accused of a crime, have issues with drugs and alcohol, have been unfaithful to your spouse or if you are lucky enough to impress the assistant Superintendent, count on moving right on up the ladder with this administration. So sad but oh so true.
With all of this being said, it may sound as if nothing is positive about DCS, but there are a lot of positives. I can think of 32,000 children and approximately 1500 teachers that are positives. I can think of at least 25 Administrators and Asst. Principals that are positives. I can think of the parents and family members of these kids and teachers that are positives. People in DeSoto County that have been lifelong residents or that have moved to the county because they want to be here are all positives. DCS is not a Superintendent, county office or even school buildings. The REAL DCS is the people that love our children, our children and the people that care so much about the education and success of the kids in our county. It is a sense of pride in each other. It is a team, a network of individuals that share the same goals and wants. The real DCS is a community of people working together for the greater good of our children. SO when people vilify me for sending my child to SBEC and state that I have less of a reason to care, they are dead wrong and don’t truly understand what it means to be DCS or DeSoto County. We were DCS. We lived and breathed DCS. DCS did not fail us. Administration and leadership failed us. The imposters of DCS failed us and forced us out. We love and adore SBEC, but we are still part of Desoto County and part of the real DCS. The parents, individuals, educators and citizens of DeSoto County that fight just want one thing………a slate wiped clean and built new with a stronger, more efficient Administration that realizes education is about the children and not their bank accounts.