FORT WORTH SCHOOLS OUT OF CONTROL
From the pen of award winning Journalist Betty Brink of the Fort Worth Weekly in response to Brother Eddie Griffin's attack on my civil rights advocacy against the mistreatment of children within the Fort Worth Independent School District. In my humble opinion, Dr. Melody Johnson is one of the worst Superintendents in the nation, especially in relations to urban poor and children of color.
I suggest you read the series of stories I have written about AHHS and the district. They begin on August 11, 2010, and run thru this week. You can find them all simply by doing a search on our web site www.fwweekly.com
Type in Betty Brink and you'll get more than you bargained for.
This is not about five days of absences and 255 students, Eddie, it is about deeply troubling corrupt practices at Arlington Heights that were uncovered -- not by me -- but by Joe Palazzolo and about a dozen or more teachers at Heights who had been trying to get something done for years. The district's OWN internal investigation upheld the majority of the accusations including the fact that the principal Neta Alexander admitted to ordering her staff person NOT to report seniors, juniors and "students of color" to the truancy court during 2010 in order to -- her words -- keep her completion rates high at the school. This is all documented in internal documents from the district's own investigator Mike Menchaca. A female coach and an assistant principal were found guilty of attendance fraud by Menchaca, they had falsified attendance records in order to allow at least 21 students to graduate who should not have because of chronic truancy. They were also having an affair and involving students in their liaisons. There were too many other violations of law and district policy at that school to go into in an email, including sexual harassment, all of which were ignored by the principal, but were well known to at least one board member, Judy Needham. It was reported that Melody Johnson was aware of the conditions there as well. And Chuck Boyd resigned, after admitting that he had protected one of those who were falsifying attendance documents and sexually harassing students and teachers. You have been around the block a few times as I have, Eddie, but I believe even you would be shocked at the language this coach was using in front of students, telling in graphic detail of her sex exploits. The principal, the female coach and her lover were also forced to resign, but no other action was taken against them, in spite of the fact that they were found guilty by the district itself of violations of state and federal laws. And a DA is investigating misuse of booster club funds. These are serious matters, and I suggest they are the demoralizing factors in this district, not the stories that I write based on facts and substantiated by documented evidence.
I suggest again that you read the series of stories. I do not write untruths, Eddie, nor do I write something I cannot back up with facts. I have spoken to dozens of teachers, counselors, nurses, data clerks, coaches, all of whom backed up the corruption at that school and the very difficult conditions that they have to work under in this district at other schools as well. The Connects story spells that out as well. And my series is not over. I am now working on legal fees paid out by this district to outside firms and I think you will be shocked when you read it. Especially when they are laying off folks who are needed and who need the work.
Take a deep breath, Eddie, and read the whole story. As for Kyev Tatum, the civil rights division is now sending in investigators and that isn't done lightly you know that.
Kyev is also fighting in the trenches as you are. I would hope that you would withhold judgment until the civil rights folks do their investigation. Respectfully Betty Brink