Jefferson Calls For “Conflict”-Free Investigator
| Dec 29, 2011 2:04 pm
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Posted to: Schools, Campaign 2011, School Reform
Principal Kermit Carolina has agreed “under protest” to a private interview about alleged grade-altering at Hillhouse High School—while calling for removal of the Board of Education’s investigator due to an alleged conflict of interest.
That message came Thursday in the form of a letter sent to Superintendent of Schools Reggie Mayo from Carolina’s attorney, Michael Jefferson.
The letter is the latest salvo in a political chess battle that erupted in public view last week when the Board of Ed called an “emergency” meeting on the Friday before Christmas to disclose the existence of an investigation into an allegation by a Hillhouse administrator that somebody improperly changed students’ grades in three instances. The Board hired an outside attorney, Floyd Dugas, to conduct the investigation.
Dugas asked to interview Carolina as part of the probe. On Tuesday Jefferson said Carolina would not participate unless the media could be present. He said he wanted a “transparent” proceeding.
In Thursday’s letter Jefferson said Carolina has agreed “to cooperate with your investigation as a means of avoiding being deemed insubordinate. However, his cooperation will take place under strict protest.”
The basis for the protest: Three members of Dugas’s Milford-based law firm, Berchem, Moses & Devlin—Robert Berchem, Marsha Moses, and Carolyn Dugas, Floyd Dugas’s wife— gave between $500 and $1,000 each to Mayor John DeStefano’s reelection campaign, according to contribution filings, Jefferson noted.
At Friday’s board meeting Carolina called the investigation a witch hunt based on “bogus” allegations brought because he, unlike other school officials, refused to support DeStefano’s campaign. (Carolina has since refrained from publicly addressing the controversy; Jefferson is speaking for him pending the investigation’s outcome.) DeStefano said politics have played no part in a straightforward probe into serious allegations. (Click here for a full story on that subject.)
“The fact is that my client believes his present predicament is a direct result of political retribution on the part of the Mayor, John DeStefano, I find it astounding that Mr. Carolina should be subjected to an inquiry spearheaded by an individual whose co-workers and relatives contributed generously to the mayor’s re-election bid,” Jefferson wrote. “If you were unaware of Mr. Dugas’ association with the mayor when selecting him for the role of lead investigator that is understandable. However, if you were aware of this obvious conflict of interest and chose to conveniently ignore the implications then your goal, as spelled out in the abovementioned correspondence, ‘to protect the integrity of the process,’ is dubious at best.
“In any event, moving forward I would greatly appreciate if you would honor Mr. Carolina’s request for a transparent investigation and remove Mr. Dugas as the lead investigator and replace him with an individual whose independence is far less questionable.”
Mayo could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.
He said last week that he decided to bypass his human resources department and retain outside counsel for the probe in part to avoid a different conflict of interest: Carolina’s wife works in the human resources department.
Board of Ed Chief Administrative Officer Will Clark said Thursday that Dugas will remain on the job.
“Michael Jefferson is not running any investigation or dictating who will participate from the Board of Education’s side. We are going to follow through with this investigation as efficiently and quickly as possible,” Clark said.
He disagreed with Jefferson’s conflict of interest charge.
“Floyd is an excellent attorney who has a sterling reputation in labor and employment circles across the state of Connecticut,” Clark said. “We have the utmost confidence in his professionalism.”
Dugas’s firm has an approved contract with the Board of Ed to handle issues ranging from labor negotiations to litigation. The city pays Dugas, a partner in the firm, $225 an hour, according to Clark.
For his part, Dugas (pictured) said he’s “certainly glad to see that they’ve had a change of heart” about Carolina agreeing to be interviewed as part of the probe. “I’ve told attorney Jefferson I don’t have a problem with him being present as long as he doesn’t interfere with my interview.”
Dugas said he doesn’t see a conflict of interest stemming from his associates’ campaign contributions.
“I don’t know who gave what, but that has nothing to do with whether I can do an investigation for the Board of Education,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s nonsense, and will have no bearing on my investigation.”
Since the allegations surfaced, school officials have faced potential accusations on either side of the issue. For instance, they faced a Catch-22 on the decision of whether and when to hold a board meeting to discuss the allegations. If they hadn’t called a board meeting to disclose the existence of the probe, they feared, they would be accused of burying an issue crucial to school reform (honesty and transparency in data) if the news broke elsewhere. On the other hand, by holding a rushed meeting the Friday night before Christmas they faced accusations of railroading a successful principal who unlike many of his peers refused to pose for mayoral campaign pictures or pony up campaign contributions. Especially since allegations against politically supportive administrators haven’t been perceived to have been handled the same way.
Similarly, officials faced something of a Catch-22 on the decision on whether to keep the investigation in-house. If officials had kept the investigation in-house, they faced allegations of protecting their own. But by reaching for a law firm which like most city contractors gets hit up for mayoral campaign contributions, they faced allegations of partiality as well. A series of episodes led to allegations of a politicized and hijacked public education system in this year’s mayoral campaign, forming the backdrop for skepticism, founded or not, about political interference in this new imbroglio. Examples: The recruitment of school personnel for campaign testimonials; solicitation of campaign contributions from school employees; and in one case the formal endorsement of the mayor at an official school event.
Dugas said he’s off from Friday through next Tuesday. So the earliest that Carolina’s interview can take place is in the middle of next week.
• He Was Where?
• A Standoff In Grade Probe
• Investigation Formally Revealed At “Emergency” School Board Meeting
• Out Of Public View, Schools Rush “Emergency” Pre-Xmas Meeting On Grade-Altering Charges
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posted by: DavidK on December 29, 2011 2:22pm
Carolina ... does protest too much. Isn’t he an employee of the city?
posted by: East Rocker on December 29, 2011 3:18pm
It’s also probably worth noting that Berchem, Moses & Devlin is the firm where Will Clark was a partner before taking his current job at the Board of Ed. (NHI - was there a public bidding process by which that firm got this contract?)
posted by: disgusted on December 29, 2011 3:51pm
LET THE FBI INVESTAGATE .......to much goes on in New Haven
posted by: brutus2011b on December 29, 2011 4:10pm
Folks, you need to read this article very carefully.
1. The current Chief Operating Officer of NHPS is a former partner of the law firm retained by the city.
2. The wife of the Hillhouse principal is the head of the human resources department of NHPS.
3. The partners of the law firm retained by the city are substantial financial supporters of the political campaign(s) of the incumbent mayor.
4. The partner of the city’s law firm who is charged by NHPS to investigate the Hillhouse principal has stated that it is “nonsense” that the appropriateness of his involvement is in question. (remember the meaning of hubris?)
5. The Chief Operating Officer of NHPS, and a former partner of the attorney charged with the investigation, has brushed aside the opposing counsel with a typical city official condescending remark: “Michael Jefferson is not running any investigation and or dictating who will participate from the Board of Education’s side.” (hubris?)
Are we this unconscious to allow these Nixon-esque characters to run us like this?
posted by: noteworthy on December 29, 2011 4:42pm
Clark and Dugas’ comments are interesting. Clearly neither of these guys would know a conflict if it sat next to them. In any court of law Dugas’ conflicts would have to be disclosed and said conflicts would disqualify him. .... Glad to see birds of a feather stick together.
posted by: richgetricher on December 29, 2011 5:07pm
It seems abundantly clear that regardless of Attorney Dugas’ reputation, he has been a big contributor to the mayor, has close ties to Clark and can be counted on to do the Mayor’s bidding. Meanwhile taxpayers foot the bill for Attorney Dugas and this whole witch hunt. When do grown-ups like the feds step in and stop this nonsense. It is truly repugnant. Feds, states attorney are you there?
posted by: bigspread on December 29, 2011 5:33pm
We have an young, intelligent, hardworking and empathetic (did I mention Black) educator that is a role model to a very large portion of the community and he is put through all of this crap in the name of….politics. Keep it up New Haven and you will lose one of our brightest stars, it’s not like the community can withstand another loss! Perhaps putting the city through this is what may be needed to unite the community and fight for the protection of one of our Generals !!! Either way, you’ve lit the fuse of a very dangerous combination in Michael Jefferson and Kermit Carolina; they are both intelligent and fearless! You have the community’s support Kermit!
posted by: tin foil hat nut case on December 29, 2011 6:21pm
Directly related to this story is the reality that in the Higher degrees of Freemasonry and even Eliezer and Knights of Columbus there are elements at work who abide by the motto “Order out of Chaos”. Indeed, that is what humanity has tangled itself up with. On the smaller scale in the city of New Haven, the authorities have to do things to undermine the fresh leadership of good men… To test them and indoctrinate them into this fraternal freak fest that we call “government”. We can say we want better mentors for youth on the streets, but what if it is somehow (perversely) PROFITABLE to these men for young kids to keep killing each other? What if more and more of “the agenda” can come to pass if things don’t improve, but rather get worse?! The Mayor’s behavior of the last few months along with these recent occurrences involving the schools make it clear to me that darker forces are involved.
posted by: Marie Lloyd on December 29, 2011 6:31pm
This strange article and some of these anonymous comments would be hilarious if they weren’t so creepy. As a retired university professor I have a strong interest in the schools my taxes pay for.
- Although it seems overcautious to have an outside attorney for an unbelievably small matter, it hardly seems news that the school principal would agree to speak to him. That is his job.
- And, what is this conflict of interest business? This is really a tiny flap we are talking about. Of course every active person in a small place like New Haven will have some connection - family, work, bowling - to half the people in town and of course some of them will have made contributions to one or both sides in any election.
- I read the New York Times, and check online for the Washington Post. What I read there makes me feel splendid about the accomplishments of the New Haven Schools: elevated test scores, real food in the cafeteria, recognition from the White House, the “New Haven Promise.” Then I read this site - and even worse, email comments from people with no names (or maybe the same person with different no names, who knows?) making sleazy comments about my city. It puzzles me but at least, on my part, I can recognize hubris.
posted by: LOL on December 29, 2011 6:33pm
@bigspread and @brutus— Neither of you could have said it better. This whole ordeal reeks. The state needs to investigate the mayor.
@DavidK— I highly doubt you would rip the mayor and then agree to be investigated by a lawyer with monetary ties to the mayor. If you say otherwise, you’re either lying or employed by the mayor.
posted by: first observer on December 29, 2011 7:16pm
If it would have been a conflict of interest for Carolina’s wife to have been involved in the investigation, which it certainly would have, then it is equally a conflict of interest for a lawyer to participate who is hired by the school system (Mayo/Clark), and paid by the city (DeStefano), because of his financial, political, and professional ties to the administration.
It is appalling that Mr. Dugas refuses to do the right thing and step aside, but then, of course, money is money.
How can he—or any of the school system officials—not see that his report will carry absolutely no legitimacy, unless it totally exonerates Carolina, which, I predict here and now, will not happen?
There needs to be and OUTSIDE investigator for the probe to have any legitimacy.
The arrogance on display here is mind-boggling; but it is what we have come to expect from this inbred, corrupt city administration, which has been in office far too long. An administration that demonstrates it does not care one whit about any appearance of fairness or justice, because it has learned it can get away with this sort of garbage.
Yes, it is time for the feds or the state to start taking a look at how this city is run.
posted by: SoISay on December 29, 2011 7:20pm
And, the wife of the attorney is the Early Childhood Curriculum Coordinator for NHPS…
posted by: brutus2011 on December 29, 2011 8:01pm
I must reply to those who deride those who post without using their real names:
There is a tradition in America where those who fight against tyranny use the written word freely in the marketplace of ideas.
The New Haven Independent, among other news reporter organizations, provides a forum for people to express their views about current events.
The New Haven Independent is carrying on what may be the most important American tradition.
And so am I.
I only post under the classical pseudonym of Brutus and add the 2011 to indicate that the real Brutus was far superior to me.
I have been fortunate to have been trained by some extraordinary people, also far superior to me.
In science, by men who have made significant contributions to Los Alamos, have contributed to national defense during WW II, and have even searched for the Loch Ness monster by mounting electronic flash units and cameras to dolphins!(I actually worked on that one! What a trip! And yes, Nessie exists, or did)
And in history, by a person who is the intellectual progeny of Merle Curti and John Higham.
Am I elevating myself? I honor my teachers.
And, I only want to point out that the use of pseudonyms at a time when the ordinary citizenry is hibernating is entirely appropriate given our country’s history.
Can anyone really doubt that those in power in our city have little sense of public virtue?
posted by: Find Another Attorney on December 29, 2011 8:11pm
This isn’t a minor issue; it is one that could lead to the termination of Mr. Carolina, should Attorney Dugas determine that he is guilty of changing student grades.
When I had jury duty last year, one question asked of all potential jurors was if we had any personal knowledge or association with a physician (it was a malpractice case) or if we had ever been involved in a complaint about medical treatment. The judge asked the questions because he wanted to be sure that all jurors would be objective, uninfluenced by other experiences or relationships we had had.
The lawfirm that employs Attorney Dugas is paid a handsome sum by the New Haven Board of Education each year, and one could say that this could potentially influence an investigator’s conclusions. And then there is the subject of the contributions to the mayor’s campaign made by Mrs. Dugas and others in the firm. . ..
I don’t know if Attorney Dugas would be objective or not, but it begs the question: Wouldn’t it be better to avoid the suspicion of bias by hiring someone who isn’t connected to anyone in New Haven?
posted by: Please Ask Me on December 29, 2011 8:48pm
I promised myself I would not get involved in this matter but because it has to do with coercion and intimidation I will say just this much. As a former employee of the city where I worked at HillHouse I can definitely tell you ... how many of you remember having an unamed Assistant Principal banging on your classroom door holding a folder with a large envelope asking you if you had that check for a certain persons campaign? Or how about being told that you had to buy a ticket for a certain persons political campaign which was held at the then, “Rusty Scupper Restaurant” on Longwharf. I know because I asked questions and was told if they did not contribute then there would be consequences. I know this because this Assistant Principal had in his/her possession what was called depending on the time of the month a “green” or “blue” sheet which contained the name of the administrator / teacher, their title and yearly income. The sad part about this whole shakedown is that HillHouse was not the only school this Assistant Principal shook down. There were more schools, elementary, middle and other high schools. This practice has been going on for as long as a certain person has been in office. You teachers know who you are because you used to confide in me to complain that if you did not contribute you were afraid you would be harassed or intimidated as well as being given poor performance evaluations. This may not get printed but atleast I tried to encourage the rest of in coming forward to tell your story.
posted by: Mudear on December 29, 2011 10:23pm
Carolina and Jefferson have been effective so far in polarizing the small number of people who comment on these pages. To say that either of them have the support of the “community” remains to be seen. Some readers use this forum to attack the mayor and his associates. Others use it to attack Carolina, Jefferson and their associates. Carolina showed up at a board meeting and held a press conference when few people knew of the allegations. He then blamed his problems on retribution from the mayor and showed a note from the mayor that was his version of the smoking gun. This effectively cast him as the “victim” to an audience that has actually seen innocent people victimized by powerful others. His attorney then set to undermine the reputation of his accuser by suggesting that she had performance problems and planting the idea about time sheet for secretaries. This ploy was designed to undermine the credibility of a secretary or secretaries who often work with records. These are all pre-emptive and amateur moves by a poorly trained lawyer who fashions himself as a community pillar and operates out of a swank office in New Haven. He has taken a page from C. Vernon Mason and Alton Maddox of Tawanna Brawley fame (brother Al Sharton was also a part of that trio). The bottom line is either he did alter grades or he did not or that Shirley Joyner is lying or telling the truth. The issue is grade changing not who contributes to a mayoral campaign.
posted by: Charter revision on December 29, 2011 10:26pm
Here is the conflict of interest: Dugas’ firm makes money from the city. He investigates at the behest of the Mayor. He creates something where
is ther is nothing. He gets paid more. Will Clarke intimately involved. He is a former lawyer in that firm. His firm donates to the Mayor’s re-election. He claims he does not know if his own wife donated? Perhaps he donated under her name for fear of the potential of, now get this, a conflict of interest. There you go, conflict of interest full circle.
I understand it is hard for reasonable people to understand New Haven politics. But if you have been as involved as I have, nothing surprises you when it comes to Kimg John. This is the same guymwho said the police chief was ot leaving, and literally two days later announced the hiring of another chief. ... If we cannot get him to leave, would take some comfort in ... Mayo resigning immediately.
posted by: Mudear on December 29, 2011 10:47pm
When Shirley Joyner joined Dr. Lonnie Garris at Hillhouse High School she worked with the principal to create a college going atmosphere at the school that would add to its reputation of producing college ready minority and majority students. Under principals like Eugene Vitelli, Emma Ruff, Dr. DeNorris Crosby, Red Verderame, and Dr. Lonnie Garris, the school continued to provide opportunities for students who wanted to learn by balancing academics, the arts, and character building. When people visit the school they will see flags of some of our nation’s most prestigious universities in the front hallway and cafeteria. They will see the pictures of the top academic achievers in the senior class. They will see a group of young men from the Yale Black Mens Union mentoring freshmen. Under Garris they would have seen a service organization consisting of college admission administrators, a professor in residence, and representatives from virtually every organization in the community that can influence college acceptance rates and financial support. They will see a science wing dedicated to an alumnus that Shirley worked directly with to secure a million dollar scholarship award for Hillhouse students. All of this started with Dr. Garris and has been curtailed by the current administrator. People at the New Haven Foundation know of her work with the Pergament family to provide an administrative structure to handle the donation. The school’s treasurer knows that she can count on a personal check from Mrs. Joyner every year to help a student on the way to college. Her considerable family and friends know that people are welcome in her home (Mr. Carolina and his wife attended a cookout last August at the Joyners) without consideration of race, class, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. She is a mother, aunt, godmother, sister, and friend and has been a stalwart in this community for over 40 years. Why would someone like this end her career with a baseless accusation of grade changing? Give me a break!
posted by: Brian M. on December 29, 2011 11:12pm
Is there any anti-DeStefano storyline you guys won’t launder?
This attorney is appointed the way every board and commission appoints attorneys in every municipality in the country. But you want us to think it’s a uniquely corrupt conspiracy, just like you wanted us to think that federal education privacy law was a secret plot.
Ordinarily, a grade fixing allegation would merit some serious reporting. Instead, you’re serving up distraction after distraction.
You don’t like John DeStefano. We get it. Does that mean you have to make every single story a mayor vs. ‘our guy’ morality play?
Your road race letter story was so transparently bogus that I really wonder if there’s any anti-JDS story that you won’t believe. This is supposed to be a newspaper. Get a grip.
posted by: richgetricher on December 29, 2011 11:23pm
Dugas coerces Carolina into participating with threats of insubordination, but he will not step aside due to his obvious conflict. It’s shameful that this spectacle is taking place in the United States of America.
posted by: scammin sid on December 30, 2011 12:28am
after reading this, all i can say is the new haven school system is too large to have young teachers, male, female, black, white, etc… in positions of authority. these principals & vice-principals need to be replaced by professional managers skilled in both education and performance management. the good, young professional teachers should not be removed fromm the classrooms and moved up, that only punishes the children, and they have no managerial skill-sets. (and with professional managers, you can easily reduce these inflated salaries and positions easily by half!). only then will these webs of intrigue regarding nepotism, favoritism, and despotism in the shool system be swept aside. kermit’s a damn nice guy, but making a basketball coach a principal? this is a situation ripe for abuse…“atheletes not making the grade? wait a second, we can fix that!”
really, after reading these articles, no matter your like or dislike of destefano, the school system in new haven is systemically broken. deeply broken. it’s a veritable who’s who’s in how’d anyone get the job. everyone’s connected somehow.
posted by: New Haven Educators on December 30, 2011 1:52am
Marie Lloyd, Will Clark, Reginald Mayo, Attorney Dugas and Mayor John DeStefano: Justice must not only be done, it should also appear to be done! Where is the transparency? Where is the integrity? Where is the honesty in this process in having Mr. Dugas conduct this interview? We are appalled by the blatant arrogance and sheer disrespect for Mr. Carolina’s rights as expressed by Mr. Dugas’ and Mr. Clark’s words. Does Supt. Mayo has any independence at all? How can he so totally cave in to the dictates of the Mayor and allow this process to go forward with attorney Dugas as the investigator?
Attorney Jefferson, we sincerely hope that you are going to the State Attorney General about this. How can Dugas declare Mr. Carolina insubordinate if he does not cooperate in a malicious process designed to tarnish his reputation? What is insubordinate about not talking in private to an appointed hatchet man? It was Dr. Mayo & DeStefano who put this entire situation out in public before the BOE had any factual information. Why is the NHPS system now denying Mr. Carolina the right to have the media present? What are they trying to hide? Why the railroading and secrecy?
Mr. Dugas said attorney Jefferson can be present providing he does not interfere with his interview. That is not only arrogant, it is obnoxious and disrespectful; it is illegal. As Mr. Carolina’s attorney, Jefferson is allowed to advise his client whether he should answer questions or not. What exactly is the NHPS administration and the Mayor afraid of? In the judicial system even known murderers are allowed to have the advice of counsel and are protected from self-incrimination; why not a school principal? This is an outrage!!!!
We think attorney Jefferson should consult with the state and federal govt if necessary before agreeing to this interview. We also hope the entire process will be videotaped and published; these people cannot be trusted. This process smells of corruption. They put this out in public and now they are trying to hide their vicious intent; this is WRONG! It is UNJUST! What a terrifying message to the rest of us. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Educators, regardless of personal views towards Mr. Carolina, this is a hatchet job; it is maliciousness at its apex.
posted by: Get A Grip on December 30, 2011 10:12am
This story has simply spun way out of control—and it is the best example of why the investigation MUST take place under controlled circumstances where facts and logic rule over emotion, conjecture and hyperbole. Follow Carolina’s lead, let this proceed to “fact-finding” before all of you Monday morning quarterbacks start popping your conclusions all over the place.
Allegations of grade-changing constitute serious fraud that smacks at the core of the educational system. It is no insignificant matter. It not only cheats those students who worked honestly and fairly to get the grades and credits they obtained, it also discredits the very students in whose favor the grades/credits were manipulated. Let’s stop this circus and get on with the investigation. The media IS NOT the right forum for this to take place. I have no doubt that Attorney Jefferson is fully capable of safeguarding Carolina’s rights during this investigation. If he feels referral to other authorities is appropriate, he will take those steps on his own volition.
posted by: Threefifths on December 30, 2011 10:22am
@ (Mr. Carolina and his wife attended a cookout last August at the Joyners) without consideration of race, class, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. She is a mother, aunt, godmother, sister, and friend and has been a stalwart in this community for over 40 years. Why would someone like this end her career with a baseless accusation of grade changing? Give me a break!
Judas was at The Last Supper.So what is your point.
posted by: westville man on December 30, 2011 10:48am
Let me remind all of you who “disagree” w Carolina & Jefferson on this matter of HOW the process started!
Joyner (apparently) goes to Mayo/JD about an issue of grade-fixing at HH High. Supposedly concerned about the issue, and without informing the HEAD of the high school( Mr. Carolina), Mayo decides to call a covert emergency board meeting.
How does Carolina hear about the board meeting? Through the press- they conntact him the morning of the hearing about a hearing on a NH public school. He knows nothing about it. Then they tell him a bit later that it’s about HIS school!! Mayo finally returns his calls and apologizes later that day about not letting Carolina know and encourages him NOT to attend.
Why? So they can place him on “leave” after the meeting when it accidently leaked out it was HH (as it already did)??
He did the right thing in showing up and now with his career on the line he needs to control some aspects of this so-called investigation.
I suspect the grading system at the school is password protected so there will be little ivestigation needed to determine what was done, when it was done and by whom.
And when Carolina’s name is cleared, I’ll be back here asking for apologies from the aforementioned posters.
posted by: robn on December 30, 2011 11:07am
It’s in the interest of the city to find out whether or not there has been grade-fixing and who did it. There is no conflict of interest in this investigation unless the investigator lies or distorts testimony to obscure the truth. Were that to happen it becomes a civil matter. Right now it’s just an administrative matter and there is no conflict if interest.
Sorry. I know that a lot of people really like KC but he’s answerable to his boss just like everyone else.
If there are complaints about campaign contribution shakedowns within the school system that’s an exclusive matter and I encourage the accusers to take their complaints to a higher authority.
posted by: LOL on December 30, 2011 11:21am
@mudear - Why would a mayor keep a superintendent who has a track record of failure over two decades? (What ever happened to Mayo’s “5 Bold Goals”?)
What is the mayor’s explanation for first claiming he didn’t recall writing that note to Carolina, then “suddenly remembering” and claiming he authored it after Carolina’s participation in a 5K race? Besides, who writes “you were there” if they wanted to THANK somebody for their participation? What, “Thanks for coming” doesn’t work??!!
Is it not a conflict of interest that Dugas works for a law firm that contributes significantly to the mayor’s campaign, and at which NHPS honcho Clark was once employed?
This case has everything to do with nepotism and retribution.
Why would a well-respected principal be circumvented on this investigation? It apparently is OK for city officials to claim that the principal’s leading of any investigation would be a conflict of interest, but it’s fine that the investigation be led by one who contributes money to the lead city official??!!
No wonder the mayor and Mayo employ lawyers at 54 Meadow St. They are good at spinning things.
posted by: westville man on December 30, 2011 11:33am
He’s has to answer to his boss but as of THIS very moment, he STILL has not been told whose grades were supposedly fixed- in his own school!!
I wonder what your take would be if you were in his position.
posted by: DavidK on December 30, 2011 12:13pm
@LOL—I am retired and pay property tax in New Haven. ... the issue is, did he order subordinates to doctor test results. Principals have been known to resort to this tactic to retain there job. On this issue Carolina “doth protest too much”. That makes him appear guilty.
posted by: Noteworthy on December 30, 2011 12:34pm
I find it interesting that Attorney Floyd Dugas can claim he doesn’t know anything about what others in his firm are doing with respect to campaign contributions to DeStefano. At best it is laughable, at worst, it’s a lie. This one case will bring the firm $50K or so. To say nobody in the firm discussed making cmpaign contributions is a real stretch.
The conflict is clear. Dugas’ and Clark’s defense of the conflict is not.
posted by: robn on December 30, 2011 2:48pm
If I were in KCs place and innocent of wrongdoing I’d want to know if there were grade-fixing in my highschool, would want to know who did it and would, therefore, cooperate with a BOE investigation.
posted by: ciarrai on December 30, 2011 3:16pm
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, Attorney Jefferson.
posted by: youmustlearn on December 30, 2011 6:36pm
The degree of cognitive dissonance In so e of these postings is incredible. Everyone posting here knows that John DeStefano is a bulky that is truth-challenged. We all know that; the Mayor knows that himself. If Kermit was not informed of the investigation before it started, then one could only conclude that he was suspected of doing it. Investigations of serious school matters are done by the principal unless it is believed that the principal is involved. As such, it seems as though Reggie Mayo had already concluded that there was merit to the accusation. The question is, then, what evidence did Reggie Mayo have ot call for an investigation? All he had was the word of a high-priced interior designer whose legacy Weill be the perfect placement of college flags I. The hallway, and having nice floral arrangements on the stage. She had nothing at all to do with the Pergamont scholarships. Oh, that’s right, she organized a reception for the announcement of the gift.
There will be no findin of grade tampering, because none happened.
For this that question if Carolina is qualified to be principal, consider this: He is a certified Social Studies teacher who taught that subject at least 5 years. H served as an assistant principal at Hillhouse (having earned administrative certification). He was heavily recruited by Mayo himself to take the job. Kermit was an outstanding teacher and assistant principal. He is an excellent principal, just ask the students who hold him in very high esteem. Ask the parents whose kids are in a much safer school. I am sure that people did not question his predecessors credentials, although he was a shop teacher before becoming principal and Red Verderame did not even have administrative
certification. The high school principalship is the most difficult to fill with someone great, New Haven got very lucky with Kermit.
posted by: South West on December 30, 2011 6:51pm
I wouldn’t trust none of Johnny Boy hired guns because they are all in his pocket. All I can say is remember the Federal Investigation regarding the city during the years of 1999 and following’‘?
posted by: LOL on December 30, 2011 8:24pm
@David K - No, the issue is that an emergency meeting was called regarding grade changing at Hillhouse without the principal’s knowledge. Anybody who knows Mr. Carolina knows that he is honest and there for the kids. Carolina has every right to be outraged that neither the BOE nor Mayo had the decency and professionalism to notify Carolina of the meeting. That reeks of retribution on the mayor’s part.
posted by: LOL on December 30, 2011 8:26pm
Keep fighting, Mr. Jefferson. Please keep fighting! The district needs MORE upstanding individuals like Mr. Carolina. Not mayors who can’t remember writing notes and superintendents who get chance after chance over a two-decade span.
posted by: Mookie Blaylock on December 31, 2011 12:25am
The anti-DeStefano crowd has officially gone off the deep end. A few days ago, the entire focus was on this handwritten note, which Principal Carolina claimed was a threatening message from the Mayor for supporting his opponent. An identical note surfaces from another City employee, and the immediate reaction is that it was forged after the fact. Like Rob Smuts, a yale graduate who has his entire career ahead of him and will be in need of employment long after DeStefano retires, would jeopardize his entire career in order to seek revenge on some principal that nobody has ever heard of for supporting DeStefano’s opponent. So then, everyone comes on here asking for additional notes. Lo and behold 2 more City employees produce notes with the same exact message. And yet, the DeStefano haters still don’t buy it. It reminds me of the birthers who still don’t think the birth certificate is real. And now we’re supposed to believe that this law firm, which has spent years and years building up a reputable practice, would jeopardize all of that to frame this guy?? Come on.
posted by: Observer on December 31, 2011 8:54am
Where’s Tony Dawson—defender of New haven’s black folks???? Tony, THIS IS THE GUY YOU ENDORSED in that pathetic press conference that will haunt you or the rest of your life! No sooner is the election over than he is going about settling scores because he is a petty vindictive jerk. Now he is going after one of our communities true leaders because he didn’t support his campaign. BTW, this attorney knows his role is a blatant conflict of interest because he has personal gain at stake here. This will get uglier before its over. Tony where are you now???
posted by: Threefifths on December 31, 2011 10:56am
posted by: ciarrai on December 30, 2011 2:16pm
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, Attorney Jefferson
Malachi 3:18: Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked.
posted by: SteveO on December 31, 2011 11:41am
I don’t know much about New Haven politics, but I know about Kermit Carolina.
As a parent with a basketball playing kid, I have watched Mr. Carolina work with kids from the most difficult sections of New Haven for more than 18 years. (Note: my “kid” is 28 years old now.)
Anyone can be a success working with motivated kids from privileged backgrounds.
Mr. Carolina has always chosen the harder road of working with the kids who have the fewest advantages from the toughest sections of New Haven. And he has been a success.
And he has done it with grace, with passion, with intensity, with professionalism, and with good humor. He never gives up on his kids. He may push them harder than they expect, but he never walks away from them.
He has been an inspiration to a generation of kids, and to me, a 59 year old white guy from the suburbs.
The world needs more people like Mr. Carolina, not fewer. Just saying.
posted by: JMS on December 31, 2011 2:43pm
I would vote for Kermit Carolina should he decide to cut to the chase and run for mayor. I’m just sayin’.
posted by: robn on December 31, 2011 6:20pm
Have to admit that I learn a little bit more every time I read these comments. I had no idea that Superintendent Mayo positioned a basketball coach with just 5 years of Social Studies experience and a stint as Assistant Principal to run one of the biggest and most distressed schools in New Haven. I find both this and your story about his predecessors shallow experience deeply troubling.
Nevertheless, neither Superintendent Mayos judgment nor Mayor Destefanos letter writing, nor Principal Carolinas quals are the issue. The issue is:
Is there grade fixing in the NHPS and if so, who is doing it?
posted by: LOL on December 31, 2011 7:20pm
@robn—... How is KC supposed to “answer to his boss” when his bosses called an emergency meeting without his knowledge?
@mookie—Two things: 1. The mayor initially said he didn’t recall writing the note to KC then “suddenly remembered”. 2. The mayor is not retired (unfortunately) meaning Smuts has to keep his job first and foremost.
Seems as if the mayor’s defenders will look the other way when it suits the mayor.
posted by: LOL on December 31, 2011 7:23pm
ALSO @ROBN—... Celentano’s principal was appointed head of that PreK-8 school despite only teaching at the HS level and for less than 10 years. CMA’s scores have marginally improved thanks to an environment of intimidation fostered by that principal at the urging of Mayo. It’s all about the test scores—nothing more.
posted by: robn on December 31, 2011 7:30pm
Do your bosses inform you every time there is a higher up discussion about your performance or everytime there is a higher up discussion about something negative that might be happening in your department?
Has KC not been asked to sit down for an interview where presumably the confidential matters of students can be discussed legally and discreetly amongst involved parties (something that can’t happen in a public BOE meeting)?
posted by: LOL on December 31, 2011 10:10pm
ROBN - By contract, they are required to do so.
Also, how would administrative discussions about my performance benefit me if I never knew of them?
posted by: westville man on January 1, 2012 1:29pm
... As Attorney Jefferson stated- you can’t “unring” a bell. Once they get Carolina jettisoned appropriately, they can then place him “on leave” and essentially ruin is reputation and his chances to prove his innocence.
Would you play by the rules in any kangaroo court that wanted to try you? ...
posted by: westville man on January 1, 2012 1:33pm
@ Steve O
THANK YOU. Your comments mirror my personal experience w Principal Carolina. You said it beautifully..
posted by: Shucky Ducky on January 1, 2012 3:49pm
Well, I may as well get everything out. Having not been gone that long, its as though I am still there (connections are great). I just have a few more quack quacks.
1. Regarding the comment Mudear made about the two deans fighting at Hillhouse, I have to back up your story, that is true. Everyone thinks when they say “deand involved in a fight” it was referring only to the incident that involved kids fighting but in additon to that being true, it is also true that they were both in a physical altercation with eachother. End result, one messed up his hand (reportly a broken finger) while punching the crap out of the other who winded up with an injured (possibly broken) jaw. Mind you, one of these deans is/was the “Head Dean of Students” who allowed student to have physical altercations in the bathrooms, all under his & other deans watch. The things people forget is that kids talk, especially if they trust the adult they’re giving information to. How can we allow our children to be disciplined by adults who are quick to discipline but cannot keep themselves in order?????
2. Regarding the run of the school. Hillhouse may look good on outside but the inside reeks. The writing was all over the walls as I was leaving. I don’t care how much people say “oh, Carolina is doing this and that for the school, oh he’s doing an excellent job”, truth is he should have never been placed there as principal. He has no prior principal experience and it was just a pure hook-up by his “Godfather” Mayo. A few meetings and boom, he’s principal. I’m sure there were so many more qualified people for this position. That hookup just proves again that this system is not what you know, but WHO you know (good ole boys network). If it weren’t for the consultants (and possibly Mr. Nguyen) leading and guiding Carolina by the hand (and ear), the school would have fallen apart long before now. It would have just been better to hire one of the consultants to run the school and they could have saved thousands of $. Whats happening now is no surprise to people who work there, They’re just afraid that if they do speak up, they will be next on the chopping block. Its too bad they are stuck there, HH was once a great place to work. That was really an extended family-oriented workplace. Good laughs, people more than willing to help eachother, etc. Now as I am told, to be constantly threatened that you are not a good teacher after 25-30 years of getting excellent evaluations year after year is a straight punch to the gut. People are so close to retirement and suddenly their jobs are being threatened because some inexperienced, arrogant ??? thinks they can’t teach. Smh.
3. I, along with lots others are still wondering why in the world would Mayo place a failed principal who couldn’t “make the grade” at Hillhouse, another failing school. This person was kicked out of their school by the state because he couldn’t do his job to the state’s satisfaction and now he’s driving everybody crazy at HH. Is this is a setup to help HH finish failing? This person is all over the place and in every departments business, yet he couldn’t handle his own business. People cannot even do their jobs properly without him interferring or even trying to take over. The worst part of this is that he thinks he knows EVERYTHING. There is not one subject he doesn’t know anything about. If he is so smart now and has all the answers, what happened at his own school. My point is, he shouldn’t have been transferred to HH or any other school, he should have just been forced to retired. (To the state, “Help, HH has fallen and can’t get up”.)
5. Regarding grade changing and the person who enters grades or changes grades. These secretaries only enter what is given to them. There is no benefit of any kind for them regarding this. The blame still goes to the person who gives this directive so blame should be placed in its proper place. While I’m on this one, is anyone going to check out Riverside Academy, a place where that principal makes “miracles” happen. Knowing Gibbs the way I do, If these grade changes are on Carolina’s athletes transcripts who transferred to Gibbs’ school, then I can pretty much guarantee that there is a strong connection to this grade change mess. There is nothing she will not do to help him, her best friend, her mentor, and no disrespect to his mom, but “her son”. This is not to be overlooked while this investigation is taking place.
7. Lastly, why are all of his newly picked team ALL men, and why is so many of his YOUNG MALE FRIENDS the only one getting jobs? Some of these young men shouldn’t even be working around these young high school (female) students (for obvious reasons). There have been some women trying to get some of these jobs and have their credentials in order but continue to be overlooked.
So glad I am not there anymore. I couldn’t have left at a better time. I wouldn’t want to be apart of something so terrible. While Carolina is trying to do everything possible to take the spotlight off of himself and throw it on the mayor, he first needs to put blame where is belongs, on himself. Just because people like him, it takes much more to successfully run a school. So far, he gets an F from his staff. This thing is about grade changing which took place under “his” short-term leadership.
I know Dr. Garris was ready to retire but this is not where he left this school. Seeing what this school is now going through, the city needs him back. It’d be a good idea for Mayo to call him back until they can find someone more suitable to get HH back in order. This school is clearly out of control and too much for Carolina to handle. He simply isn’t principal material.
posted by: Mudear on January 2, 2012 12:34pm
@youmustlearn and @three fifthsofabrain
Your point about Judas at the last supper—Judas was a male and a little known fact was that he also coached basketball in Jerusalem prior to becoming a disciple. He recruited players from all over the realm often using older Romans and an occasional Canaanite to pad his roster. He even used Goliath as a post player before the big fella ticked off the point guard in an intra-squad scrimmage. The point guard’s name was David by the way. As far as the interior decorator comment, cleanliness is next to godliness. Yet she does more as there are more kids in college because of her work at Hillhouse and throughout the city and there are kids in school as we write that were given financial support directly from her heart and her checkbook. Who are you helping? I would like to quote Rick James’ famous last word but am too much of a lady to do so. Now what I mean?
posted by: DavidK on January 2, 2012 12:51pm
I guess Shakespeare was right to distrust people who “protested too much” when questioned.
posted by: Reverend Seemore Evil on January 2, 2012 1:11pm
Shucky Ducky is on to something! The duckster must really know what is going on at HH. You just described a person who crashed his own plane and was assigned to HH as a co-pilot who flunked flight school. Go figure. You have a guy who crashed and burned advising a guy who is flying the unfriendly skies with no radar, no knowledge of how to use his instruments, and a flight crew that is clueless except for three hard working women who offer some semblance of professionalism. Where are the Redtails when we need them? There are too many coincidences regarding the connection between the two pilots, both of them worked at Riverside at one time and they were happily reunited at HH. This lends new meaning to flying united. I hate to think of the image this evokes as I know both of the gentlemen in question. One knows everything as you indicated and the other is influenced by his muse from his swank office on the Avenue. I hope the brother to the North of them gets out before it is too late. He is a good guy and it might be time for him to declare his emancipation and think about his obligation to his heritage and his family instead of chasing guys who embrace chaos and deceit in the name of helping the community. Shucky Ducky is on to something! My fine-feathered friend must really know what is going on at HH. You just described a person who crashed his own plane and was assigned to HH as a co-pilot who flunked flight school. Go figure. You have a guy who crashed and burned advising a guy who is flying the unfriendly skies with no radar, no knowledge of how to use his instruments, and a flight crew that is clueless except for three hard working women who offer some semblance of professionalism. Where are the Red tails when we need them? There are too many coincidences regarding the connection between the two pilots, both of them worked at Riverside at one time and they were happily reunited at HH. This lends new meaning to flying united. I hate to think of the image this evokes, as I know both of the gentlemen in question. One knows everything as you indicated and the other is influenced by an attorney from his swank office on Dixwell Avenue. I hope the brother to the North of them gets out before it is too late. He is a good guy and it might be time for him to declare his emancipation and think about his obligation to his heritage and his family instead of chasing guys who embrace chaos and deceit in the name of helping the community.
Carolina’s attack of the Mayor to distract from the allegations of grade changing is strangely similar when he criticized officiating at a HH versus Xavier basketball game during his final years as a coach.Some of the text is taken verbatim from the article in the New Haven Register.
Hillhouse boys’ basketball coach Kermit Carolina did not back off his inflammatory comments about the officiating by the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials Board VI crew in the Academics’ 64-58 win at Xavier Friday night.
Carolina told WFSB-3 about his disgust with the officiating. Every school in the Southern Connecticut Conference uses Board X, except for Xavier and Fairfield Prep.
“I can’t believe in this day and age, we still can’t walk into a gymnasium and play on a level playing field,” Carolina said immediately after Friday’s game. “I’m not the only coach that comes in here and complains about playing in Middletown and the treatment we get from the officials up here. A lot of coaches say it behind closed doors. ... Xavier’s gym is like our gym and every other gym in Connecticut. I need to say that not just for me, but for other coaches around the state. We should come up here and get a fair shake.”
Carolina was still pretty heated about the situation on Saturday.
“It was like being robbed in broad daylight,” Carolina said. “I become the bad guy for yelling about it. People want you to suffer peacefully and don’t rock the boat, but I’m not that kind of man, and I’m never going to allow my kids to be treated unfairly.”
In this game, the officials called more fouls on Xavier (16-13) and Hillhouse went to the free throw line more (17 to 14). Carolina’s response was, “Statistics do not tell the whole story,” adding that Xavier fouled a lot late in the game to put Hillhouse on the free-throw line.
Said Kohs: “For him to make those comments (to WFSB-3) was absolutely disgusting. They send the top guys from Board VI to our games. I have all the respect in the world for his kids. They are extremely talented and carry themselves very well on the court. But I have a major problem with the head coach of that program. It’s just a complete lack of class and sportsmanship.”
Dave Anderson, who was one of the three officials on the game, is also the president of Board VI. He plans to contact both Joe Tonelli, the CIAC’s representative of officials, and the CIAC sportsmanship committee on Monday to file an official complaint against Carolina.
“His comments were not only extremely derogatory, but totally untrue and unfounded,” Anderson said. “He made assumptions that were totally inaccurate. He questioned our integrity and the integrity of Xavier High. I want a retraction of his comments and a formal apology.”
Statistics and evidence do not matter with this guy and I will not be surprised when he blames the Mayor for the losses he had in state championship games with a lead in the final minute. Remember Trinity Catholic and Crosby? Hillhouse hired a high priced recruiter who coached up until the last minute, lost two state championships when he was the top-ranked team, and is now trying to run Hillhouse like it is a high school basketball team. We will see what happens if he is allowed to cut some of his best people and keep his know it all co-pilot. We should be worried about the passengers—our children!
posted by: Threefifths on January 2, 2012 7:43pm
@youmustlearn and @three fifthsofabrain
Your point about Judas at the last supper—Judas was a male and a little known fact was that he also coached basketball in Jerusalem prior to becoming a disciple. He recruited players from all over the realm often using older Romans and an occasional Canaanite to pad his roster. He even used Goliath as a post player before the big fella ticked off the point guard in an intra-squad scrimmage. The point guard’s name was David by the way
You need to maybe take you head out of the hoop.Please show me what part of bibical history that judas coached basketball in Jerusalem. In fact a man by the James Naismith was the Canadian physical education instructor who invented basketball in 1891. Also the only male by the name of judas who coached basktball was Judas T. Prada the head basketball coach at South Alabama.Maybe you should get your grade change.
posted by: Reverend Seemore on January 2, 2012 11:37pm
Threefifths There are competing explanations about Judas ... How do you make a leap from someone inviting another to their home in the spirit of fellowship to depicting the person as Judas? Your analogy is flawed as is your inability to address the issue of whether there has been any wrongdoing. I guess that no good deed goes unpunished. We remain behind because we cannot face hard truths about the things we do to ourselves that disrupt life in our communities as we continue to major in minors. ... We are now and always have been full men despite a concerted attempt by evil people within and outside our group that would have us think otherwise. You are not 3 but 5 fifths. Set your sights and your thoughts higher!
posted by: Save Hillhouse on January 3, 2012 12:18am
There is a great deal of disinformation in these comments. As a veteran Hillhouse teacher I feel compelled to weigh in.
youmustlearn(appropriate name) and Robn:
First, I’m troubled that some are attempting to impugn Dr. Garris in order to lift up the dilettante that replaced him. Dr. Garris’ credentials and record speak for themselves. While I don’t know detailed dates and locations that positions were held, I do know that Dr. Garris was a teacher for a decade, worked as an administrator for a decade serving as a department head and assistant principal before becoming principal. He holds a BS, MS, 6th year and PhD. Not shallow experience, Robn.
In 20 years as principal he introduced small learning communities including Teacher Prep, Engineering, and Communications. He expanded Advanced Placement, dramatically improved attendance with the 160 day rule, brought in ROTC and successfully guided the school through two accreditations among other achievements. It should also be pointed out that his tenure precedes both Mayor Destefano and Dr. Mayo. There is simply no comparison between the current and former principal.
As for Mr. Carolina, it is well known that his quick and unmerited rise is due to cronyism. As another commenter mentioned he’s well connected with Dr. Mayo. Despite that most teachers gave him a chance and kept an open mind to his initiatives. Younger teachers were decidedly more enthusiastic about the reform efforts, as the young often are. But even they see it now for the smoke and mirrors and window dressing that it is. The atmosphere is toxic and teachers are demoralized. He runs the school the same way he responded to these allegations. All bluster, no substance, misdirection and casting aspersions. It’s no coincidence that staff absences have increased 3-4 fold under Principal Carolina. Before any of the current shenanigans erupted there was some talk of a no confidence vote. However, it was decided against given the atmosphere of fear and intimidation that has taken over the school. Perhaps it will move forward now. Though it’s probably better to let things play out.
Conspiracy theorists and Destefano haters:
Let me assure you that a grade has both a paper and electronic trail. If a discrepancy emerges after the fact it will be evident. And any attempts at covering things up would also leave a record creating new evidence. If people were asked to assist in changing a grade under suspicious circumstances and have half a brain they made sure it was signed off on so there are very likely signed documents out there. It either happened or it didn’t. The evidence is either there or it isn’t. Manufacturing evidence given the paper and electronic trail is highly unlikely and would involve too many people. Use your brains on this one and let the investigation play out.
I’m a long time reader of the Independent and your previous work at The Advocate. However, I and a number of other teachers have been disappointed in your school reform coverage. Particularly the puff pieces about Hillhouse, the most egregious being the article on the so called deans. The deans are a disaster, waste of money and pure cronyism. Some commenters with inside knowledge have mentioned the fighting, chaos and lack of discipline that are now part of Hillhouse. This is happening because the deans lack training and professionalism and because Principal Carolina passes the buck on most matters unless he’s left with no choice. Beyond the incidents with deans allowing students to fight and two deans fighting each other, they behave inappropriately toward female students without reprimand.
Please return to your investigative roots and get to the bottom of the trouble a Hillhouse, Paul. You would be doing a real community service.
posted by: robn on January 3, 2012 12:15pm
If I erroneously read YOUMUSTLEARN’s comment and insulted a competent past administrator, I do apologize.
posted by: brutus2011 on January 3, 2012 1:16pm
to “Save Hillhouse:”
Where have you been?
Come off the sidelines and speak up.
And bring along other teachers as well.
Teachers are the key to effective school reform.
But not in the way administrators would have us believe.
Teachers need to be utilized in a much more efficient fashion. (Someone please ask me how.)
Imagine if only 10 per cent of teachers spoke up about the real, or true, conditions in our schools.
It just might awaken the citizenry who has no idea at how they have been kept in the dark as what really transpires within NHPS.
Every time I read of someone from NHPS management breathe the word “transparency,” I want to vomit!
The very last thing NHPS management wants is transparency.
Teachers come out and post or protest or both!(Don’t listen to our union, they are beholden to management)
posted by: Threefifths on January 3, 2012 3:30pm
Threefifths There are competing explanations about Judas ... How do you make a leap from someone inviting another to their home in the spirit of fellowship to depicting the person as Judas;
The last I read It was Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.The point is Betrayal and backstabbing.Was not judas at the last supper.We can also look at what Marcus Junius Brutus Caepio did to Gaius Julius Caesar.
I guess that no good deed goes unpunished. We remain behind because we cannot face hard truths about the things we do to ourselves that disrupt life in our communities as we continue to major in minors. ... We are now and always have been full men despite a concerted attempt by evil people within and outside our group that would have us think otherwise. You are not 3 but 5 fifths. Set your sights and your thoughts higher!
We remain behind because of the Judas goat leaders sell outs and those who still go to the back door and get that Chicken Leg and Butter Biscuits.
posted by: William F. Anderson on January 3, 2012 9:44pm
Teachers and parents of Hillhouse need to speak up about what has been going on at Hillhouse under this new inexperienced principal. Parents need to attend every Parents’ Night and should come and visit the school and their children’s teachers and their classes. Parents, talk to your kids. Ask them what is going on at the school on a daily basis. Ask your kids how many of their teachers are absent on any given day. Ask them what they do when one or more of their teachers are absent. Ask them about inappropriate rap music played by the principal twice each day.
Paul Bass, investigate and report to the parents and the public what needs to be told.
Most of the postings here about Carolina and the teachers and low teacher morale are accurate.
The fighting and flirting of certain deans is accurate. Deans are supposed to maintain discipline and order in the school. Most people think they are administrators, but they are not, even thought they suspend students. At certain times of the day, usually by noon, most deans disappear and kids freely roam the halls. Some deans and certain administrators have been known to leave school during the school day to go to a certain barber shop on State Street to get their haircuts.
What are the qualifications to be a dean? Apparently at Hillhouse any Black male friend of Carolina who has some connection to athletics can be a dean.
The threats against and intimidation of teachers by the principal and other administrators to give passing grades to kids who fail to do work is accurate.
Changing or manipulating data to mislead the staff, the parents and the public and the Board is accurate.
Bullying of staff by the principal is accurate.Carolina regularly gets mad at his staff and reprimands them publicly on the P.A. system for all the students to hear.
Many who have been victims of his wrath have been women: Carolina cursed out the secretaries in the main office accusing them of not answering the phones. He transferred a veteran clerk to an undesirable location in the building compelling her to retired before she desired. Now this controversy with Mrs. Shirley Love Joyner, a long-time educator and administrator who Carolina accuses of lying about grade tampering and conspiring with the mayor to get him out of Hillhouse.
Many excellent teachers have transferred from Hillhouse or plan to do so as soon as opportunity arises. Others feel stuck because they may not want to leave, but hate the pressured climate of fear and intimidation and disrespect. Most of the current staff long for more mature, stable, and caring leadership of Dr. Lonnie Garris.
posted by: LOL on January 4, 2012 8:03am
@William Anderson—You should know that the pressure for administrators to intimidate teachers and staff comes directly from the superintendent who works in a building that has no students, teachers or principals.
Equally as sickening is this so-called principal evaluation that the teachers’ union claims gives teachers a voice. Laughable. The principal at CMA received two straight extremely poor evaluations. Downtown’s response? Well, teachers just don’t like the principal.
Some voice teachers have ...
Thanks for nothing NHFT.
posted by: CMP on January 4, 2012 9:35am
NHI: What would be helpful is a story on the allegations and perhaps some journalistic inquiry as the to the validity (if any). You are solely responsible for dividing this City with the articles you print. Readers’ comments are based on nonsense parts of the story. City residents pick a side based on like/dislike and conspiracy theory as opposed to facts—which they cannot base comments on because the article(s) contain few…and those are typically unrelated to the allegation. Pick up your game.
posted by: westville man on January 4, 2012 9:49am
@ William Anderson
Can you clarify for me the basis of your information for your posts, especially the last post? Are these 1st hand accounts (eg- you were present), 2nd hand accounts, some type of “insider” provided info?? Thank you.
posted by: William F. Anderson on January 4, 2012 10:54am
There is a lot of pressure and intimidation in the New Haven public schools to improve student achievement. The mayor pressures the Superintendent, the superintendent pressures his supervisors, the supervisors pressure the principals, the principals pressure the department heads, the department heads pressure the teaches, and the teachers pressure the students. It is a highly pressured environment in New Haven, especially during testing times and prior to and directly after the results of the state tests are made public.
Kids are placed under a great deal of pressure throughout the school year to perform well on these tests.
Many schools operate under a stress filled environment. This is very sad and unfortunate, especially for the students.
Dear Westville Man: The sources for my postings must remain confidential but their information is factual, reliable and undeniable.
If Paul Bass or any investigative reporter would interview students, parents and staff members of Hillhouse we will find that many of the postings here reflect what is actually going on at Hillhouse.
Maybe Westville Man should make a visit to the school to observe first hand for himself to determine the veracity of these accusations.
posted by: Threefifths on January 4, 2012 11:48am
@William F. Anderson Everyone has sources.Did your sources tell you this.Mine did.They told me that This administrator feels that she doesn’t have to follow orders from Mr.Carolina.She was ask to do something and she didn’t,So he wrote her up.Bottom line is time will tell on who is speaking the truth.
posted by: westville man on January 4, 2012 12:38pm
I’ve been to the school just recently. But to say that some other person’s opinion, observation or perception constitutes “factual, reliable and undeniable” information raises serious doubt about your own credibility. Of course their claims may be denied and may merely be opinion. You can believe them, but we dont have to. Unless you were actually there, you’re making specious arguments- they sound great, but no different than any other post here.
I welcome NHI follow up on this to see where it falls. We can agree on that.
posted by: brutus2011 on January 4, 2012 12:49pm
Check out this link:
Worth a few minutes to consider…
posted by: westville man on January 4, 2012 12:52pm
@ Wm Anderson
Just an aside, my post didnt ask you to reveal sources. It asked you HOW you get your information. Interesting reply though.
posted by: brain on January 4, 2012 6:55pm
The city pays Dugas, a partner in the firm, $225 an hour, according to Clark.
looks like he’ll get those campaign donations back