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Kase: “Shocking” Principal Should Have Been Fired, News 12 Airs Videos Of Principal Dragging Students

February 22nd, 2014 · 40 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Education, News and Events

News 12 on Friday released videos showing Tisdale School principal Carmen Perez Dickson dragging kindergarten children down the hallway that last year triggered protests from parents and a six-month suspension that critics say should have been termination including Chief Administrative Officer Sandra Kase who reiterated her position today, calling the incident “shocking.” A parent provided the videos to News 12.


Nakeya Hargrove, mom of one of the students Carmen Perez Dickson is accused of dragging through the hall at Tisdale School, holds some of her child’s schoolwork Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 at her home in Bridgeport. She was not happy Dickson was suspended and not fired. Caption: CT Post, Photo: Autumn Driscoll, CT Post.

Last year the school board by a 4-3 vote, including current members Sauda Baraka, John Bagley and Jacqueline Kelleher, approved suspension over termination. What if this were your child? Or your grandchild? How would you feel? See News 12 video here.

OIB coverage here.

CT Post coverage here.

Education Bridgeport stories here.


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40 Comments so far ↓

  • John Marshall Lee

    Are the three episodes recorded here material from the cameras in the schools, perhaps abbreviated and treated so the identity of the youths is protected? Do I understand the episodes were at different times of the school year and that footage was brought to the attention of security superiors but ignored for many months? Has there ever been background on the three incidents as to why the students had gotten into such conflict or confrontation with administrators? And is there anything more in the record from the principal as to why she felt her action fell within school policy?
    As a mentor at Roosevelt several years ago I was able to watch two security officers regularly tested by students who would be in the halls wandering, or running around and Perez-Dickson was Principal at that time, though I never saw anything like what this video indicates. More recently I have been at Madison School and I have seen lots of active kids but they are behaving in known and respectful ways.

    What can Chairperson Baraka share with us to inform and educate why the consequences, such as they are, represent appropriate handling? We need to listen to the whole story, I guess, and see what is offered as explanation. For instance I believe the person in security to whom the three videos were sent and basically ignored it seems was terminated. If that is the case, what has protected the actual perpetrator?
    And as to community consequences, have any suits been filed on behalf of these activities against the City yet? What have been expenses from the BOE, if any, with respect to these episodes that tap the BOE budget? If they have significance it shows ‘the kids in the classroom’ are not getting full attention as is frequently heard. Why not? Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    John, all your questions could be answered but the thing is this principal had no business doing what she did. I don’t care about what if’s or if this is a repeat performance, this is a kid who is being affected. My question is what is the on-the-job history for this principal. Is this what we are to expect from the new BOE representatives, looks like the good old girl system.

  • banmenow

    Dickson should have been fired. Her behavior is inexcusable.
    She is supposedly an educator with over 30 year’s experience. She has a nurse, social worker and psychologist available to her. You mean to tell me with all those people with various degrees they couldn’t talk down and defuse the situation? Short of the student having a gun and putting themself and others in an immediate life-threatening situation there were other options available than dragging a child down a hallway.
    No excuse, the board failed the children and parents of Bridgeport by not firing her.

  • anna

    The Working Families Party in charge. Careful what you wish for.

  • Baffled in Bridgeport

    Long-time and retired teachers I have spoken to tell me when they worked in the same building where Perez Dickson was principal, teachers did everything they could not to send their kids to the principal’s office because they knew the punishment would be swift, severe and not rational.

  • Phil Smith

    This is what happens when you have BOE members financed by, and beholden to, labor unions.

    • Eric Alicea

      As a recent WFP candidate for BOE, I have to say you couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, I proudly feed my family for more than 13 years as a member of CWA, however, not once did a union official “instruct” me as to how I should view a particular issue.

      • LennieGrimaldi

        Hi Eric, thanks for weighing in. If you care to share, how would you have voted on the Dickson matter?

        • Eric Alicea

          Hi Lennie, my gut reaction was Ms. Dickson should be let go. It was surreal to see the video footage. With that I do trust the process. Ms. Dickson had a right under the collective bargaining agreement to have the BOE decide her case. I would like to think the board members who were a part of the decision listened to the facts and evidence in the case, and voted based on their interpretation of the facts and not because of individual bias. I was not privy to any additional information the general public did not have access to. There are certainly more questions I would like answered, such as, What role if any did BPD play in the investigation? Does the recent information about BPS and special-needs classification play a role in this process? Where were the security guard(s)? What took so long for the parent(s) or other stakeholders to come forward? What was the basis for DCF to unsubstantiate the claim of abuse or neglect? I also have an opinion regarding Sauda Baraka’s role. If Ms. Baraka recused herself and the votes were cast in the same way, Ms. Dickson would have returned to work immediately as a result of a tie vote.

  • Godiva2011

    That woman has serious issues with anger and should have rightfully been fired when this incident occurred, not to mention being charged with child abuse and assault. If that were my child, I would not have been responsible for my actions, as I’m certain I would have gone temporarily out of my mind and given her a taste of her own medicine. Shame on the BOE for giving her a slap on the wrist. Have the parents brought a civil suit against her? If not, why not?


    I agree with Godiva 150%. Does anyone give a damn about these kids?
    Is this principal “connected” and thus above being charged with assault on a minor?
    The problem with this city is too many of the people in charge are friends of friends who don’t live in the city or have kids in these schools and have their own agendas and not an iota of care about the kids or the city just their pockets and their agendas.
    If you are on the BOE you should have kids in these schools.
    If you are in charge of the security you should have kids in these schools.
    If you are in charge of the maintenance of these buildings you should have kids in these schools so your agenda should be the well-being of the damn schools and the children not your political agenda and grab for power.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      School Board President Sauda Baraka claims she’s more qualified to supervise security in schools than the Bridgeport Police Department professionals.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        Sauda Baraka is full of shit as is the Working Families Party. Her vote in favor of keeping this principal is disgusting, she should be recalled.

        • Eric Alicea

          There is no recall election provision in the city charter. It was removed when the mayor’s term went from 2 to 4 years. Furthermore, if Baraka didn’t vote, Dickson would have returned to work the next business day without any discipline. The swing vote was Kelleher. I’m intrigued by what were the deciding factor(s) for Kelleher to side with the principal.

      • Godiva2011

        Can you clarify if Baraka is referring to herself or that dysfunctional principal? Either way, neither of them belong in the positions they’re in. I’m thinking it’s safe to say the two of them should be stripped of their duties along with any other member of the BOE who voted against firing the principal. To me, it’s sheer dereliction of duty.

  • Bond Girl

    For the Love of GOD, why is she still working in the school system? And her attorneys are wondering how this video got leaked. Are you kidding me? It should have been “leaked” long before now. Thank you to the individual(s) who did the right thing and got this video in front of the court of public opinion.

    This is truly repulsive. If it were my child, I would be in jail for assault or worse right now.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Many fell for the Working Party rhetoric because we were desperate for change. To this point there has been no noticable change. Oh yeah, the names have changed to give WFP a majority on the BOE but the bullshit marches on.
    The meeting chaired by John Bagley was a sham. There was no advertising showing there would be public input. Lo and behold the first person called to speak is the former WFP member of the board who was given the floor for a far too extended period of time. There was little public input because they were not there. I have one thing to say to the leaders of the BOE, Robert’s Rules of Order!!! Try following them.

  • Mojo

    *** After 30 year’s experience in the Bpt Public Schools System, I would think Ms. Dickson has had her share of disruptive students and parents who totally refuse to follow adult instructions pertaining to school rules, regulations and safety guidelines in general. Certainly by now she must be due for a mental or physical breakdown from all those years of Public Schools stress from administrators, staff, students and parents, and so on! Rumors, adult complaints in general, short videos of uncooperative kids lying motionless in the middle of a school hallway, etc. does not convince nor show me this teacher should be fired! Part-time parents, kids with all types of allergies and emotional problems along with learning disabilities, religious beliefs or economical differences, etc. are just a small example of situations school administrators, teachers, staff, etc. put up with on a day-to-day basis. Ms. Dickson has probably done a lot of good work while working in the Bpt School System and that should also be taken into account before kicking her to the curb. The BOE seemed to understand that and I feel that’s one of the reasons she was not fired this time around. However they should consider moving her to a position where she will have less contact with disruptive kids and parents once she comes back from her suspension. Also, maybe Ms. Dickson should pay better attention to the past and present writing on the BOE’s board and consider a possible full retirement while the going and luck is still good in the eyes of those who can make or break a long career in the educational system. *** JUST ‘CAUSE YOU’RE “RIGHT” DOESN’T MEAN THEY CAN’T BE “WRONG.” ***

    • Godiva2011

      Mojo–please! There’s no way her actions can be justified–period! If she’s that burnt out, then she should retire or seek counseling. Would you feel differently if she mauled your child like that? She has to go, and so does any member of that board who condoned her brutality by not voting to fire her! As far as I’m concerned, she shouldn’t be let off the hook without someone filing charges against her. After viewing those tapes, her attorney must want to crawl under a rock!

      • Mojo

        *** Maybe if I worked in a school where Ms. Dickson was the principal and I witnessed her in that type of action and behavior on a general basis, then I could sort of put my feet in her shoes so to speak, to be able to make a better determination on whether she should be brought up on charges and fired, instead of a 6-month suspension without pay and placed on supervised admin. duties outside of the schools. Also, I believe she should have to go as part of the BOE agreement, for anger counseling and evaluation before coming back. But from the outside looking in, and taking 30 year’s service in consideration, I believe firing her without reaching out in an attempt to help her first and not getting all the facts would have been wrong! Again after this school year she should maybe consider retirement before something else pops up that could cost her a 30 year pension. *** BIG BROTHER AND SISTER WILL BE WATCHING AND TAKING NOTES. ***

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Godiva2011. Could you please remind Mojo that Dickson’s title was that of School Principal and not Correction Officer?

    • banmenow

      So the stress of 30 years on the job makes it okay to drag students down the hallway? Putting up with unruly students, parents and staff makes dragging a student down the hallway acceptable?
      As an educator with 30 year’s experience, I find that reprehensible. After 30 years of dealing with students, parents and administrators, I have more tools and strategies to deal with a situation like that without dragging a student. Maybe a new teacher might lose their cool and make such a poor decision, but not a 30-year veteran.
      Regardless, I can’t imagine any situation where it would be considered acceptable to drag an unarmed minor. As educators we are trained to deal with exactly this type of situation. And in no training is it ever advised to drag a child.
      Is it acceptable to you a cop with 30 year’s experience just start dragging suspects down the street?
      Come on, Mojo. No child should be subjected to that kind of treatment. Remember, they are minors. The administrators are trained professionals and are suppose to provide a safe haven for such minors. Even if they are unruly and disrespectful children. The adults in the building are responsible for their safety and well-being.

      • Mojo

        *** I don’t believe there’s any sentences in my two paragraphs about Ms. Dickson that says it’s all right to drag kids down the hallways. However what I did basically state was I, from the “outside looking in” to all the allegations concerning Ms. Dickso, feel the decision from the BOE was just! I’ve seen the so-called education professionals in action in the past when I worked part time the after-school rec. programs as well as the lighthouse programs would also be running. Students running amok down the hallways, yelling, swearing, chatting on cell phones, wrestling by the entrances, etc. Then one of those so-called professionals who are providing safe havens in the schools walks down the hallway with blinders on, only seeing in the direction they were going and saying or doing nothing. Finally after running all over the school doing their job and the admin. job, the school security shows up and things go back to normal ’til they’re off on another call. Some of these public schools are a joke to put it mildly, it’s a wonder how any of the kids learn anything but how to survive! ***

      • invincible

        Sadly, when teachers/administrators disconnect from the population they serve, they do a disservice. When administrators/teachers refer to students as “those” kids instead of “our” kids, they have lost the patience, empathy and kindness necessary to provide a safe educational environment for all our children.
        The board of education was ABSOLUTELY MISTAKEN when they ignored Vallas’ recommendations.


    Is anyone qualified to do their jobs? There are no checks and balances whatsoever.

    • Godiva2011

      I don’t know either–especially after reading Lennie’s post regarding Ms. Baraka’s statement. Sadly, it’s the children who are getting the short end of the stick. There was a window of opportunity for checks and balances, but the BOE chose to ignore it.

  • BARF

    Seems no matter how many times you hear it, or read it, and proven by the actions of ALL involved, it’s really NEVER about the kids!

  • Joel Gonzalez


  • Godiva2011

    Joel–Let it be known this topic isn’t about YOU or Finch. Get with the program and try not to make everything all about you for a change.

  • Mojo

    *** Since it’s much easier to second-guess after the fact and try to be politically correct on all subjects, here goes. Maybe Ms. Dickson, seeing the kid was not listening to instruction nor willing to get up off the floor and throwing a tantrum should have put the child in “time out” right there and call school security to stand there and watch him ’til the parents arrived at school or at least call one of those professionals! Wonder what school holds the record for most “time outs” during a school day? ***

  • Andrew C Fardy

    This is the kind of stuff you get from the Working Families Party, also see attached:
    The challenge slate in a few districts have a Judas working with them and against them. That Judas is Maria Pereira of the WFP. This is a person who helped put more than one of the slates together running around town now telling people not to vote for certain candidates from certain districts. These are some of the same people she asked to run. It seems Maria cannot take criticism or questions about how things are going without flying off the handle. She states she has made phone calls to absentee ballot holders telling them not to vote for certain candidates. If this is true, this is illegal, is it not?
    It’s a shame. I hate to see anyone self-destruct but Maria and the WFP are well on their way to self-destructing, just look at their recent antics at BOE meetings. They certainly don’t look like the party in control and Maria who is their town chairperson does not look like a leader. Maria by her actions looks like a Finch undercover person looking to destroy or damage the upcoming primary. Anyone who badmouths people on her own slate certainly must be working for the Finch Team.

  • Mojo

    *** Overall city voter turnout for the DTC seats election, 10% citywide; and that’s with good weather! *** Who you gonna blame, Bpt? ***

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