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Vallas Shocked Abusive Principal Not Terminated, GOP Condemns Baraka’s Vote, Baraka’s Conflict Of Interest, ‘Parents Disgusted … Open Season On Children’

November 1st, 2013 · 99 Comments · City Politics, Education, News and Events

Nakeya Hargrove

Nakeya Hargrove, mom of one of the two 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 is not happy Dickson was suspended and not fired. Caption: CT Post, Photo: Autumn Driscoll, CT Post.

UPDATE: Sauda Baraka, one of four Board of Education members Wednesday night who voted to rescue Tisdale School principal Carmen Perez Dickson from termination for dragging children through hallways, was represented by Dickson’s attorney when Baraka became a plaintiff challenging the state’s takeover of city schools in 2011.

School board members Ken Moales and Maria Pereira had recused themselves from the Dickson case as a result of conversations they had with Dickson regarding accusations she used excessive force against children. Baraka chose to vote on the Dickson disciplinary matter even though Dickson’s lawyer Josephine Miller also had represented her involving the Connecticut Supreme Court reseating the elected Board of Education after a majority of members asked for state intervention.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas who urged Dickson’s termination was “shocked and appalled that anyone who claims to care about the safety of students could possibly reach this decision.” School Board Member Tom Mulligan said, “Using excessive force on small children is unreasonable. Each and every one of us on the board witnessed (Dickson) on video, drag a small child down a hallway pulling aggressively at the neck and arm in the process.” Of the four school board members who voted against termination, only Baraka is up for reelection Tuesday.

Baraka, represented by Miller, had opposed the return of Mulligan and Leticia Colon to the school board to fill out their terms. Both Mulligan and Colon voted to terminate Dickson.

“Parents are disgusted that this principal is receiving what they call a slap on the wrist for years of using excessive force against children,” says Sandra Kase, the school district’s chief administrative officer. “I honestly think it declares open season on misconduct against children in Bridgeport public schools. If we can’t hold principals accountable for their misconduct how can we hold staff accountable.”

From Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post:

The embattled Tisdale School principal, caught on security video cameras on three occasions dragging kindergarten children down the hallway was given a six months suspension without pay, followed by a reassignment to an administrative position other than principal of Tisdale School. The 4-to-3 vote came Wednesday, the deadline for a decision to be reached, and minutes from midnight. Board members Sauda Baraka, Bobby Simmons, John Bagley and Jacqueline Kelleher voted in the majority. Thomas Mulligan, Hernan Illingworth and Leticia Colon voted in opposition.

CT Post Updated articke here.slat

Statement from Republican Town Chairman John Slater:

By temporarily suspending without pay and voting against the full termination of Carmen Perez Dickson, the majority of the current Board of Education has once again displayed its refusal to do what is right for Bridgeport’s kids. Dickson was caught on security video on three separate occasions dragging kindergarten children down a hallway aggressively by the neck and arm. Sauda Baraka, who is running for re-election this coming Tuesday, November 5th, stated that “there were inconsistencies in the way polices were applied and incidents reported that made the case inconclusive. The kids in the Bridgeport Public School system deserve better and, at a minimum, a guarantee of safety. Sauda Baraka has once again put the interest of her own political gain and allies against the safety of Bridgeport’s kids and should be voted out of her Board of Education seat this Tuesday November 5th. It is the intention of the Republican Board of Education candidates to do away with the political games and always put the kids first.

Statement from Republican school board candidate Joe Larcheveque:

It is generally inappropriate to address disciplinary matters without having access to the evidence and testimony. However in the public sections of the hearings that dragged on for months, verbal descriptions of the video viewed by the Board members were fairly descriptive of the actions taken by the principal. Now, recently published comments by Board member Tom Mulligan seem to clarify further what the video contained; stating that every Board member witnessed the use of excessive force on the video. If that is true, how could the majority of Board members reach a decision that falls so short of making sure similar actions by this individual never happen again?

Principals and teachers owe a clear duty to their students. Our precious children must be kept safe and secure. School staff must be able to anticipate foreseeable dangers and take proper steps to assure the safety of students and staff. In the rarest of times when non-physical interventions do not work, appropriate methods of restraint must be used that do not neglect or harm the child. Based on the public reporting of the known facts of this case, that included admitted concerns from Board members who voted in the majority, it appears the physical disciplinary tactics utilized were excessive and harmful.

The fact that our Board of Education would allow this principal back to working with our children after only a suspension is outrageous. The parents, students and the community should have the basic expectation that the Board will take actions to protect our children at all times. When the physical safety of our kids is at stake, we should expect more than the usual rancor and dysfunction. Clearly that was not the case here. Hopefully things will change after Election Day.

Statement from Republican school board candidate John Weldon:

Over the past week, I received a flyer in the mail encouraging me (her opponent) to vote for Sauda Baraka. The flyer has a picture of Ms. Baraka, with her arm around her son, next to her quoted statement: “For the first time in years, I see light at the end of the tunnel for Bridgeport schools. This November 5th we can bring a team to the Board of Education who will always demand accountability, based on what’s best for all our children.”

Is voting to suspend, instead of terminating, a physically abusive teacher her way of “demanding accountability, based on what’s best for all our children” of Ms. Dickson? Is keeping a child abuser on the payroll of our school system Ms. Baraka’s way of bringing our school system into the “light at the end of the tunnel?”

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again–Ms. Baraka, and the rest of the Working Families and Democratic BOE candidates are not a “team,” as they continuously refer to themselves. Rather, they are a political bloc seeking to gain control of the Board of Education. This faction says the Board is controlled by the Mayor and they seek to wrest that control away from him–but they neglect the second half of that sentence, which is: and give all of that control to Andre Baker, Sauda Baraka, Howard Gardner, Dave Hennessey and Eric Stewart-Alicea.

The phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely” holds true. It stifles progress and censors free dialect and the sharing of ideas–it doesn’t matter if that control rests with the Mayor or with the five-person bloc, who make no bones about their intention to completely take control of the Board–and as the actions of Ms. Baraka regarding Ms. Dickson illustrate the dangerous, self-serving, anti-child decision-making this power bloc will exhibit.

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99 Comments so far ↓

  • Steve Best

    As a candidate for the Board of Education, I have personally attempted to raise the bar for the requirements and standards by which the children of Bridgeport are educated. And we must continue to raise this bar as high as possible. When the physical safety of the city’s school children is compromised in any way, we have knocked the bar right off the supports that hold it. When there is undisputed evidence an inexcusable act has been committed, the only recourse should be dismissal. Anything less is a pardon. This is wrong. And it sends an irresponsible and, potentially, dangerous message.

  • Steven Auerbach

    OMG. Principals take note. IF EVER YOU OR A TEACHER IS CAUGHT ON FILM/VIDEO USING EXCESSIVE FORCE, YOUR ATTORNEY CAN LOOK AT THE INCOMPETENCE OF THE SCHOOL BOARD AND THEIR DECISION-MAKING CAPABILITIES, GUARANTEEING YOUR JOB AND PENSION. IF THE PARENTS ARE NOT OUTRAGED THAN PERHAPS HER ACTIONS ARE APPROPRIATE. I HAVE MET MS. DICKSON HAVING BEEN AT TISDALE SCHOOL A NUMBER OF TIMES AND SHE IS WELL RESPECTED. SOMETIMES, HOWEVER, IT IS NECESSARY TO SEND A MESSAGE TO OTHER TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS AND IN THIS CASE THE MESSAGE SENT WAS NOT APPROPRIATE.

  • donj

    Wow, there goes my vote for Sauda. She was the only Working Families Party candidate I was going to vote for including two Democrats but now I will look at a Republican. Should not use that force on a 5/6 year old wtf???

  • Phil Smith

    This decision is “exhibit A” in the case for why the Bridgeport Board of Education needs new members and new leadership.

    After months of foot-dragging the board waited until within minutes of its deadline to act and still got the decision wrong.

    Despite evidence of Ms. Dickson repeatedly dragging kindergarten children down a school corridor, as well as other allegations by staff members and Superintendent Paul Vallas’ recommendation to terminate her, a majority of board members decided a six-month suspension and a transfer to a new administrative position was adequate.

    The Board of Education has an obligation to protect Bridgeport students and their education. Unfortunately, a majority of the board chose to do otherwise.

    It’s time for a new leadership and Board of Education members who have only one agenda: Bridgeport’s kids.

    Voters have an opportunity to take an important step in that direction on November 5th.

  • Common Good

    And to think years ago parents paid parochial schools good money to obtain that type of discipline at school!!!

  • Ron Mackey

    The majority of the board found Dickson did violate policies regarding physical force and her behavior was excessive and inappropriate but did not rise to the level of dismissal.
    Let me ask this question, have you ever been in line at a supermarket, or in a mall or in a store or a doctor’s office, at an airport or at a restaurant and seen a child acting up so bad and the parent can’t do anything with the child you are watching wishing the parent would do something to stop the child from acting out and the child doesn’t hurt themself or somebody else? What do you do, do you just look?
    Baraka said there were inconsistencies in the way polices were applied and incidents reported that made the case inconclusive.

    • Lifelong Bpt

      Ron,
      Baraka should never have been part of the decision. Clear conflict of interest. If that had been Moales with the same conflict, you would be all over him right now.
      Does beg the question though–if she did recuse herself, and there were only six left with a split vote–then what would have happened then?

    • BOE SPY

      Andrew Cimmino was fired right quick for alleged sexual harassment and there was no video of that. Are there two systems of justice going on here? Maybe it is about whom you know with the WFP? What is inconclusive about a videotape?
      Ron–What if that were your kid or grandkid and I snatched him/her up like that? Would we have a fight going on? How much are the lawsuits going the cost BPT taxpayers? You know the kid(s) are now afraid to go to school because the principal bullied him or some other BS.

      • Ron Mackey

        BOE SPY, I’m the wrong person to asked. I lived in PT Barnum Apartments when I was in grammar school and my parents each year would tell the teacher and the principal if I did anything wrong to send a note home telling what I did wrong or they had their permission to discipline me the way they thought best. That same message was told to the parents who lived in building 7 who had permission. Well, as a child I thought everybody was watching me and I got in trouble, I would get punish twice.

        I notice no one has replied to my question about children acting up, I’m glad to hear no one has seen children acting bad.

        The answer to your question to me is, yes, if I gave you permission yes you could snatched him/her up like that. Part of the problem in public school is the lack of discipline and that comes from a lack of parents not being involved and then the public expects the teacher and principal to educate the child, be a social worker, law enforcement officer, babysitter and part-time parent to those students. I would strongly suggest you and others would take some time from their very busy schedules and volunteer to sit in the back of a class or to be in the school hallway for just one class period once every other month so you can see for yourself what Carmen Perez Dickson and every other teacher and principal has to deal with. Mary Lee who is running for the city council was teaching at Waterville School years ago and from time to time I would just sit in the back of her classroom.

        • Godiva2011

          Common sense is the key factor for this principal, which she sorely lacks. Where do you draw the line between discipline and blatant assault? The tapes don’t lie. That behavior was excessive punishment–that is a young defenseless child who was put at risk.

        • BOE SPY

          I don’t think anyone gave Dickson permission to put her hands on their children. Who is to say my idea of acting out would be the same as yours? So I slap your kid on the back of the head for taking a toy off the shelf, look with your eyes not with your hands. That would be OK? I have seen parents show up at school and start a fight with the kid who their kid was beefing with. My idea of proper behavior might not fit into all cultural norms.

        • Godiva2011

          If you gave them permission? Permission to do what–assault your child? That would, in my opinion, make you an unfit parent and just as guilty as the principal. Who in their right mind would give permission to anyone to instill fear or physically abuse their own child. Come on Ron, you can’t be serious!

  • Bob Walsh

    I will defer to Ms. Kelleher on this one. She is an education professional in both schooling and work experience. After sitting through hours of testimony and hours of deliberation she reached the conclusion termination was too harsh given everything she was presented with.
    And yet the bloggers here can determine on tidbits they read from the CT Post and Paul Vallas’ recommendation she should be fired. Case closed.
    Do not forget all of this happened after Ms. Dickson won a million dollar lawsuit against the city was subsequently reversed on appeal. Don’t tell me there were not some people in the city and the schools who were out to teach her a lesson.

  • Grin Ripper

    I keep getting these mailers from Steve and Sue! Gee, they sure have done an awful lot according to these puff pieces!

    They only want to take the Bows.

    I’m giving them the BOOS!

    Happy Halloween!!!

  • Godiva2011

    Suspended? She should have been terminated and arrested for assault and child abuse! I guess the message here is it’s acceptable for your child to be dragged down a hall like a rag doll, and it’s condoned behavior to terrorize a handicapped student. The evidence on the tape was conclusive of her guilt, so what were they thinking when they decided to slap her on the wrist? Unspeakable and irresponsible decision. This matter should be tried in a court of law, not a kangaroo court.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    SB just lost my vote.

  • anna

    On Tuesday let’s terminate Baraka from the school board.

  • Mojo

    *** Other than the CT Post articles, school rumors and OIB, etc. opinions, Ms. Baraka had much more inside info on this case than meets the public’s eye! So her decision which seems to be a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” unpopular one, along with the label of obstructionist may prove to be her undoing in this election. It all depends just how much the opposing candidates decide to air this decision and put their political spin-zone on it, no? ***

    • Godiva2011

      Ms. Baraka should have recused herself; she had previous involvement with the principal’s attorney, that’s unacceptable, as was her decision to merely suspend a person who should damn well have been fired–no question about it. The parents of the children who were abused by this tyrant of a principal should sue in a real court.

  • Bob Walsh

    Phil Smith, can you weigh in on the procedural question?
    My guess is if Sauda abstained and there were a tie vote, Ms. Dickson would have received no disciplinary action when time expired.

    • BOE SPY

      I think in case of a tie the chair (by Robert’s rules) would have been able to decide the matter.

      • Ron Mackey

        If the vote were a show of hands and the president, as the person presiding, didn’t vote, then Robert’s Rules allows the president to vote to break the tie. The important point here is the president doesn’t get to vote twice. If her vote were counted and the result was a tie, then you need to vote again. If her vote were not counted, then her vote breaks the tie.

        • Bob Walsh

          Not sure if BOE or Mackey know for sure what the rules are because local rules take precedence over Roberts Rules but if the tie vote signifies a lack of action by the deadline then no disciplinary action can be taken.
          If the chair would be allowed the opportunity to break a tie and since Moales recused himself it would fall to Ms. Kelleher as the presiding officer and she has already voted with the suspension. Don’t see much impact one way or the other.

  • Phil Smith

    Sorry Bob, I don’t know the ins and outs of the Board of Education’s procedure well enough to answer your question.

    I do know the tortuously long hearing process and the decision that resulted from it are a travesty. They are just one of many reasons why Ms. Baraka should not be reelected on Tuesday.

    After four years of obstruction and political games the Board of Education needs new leadership and a new direction.

    They need to start putting the kids, who are being victimized by one of the worst school systems in the state, first.

    Bridgeport deserves and should demand no less.

    • David Moore

      Sounds like you are defending Finch and the GOP policy of keeping a corporate hack like Paul Vallas in charge of Bridgeport’s public schools.

      • Phil Smith

        As far as I know there is no “GOP policy” concerning Paul Vallas.

        I certainly agree with the GOP candidates it’s time to end the obstruction, political games and infighting that have been the hallmark of the last four years on the Board of Education.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Now that your real name is out in public, how about backing up some of your phony statements with some reality? When you use the term “corporate hack,” what do you mean? And then why do you connect it with Paul Vallas? If it is factual and a real description of him, I will be learning something from you and will acknowledge same. If you fail to answer my questions, I will know you are repeating ignorant statements from others, unchecked and unresearched. Par for the course.
        The Vallas “hater group” has attacked him from day one for a number of offenses he was going to perform (closing schools, cutting teachers, bring in Charter Schools, hire his “buddy professional firms” with City funds, etc.). That litany continues to be repeated, but without proof. Why does this disinformation continue? Is it because the Bridgeport Education Association membership are fearful of upcoming contract negotiations? Are they embarrassed with educational results of the system previous to Vallas and think he has made things worse? Why do they continue to support “mob mentality” public advocacy at BOE meetings? Where do you see the hand of the Democratic machine or the Republican party (where and when the few gather) in play relative to the public school system? Where is an attempt at civil, respectful dialogue on important topics that transcend race, poverty, urban history, scarce resources including tax dollars, etc.? And where are your alternatives, anyway? Negativity is just that, and when combined with personal attacks on other posters, it is less than nothing? Can you do any better? Time will tell.

  • Godiva2011

    If I had a child in that school, I would be outraged at the outcome of this kangaroo court. This case should have been tried in a courtroom, not a board room. This indeed is a travesty. I’m just guessing, but I sense this will not end here and it’s going to end up costing the BOE in more ways than one.

  • Ron Mackey

    Let’s review a few thing about school principal Carmen Perez Dickson’s case:
    The State Supreme Court threw out a verdict of more than $1 million against the city of Bridgeport won by a school principal who claimed she was discriminated against and punished after she brought forward allegations teachers had abused students.

    The state’s highest court ruled, in a 7-0 decision, the lawsuit brought by Carmen Perez-Dickson, now principal at Bridgeport’s Jettie Tisdale School, should not have gone to a jury. The justices stated there was insufficient evidence for a jury to determine Perez-Dickson suffered discrimination, she was treated more harshly than other employees in the workplace or suffered any extreme emotional distress for an extended time.

    The Supreme Court ordered the verdict, which with interest now totals more than $2 million, reversed and for a lower court to render a decision for the city of Bridgeport.

    According to court records, in 1999 Perez-Dickson, the principal of Beardsley School, reported to school administrators two teachers at the school had been accused of abusing students. Each of the teachers was subsequently placed on paid administrative leave. That same year, then-Assistant Superintendent of Schools Henry Kelly told Perez-Dickson he was concerned about the climate at the school and warned her if she continued to make “waves,” her career could be in jeopardy.

    In 2003, Perez-Dickson was transferred to Roosevelt School. But in November 2005, she was placed on paid administrative leave following an allegation she had abused a student in the school. The allegation was later found to be “unsubstantiated,” and Perez-Dickson was allowed to return to work. She subsequently added the incident to her pending lawsuit as evidence of the campaign by school administrators against her.

    In March 2008, a state Superior Court jury in Bridgeport of five men and one woman deliberated about three hours before finding in Perez-Dickson’s favor and ordering the city to pay her $1 million in punitive damages, $1 million in non-economic damages and $3,000 in economic damages. A judge subsequently cut the verdict to $1.3 million, but ruled interest on that would accumulate while the city appealed.

    BOE members Sauda Baraka, Bobby Simmons, John Bagley and Jacqueline Kelleher voted to let Dickson keep her job. Thomas Mulligan, Hernan Illingworth and Leticia Colon voted to fire her.

    Baraka said she did not feel termination was justified based on what she viewed in the videos.

    “I felt there should be other consequences and action,” Baraka said. She questioned the chain of custody of the videos, the inconsistency of some testimony given by witnesses and the lack of concern by security and staff when the incidents initially occurred.

    Even so, Kelleher said Dickson, a 35-year veteran educator, seemed dedicated to her job and believed she was doing the right thing. Kelleher said she was inclined to consider another route of penalty. Suspension and probation, she said, were more appropriate. It’s obvious Republican Jacqueline Kelleher a 35-year veteran educator set the tone. This case DOESN’T look so clear cut, does it?

    • The Cisco Kid

      At the risk of validating this rap sheet and attempt at justifying the physical abuse of children; I have to ask.

      Since when is Jacqueline Kelleher a Republican? Beside the fact she was elected as a Democratic candidate, I must have missed her at every Republican Town Committee meeting for the last three years … (of which I have missed none).

    • BOE SPY

      So the administration is against her and she keeps getting promoted? The chain of custody of the video? They believe the video was altered to make Dickson look guilty? Who did that work, a $10/hour security guard or the CIA? Dickson claimed discrimination but apparently there wasn’t any. Is it religion or the race card that is the last bastion of beggars, thieves and fools? Finally, she believed she was doing the right thing. Of course she did.’If she did not believe it was the ‘right thing’ she would not have done it. I am sure the people who were hanging people from trees in the Deep South thought they were doing the ‘right thing.’

      • Hector A. Diaz

        Hanging people from trees? The people who did that were “barbarians.” To bring that up as part of the discussion is insulting. It lets people know more about you BOE SPY than you probably want them to.

  • The Cisco Kid

    Ms. Baraka, along with her political partners in … whatever; have peeled back one of the many layers of the onion that is the Bridgeport WFP. Interesting they (Baraka, Simmons and Bagley) all prioritized Dixon, procedural nonsense and a political vendetta against Paul Vallas over the most basic of BOE mandates, KEEPING THE CHILDREN SAFE FROM HARM. Maybe safety wasn’t on the WFP priority list.

    What exactly does Ms. Baraka think will happen when Dixon is assigned to a school six months from now? Does anyone expect the parents of the students in this new school to shrug off the many accusations and mountain of evidence that paint Dixon as a physically abusive, bat-wielding bully? I think not! I’m sure Bridgeport parents will be rallying, petitioning, and taking every other step they can think of to ensure she won’t be long for the post. So how will this make for a healthy learning environment? Maybe a healthy environment for learning wasn’t on the WFP priority list either.

    Six months of unpaid suspension is laughable when considering the last year Dixon was paid upwards of $160K of taxpayer money to sit home. Now the taxpayers in the city of Bridgeport get to shoulder the load of Dixon’s pension and healthcare for life. Maybe the taxpayers weren’t on the WFP priority list either.

    There was a video tape. What more evidence could possibly have been needed? Who cares what the circumstances were? Sauda Baraka has allowed politics and friendly favors to come before the children she was elected to educate and protect. Now that this Board will reinstate Carmen Dixon Perez and allow even the possibility of Dixon continuing to violate children’s rights it has solidified its perceived lack of integrity. I hope voters have paid close attention to these hearings and remember how the Board members cast their votes when they cast theirs on Tuesday and consider the Republican candidates.

    • David Moore

      Cisco, I hope you are aware Bobby Simmons is not and never has been a member of the Working Families Party and was elected as and continues to serve on the Board as a member of the Democratic Party.

    • David Moore

      BOE, your comment comparing an African American educator regardless of whether you think she should be kept on to KKK murderers is way out of line.

      • BOE SPY

        I was not comparing her to KKK murderers. I said nothing about the KKK. I was comparing two people who believed they were doing the right thing but were totally wrong and often violating civil rights. You can compare it with the people running concentration camps who thought they were doing the ‘right thing.’

  • Mojo

    *** In an era where many parents dump off their naughty kids in public schools and expect miracles to happen and the staff not only to educate them but teach them all the things they are not being taught @ home such as morals, manners, personal hygiene, respecting elders, etc., you wonder why many urban public schools are failing overall. BOE rules and regulations are overlooked, staff tend to look the other way when they should be intervening due to lack of support from admin and parents. Students run amuck throughout the school causing havoc and vandalizing school property, teachers can’t get rid of students who constantly cause trouble and are verbally abusive in class, etc.! Then you have a principal who is and always has been strict with the staff, students and parents when it comes to following the rules and regulations who has a Mr. Clark type of attitude that has gotten her in trouble time and time again and is not afraid to buck and challenge the system at times who is a black woman! Now, I did not see the video and I don’t know all the info the BOE knows but I do know many parents rarely show up to schools to support their kids or teachers when things are okay. However as soon as the kids are in trouble for something they’ve done, the parents are there to yell and scream and complain the school is picking on their kids who could do no wrong! In other words, rules and regulations are fine when applied to someone else’s kids not mine. So whether Ms. Baraka should have recused herself or not from voting is not the issue here, it’s whether to fire a principal who the admin has been trying to get rid of for some time because she does it her way and bucks the system that’s afraid to support their teachers and administrators because of a possible lawsuit or complaining parents, etc.! Tough decision to make on a video, no? Do you measure the good work vs bad work Ms. Dickson has done over the years or do you make the decision based on the video and call for dismissal from the admin. to fire her? *** Have you ever been to a BOE meeting where after the public speaking session is done and the business of the day is started the parents and attending public continue to interrupt the meeting so it’s hard to continue? And these are the adults and parents! ***

  • Maximizer

    Wow, these comments are all over the place. I suspect most of you haven’t spent much time in a classroom and you would never know how much abuse teachers take from students of all ages. Or the violence they witness on the playground. A first-grade teacher whose leg was broken when a student swung a chair at her, or the teacher locked in the bathroom, teacher shoved into the locker who needed stitches and had a broken nose, or a dog being beaten with a rock on the playground by a second grader. Many very young children witness unspeakable abuse and violence every day via video games their older siblings are playing and the movies they are allowed to watch. It is not an easy decision and many very young children in the schools are not all sweet and cuddly.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      So Maximizer, what’s the proper discipline for this case? You make it sound like Dickson is justified to assault children because some children are abusive. How did these kids abuse Dickson?

      • Maximizer

        Cases are always not so cut and dried. Just trying to give some information about what teachers and principals have to deal with every day. I doubt Ms. Dickson was abused, but I would bet she has had complaints from teachers about out-of-control students who asked her for help or intervention. I have not seen the video so do not have any first-hand information. The worst aspect of this entire episode is the length of time it has taken to make a decision.

    • BOE SPY

      So your answer to the kids’ violence and the violence they witness would be to beat them up?

  • Common Good

    Why is having a prior legal relationship with the attorney a conflict of interest–the legal matters handled are unrelated.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      But their relationship is relative. Dickson chose to take the hearing before the Board of Education because she and her lawyer believed the outcome would be better. Dickson’s lawyer had represented school board member Baraka on an education matter simultaneously during the period in question. Dickson’s lawyer and Baraka have a relationship, perhaps even a friendship, that could benefit Dickson. In this case Baraka’s vote certainly benefited Dickson.

      • David Moore

        Dickson took her case before the Board of Ed because of the expense involved in bringing it to binding arbitration. And Dickson’s lawyer was not representing Ms. Baraka on this matter but on another matter with no direct relationship to this one.

  • Valkyrie

    Baraka’s vote was not about this case–the safety and welfare of the children–at all. Sauda did not vote in favor of Ms. Dickson because the information and video presented to the Board was inconclusive. No. Sauda Baraka’s vote was about Paul Vallas and the WFP’s vendetta against him. And against Mayor Finch.

    Baraka and the other WFP BOE members (and D-Bobby Simmons) have done nothing but obstruct. Not one of them have made a positive contribution on the BOE.

    It’s way past time for Baraka to go. Gardner and Baker don’t have enough “skin in the game,” as they say, as far as I’m concerned. Their only purpose for wanting a seat on the BOE is personal political aspirations. They couldn’t care less about a quality education for Bridgeport children.

    Enough of the obstruction! Time to get some real stakeholders–qualified people with children currently in the Bpt public school system–to serve on the BOE.

    • TheSqueakyWheel

      Please explain where the “obstruction” comes from. It is the role of the minority political party to question the goings-on of the majority. If the machine Dems always get what they want, whom do you blame for 30+ years of bad school governance?

  • Bond Girl

    These comments are hitting all ends of the spectrum. The title School Principal in and of itself implies a high level of integrity and judgment, not to mention the inherent mandate to set an example for the staff you manage.

    What would have been Dickson’s recourse had there been a staff member caught on tape treating someone’s daughter or son in this manner?

    Splitting hairs is ludicrous when it comes to child welfare. Do we want to re-elect someone who would split hairs at the expense of our children? I think not.

    Very, very poor choice by Baraka. Dickson needs to go, and be barred from ever serving as a Principal or teacher from here on in.

    • Ron Mackey

      I’m sure there are a lot of people who remember the film “Lean on Me” starring Morgan Freeman. The story of Joe Clark, the principal of Eastside High School in Paterson NJ, and how he gained public attention in the 1980s for his unconventional and controversial disciplinary measures.

      Well, Joe Clark became a hero once the public became aware of how he ran the school, in fact he became the poster child for the Republican Party.

  • Dave Walker

    If the facts are as presented in this article, then the decision not to terminate was wrong and Baraka should have recused herself on the matter. Just another example of the need for change on the BOE and importance of electing people who will employ better judgment and higher ethical standards.

    • Ron Mackey

      Well, well, well; the cat is out of the bag.

      Connecticut Post
      Democrats give Boughton heat over tweet
      Published 10:27 pm, Thursday, October 31, 2013

      A run for Walker?

      He’s more policy wonk than politician.

      But the visibility of David Walker at GOP events in Connecticut is on the upswing, with the former U.S. comptroller general under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush making cameos at gubernatorial contender Tom Foley’s soft launch and then a state party fundraising dinner within the past month and a half.

      Now there is chatter in Republican circles that Walker, one of the loudest critics of federal spending levels and founder of the now-shuttered fiscal policy think tank called the Comeback America Initiative, is positioning himself for a run for statewide office and would be open to joining the party’s eventual nominee for governor as his or her running mate.

      “There have been some discussions about whether or not I should consider that,” Walker told Hearst Connecticut Newspaper Monday regarding a run for statewide office. “I have not made any judgment. As of the present time, I don’t have any plans to run.”

      Walker, 62, who resides in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport in a home previously owned by Christopher Shays, expects to make a final decision on his political future in early 2014.

      In September, Walker turned out the lights at the Comeback America Initiative with the release of its final report. He cited a long-standing commitment to spend more time with his family.

      Did the comeback fall short? Some contend it has. Walker bristled at the premise that his comeback went out with a whimper.

      • Mustang Sally

        The cat is out of the bag? How so? Because a media article speculated on it? Did David Walker announce intentions to run? Where does that quote appear in this article?

        • Ron Mackey

          Mustang Sally, you are right, media article speculated on it, “here have been some discussions about whether or not I should consider that,” Walker told Hearst Connecticut Newspaper Monday regarding a run for statewide office. “I have not made any judgment. As of the present time, I don’t have any plans to run.” Again, Walker would say he is not running for public office and now he won’t if he is running or not, that’s the cat out of the bag.

          • Dave Walker

            Ron,
            FYI, the CT Post article you reference includes some excepts from a much longer article that was published online on CT’s leading political blog. I was honest in answering the reporter’s questions. I said what I meant and I meant what I said. That is unusual for most politicians which is one reason I have never run for office.

    • David Moore

      Spare me! Dave Walker is a well-known proponent of corporatizing public services and supports Vallas for this reason despite his curious claim to oppose the Finch administration. It is almost as if the GOP supporters (and spare us Dave, you are not a true independent, you belong to the big corporation party) and the Finch machine were playing good cop bad cop … they are for the same thing, poor privatized education for our school children. And getting rid of this woman is a priority for Vallas so he can show he is boss so they are backing Vallas.

  • Mojo

    *** As an independent Dem; in whatever political endeavor Mr. D. Walker decides to pursue, I will listen to his political and personal platform and if favorable with my overall personal views as well, he will then have my support, 100%. *** STOP AND LISTEN! ***

  • Mojo

    *** Thanks. I’ll need all the luck I can get in my district, where the rubber “does not meet the road!” Where the district will be lucky to get a total of 300 active voters to come out and vote for-the (usual) Democratic endorsed candidates, good or bad! Then complain in the future they have no real representation supporting the district. *** GO FIGURE! ***

    • Ron Mackey

      Mojo, ever since John Fabrizi has not been in power you have been been out of favor with DTC chairman and especially the 131th District leader. You have attempted to run as a so-called independent, the voters didn’t vote you back in as their City Councilman, I wonder why? Now you are attempting to get back in office again as a independent but you are so far up Dave Walker’s ass you can’t see. But they say politics makes strange bedfellows and hopefully when Walker runs as a Republican for some statewide office here in Connecticut and he gives you the hookup as the voters will not elect this “Tea Party Lite” candidate.

      • Dave Walker

        Ron,
        You are truly insulting. I’m sorry to hear about your hip problem but the truth is you have been all talk and no action for a long time. You mother would ashamed of some of your words you use. My mother taught me better.

        • Ron Mackey

          Dave Walker, I’m going to be as nice as can with my reply. NEVER bring somebody else’s “mother” into anything. Second, I see you don’t understand black culture. People talking about someone’s mother would cause someone harm, two things a person shouldn’t do is to call someone the “n” word and to mention something about their mother. I’m sure Dave, you didn’t understand that. You can talk about Ronald Mackey all you want.

          • Dave Walker

            Ron,
            It looks like I hit nerve. You raise race issues way too much. My comment had nothing to do with your mother, it’s your behavior. I have little doubt she would not condone one of your words and I know my mother would not condone me using such words. So I don’t use them. By the way, southern culture also abhors any attacks on a mother. My point is about you, not her.

          • Ron Mackey

            Dave Walker, what words did I use that hit a nerve with you? You said that I “raise race issues way too much,” well you use phrase you are a “Independent.”

      • Steven Auerbach

        I have to agree with David Walker in that Ron Mackey does talk about race a little too much. However, David Walker, you try to paint yourself as an independent. YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN TO THE BONE. You make Chris Shays look like a liberal. The Republican party is dead and Ron Mackey has raised some very valid points with you. You worked under Bill Clinton, the question is, would Bill Clinton stump for you? Endorse you? That answer would be no.

        • Dave Walker

          Steve,
          You don’t know me or what I believe. Your statements aren’t based on any facts and are not worth much as a result. You also have no knowledge of what Bill Clinton would do for me. I will see him later this year. Will you?

          • Steven Auerbach

            David, it was not my intention to insult you. I do know for a fact Bill Clinton would not stump for you. For you to even suggest he would support you and Foley is so laughable one might think you are a little deluded. I do not think any individual with half a brain would ever think you were an independent or a moderate Republican. You are a member of the new Republican party and Ted Cruz is your leader. Good luck with that.

        • Ron Mackey

          Dave Walker, you said, “I am an independent or unaligned voter. I have not belonged to a political party since 1997. I have always voted for the person and haven’t voted in party primaries since 1996.” That shows you don’t have core values and there is no reason for voters to support you if you ever decided to run for public office. Oh I know, your reply will be what your told Steve, “You don’t know me or what I believe. Your statements aren’t based on any facts and are not worth much as a result.” I listen to Hannity make that same statement, that he’s not a Republican.

          • Dave Walker

            Ron,
            What does Sean Hannity have to do with me? You are showing your ignorance and prejudice. Have you read my books? Have you read my published reports and speeches? Obviously not because they are contrary to your baseless assertions. Ignorance and apathy are a toxic mix. Do your homework if you want your views to be respected by others. They aren’t at the present time.

  • Hector A. Diaz

    Politics is simple math, if you know 300 will come out you have to assure yourself you can get 150 to 175 out yourself, with the help of friends and the CW4BB, 175 should be no problem, NO?

  • Dave Walker

    Ron,
    No never of mine. Last comment to you on this. Check the voting rolls, I have been a registered Independent since 1997.

  • flubadub

    A matter of semantics. Are you a registered member of the Independent Party or an unaffiliated voter.

    • Dave Walker

      flubadub,
      Good question. I am an independent or unaligned voter. I have not belonged to a political party since 1997. I have always voted for the person and haven’t voted in party primaries since 1996. I have also been recruited by both major parties and several minor parties to run for various public offices over the years. To date, I have declined to run for public office. I have however, been appointed by three presidents of both major parties and have been confirmed unanimously by the Senate three times. These are all facts.

  • Mojo

    *** Ron, your OIB observations are wrong as usual. I believe I ran on the C. Caruso ticket as a Democrat in 2007 with Jack Banta and lost. Sometime later I ran again as a Dem. petition candidate by myself for State Rep. and lost; only to lose again as part of a group slate running to unseat the local 131st district’s town committee. Now once again I’m running as a Dem. petition candidate by myself and have been lucky enough to get the endorsement from the CW4BB party who has endorsed other “change slate” candidates as well, Republican, Democrat or independent with no strings attached other than a five-question candidate exploratory questionnaire on transparency and doing the right thing before they check you out and make a decision. No promises, no jobs, no running as a Republican in the future as you might think! Running by yourself against the city DTC establishment is not easy but just sitting back and complaining is not enough for me. Now I don’t know Mr. Walker well and only have seen and met him once, and other than some of the blog opinions he has written, I really don’t know a lot about him in general. But I do know I agree with some of his viewpoints towards Bpt politics, etc. It does not irk me or bother me he’s a white Republican and may agree with some tea party issues as you tend to blog from time to time here. Also it does not bother me if he has desires to run for political office in the future! I’ve learned a long time ago it’s not the the political party, gender or skin color you should be voting for, it’s the quality and integrity of the person that counts! Something you should think about before you blog without really thinking on whether it’s facts or merely rumored opinion on your part! *** Some see things as they were and others see things as they are! ***

  • Ron Mackey

    Now there is chatter in Republican circles Walker, one of the loudest critics of federal spending levels and founder of the now-shuttered fiscal policy think tank called the Comeback America Initiative, is positioning himself for a run for statewide office and would be open to joining the party’s eventual nominee for governor as his or her running mate.

    Dave Walker, this was in the Connecticut Post, “There have been some discussions about whether or not I should consider that,” Walker told Hearst Connecticut Newspaper Monday regarding a run for statewide office. “I have not made any judgment. As of the present time, I don’t have any plans to run.” IF you ever run for office do you think the voters would have read your books and read published reports and speeches and if they don’t vote for you because they would be showing their ignorance and prejudice. What does Sean Hannity have to do with you? Well, those who watch or listen to Sean Hannity KNOW he is a right-wing Republican, well Dave Walker you keep saying you are a Independent, your comments here on OIB show where you are.

  • Dave Walker

    Ron,
    You really are a very superficial person. I see you can read a few paragraphs as per the above article. How about books, like Comeback America? All the above article shows is some people are interested in me seeking public office. It says nothing about where I stand on the issues. Do your homework and quit embarrassing yourself. I should really just ignore you like others and I will probably start doing so.

    • Ron Mackey

      Dave Walker, you can spin it all you want but you know you want to run for a public office but the problem is the voters have not read “Comeback America” or anything else you have written. I do agree with you, you should ignore me because I don’t go for that walking down the yellow line, afraid to take a stand. You might live in Chris Shays’ home but you are no Chris Shays and even Shays started to wear thin at the of his career because he started getting in with the right wing of his party. Chris Shays had roots here he did not do a drive-by like you are trying to do. You might fool people in Black Rock but it won’t sell elsewhere but you keep pushing.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Looks like Ron Mackey won this match. Sorry David. I am curious as to why you haven’t sat down with Sean Hannity to pro.note your book. I absolutely hate Sean Hannity. I would however watch him or Bill O’Riley if you were a guest. You know David, in Bridgeport a Republican never wins an election, a Democrat loses. When Bridgeport elected its first woman Mayor in 1989, a Republican mind you–the last Republican mayor in Bridgeport, it was simply because Thomas Bucci lost. You are just in a city where your views do not excite the voting public. You need to be a moderate Republican with a lot of charisma to make a dent in this city. I do not know you as you continually say. But I think you could work on both fronts. As for thinking of running with Foley I am not seeing or feeling the excitement. I will however, listen to your platform.

        • Ron Mackey

          Steven Auerbach, you brought up a interesting thought. David Walker running with Foley, now what would Walker bring to the ticket for Republicans in a statewide election?

      • Dave Walker

        Ron,
        Your ignorance is showing again. Comeback America made best seller lists. You really should read more and engage your brain before your mouth and fingers are in motion. Adios!

        • Ron Mackey

          Dave Walker, what hell does that have to do with voters of Bridgeport, Connecticut or in the state of Connecticut voting for you? Do you really think there are enough voters in this state who have ANYTHING you have written could get you elected? Your ignorance is showing every time you reply, the voters in Connecticut really know you because of your book sales here, okay.

        • Dave Walker

          Steven,
          Candidly, I am not the one who raised Bill Clinton, you did. You don’t know him and I do. He can speak for himself and I will speak for myself. You should not speak for either of us but for yourself. I don’t know if I will ever run for elected office, but if I ever do, I will run to win. Thanks for at least acknowledging your willingness to consider a person’s substantive platform versus superficial matters some people on this blog focus on.

      • Sheepthrills

        Ron, exactly how long does someone have to live in Bridgeport to have an opinion or interest in local politics? I looked at the City’s online assessments, and see David Walker has been a taxpayer in Bridgeport for four years. Could it be the outrageous amount of taxes he pays (as all the other homeowners here do) would be an impetus to making our city government more effective for us all?

  • Ron Mackey

    Sheepthrills, Dave Walker’s conservative right wing lite leaning, Tea Party Lite positions will not sell in Bridgeport, Fairfield County or Connecticut, all he has to do is to ask the person he bought his current home from in Bridgeport.

    • Sheepthrills

      Ron, whether Dave Walker’s political beliefs would sell in this area or not is not really the focus of my question to you. You stated Chris Shays has roots in this area and Walker was trying to do a “drive-by,” which I took to mean you believe Dave Walker doesn’t have enough standing to be expressing his opinions. Whether Mr. Walker’s positions will sell in this area will only matter if he chooses to run for office, but he should be able to express himself as he wishes. In the meantime, I believe he does have expertise that would be helpful to the city, and he has offered his services gratis which is more than many of us do.

      To get back to the subject matter, I wasn’t going to vote for Ms. Baraka in any case, but I am not outraged by her vote on Principal Dickson. Not having seen the video in question, and knowing how large a role politics and long-standing feuds play in matters in this city, I don’t feel I have enough information about the issues.

      BTW, not by any stretch of the imagination could I be described as conservative or right-leaning, I just think as a city we are sinking and we should grab any offer of help available.

  • Ron Mackey

    Sheepthrills, by no means am I saying or suggesting Dave Walker should not express his views on anything. He should speak on issues and I have the right to agree or to disagree and to express my view.

    As far as the vote, after the vote the ONLY thing that mattered was the vote count, not what, why or when, in fact they didn’t have to say a word just like those who made the decision not to vote. All of the votes that pass in agreement mean the same.

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