Monthly Archives: January 2016

Sunday Notes January 31st 2016

lhs

The beauty of me in all of this is you can go ahead and fire me any time you want. I’m ready to retire, so I don’t really care about any of the politics.” Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui

If Bernie Lynch, Kevin Murphy or Jean Franco made the same comment how long would they have lasted? Whether you want to admit it or not, politics matter.

The entire context according to the newspaper was this :

Although he’s new, Khelfaoui touts a tough line against the politics-as-usual hiring scheme frequently associated with the School Department.

Khelfaoui said no one has meddled with him to convince him to hire particular people for School Department jobs. “I think by now the School Committee knows me,” he said. “I wouldn’t allow them, I would say ‘Sorry, I don’t talk about the candidates.'”

It’s that same no-nonsense impression that likely helped him get the job, as one of the few candidates who offered to work without a contract.

“I’m not an easy person to work with — if you look into my background I don’t allow School Committees to interfere with my work,” he said. “The beauty of me in all of this is you can go ahead and fire me any time you want. I’m ready to retire, so I don’t really care about any of the politics.”

Ask some longtime School department employees who was the very first person hired/promoted by this Superintendent? One with political ties who didn’t get promoted under the last administration but was supported by a Committeeman who voted for Khelfaoui.

Hired / Promoted for asst. HR but instead of doing the job they were promoted to, they are being used as chauffeur and Chief of Staff to the Supt.

Tell those staff members passed over and the political observers of Lowell it wasn’t the politics-as-usual hiring scheme!

I think the person is a quality individual who has been a huge supporter of mine and the efforts of all of us who are trying to restart the CPC but that hasn’t stopped people from being resentful of what looks like a political appointment and I’ve told the person that. It is not the persons fault they are being used by the Supt. has his aide and chauffeur it’s the Supt’s! and that has created a huge amount of resentment and moral issues within the school dept.

It is the politicians like the State Reps who will advocate for more Chapt. 70 funds, it’s the politicians like the City Councilor’s who approve the City Manager’s budget and it is these politicians who will lobby for more monies for the School Dept.

If this Superintendent wants parents, staff and stakeholders to believe in him and support him and his efforts he needs to start caring about the politics or he and the last School Committee and the 4 former members who selected him will be remembered for causing what could turn into a major crumbling of the school district.

stretching the rules / protecting your kid

The Supt. seems willing to try to blame the Headmaster for the entire issue being mishandled and points out his not contacting the parents right away, while others use this incident to bash Committeeman Steve Gendron.

The Sun makes that clear that the Supt. is blaming the Headmaster when they report in a story ” Khelfaoui will readily admit that the school dropped the ball last September by not notifying all parents immediately.

“It’s a violation of our own protocol,” Khelfaoui said in a meeting with The Sun’s editorial board Thursday. “Our protocol was whatever happens to the kid, if there’s a perceived threat to the kid, the first person you contact is the parents.”

Lawyers would have a field day defending a wrongful termination suite with language like promptly notify and Upon determining which is in fact what the “Protocol” on the State district website. The Lowell policy on notifying when it comes to bullying is even more vague.

Should the Supt. even try to remove or suspend Martin or any Housemaster They would lose a court fight much like the last committee and administration lost $800,000 of taxpayers money violating the UTL contract.

(bold mine)
According to the States District website :a. Notice to parents or guardians. Upon determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target/victim and the aggressor/perpetrator (or the aggressor(s)/perpetrator(s) if he/she/they is or are school staff) of this, and of the procedures for responding to it. There may be circumstances in which the principal or designee contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation. Notice will be consistent with state regulations at 603 CMR 49.00.

On the City of Lowell Website – Under Bullying _ Obligation to Notify Others

The Principal or designee has primary responsibility to notify the following constituencies in writing – through a letter or email message – when bullying or retaliation has occurred. A copy of all written or electronic communication with these constituencies must be sent to the Office of Student Support Services so they are (a) appropriately informed, and (b) can assist with response as needed.

a. Notice to parents or guardians. Upon determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target/victim and the aggressor/perpetrator (or the aggressor(s)/perpetrator(s) if he/she/they is or are school staff) of this, and of the procedures for responding to it. There may be circumstances in which the principal or designee contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation. Notice will be consistent with state regulations at 603 CMR 49.00.

Did the Headmaster give the widest possible benefit of the doubt to a politicians student? It appears so but it can be argued it was well within the written guidelines.

Did Steve Gendron do anything and everything possible to protect his son? Probably and if those self-righteous people want to criticize and condemn him for it, tell me you wouldn’t do the same for your own kids ! If you do, then you are either bad parents or liars. Has a parent, myself included, our natural responses are to protect and defend our kids as much has possible.

What we do know

There is no doubt some housemasters handled this poorly from the start. There is no doubt the Headmaster was slow and delayed in notifying the victims parents and giving the widest benefit of the doubt to a School Committeeman’s son or that the School a Committeeman protected his kid to the best of his ability.

There is not doubt this Supt. did a poor job releasing this report and sharing information on corrective actions already in place with the public, especially those that don’t follow him on social media.

There is also no doubt that there is still a group of students who feel they are privileged and better than others and that the High School needs to continue to work to improve racial tolerance and to educate the students on how to treat each other with respect, regardless of race, gender or economic status.

Special Meeting

Monday’s “Special Meeting” of the School Committee will “accept” the Mayors letter that informs them that the Council is reviewing motions that could affect the required signatures required to get on the ballot and number of candidates required for Preliminaries and possibly the stipend for serving on the Committee. They will then vote to go into Executive session to discuss contracts.

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