Teacher’s actions under examination
By Jessica Sacco
Posted Apr. 16, 2014 @ 4:32 pm
Updated at 6:47 PM
A Title IX investigation is underway at Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School (MVMMS) after an allegedly racial incident occurred between a teacher and student this month.
Superintendent Cyndy Taymore and MVMMS Principal Tom Brow declined to comment on the nature of the April 1 issue, which involves a female teacher and male student.
"Whatever exchange occurred — occurred between the teacher and the student — is under investigation," City Solicitor Rob Van Campen told the Free Press. "…What exactly happened between the student and the teacher, that is still being investigated."
Although school and city officials are staying mum on the personnel matter, it hasn’t stopped allegations from spreading like wildfire throughout the community, some of which claim the incident involved racial remarks.
"Whether or not such comments were made in this instance is a matter that is still under investigation," Van Campen said.
Taymore, however, confirmed a Title IX investigation is under way. Title IX refers to a section of civil rights legislation, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Others have said that following the incident, police escorted the teacher from the school.
"Any rumors that a Melrose Public Schools teacher was removed from the building because of this, they are completely false, without any basis," Van Campen said.
The woman in question, who has been an educator in the district for more than 15 years, will continue to teach while officials look into the conflict.
"The teacher involved has a relatively unblemished record with the school district, is a very good teacher, and that based on what I’m hearing in the community, whatever may have transpired, is being completely misconstrued," Van Campen said.
Claims that the teacher was fired are also unfounded, according to officials. Van Campen would not comment on whether the teacher could be dismissed in the future pending the results of the investigations.
He also declined to comment on whether the youth had a history of problematic behavior in the classroom, or whether the student remains under the teacher’s instruction.
Parents in the middle school were not notified of the incident.
"The matter was isolated," Van Campen said. "It was something that the district immediately addressed. There was really no need to notify parents en masse."
Funny how they think they can get away with shielding themselves when they're protecting their administrative actions even when this is a matter of clear public concern. "Parents in the middle school were not notified of the incident."
It's called a COVER-UP, plain and simple!
This was the same week, even the same day as the swastikas and penises on the middle school walls. Anyplace else and this would be frontpage news, with swift public reporting and action. Not here, where they think it's okay to sweep it under the massive rug.
"The matter was isolated," Van Campen said. "It was something that the district immediately addressed. There was really no need to notify parents en masse.""
Oh really! Well that's a nervy kettle of fish from the spectacularly failed Everett Mayor candidate who somehow thinks he has a right to determine "There was really no need to notify parents...." With this kind of crack legal advice it's no wonder the district is in the state it finds itself in.
What's a few hate crimes in the building and charges of overt racism from a teacher towards METCO students (it's well known that this isn't the first complaint), after all? Why would parents have any right to be informed?
This is the same crack legal team that kept the failed and grossly inappropriate 7th grade math teacher on the payroll until the teacher could claim full retirement benefits. This crack attorney works for and defends the same guy who freely calls anyone he doesn't like a Hater.
And now we're supposed to believe that a certain elementary principal with no middle school administrative experience is qualified and the best possible candidate to come and lead the school out of this mess!
"It was something that the district immediately addressed."
Oh yeah, HOW exactly? The public has a right to know!
And if this is being "investigated," why should anyone trust in the integrity of the process given that no outside investigator is involved but only a member of the same administrative team? And why is the teacher still in the classroom meanwhile pending the "investigation" of such serious charges? And why are there even hints in this article about some fault of the student? It doesn't matter what the student is or did if the teacher said what is alleged! Trying to smear the student is just inexcusable, and one has to wonder how that made its way into the article. Which administrator is trying to taint the student and deflect away from the teacher to the press???
This really smells! This belongs in a front page Boston Globe investigation!
""The teacher involved has a relatively unblemished record with the school district"
and just what in the heck is "relatively unblemished record" supposed to mean????
Did she only tell the kid "to get back on the plantation" once, so it's okay? Or was it okay last October when she asked another kid (Muslim) who was looking upwards if "he was praying to his god" just once, so that was okay, too? In both cases there were reportedly a number of witnesses, adult and student.
Sounds like this might be another case of the typical Melrose district fallback that "there is no documentation," which is the lie that local administrators have been using for a long time now, even when the evidence is overwhelming and well documented.
Sorry, but in most of the real world out here, one "blemish" like this would be quite sufficient to end the professional relationship on the spot. It's called "cause."
It appears quite obviously that there is a massive and shameful coverup going on.
That's not what she said.
As much as posters on this board think they have a right to know everything that happens in a public school setting, the fact is that they don't. Discussion between teachers and students can and should be private matters. If there is an allegation of wrongdoing on either part the investigation can and should be private. Until adjudicated (and maybe beyond), this matter is nunya business.
Yah, right, "Nunya" except for the part about how the teacher was witnessed, admitted it, and should have been suspended with pay pending the "investigation," and also that so-called "investigation" should be done by an unbiased party, not just a clone of the same administrator that socializes with the teacher in question and one who has a well-known history of being dismissive of student civil rights.
If I had a nickel for every time a staff member in this district made an inappropriate comment to or about a student over the last 15 years, I would be rich, rich, rich.
Where do you want to start? Teachers making fun of kids names, questioning their ethnicity, dropping f-bombs, making fun of a student's physical appearance, sexist jokes, weird comments of a sexual nature that make students uncomfortable, teachers and paras gossiping about students and families at social gatherings outside of school, teachers with obvious mental health issues who are allowed to remain in the classroom...since when is this news?
No tenured teacher in this district has EVER been fired for ANYTHING...it doesn't really matter what they do in the classroom, they are untouchable, and they all know it. They can do anything they want to, because I will bet none of them have ever had a real performance evaluation in their entire careers, so their personnel files are all pristine....any complaints against them from parents or students never made it into their file.
I have no idea if this story is true, but I did hear that the rumors about a teacher being fired and escorted from the building were patently false. But I have to laugh at the outrage here on this message board, because far worse has been said and done to students in this district over the years, with absolutely no consequences for staff.
If you want a safe and professional classroom environment for students, you won't get it with the current HS, MVMMS, and several of the elementary principals....we don't hire professional educators that set high standards of behavior for their staff. They are not managers, and the staff is not used to having a real manager who makes any demands on them. The current culture is what it is, and it won't change any time soon.
Nope: "That's not what she said..."
and then "Just hearsay, since clearly I wasn't actually there"
Don't comment as if you know something when clearly you don't!
"Come back to the plantation" is exactly what was said, and the further remarks by the same individual were even worse. They were entirely racist and they weren't the first time from this mouth. The remarks were witnessed!
"parent" is absolutely correct about the toxic environment and institutionalized unprofessionalism. But this goes far beyond that into the realm of federal crimes, violating the basic civil rights of any citizen.
"Nunya" sounds just like a certain SC member who is has a strong vested interest in protecting her fellow negotiator and the super she selected.
I JUST said it was hearsay, as in it's what I HEARD from like a student, duh! And don't tell me what to do. I can comment on anything I please.
Who is this teacher? what's their name? I hope it is not the Teachers Union President.
Thanks for the tip. You could maybe try not being quite so condescending and judgmental.
Last week we had the swastika's at the middle school and this week we have a bomb scare at the high school. Pretty good chance the kids who did this have parents who are very critical of the Melrose Public School System. The loud mouths here can beat up a teacher and a system based on rumor and innuendo on this site all they want. As is the case with the 2 most recent criminal acts by the spawn of Melrose's white trash, I am pretty certain that the regular critics here have kids who do lousy in school, lousy on the MCAS and contribute very little positive energy to the system. Stop whining and take care of your own kids. The administration will certainly take care of teachers who actually did something wrong, as they always have.
"the 2 most recent criminal acts by the spawn of Melrose's white trash"
Which TWO "criminal acts" did these evil "spawn" supposedly commit?
(By the way, FYI it was allegedly a troubled MHS student who drew the lovely things on the walls at the middle school, not a charter or MC student.)
Is it not a crime to make racist statements towards students when one is a public school teacher?
What a nice Christian person posting this latest, and just in time for Passover and Easter alike.
"beat up a teacher"?? Where? Being formally investigated for something she apparently admitted to and was witnessed is not exactly being beaten up. This same poster apparently thinks it's okay for a teacher and the system that she works for to pretend to take seriously remarks that one might expect from the thugs wearing pointed white hats but is instead in front of a classroom "teaching"! It's even more ironic considering the subject that this "teacher" supposedly "teaches"! But now it's the "loudmouths" "very critical of the Melrose Public School System" whose kids are causing the bomb threats, too! Simply astounding.
"The Truth" sounds like someone who'd in fact be more comfortable in South Carolina or Alabama, and is right at home with the kinds of things this teacher is being investigated for. Classic projection! Here you have it, the very worst of Melrose in a nutshell.
""The teacher involved has a relatively unblemished record with the school district, is a very good teacher, and that based on what I’m hearing in the community, whatever may have transpired, is being completely misconstrued," Van Campen said."
He's kidding, right?
It is astounding that this man, supposedly the city solicitor, would be making statements like this.
""Any time it comes to the city’s attention that there has been racist or anti-Semitic graffiti or anything discriminatory, nothing is taken more seriously," Mayor Rob Dolan said."
except if it's a member of the staff
sames goes for bullying, except if it's a member of the staff
You tell them Dad. Ms. Baline, the teacher's union president, has been making racial remarks for years. If there is a conflict between a black and white student, in her opinion, it's ALWAYS the black student's fault. Also, that article stating the school is INVESTIGATING (lmao) if the student was problematic in NB's class. Since when is it the child's fault? Who is the adult here? The adult who is gal-pals with the super. Since last years marathon NB has added anti-Muslim remarks frequently throughout the year. The two IX school investigators are PR and PWL. Can't speak for Pat but PWL has NEVER found in favor of any one who has filed a complaint. The investigation is an illusion. The news also stated NB was not escorted from the building. Ask about Officer Applegate. Ask about her being summoned to the mayor. ASK, ASK, ASK until the truth is out and addressed. Melrose will NOT be known as a racist city IF the incident is investigated by an outside investigator. Then we need to properly address the gay-bashing, bullying and sexual harassment. .
"Not so astounding, considering the source. Like much of the inner circle, the man is an idiot."
That's the truth. Another is Dello Russo. First he gets the boot from Melrose, then goes to Plymouth and makes an absolute hash of things there (he's lucky all he got was canned), then our fearless leader brings him back and inflicts him on us again. Daddy's gang from Everett just won't go away.
I wrote a post a few months back about all of the illegal gay-bashing, racism, bullying etc.... here in my city, our city. ??? has REPEATEDLY called me a liar on many issues I have brought forth. It's time we take our city back by making it honest again and do the right thing. Take responsibility for any wrong doings and make sure they don't happen again. And if something does occur, deal with it openly and honestly. Politicians used to hold the title as the biggest liars. Presently, Melrose administrators, majority of the MSC and NB superceed anything the polls have done, (pols = politicians). Don't want to be misconstrued.
"para" Please ignore "GIaRest." Just another nasty sycophant. You've brought forward a number of very serious and altogether legitimate concerns. Thank you for caring. Melrose has some very deeply rooted cultural problems. Until the community at large makes a conscious choice to face those problems, the sickness will only get worse and be expressed by those who want to make sure that anything unpleasant is solidly buried under that large rug that really can't contain it all anymore.
Until the institutionalized bullying and hate from the adults is acknowledged and confronted, nothing will change with the kids. Not every school district is this toxic. Even those most firmly in need of convincing themselves that Melrose is no worse than anyplace else have an innate sense that there is something better going on elsewhere, which is why they so fanatically insist that this is the best that it can be, end of story. It can and should be a lot better. But as long as you have people in positions of power, as this teacher in question, abusing a sacred trust and getting away with it, then there is no hope of things going anyplace except further downhill.
Thanks CARES. I couldn't care less if someone on this board name calls or dislikes my posts. I know what my true intentions are. I know many of the players within the school system and some outside. What the naysayers are attempting to do is deflect the truth. So to KT, MD, NB, CT, RD, PWL, ??? and anyone else who disapproves of me saying it like it is, you don't upset me as I apparently do you. I live here. Melrose is my home. It is family to me. I am not a Melrose hater Rob. I don't give up on family or faith or God or country even when things are not perfect. In fact, even though I have posted names with facts my intent is not to fix blame. My intentions are to fix the very serious problems in ours schools and city. PS - so grateful to whomever it was that stopped CC from trying to change the name of one of our negotiated holidays, Good Friday. If you are not Christian, look at it as a free day off. Hey, if there is another religious holiday for a different faith I'll gladly take the day and respect what you worship. HAPPY EASTER!!
Dear para = liar, HAPPY EASTER TO YOU AND YOURS! Xoxo para.😃🐰
I heard this will be topic #1 at the Emergency School Committee meeting. It will lead a long list of over-hyped, non-issues mentioned on melrosemessages. Keep up the bashing and you will get this meeting scheduled soon!
dear ocr at doe
why don't you do you're own dirty work?
What is B.S. rambling about?? This entire community considers rooting out bad behavior within the school district to be wholesome work, not dirty work. The school administration has demonstrated time and again that they will retaliate against the victims and the reporters of wrongdoing instead of going after the perpetrators. The answer is to simply bypass the school administration until such time that they can demonstrate a change in this corrupt behavior.
I think this community would be VERY happy and relieved if the Office of Civil Rights at the MA Department of Education were to take an interest in what is happening in Melrose.
For those who think that addressing civil rights issues is "dirty work," google "civil rights." The perpetrators and those who work on covering up the wrongdoing are the ones who are dirty.
Speaking of school figures, now that TB will be leaving I wonder if the MVMMS will change the school nurse. Where do you find any school district authorize it ok for a school nurse to repeatedly leave school property to go home, go for a ride to have a smoke, be reprimanded by former head school nurse Ely for leaving and leave a class aid to administer any type of medicine or cough drops. Why wasn't the aid in a classroom assisting a class or student. This was allowed for years for this aid to work with the nurse entering data entry. This is not the aids fault. Not the aids fault, you go where you are assigned. Not goin the building there was no sub nurse. The HS nurse would have to leave her post to attend to the MS student. Yes, now that Tom, her protector and support to allow her to do these things. She is the only nurse not part of the cities nurses in all of the other schools and should be held to the same standards of all other school nurses and abide by the head nurses instructions PS SHE IS A LOUSEY NURSE TO BOOT. she should get the boot.
so much ugly behind the quaint well-coiffed curtains
I think, throughout the school district, there have been many employees who have not done their jobs, and have been protected for years by administrators, to the detriment of students. This is one of the reasons any attempt at an override is doomed to failure. Any parent who has been in the district long enough can cite multiple examples of their tax dollars going to pay unqualified, or incompetent teachers, paras, coaches, support staff, guidance counselors, administrators, etc.
I have seen this first hand, and I continue to hear stories like this from other parents. I honestly don't know how it got to this point. Melrose is a great town filled with great people, but we have collectively let the schools falter. I am hoping that an infusion of new people, who did not grow up here, will pressure the SC and city leaders to demand accountability from our staff.
Maybe Melrose has trouble getting and keeping the most qualified candidates because they don't pay well (one of the lowest in the area). Could an override provide more funds to increase pay - I think so.
Need proof? Look at the stream of amazing teachers and staff that leave after a few years for higher paying districts.
$ Talks :)
They just got a very large increase. While money is an issue, the toxic atmosphere is a bigger one.
I totally agree with BS that the toxic environment is playing its part too!
Teachers did just get a respectable increase, unfortunately they are still payed less than other local districts. Compare the salary scale in Melrose to any other district, particularly the top steps, and you will find a large discrepancy.
My information comes more from the middle school than anywhere else, and specifically I was referring to the exodus of staff last year to Andover, MASCO and Belmont, among other places. I'm told that many more of the better teachers are also looking to move to higher paying or less toxic districts.
Not trying to pick a fight, just sharing the information that I have.
How refreshing it is to hear all these discussions about teacher salaries, competence, percentage increases and defections all over again for about the 15th f ucking time.
I would love to never hear or talk about them again! Unfortunately these are still important issues that need discussing! Maybe if they were addressed we could all get some rest!
What ever happened to the racist teacher whose actions started this post?
Here we go...
The standard mode by former and present supers is to deny the presence of "any documentation" of illegal or improper conduct, poor teaching, complaints as a way of justifying not firing the known offenders. It's happening in spades currently, and it was the way that former administrators avoided taking responsibility for making the tough decisions. It's also the way that they keep the ones they want regardless of whether the staff/faculty/administrators are qualified or performing even to minimum standards (look around at the outrageous and obvious incompetence and ask yourself how these people are still employed by the district). Sure blame the unions (particularly the Melrose Teacher's union, because there is certainly lots of culpability there), but that won't get to the core issue and trashes the good and necessary work that unions do as a whole. This super goes a step further and says she/he is "getting better," and "we're working with" her/him (until all of a sudden the axe drops and the public only sees (if they even bother to look) notice of their "resignation."
What's worse now is that there is a mob of young naive parents (that foundation is full of them) who are completely taken in by the bull that this administration puts out. This well-heeled mob is the back-room lobbying group of the mayor and his cabal, so he'll cowtow to anything they want (and they think he walks on water anyway) while his machine marches on, currently chanting the Override Kumbaya. The parents of secondary students are mostly too burnt to care anymore, since they see first-hand what a mess the district has made of their kids' education but are not willing to do anything other than survive until their kids graduate, being "so done" with trying to make the schools better. (They should care but they don't, being that unique Melrose brand of insulated and lacking concern about the well-being of others in the community, unless, of course, it's one of those feelgood jumponthebandwagon givemoneytocancerresearchandgetpoliticalbennies or linesaroundtheparkinglotatGately'spityfests where they can rub shoulders with their perceived muckymucks and go back to their nasty little gossip klatches five minutes later feeling like they've done their good deed.)
There are little flare-ups when various splinter groups of the mob latch onto a Cause Celebre for five minutes--like the kindergarten recess group (which started out with the right idea but caved and stupidly accepted the super's condescending, totally disrespectful, and wrong non-response), or the Roosy/Hoover teacher relocations (aka retaliations for standing up to super), the occasional sped parents showing up to spill inappropriately and ineffectively in a televised meeting, the library media specialist evangelicals who occasional erupt into a mini-frenzy, the arts group who mobilized quite effectively to get what they wanted but didn't really understand the bigger picture and still don't (nor do they seem to want to). None of these groups are the least bit interested in holding those in authority accountable, even when there are heinous and obvious things that should be mobilizing parents and citizens for the big issues.
Wondering how much worse things will have to get before the outrage lasts beyond the requisite 48 hours. The bar has sunk to unprecedented lows already.
Well thanks, "same story." That does cover most if not all of the bases. Sad and discouraging, but true. Sounds like it comes from a well-informed voice. Have had the chance to have a few intelligent conversations of late with fellow community members and am learning that the voices of reason, as it were, are not as few and far between as it usually seems. There really is an increasing awareness of so many of the things referenced here. I admit to not knowing about the specifics of some of the things, but they all fit together in a dismaying pattern.
The pattern that is taking shape can't be dismissed as the rantings of the "hateful" or crazy first, because it can be linked to fact and second, because the recognition of the pattern is based in a desire to see things be better (which is anything but hateful or cynical, even if it is from a position of being discouraged). Those who would dismiss the facts (found pretty easily it turns out) are really the only ones who should be doubted because they have a clear reason for wanting the truth to be buried.
This is really a call to action, even/especially for the discouraged. This is about our community's children, for crying out loud. We can't afford to sink into cynicism and apathy!
I worked for the Melrose Public Schools for 9 years and I QUIT!! The bulling that is done by a certain percentage of teachers is disgusting!!! Trust me when your child says the teacher is mean and horrible, believe them, and because I witnessed all this over the years I was a HUGE ADVOCATE for those kids! And because I had a mouth I started to get bullied by my co-workers and their little clicks... I hope someday teachers that bully and verbally abuse kids get what they deserve!!!!!
Did you work in the middle school?