Batavia superintendent explains discipline in letter

Updated 5/28/2013 11:59 PM

The following letter was sent by email to the media and subscribers to the Batavia school district's email news system Tuesday night.

"Dear Members of the BPS101 Community:


During a regularly scheduled Batavia Public School District 101 board meeting this evening (Tuesday), the Board of Education approved a Resolution Authorizing a Notice of Remediation to a Batavia High School teacher. A notice to remedy is a written warning issued by a school board that warns the employee of improper conduct and the possible consequences thereof.

Much of the information that was discussed in closed session is confidential and cannot be shared. Please rest assured that during the review of this employee matter, the Board of Education was given all of the facts, which may or may not be the same as information you may have read in the newspaper or on social media websites.

That said, there is some context that I feel would be appropriate to share.

In this case, District teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, psychologists and others worked together for over a year to select a data-gathering instrument that could be used to determine what social or emotional issues our high school students are experiencing, and whether individual students could benefit from new or increased supportive intervention by our staff. These purposes were shared with our parents and our teachers.

The issue before the Board tonight was whether one employee has the right to mischaracterize the efforts of our teachers, counselors, social workers and others; and tell our students, in effect, that the adults are not here to help, but that they are trying to get you to 'incriminate' yourselves.

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Disagreement with District initiatives has happened before and it will happen again. What the BPS101 Board does not, and will not support, is any employee giving students false impressions about the motivations of those who come here every day to try to improve the lives of the students entrusted to our care. At no time was student discipline discussed or contemplated as a response to disclosures made by our students.

I understand that some people feel we could have done a better job explaining our goals and a better job working hand in hand with parents on these sensitive issues, and we will. The Board has asked my administration to take steps in the future to increase parental awareness and transparency when gathering data about sensitive issues such as mental health or substance abuse issues. When a plan of action is developed, we have agreed to share those details with our community.

We understand and appreciate the concern shown by our parents and our staff members for the welfare of our students. In all things we do, the best interests of the students must, and will, always come first."

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