Last fall a former police officer with the DCPS police force alleged that the district was having children baker acted rather than arrested.
From First Coast News
A former lieutenant in the Duval School Board Police Department says a controversial mental health law they say is being misused in the district.
When he worked for the Duval School Police, he directed officers to use a controversial Florida law called the Baker Act to deal with problem students.
“I have had an officer do that before,” says former lieutenant Benny Reagor. “I have made that command decision. I have said Baker Act them and don’t put them in jail.”
He says when a problem student is placed under the Baker Act, statistically, it’s not counted as an arrest at school.
The Baker Act allows a law enforcement officer to involuntarily commit someone to a mental health facility.
“In lieu of physically arresting them for the felony, we would Baker Act the child as opposed to an arrest,” he says.
Reagor worked for the department’s previous police chief and retired in 2015.
Well in today’s Times Union’s there were as equally damning allegations that public high schools would council out poor performers, sending them to charter schools in affect juking the books to raise graduation rates which has been his and his supporters go to line for him keeping his job.
From the Times Union
LaRoche called Vitti’s criticism of his school unfair and hypocritical. He said Duval’s high schools have been using schools like his to unload students they know won’t be able to graduate on time.
If students transfer to alternative high schools, then the district schools’ graduation rates get a boost, but it pushes the problem onto schools like his, he said.
“We have principals bringing these kids to us,” he said. “In essence, what we’re doing is helping these (district) schools’ graduation rates. We are an alternative drop-out recovery program, not a drop-out prevention program.”
Often these students come to him at least two years behind, he said; some at a fourth-grade or fifth-grade reading level. Many need to earn more than half their high school credits.
A couple things, I wrote about this issue years ago when the district decided to extend the contracts of some of these charter schools,
And likewise I have heard about the allegations that principals counseled out poor performers for years but i could never get anybody to go on the record.
Here is the things I doubt there is an email from Vitti to his subordinates saying get our arrest stats down and grad stats up by using these morally reprehensible means. No I think he puts such pressure and intimidation on people that they will do whatever they have to, to keep their jobs. Just ask any teachers how they feel? I bet intimidation comes up in thier first three sentences somewhere.
If either of these things, let alone both are happening, how does the super keep his job? And unless Becki Couch , Paula Wright and the rest of the school board sent the super a memo titled, “chuck ethics, just get it done”, doesn’t the buck stop at the superintendent? Who is going to pay the price for these policies even if they are unwritten? My bet is somebody way down the totem pole.
We need to do things the right way, and here is yet more anecdotal evidence that we are not.
Vitti believes he was brought in to turn us around, his methods though are less than desirable.