I  (Referencing Kevin from Exceptional Delaware who may or may not take down an article he wrote which would be a travesty to our job of maintaining a historical record of educational issues in this amazing time of change) .… had an email forwarded to me this evening concerning an incident at Newark Charter School earlier this week.  While checking to see if something happened, I found the News Journal already covered this.  But what the News Journal didn’t publish was the email Newark Charter School’s Greg Meece sent to the parents about the altercation between a teacher and a student.  You can see that below.  But I have several dozen questions about this incident which didn’t even come up in the article.  While I respect the fact that Meece can’t talk about the incident because it involves an employee, the comments on the News Journal article spin many different tales…

He said the incident was in a classroom earlier this week and involved a female high school student and teacher in a physical altercation over a cell phone.  He added the cell phone did not belong to the student.  Meece said neither was at school Friday, but no formal disciplinary action has been taken at this time.

Excuse me?  A teacher has a physical altercation with a student and NO arrest was made?  Seriously?  Since when can a teacher have ANY type of physical altercation with a student?  Has the student and teacher been out of school all week?  Where is the due process for the student and the teacher if NO formal disciplinary action has been taken at this time?  Was “informal” disciplinary action taken?

This is the definition of a physical altercation, with certain words bolded for emphasis:

A physical altercation is defined as being an argument, dispute or altercation that involves force or physical aggression. Physical altercations differ from verbalaltercations because physical contact is involved. These types of disputes are sometimes referred to as fights and may legally qualify as battery.

ncsincident

A peaceful gathering?  Maybe for the students, but according to this commenter on Facebook, the school wasn’t too happy about it…

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That is a very different yarn than the one spun by Greg Meece in his email to the parents and the News Journal:

“The principal of our building spoke to the students and thanked them for their voices and being heard,” Meece said.

What happens at Newark Charter Schools stays at Newark Charter School… until a student and a teacher have a physical altercation that is.  I don’t know why Newark Charter School treats itself like it is an isolated school cut off from the rest of the state.  How much goes on there that the public has no clue about?  If someone didn’t tip off the News Journal or myself on this, who would have known?  But we see teachers getting arrested in Delaware.  For more egregious things than this, but it happens.  Perhaps the teacher was defending herself.  But according to the above commenter, it was all a lie.  If there was any physical force involved, were the police notified?  The Senate Bill which minimizes when the police are called, Senate Bill 207, passed in the Delaware General Assembly this year, but it was very specific in its language to specify “between students”.  It did not mention staff members.  Which means Newark Charter School, if they did not notify the police, may have broken the law.  Whether it was a student or a teacher, if the matter became physical, they are legally obligated to do so.  Why didn’t the News Journal question that aspect of the story?

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Scandals?  Sweeping things under the rug?  I thought NCS was this model of good behavior and nothing happened there…

It is hard to believe this particular commenter in one aspect.  If this happened Monday, there is no possible way the parents could have sued the teacher in four days.  They may have talked to an attorney, but nothing moves that fast.  But they are absolutely right that students should have a voice.  The threats coming out of the administration when students were having a peaceful sit-in could have been treated with more respect if the above commenter’s comments are true.

What does Newark Charter School’s code of conduct say about this kind of incident?  It doesn’t reference this specific type of situation, but it does say this:

Referral to Police Agency is required for students who intentionally and offensively touch a staff member who is attempting to break up a fight or who is attempting to keep a student from injuring him/herself or others.  Recommendation for expulsion may be considered.

But they do reference House Bill 322, which the Delaware General Assembly passed in 1997:

In addition to any action taken by school officials, the school will comply with the notification requirements of H.B. 322 which includes notification of police.

This was in a section that talked about fighting.  I hate to keep beating on the same drum, but if this was an incident that was so minor, why would Meece refer to it as a “physical altercation” which has a very definitive legal meaning?

Are parents allowed to discuss this incident?  On the closed to members only NCS Parents Facebook page, it was a huge topic of discussion this week until the moderator deleted all the comments about it to protect the identity of the student and the teacher.  Even though all the parents already knew about it.  This was reported to me by a few parents of students who belong to that page.

Newark Charter School needs to be more open and honest with parents about situations, instead of putting on an “everything’s fine” face with the News Journal.  There was a lot Meece could have talked about with this article, but I’ve always been told Meece is a very smart man and chooses his words very carefully.  But no public school receiving taxpayer dollars should think they can isolate themselves from transparency.  They aren’t North Korea.

I’ve heard of many teachers at NCS getting fired with no form of due process whatsoever.  Delaware charter schools do not have teacher unions which, in this case, would have given the teacher protection if they were fired over this.  But we will most likely never know because of the isolationist mindset coming from this school…

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  1. Charter strong8h ago

    As a student at Newark charter for 10 years who participated in the sit in, I can attest that this article is greatly flawed. Newark charter certainly does not “isolate” itself and frankly, it’s evident that the author is not in any way connected with the school. I think the manipulation of the school’s emails and the conclusion based on inaccurate information is simply a low blow to not only Newark Charter, but charter schools everywhere. Contrary to what you may believe, the police are involved in the case and Newark charter has no intention of hiding any information from the law. In fact, Newark charter administration has little power in this situation; lawyers have been hired to deal with this situation legally. Please leave this situation to Newark charter admin, the family of the student, and the police. We certainly don’t need nor want misinformed commentators (who have no connection to the school whatsoever) to form inacurrate conclusions.

    Reply
    1. I’m a citizen of the state. When you guys get some of your rewards, part of my tax dollars pay for that. When you get to keep all the transportation money over your budgeted amount, who helps pay for that. I do. So you can be charter strong all you want. I’m up for transparency strong.

      Reply
      1. That is an argument that people who lost use. You have no idea of the exact place that your money goes and if it bothers you that much, you can leave delaware! So stop this bullshit please

        Reply
        1. Whoever you are MB, learn your place. When it comes to NCS, you are absolutely right. I have no idea where anyone’s money goes. How about making all that student body activity money fully transparent. That would be a good place to start. How about filing IRS 990 tax returns like the other 25 or so charters in the state already do. And don’t tell me to leave Delaware. What you are doing is perpetuating the perception most people already have about NCS around the state. It’s not about winning or losing, but I guess you wouldn’t know that MB.

          Reply
    2. As well, be ABC or Charter Strong. You can’t be both. Pick one and stick with it. Thank you.

      Reply
      1. Clearly these are different people. But since you just love assuming things based off of limited and bias knowledge, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

        Reply
    3. I actually find it hysterical you are telling me who this situation belongs to and yet you freely offer information that others may not know. I believe that is called hypocrisy!

      Reply
      1. You need to look up the definition of hypocrisy. This student said that they don’t want misinformation leaked, so here they are trying to inform. While I don’t agree with the fact that they gave specific information, I do agree that you should not pretend your opinion matters on this topic and that this should be left to the people it applies to. We wanted people to know that we are not perfect students who don’t rebel. That’s why we were okay with the other article. But we had no intention of having others look into personal business.

        Reply
        1. I think MB belongs on the hood of a small car….. Oh, my bad…I was thinking of MG…..

          Reply
  2. I would like some clarification.
    The teacher was fired. Correct?
    The students were protesting the firing of said teacher. Correct?

    If, in fact, there was no physical altercation, what were the grounds for firing?
    (I fully recognize that, legally, GM needs no grounds – just asking)

    Reply
    1. (Like GM, I too need no grounds…. just coffee extract…… )

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