Hey Steve Perry – Tell us about Capital Prep’s “Table of Shame”

Located in the cafeteria of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School at 1304 Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut is the “Table of Shame.”

At part of Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry’s “zero-tolerance” policies even the slightest “violations,” such as wearing the wrong colored belt, will result in punishments designed to humiliate and demean students.

For example, it is not uncommon for Capital Prep students to be forced to stand in the cafeteria to eat as punishment for violating the school uniform policy or some equally unimportant “violation.”

And now, more than a half a dozen former and present parents, students and teachers report that Perry and his fellow Capital Prep administrators regularly require children, even the youngest students in the building, to sit at the cafeteria’s “Table of Shame.”

And yes… it is actually referred to as the “Table of Shame.”

While Steve Perry implements policies that are nothing short of outrageous and disgusting, the United States Government is working to push schools to move in exactly the opposite direction.

Just last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Connecticut’s own United States Senator Christopher Murphy participated in a press conference in Baltimore to release new federal guidelines about appropriate school discipline.

While the speeches focused primarily on school suspensions, along with the underlying racism in how many schools approach discipline, the new guidelines are about ending policies that seek to ostracize students or undermine and destroy their ability to remain focused and connected to their education.

As Attorney General Holder explained, “Too often, so-called “zero-tolerance” policies – however well-intentioned – make students feel unwelcome in their own schools.  They disrupt the learning process.   And they can have significant and lasting negative effects on the long-term well-being of our young people – increasing their likelihood of future contact with juvenile and criminal justice systems.”

In a follow up interview with the Hartford Courant, Senator Murphy added, “Long ago, I discovered that exclusionary discipline simply doesn’t work…It makes school less safe. It puts kids on a downward spiral that often ends up in the criminal justice system.”

Requiring students to sit at the “Table of Shame” or seeking to humiliate students my requiring them to eat standing in front of their classmates are absurd and mean-spirited punishment techniques that are not only counter-productive, but are nothing short of child-abuse.

Last year, Achievement First, Inc. the charter school management company co-founded by Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor earned national notoriety for its obsessive use of school suspensions including children as young as kindergartners.

Now students, parents and teachers are reporting that Capital Prep, Hartford’s charter-school wannabee, regularly engages in discipline strategies that are equally offensive and inappropriate.

Check back for more details about Capital Prep’s stunning discipline policies in the days ahead.

In the meantime, check out the Real Hartford Blog which posted an article today entitled “Agreement Renders School Discipline Committee Powerless.”

In the blog post, Kerri Provost explains that there appears to be an effort to eliminate the effectiveness of the School Discipline Committee in the Hartford Public School System.

Provost writes, “The Hartford Board of Education came to an agreement with the Hartford Federation of Teachers that these [Committees] are allowed to remain in the schools, but the wording essentially renders these groups useless. It is said that “because of FERPA [FERPA is the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act] there shall be no discussion of any individual student whether by name or by reference at any meeting convened under this provision. If any discussion references specific students or incidents the principal or designee shall have the authority to immediately discontinue/cancel the meeting.”

Provost adds, “By leaning on FERPA, the school discipline committees can no longer — if the principal or designee decides as much — discuss if, for instance, calling the police to the school for a particular student’s behavior was appropriate or an abuse of authority. If the social worker and teachers determine that a principal has overstepped his or her boundaries by issuing too many in/outside school suspensions, there is not much they can do about this under the new agreement. It would be challenging to actually talk about the disposition of each case involving suspension or expulsion without having potentially referenced an individual student. If a teacher and social worker have concerns about a student and want to strategize the best way to get him or her help while in crisis, the principal or designee can point to FERPA and shut that entire conversation down.”

You can read the full blog at: http://www.realhartford.org/2014/01/13/agreement-renders-school-discipline-committee-powerless/

It seems that the new policy would certainly make it easy for principals like Steve Perry to prevent any meaningful discussion about his outrageous discipline policies at the School Discipline Committee level.

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    Come on……it’s as obvious as the noses on Arne Duncan and Eric Holder’s faces these rules are for white people who work at urban schools. Black school leaders can do whatever the hell they feel like and at schools like Capital Prep there is no limit or responsibility.

    Look for Steve’s tweet that soon he will close down the Table of Shame and institute Dunce Caps.

  • Amy

    Shame on Steve Perry. HE is the one who should be ashamed for treating children like this.

    Private school parents would not tolerate this. Parents at successful public schools would not tolerate this. The parents of the poor students who populate Mr. Perry’s schools will not tolerate this either.

    • Rafael G

      Forgive me if I am incorrect but I dont believe the majority of those kids in his school are even close to the poverty line let alone under it..I walk up and down main st DAILY and I’ve YET to see a kid in a capital prep uniform walking down main st towards the northend. Come to school in the hood and the bus it back to the burbs!.

      • Amy

        Thanks for the heads up, I’m following this story from afar and did not have all the details. I’d assumed that this was a KIPP-type school, a place with harsh discipline for poor minority students.

        I’ll revise my statement to say that parents of all kinds of students will find these types of disciplinary tactics intolerable!

  • jonboy

    Steve Perry knows what they say about a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.

    So he coerces, via shame, belittlement, and fear, the naughty children to quit Cap Prep before they can drag down HIS graduation rate or impact the percentages of graduates HE sends to college.

    And he calls himself “America’s Most Trusted Educator”……

    Really?????????????????????????????????????????????

  • Mary Gallucci

    I am not sure what else can be revealed about Capital Prep. Is an appointed board of education accountable to no one, as Hartford’s seems to be? Is a corporate “CEO'”-style Superintendent accountable to no one? This is outrageous.

    • R.L.

      Ask Matt Poland.

      • Rafael G

        Someone who CAREs

  • buygoldandprosper

    Hartford’s own little Gitmo.
    Sort of a shame my tax dollars are being wasted on this idiot.

  • HartfordPirates

    Vote Pirate – we won’t let this continue! http://www.hartfordpirates.com

  • Gobsmacked133

    Omg, has no one shared this horror with Mr. Blumenthal?!

    • R.L.

      Do you actually think he cares?

      • Disgusted Parent

        Yes

        • R.L.

          Good luck with that!

      • Gobsmacked133

        Yes. Yes I do.

    • Rafael G

      Once again,i may reach out to him

      • Gobsmacked133

        If you have a way, please do.

  • jrp1900

    A friend of mine whose child attended Capital Prep told me about “the table shame” wherein young children are deliberately humiliated in front of their peers. Shame on “Dr.” Perry and his staff for using “disciplinary” measures that do harm to a child’s spirit. That’s what I don’t understand about this “no excuses” bullshit: how can you claim to have respect for the children in your care when you subject them to demeaning and dehumanizing “punishments”? One does not have to be Sigmund Freud to understand that making a spectacle of a child might have consequences for their long-term mental development. “Dr.” Perry seems partial to the behaviorist paradigm of social control: his “table of shame” is a kind of “negative reinforcement”–a child bitten by THAT species of adder is not going to handle that snake on a second occasion! But the good “Dr.” should know that behaviorism’s day is passing (even in animal training) because its practices are often based in bullying and cruelty. It has been observed that if you cajole an animal enough—say, a dog or a rat or a monkey–it will eventually give you the behavior you desire, not out of genuine compliance, but out of demoralization, or what psychologists call “learned helplessness.” Steve Perry may not quite understand this, but his demeaning treatment of children is more likely to inculcate learned helplessness among the children than genuine respect for his authority. And if the children don’t become resigned to their own degradation and actively resist Perry’s petty tyranny, I’m sure the response is just more of the same authoritarianism. If the child refuses to submit to the added dose of arbitrary power, I bet he and his parents will soon be having that special conversation with Capital Prep’s Principal, when he “regrets to inform them, that it is his opinion that Capital Prep is not a good fit for young ‘Johnny'”. In other words, if the child refuses to be “broken in” (like a wild horse!), then he will have to get his schooling somewhere else. At Capital Prep, they only want “good citizens.”
    To eat with others is a pleasure that we all take for granted. To make lunchtime for children a torment is a cruel and unusual punishment. That is why mealtimes in totalitarian settings are deliberately designed to be harsh and undignified. If people are made to feel like “animals” when they are eating, you are some way there to convincing them that they really are animals. “Dr” Perry should take a look at “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens. Dickens shows that children in the workhouse were made to eat their meals in horrible circumstances. I’m not saying that Perry is the exact equivalent of a Victorian horrorshow, but I am saying that his callous policies might have some of the same effects in brutalizing children. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Victorian workhouse, like Capital Prep, also subscribed to the “no excuses” model of child discipline.
    Can it really be 2014??!

  • speaking up

    I think that the important issue here is that this is a Hartford Public Magnet School. Dr. Steve Perry WANTS to head a private, charter school, but he does not. My child was a student at Capital Prep from July 2011 – November 2011. That was as long as it took me to, first, figure out that something was wrong in that building and, next, to figure out that the problem would not be addressed by Dr. Steve Perry… or any other in-school administrators – because the problem stemmed, in large part, from Dr. Steve Perry. I pulled my child out and then thought that bringing this problem to the attention of city and state offices would bring action/remedies, but we all know (now) that this is not the case.

    I trusted and relied on what I believed to be an accountable public school administration to oversee and administer Hartford’s school system. I NEVER would have agreed to what I later learned was going on in that school, and I am willing to bet that the majority of Capital Prep parents did and would not agree, either.

    If any parents are in agreement with what is happening at Capital Prep (or with any other “no excuses” policies), then they should, by all means, choose to send their children to private (or charter) schools, where administrators are free to make and monitor their own policies and rules. Citizens rely upon public schools to be governed by district-wide policies, and we rely upon the people and agencies “in charge” to govern school administrators accordingly.

    Enough already; what I would like to know is: Who is accountable for what happens in Hartford Public Schools? And who is accountable to make sure that these accountable parties are held accountable? And then who… and who… where does the buck stop? I am frustrated to continue to hear that we all know that no one is going to take accountability. TO WHOM IS ACCOUNTABILITY ASSIGNED AND WHO IS THEIR SUPERIOR? (And then who is THEIR superior, until we reach someone who is not tied to this fiasco and will listen?)

    • R.L.

      Ask Matt Poland.

    • Concerned Parent

      Hi please come to the next Htfd BOE metting so your voice can be heard. We as past and current parents from Capital Prep need to be vocal!!

  • Disgusted Parent

    How about “running stairs with weights”
    Holding signs during lunch “to teach you lessons”

    • Mary Gallucci

      No! does this happen?
      There are rules. “corporal” punishment is any kind of physical “bodily” punishment–I’d say running up and down the stair with weights is corporal; standing for lengthy periods of time; holding a position… corporal punishment is illegal in Connecticut! The poor children. What is going on?
      Are inexperienced tfaers or first year teachers okay’ing this?

  • Linda174

    Waiting for CP reality and truth to show up. Not sure how to defend this one, eh?

    • realityed

      No need to defend anything. Again, Pelto’s journalism is shoddy at best.

      • Linda174

        So why do you even read it or bother to check in?
        Parents and kids are lying? No excuses.

        • JMC

          RealityEd’s cred is utterly demolished, and RE himself put to everlasting shame, by the expert witness furnished below in the person of the eloquent and passionate Speaking Up, parent of a CP child.

        • Linda174

          Perry clings to minor discrepancies…it’s called a reorientation table, not a table of shame or some such nonsense. He should sit there and be ignored by all.

        • WEP55

          Kids an’t be fooled, they know: regardless of what Steve calls it, to kids it’s a table of shame. Only unskilled, weak educators revert to this kind of behavior modification. Just another example of Perry’s lack of training in the field of education and educational psychology. Is there anyone at that school who knows better or do they all buy into this horror?

      • Jonboy

        Why do you only challenge women on here Steve Perry? I have never seen you challenge a male.

        Children and women…. you, to quote yourself, “really are a piece of shit.”

      • jonboy

        FOR THOSE THAT DON’T KNOW…

        REALITYED IS STEVE PERRY.

        • Linda174

          Thought so…he must be worried if he checks in regularly. Get to work Steve!

      • jrp1900

        realityed: “No need to defend anything”? You are quite the comedian…

        • Disgusted Parent

          He has a pattern of not responding to parent emails..and hiding.

        • jrp1900

          Disgusted Parent: Yes, I can well imagine. Notice that Perry has plenty of time for TV and radio interviews and for paid lectures, but he has no time to meet the parents of the children in his charge! Who exactly trusts this “most trusted” educator? Perry runs Capital Prep as though it were “his” school; he forgets that Capital Prep is a public school, and so it belongs to the community, and he is responsible to that community and not to himself. Perry is big on telling children what they HAVE to do, but he neglects his own paid duties. It’s amazing that the Hartford BOE will not take action against him. Obviously, the BOE understands that Perry is Pryor’s boy, and if Pryor wants him to stay then he will have to stay. And Pryor only wants Perry to stay because he is very useful to the agenda of privatizing Hartford schools. The abuse of children under Perry’s care simply does not matter.

        • Rafael G

          That’s why i stated at the board meeting that not only Does it need to stop now. We need to figure out why it went on for so long. THEY know why

        • Rafael G

          And yet to place him in charge of hundreds of more kids and give him more money?? Exactly why we don’t want him as a school leader. Let him go be an educational reformer

      • Rafael G

        About as shoddy as a school claiming wonder numbers but caqn’t compete with other high acclaim schools like loomis chafee or jumoke. The test scores are slightly lower and the student population is much lower as well. So despite capital prep being labeled the wonder of Hartford…it should be noted that they don’t compete with ACTUAL upper class schools who DON’T have the controversy capital prep does. Who’s model should we be replicating??

        • Mary Gallucci

          Interesting… however, I would not take the scores from Jumoke as proof of anything. I have a lot of questions about that program. They are zero tolerance, too, and they think that children should effortlessly drop their “problems”–like homelessness, illness, family in poverty or away in the military; etc–in the garbage bin on entering the school. That is just inhumane and callous.

      • HartfordPirates

        Why don’t you invite Pelto into the school for a tour and the opportunity to speak to staff is your concern is his getting the facts correct?

  • JMC

    There should be a “Table of Shame” for a deadbeat principal who collects a paycheck while skipping school 20% of the time. And a pointed hat that says, “I am a grifter who steals from the public”.

  • Rafael G

    http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ctnplayer.asp?odID=9774

    My comments begin at 30min55 seconds.

    Hey, to the nameless faceless flamebaiters. Here’s MY face

    • Guest

      Well done Rafael. Well done. Mr. Perry is a public figure and Mrs. Therressa Stanten Hopkins is full of shit. As a public figure Mr. Perry does not need to be present to have complaints levied against him especially during a public meeting.

      • Rafael G

        I said the same thing when i was explaining what happened at the meeting, if that were the case all issues brought up would have to be regarding those in the room only

    • R.L.

      I shook your hand the night of the board meeting where Perry was denied his takeover. You rock!

      • Rafael G

        Thank you!

    • jonboy

      Hats off to you Rafael!

      Organize a bunch of parents and picket the school seeking Perry’s immediate resignation for abusing children.

      Drastic times call for drastic measures

      • Rafael G

        I also suggested this in an earlier post. Too much controversy for ONE school principal. Enough is enough

    • Linda174

      Outstanding Rafael. Standing ovation for you, sir!

      • Rafael G

        🙂 Thank you

        • jrp1900

          Rafael G: Let Perry tremble in his shoes; he has met his match in Hartford parents like you, Hyacinth Yennie and Neill Berry. It was interesting that the chairwoman rushed to defend Steve Perry. The State Board obviously knows about him, but they don’t want your anti-Perry testimony entered into the public record.
          It’s all a sick game, in which city children are mere pawns. The Board doesn’t want to know what is really going on in Hartford. And Pryor sits there like he isn’t one of the main villains!
          Great job, Rafael !

    • Guest

      Well done Rafael! Well done! The chairwoman cannot dictate what you can and cannot say regarding a public figure at a public meeting. As an attorney the chairwoman should know she cannot limit your free speech. You still got your message across and you sir are a hero!

      • Rafael G

        I appreciate the compliment! I don’t think I’m a hero though 🙂 yes she definitely shut down mr berry (who was speaking prior to me) when he even brought Perrys name up

    • Mary Gallucci

      Excellent job! Thank you also to Mr. Berry and Ms. Yennie (sorry if I am misspelling anyone’s name).
      How dare they try to silence you–or us! I appreciate that Ms. Yennie mentioned Windham, where Adamowski is ruining my district! I have spoken at public comment several times at the State, and do they ever answer my queries?

      Here’s an idea–all of us in the Commissioner’s Network should DEMAND a special meeting (televised) with the Commissioner and the State Board of Education. The Commissioner never deigns to speak or even acknowledge us. Every parent in a school or district taken over by Pryor should gather and confront the Commissioner. As School Governance Councils, we are mere window dressing.
      Pryor should have to answer Mr. Berry, Mr. Guadalupe, Ms. Yennie–and me, and the rest of us.
      Let’s take back our local schools (and get our money back from the consultants and pricey “experts” Pryor has forced on us. Adamowski should pay back his half a million or so.

  • Concerned Parent

    Perry’s staff also enforces students standing during their various classes for punishment. Just wondering if some of those teachers that attended suburbia schools had to endure that shameful and inappropriate punishment?? Just because our children attend an “urban” school doesn’t mean that our children should be treated differently!!

    • Disgusted Parent

      My son was told to stand today by Mr. Roderick. My son informed him that was corporal punishment. My son did not stand.

      • Rafael G

        GOOD FOR HIM!

      • Concerned Parent

        Mr. Roderick should know better Mr W isnt any better

        • Saya

          Why don’t you correct your child and teach him to respect adults. You are not mentioning what your child did to simply have to stand. Mr. Roderick and Mr.W are my heros. They’ve taught me what I am capable of, respect, and strenght. Mr. Roderick is by far one of the most loving staff members and was once my great coach. Mr.W was my coach as well and I respect them and understand when I’ve done something wrong.
          Being a true friend of your child is to tell them when they are wrong and guide them and support them.
          Last time I checked we stand everyday I don’t think that’s corporal punishment.
          Parents PLEASE tell your kid when they are wrong, stop spoiling them and hurting them by not being honest with them.

      • Concerned Parent

        PS maybe that is a DCF referral. Maybe we should call the DCF hotline every time they try to subject OUR children to that corporal punishment

  • HartfordPirates

    Speaking of “shame” it seems that the business address for CAPITAL PREPARATORY SCHOOLS INCORPORATED has been changed to Middletown. Interesting…

    • Rafael G

      See! We are giving him time to fix all his bullshit. No wonder he hadn’t been posting much on here

  • HartfordPirates
  • Pingback: Real Hartford » Perry To Be Discussed in Executive Session()

  • Luv2Teach

    Would someone post the exact wording for the Perry-related executive session reportedly on the agenda for the next BOE meeting? I can’t find the agenda online. Help? Thanks.

  • Saya

    You all are absurd. Unbelievable. The lies that you guys are spreading is just plain wrong.
    I was a student at Capital Prep and after going through cyber bullying and other types of bullying in my old school this was where I felt safe.
    My teachers and the principal and vice principal were like my family. I didn’t even want to go home sometimes; I loved being around my teachers and coaches. When I did something wrong they told me and when I struggled they sat and talked to me many times. The kids who get punished or sit on the table of shame have been spoken with many times and are those who deliberately do not listen. I’ve rarely ever seen young kids like kindergartener sit there.

    I would come late often and they never humiliated me. They told me multiple times to come on time and although I struggled with it I understood I was wrong and needed to fix myself. Eventually I got a detention and had to come early but the whole time it was this light friendly atmosphere. We even joked around.
    Yes sometimes they got upset with me but they were right and I was wrong, they understood why I used to come late after talking to me one day and actually even tried to help me find transportation. One of the teachers even volunteered to pick me up and drop me off everyday and that is one amazing commitment considering I lived far away from the school. I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU GUYS ARE SAYING ABOUT MY SCHOOL AND HONESTLY IT’S DISGUSTING FOR YOU TO BASH SOMEONE WITHOUT KNOWING ALL THE FACTS.

    My teachers were tough with me sometimes and sometimes they did get upset however they loved me, talked to me, encouraged me, and taught me greater respect and to believe in the great ability in me. These guys get up close and it felt like they actually cared about what was going on in my life.

    Also some have said that Mr.Perry is just a businessman and he is never at the school and the many degrading comments. First of all to all of the adults here have you all forgotten the respect and manners we are taught in kindergarten? Now that is sad. What kind of role models are you guys? What kind of teachers? You all are not even looking at both sides of the issue.

    When I was in school I saw Mr. Perry almost all the time greeting us at the door when we come in and sometimes asking us how we are, and other than that he was always busy with someone, students, in his office, visiting classrooms occasionally etc.

    Yes I agree that sometimes the students are pushed too hard and instead they need some more one on one talks and some more encouragement rather than being feeling guilty and wanting to quit.

    Notice that I say MORE because they already do that but it’s really hard work as one teacher to give their undivided attention to each student and you know what they already do a pretty phenomenal job. My teachers could tell when I wasn’t feeling so great even when I had a smile on my face and when they did they would say something to make my day.

    Yes Capital Prep has room for improvement but they are no where near as despicable as you guys are making them sound.

    This is my family. The people who showed me how to smile and open up again when I had felt crushed because of bullying in my old school. Who when I broke down told me they loved me and went out of there way multiple times to help me in every way. Who didn’t judge me but embraced me. Who told when I was wrong and when I was right. That is my family. You all have a right to disagree but not to stereotype and belittle.

    If you try to be fair and see both sides and come to balanced solution rather than playing tug of war maybe our kids would be happier, livelier, and feel comfortable being themselves.

    This is about our kids and Capital Prep does know what they are doing. Could they get better yes. Are they cheaters and abusers as you all are accusing, no. Stop being hateful.

    And kids left because they wanted to for different reasons. Each child had their own reason whether that was related to the school or not. We always saw someone trying to talk with them and understand them and solve the problem. Classmates talked with another. There was a lot of support too! In fact I was one of those people, the number of staff that came to talk to me was incredible. I felt cared for, my Father was proud to see so many people care about me. I wasn’t leaving cause I disliked the school, it was because I had a lot of things going on at home between my parents health and other stress I wanted to be able to spend extra time caring for them.

    Till this day I am in contact with my teachers and they help me.

    This is their actions speaking.