On Tuesday January 21, 2014 the Hartford Board of Education will hold a special executive session to discuss Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry. The public has the opportunity to address the Hartford Board of Education starting at 5:30 pm. The meeting is taking place at the Journalism and Media Magnet Academy located at 150 Tower Avenue in Hartford.
Since the discussion about Perry will be held behind closed doors and in Executive Session it isn’t clear what topics will be discussed.
In addition to charges of excessive student disciplinary policies that border on child abuse, widespread bullying of students and teachers, violating federal and state law by failing to provide students with mandated special education services and doctoring official documents to make it appear that the school qualifies for additional funds under the Sheff agreement, Perry’s excessive absenteeism and obsessive use of Twitter during the school day may also come up.
Dealing with excessive absenteeism in Connecticut schools has been a top priority for the Hartford Board of Education and the State Department of Education.
In an effort to address the problem of truancy, the State Department of Education and State Board of Education have defined excessive absenteeism as missing at 20% of school days, for any reason.
As 2013 came to an end, Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry had missed about 30 of 127 school days since the 2013-2014 Capital Prep school year had begun. That comes to nearly 24 percent of all school days.
Instead of being on duty, as required, Perry was usually gallivanting across the country making money thanks to his public speaking business.
When Steve Perry was at work, he spent an inordinate amount of time doing media interviews to promote that public speaking business or obsessively using his Tweeter account.
Over the last few months he has conducted dozens of media interviews, many during school hours.
In addition, since he created his Tweeter account, Steve Perry has sent out more than 33,958 Tweets. Many of these were sent during school hours.
Even the most conservative estimate is that Perry has spent about 150 hours Tweeting while he was being paid by the taxpayers of Hartford and Connecticut. At his six-figure salary level that means taxpayers have paid Perry well in excess of $10,000 for the time he spent Tweeting.
Making matters even worse, in many cases those Tweets were abusive, insulting and in violation of Hartford School Board policies. The most extreme example being his infamous Tweet on Thursday morning, November 21, 2013.
Still angry that his plan to transfer two Hartford schools to a private company that he had created had been rejected by the Hartford Board of Education, while students and teachers were working, Perry Tweeted;
“The only way to lose a fight is to stop fighting. All this did was piss me off. It’s so on. Strap up, there will be head injuries.”
Whether the term “strap up” does or doesn’t refer the practice of carrying a concealed weapon, the phrase, “there will be head injuries” would be enough to get any public school student suspended or a teacher fired.
But while Matt Poland, the chairman of the Hartford Board of Education demanded an investigation into Perry’s potentially illegal action, no investigation was apparently conducted and Perry went right back to his Tweeting frenzy.
Over the months, Perry’s tweets often focused on his hatred of unions and public school advocates.
He has called public education advocate Diane Ravitch a racist on dozens of occasions and has made similar statements about AFT President Randi Weingarten and other teacher union officials.
In addition to calling teachers roaches and bullying his own staff, some of his more bizarre Tweets include,
- “How can your job be hard? You work with kids all day! If it’s so hard, quit!”
- We have these conversations in closed spaces because teachers will start trying to make you feel bad for them.”
- “Our traditional schools over-feminized…”
- “When you go to charters you get ppl who care about you, you get the complete opposite in public schools.”
- America has a long & ugly history of groups like the teachers’ unions fighting to keep minority kids from getting out of failed schools.
- The teachers union is power-thirsty.
- Want to stop truancy? … tell your teachers to get to work.
- All DUE PROCESS means is that you need documentation for your decision. You don’t have to justify your documentation to the union.”
- “Everyone knows that ineffective educators fall in the union shield to protect them from accountability. When you’re good you’re “protected.”
- “Their playbook is the same. They don’t do their job & they get written up for it. They claim admins CAN’T write them up. “It’s harassment.”
- “The strategy to keep ineffective educators is simple. Stall, claim harassment, file a CHRO or ADA complaint & more accusations. Same ol same.”
- “Most admins believe they answer to the union. WRONG. You work for the kids & the board. They’re the ONLY ppl to whom you have to answer.”
- “The harassment strategy is usually their go to. The other is that you’re “bullying” them. It’s not either it’s called supervision.”
- “Too many admins don’t want to be the bad guy so they capitulate to these silly claims. Focus on the kids & desperate adults won’t matter.”
- “Protecting ineffective educators IS human rights issue, it’s just that the humans being wronged are the kids & families not the ineffective.”
- “Every time a union supports an ineffective educator they hurt kids, education, teaching, our community & their credibility.”
And then there was the day that in a wild and bizarre burst of tweets, Perry hurled the following insults over the course of an hour or so…
- “Be the person worth talking about not the clown talking about other ppl.”
- “If your greatest contribution is the criticism of others, your life is w/o value and you will deep the poison fruit you’ve sewn.”
- “The only person who has to get you is you. You’ve got to like you the most. If you dig you, who gives a damn what others think?”
- “A fan is a fan, even if the only way they can show it is to spew hate. Pity them, They are weak, but they’re still a fan. Enjoy the show…”
- “When they’re counting what’s going in your pocket, they clearly ain’t putting nothing in theirs. Man, their life must really suck.”
- “They only ppl worrying about what you’ve got do have anything of their own. Feel bad for them, their life sucks.”
- “It’s not up to them to decide what YOU deserve. What kind of lame thinks THEY can tell you what YOU should have…? Idiots!”
- “Don’t EVER let anybody make you feel bad for being successful. The fact that they’re not is THEIR problem, not yours. Let THEM live w it.”
- “We have shined the lights on those who have been responsible for forcing kids to go to failed schools & my God are they desperate to stop us.”
Disciplinary action against Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry by Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and the Hartford Board of Education is long overdue.
Tuesday’s Hartford Board of Education Executive Session about Perry is at least an important first step.