Meanwhile, that’s $10M less going to teach kids.
But given that most kids in D.C. schools are black, their parents don’t give a shit and school administrators are overpaid, well……fuck ’em.
The Washington, D.C.-area district implemented new policies on reporting suspected child abuse following the 2014-15 school year, when the district spent about $630,000 on educators and other employees put on administrative leave amid accusations of misconduct.
Those policies reportedly resulted in a total of 625 staff placed on leave so far this year as district officials investigate 788 cases of suspected misconduct or abuse, Fox 5 reports.
“The number of PGCPS employees on administrative leave is substantially higher due to our heightened emphasis on mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse/neglect. Correspondingly, administrative leave pay totals have increased during that time,” PGCS officials wrote in a prepared statement. “The school system is legally required to pay the salaries in question, which were accounted for in the budget.”
Officials argued that while the administrative leave pay increased drastically, the district’s expenses for substitute teachers “are approximately $7 million to $13 million lower than previous years.”
They also promised to make changes.
“In reparation for the 2017-18 school year, we have spent the last several weeks reviewing all student safety administrative procedures. We will announce recommended changes in June,” the statement read. “We will also begin employee training this summer that reflects situations encountered this year regarding Child Protective Services reporting requirements, student behavior and classroom management.”
Officials wrote they “expect improvements next school year.”
WTOP outlined some of the recent student abuse scandals in the district last year that undoubtedly contributed to the “heightened emphasis on mandatory reporting.”
“Incidents include an elementary school aide accused of directing young students to perform sex acts while he videotaped them; a school bus aide who allegedly abused two special needs students; and alleged abuses in the school system’s Head Start early education program, which led to the loss of millions of dollars in federal grant money,” according to the news site.
Last month, school board member David Murray spoke out about what many view as an over-reaction to the scandals and signed on to a petition calling for a “review and revamping” of the district’s policies.
“It’s been absolutely detrimental to student learning,” Murray told The Washington Post.
Aside from the massive bill for administrative leave, the petition outlines how the new student safety policies are impacting student learning.
“Over the 2016-2017 school year thus far, the school system has had 636 cases of staff sitting at home on administrative leave, largely because of baseless unsubstantiated claims. As a result, we have thousands of students without teachers for months at a time. We have some schools without an entire grade of teachers resulting in irrevocable harm for those students,” the petition reads.
“We cannot expect students to achieve at high levels without a teacher. The research is clear; replacing highly qualified teachers with substitute teachers over a long period of time will have a significant and detrimental impact on student achievement. In one study, students who had a substitute for only four weeks had reading scores drop by double digits.”
The district’s transportation department is also bogging down because of the policies, the petition alleges.
“In the case of transportation, the school system already has a significant shortage of drivers. By placing so many drivers on administrative leave, we have buses arriving late or not at all in many cases. Students are left at bus stops in cold and sometimes dangerous conditions for significant periods of time.”
District officials confirmed to Fox 5 that the vast majority of 625 employees investigated this year were cleared of any wrongdoing.
But for folks like bus driver Ya Ya Ouattara, pulled from his route based on a claim he cursed at a student, the current policies means he now spends his days playing cards with other accused drivers at the district bus garage while waiting for his case to be resolved.
“It’s hard for us,” said Ouattara, who denies the accusations against him. “For me, very hard.”
“To be honest, it’s like you’re in jail.”
Others at the bus garage didn’t even know why they were removed from their driving duties.
“I don’t know why I’m sitting there,” said a female driver, who didn’t want to be identified. “It makes you feel like you’re not trusted. It makes you feel you could lose your job at any time.”