How Well Does Colville Know Superintendent Pete Lewis?

Lewis

It’s important to know the people taking care of the safety and education of our children. That’s why school districts do background checks on their employees. So as parents, we should know as much as we can about the number one person in charge of our children, Superintendent Pete Lewis.

Last Position Held before Colville: Superintendent in Fairbanks, Alaska

June 9, 2014 Lewis was FIRED from Fairbanks North Borough School District

  • “… he exhibited a total failure of leadership leading up to the sexual abuse of a student on school property.” (Link)
  • “demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to perform the duties expected of a superintendent, which has resulted in potential liability to the district …” (Link)

Fairbanks School Board President Haas went on to say Mr. Lewis had knowledge of:

  • 1. significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students
  • 2. failed to ensure others took appropriate action; and
  • 3. took inappropriate action himself.

*****

The superintendent’s unwillingness to perform his duties or inability to do them exposed students to harm and the district to legal vulnerability, the board said. Despite inappropriate student contact, Fowlkes received a glowing recommendation, Haas said.

Lewis allowed an employee to routinely work mornings and nights without being paid, putting the district out of compliance with federal wage and hour laws, Haas said, and fostered an attitude of disrespect toward the board that has permeated down to other staff members, Haas said. Link

*****

Mr. Fowlkes has been convicted of 3 counts of sexual abuse of a minor and is now serving time in jail. Fowlkes has also been charged with seven counts of sexual abuse of a minor regarding allegations made by a student at Hutchinson High School in 2014. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has agreed to pay $920,00 to the family of this student.

*****Heidi Haas Video

Here is a video of the Fairbanks School Board Director talking about the Investigation of Claude Fowlkes III and showing her concern that the Colville School Board did not contact them for information about Mr. Lewis before hiring him. Link to Video

*****

June 11, 2014 Pete Lewis was HIRED by Colville School District as their Interim Superintendent (only two days after he was fired from Fairbanks).

December 2014 Pete Lewis was HIRED by Colville School District as their Superintendent. Normally a school district will keep an Interim Superintendent for a full year before hiring them full time. It is a curious thing that our Board chose to hire Mr. Lewis early.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Bully Petition – Transcripts of Public Comments from School Board Mtg.

TranscriptsThe school board held a regular meeting on March 26, 2014 to address the Bully Petition.  One of the things they discussed during the meeting is a survey that was taken at Colville High School. After the board discussed the survey, they turned to the large grouping of community at the meeting for input.

A few interesting notes about the meeting:

– Many ASB students showed up.

– While the room could hold quite a bit more people than it was set up for, I could not get any school board director to organize it so more people could sit down. I asked them to get more chairs because there were people standing up and people spilling out into the hallways. I asked Director Krista Ohrtman to help get more chairs so people could sit down and she said she wasn’t sure she had the authority do do that. I asked Sid Green for help and he said, “That’s not my job.” By the way, any director has the authority because it’s their meeting. I have seen many more people sit in that room than what it was set up to accommodate for this night.

In my opinion, the board sure seemed to be trying to keep people out of the meeting, or uncomfortable enough to want to leave. The bully incident was scheduled fairly far down on the agenda and didn’t start for nearly an hour. That means, the board left many people who wanted to speak standing for well over an hour. I consider this reprehensible behavior by the board because you never know when someone has a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to stand. The individuals sitting in the hall had a lot of trouble hearing what was going on in the room and weren’t able to speak. Seems like if the board wanted the discussion to be heard, they would have accommodated everyone equally, but that’s just my opinion.

Incidentally, I have since found that a person can do a “Point of Privilege” and ask the board to accommodate these individuals per the Roberts Rules of Order:

Point of Privilege: Pertains to noise, personal comfort, etc. – may interrupt only if necessary!

I also found this on the Attorney Generals page: http://www.atg.wa.gov/OpenGovernment/InternetManual/Chapter3.aspx#.VIBnlMlS9Rk

While the OPMA allows the public to attend all meetings, it does not allow for the possibility of insufficient space. Presumably, if a nearby location is available, the governing body should move there to allow attendance.

– As an FYI – I gave up my seat for someone else to sit in and sat in the hall for the meeting, so I wasn’t able to speak.

As always, I apologize for mistakes with anyone’s names.

School Board President Sid Green Ok (garbled) go on. (Inviting public comment). Paul?

Paul Brozik One thing I would say would be that – One thing that happened at the high school would be that when doing survey’s with the students is that for one, the teachers take them more seriously and the students take them more seriously to know that there really is an issue in the – possibly by doing this – by putting the (garbled – excessive audience noise on tape) complete.

Sid Green The whole idea is we put the survey out there, whether they take it seriously or not, we can’t force them. You know, we can’t sit behind them and say take it seriously. And you’re going to get that.

Student Plus isn’t the whole idea of there being an issue still kind of speculative at the moment? That was one thing that raised the concern in the first place.

Sid Green Whether there is an issue?

Sid Green That’s …

Sid Green You don’t think there is?

Student I personally don’t. I love all of my teachers, I interact with them amazingly. I have no problems. Continue reading

Bully Post

bullying_01_gopixpic.comI believe bullying in the Colville School District is an issue that needs to be addressed. Bullying can come from students, teachers, staff or administration. If you have a story about bullying that you would like posted, please contact me.

For this first post, I would like to discuss a bully situation that was widely discussed in our community. In February of 2013, a very brave student named Paul Brozik addressed an issue he was having on change.org. I have posted the text of the petition at the bottom of this post along with the link.

I think it’s very important to know how our school board addressed this issue. In short, I believe they buried it.

– The board had a “non” meeting to talk with the public. This means that they spoke with members of the public, but did not have a quorum of the board (3 or more members) attending, so that they did not have to post minutes of the meeting.

– The board spoke with Mr. Brozik and his family about the issue in an executive session. Our board members believe that anything they discuss in executive session may never be talked about again, so this is how I believe they muted themselves.

NOTE: Many public organizations will release minutes of their executive sessions, so it is legal for the public to know what goes on in executive session. If a public records request is submitted for executive session documents, those documents fall under the open public meeting laws and they must be turned over to the public. Unfortunately for the public, our board does not take minutes in executive session and doesn’t share the minutes or the documents – at least they have not shared them with me when I have put in a request.

– The board allowed comments in a public meeting and the subject has never been brought up again.

– I don’t have any information about reprimands of any kind. All I know is the teacher is still teaching at Colville.

I personally like the teacher discussed in this bully incident, so I was disappointed to hear she might be bullying other students. During the “non” meeting/public discussion there were several conversations about teachers that some people thought were bullies and other people thought were great teachers, so there seems to be quite a big divide in some cases with individual teachers.

As children, both my husband and I were bullied by teachers. My children have been bullied by teachers. In my opinion, my family and friends are continually bullied by the Colville administrators and school board, so bullying is one of the reasons I started attending school board meetings regularly. I have started this blog to communicate this information to the community. There have been many times that I see one thing happening, but the public is told another by our district, or the information is buried so the public cannot see it. It’s time to have all sides of the stories are out there for everyone to see. This petition is a huge part of getting the word out to the community. The petition explains the bully incident best and the multitude of comments below the petition add quite a bit to the story of bullying in the Colville school district.

Petition Text and Comments https://www.change.org/p/colville-high-school-fix-take-care-of-unprofessional-teaching-and-unjust-practices-at-chs
Continue reading