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Friday, September 21, 2007

Update: 7 Year Old Boy Forced To Perform Oral Sex On Howell School Bus


You know I don't have much respect for most of the decisions the Howell School Board has made these past almost 3 years now, but I honestly believe they did not know of the sexual incident on the school bus that involved 3 elementary school boys last May. (a 7 year old victim who was bullied by a 9 year old to perform oral sex on him and an 11 year old observer). I believe also that Mr. Breiner did not know. I don't excuse any of them for not knowing of this incident. They have systematically created an environment whereby members of the Administration and Staff do not feel safe to come forward with any incidents of controversy or anything high profile. This Board and this Superintendent have continually and consistently thrown it's staff under the bus whenever there is controversy. We have had 6 principals at Howell High School in the last 8 years. That is a very telling record. They either stink at interviewing and selecting good candidates OR the pressure and stress is too much for them. The last principal was demoted to assistant principal of the middle school where she was allowed to accept less workload, but still gets paid $120,000 per year in salary. This is more than the principal of the school makes and certainly indicative of the disastrous financial decisions we have watched them make.

Mike Peterson is the Transportation Director. The same person that fired a bus driver and then gave her a letter of recommendation, an action which resulted in litigation for wrongful discharge and earned our district the honor of being awarded ONE OF THE TOP 4 WORST EMPLOYERS in the Country by Chicago.Com Magazine. Mike Peterson's actions in this bus episode were irresponsible as he made the decision that Mr. Breiner did not need to know about this event. He didn't notify the School Board of a possible litigious situation either. MIKE PETERSON SHOULD BE FIRED. Mr. Peterson's contact information has been taken down from the school web site.

Jill Hilla is the Principal at Southwest Elementary, where these kids attend school. She had the foresight to call the police, however, she did not notify up the chain of command either. I believe these two conspired to keep this event from Mr. Breiner. Decisions that should cost BOTH of them their jobs. Their negligence put the rest of the kids at risk and their decision to protect their careers at the expense of the safety of our kids is certainly more than enough reason for dismissal. I know I don't want them collecting any of my tax dollars.

Over the past day and a half, I have received about 71 emails of stories from parents whose children had awful experiences on the bus. This is apparently not a single incident, but one in a string of incidents that has spread out over many years. There is no indication that anything has been done to address the sexual abuse our children have been enduring on the bus, and whenever a parent would complain, the response seems to have been that the parents need to establish a better relationship with their children rather than to make any change to the sexual situations on the bus. Don't get me wrong, the bus is not the only place where incidents seem to be happening. Apparently the bathrooms, the playground, and the wooded area behind the schools have all been a cesspool of sexual activity at school or just shortly after. I gave this same information to Phil Westmoreland and Wendy Day today.

Today, the Board attempted to tell me that the incident was initially reported as a "bullying" incident and that is why no one was notified. I was told that I could email that information to you all as an explanation of why it was not reported higher up the management chain. Well, it didn't make sense to me and I decided NOT to send that email out. Good thing!! The Press had obtained a copy of the Police Report and we found out that it was reported as a sexual incident immediately back in May. The proposed lie now causes me to be a bit suspicious. I believe there is now, and will continue to be, a lot of CYA going on. It is apparent that avoiding a controversy is more important than the safety of our children.

A brilliant member of our group suggested an Angel Network of volunteers to sit on the buses each day and try to get some order going on. Another member suggested playing classical music to keep the activity level down and the kids quiet. Another member suggested moving the kids forward on the bus after every 2-3 stops to keep the back of the bus empty. I passed all of these suggestions on to Phil Westmoreland and Wendy Day (they are the only two school board members who will let me have their email addresses and I correspond with them both regularly). Apparently, Mr. Literski liked the Angel Network idea and will be willing to talk to us about it in greater detail. If you have any time that you could volunteer to sit on a bus route, would you let me know ASAP so that I can see if we have enough people available to man the buses on a volunteer basis?? Even though I do not have kids in the school, I will be first to step up to the plate to say I will give one day a week to sit on a bus. If that will help keep even one child from being raped on the bus, I will find the time. Will any of you join me??

Monday night the school board is trying to put together a town hall meeting which will start before the regular meeting. This early meeting would be to discuss the bus incident. I'm assuming there will be question and answer time, but we shall see how much courage they can muster. We should see something from them about that meeting soon. I understand that Monday night we will learn that the 30% limit on sacred text music is going away (yea!! although I can't understand why that took almost a year to decide). We are also going to learn that parents will be asked to sit on every curriculum committee approval process.

You may have noticed that I have been quiet on the story chat lately. I made a conscious decision not to cheapen the talk on this bus incident by letting it morph into being about me rather than about the kids. I notice that my venomous enemies on the story chat are mimicking my feelings exactly. I don't care who condemns this action, I just care that it gets condemned. For those of you who are worried that I have given up on being the bad guy, have no fear. I will step forward when I think I need to. Right now, I have threatened this board with causing a gigantic ruckus if they don't put some plans in place to assure the public that they will do everything possible to ensure the safety of our children. I will work as hard as I can to pressure them. What I need you to do, if you will, is to attend that meeting on Monday and let them know how irate you are and how badly you want them to DO something to make sure your kids are protected. If there is anything you want me to do, just let me know. I am not an expert on this stuff. I'm just a passionate advocate for kids and I have no fear of these morons. These are the things I think need to happen:

1. Chuck Breiner needs to be fired.
2. Mike Peterson needs to be fired.
3. Jill Hilla needs to be fired.
4. An aide needs to be put on every bus IMMEDIATELY.
5. The bathrooms need surveillance cameras and a non-school person needs to review the tapes daily. (not inside the toilet area, but the common areas).
6. We need a review of the interview and hiring policies so we won't continue to hire high paid incompetents
7. The 9 year old and the 11 year old need to be OFF the bus and OUT of school for now. They suspended a kid for starting a fire in a trash can because it destroyed school property, but we can't suspend a sex offender???
8. The Professors at LCC in Parker High School need to submit to fingerprints and background checks immediately. If they don't, I think we should consider a complaint to the attorney general. So far, their Union has refused.
9. LCC students must be restricted from free range access to the areas the high school students occupy. They are now in the library, in the store, coffee shop, hallways, and credit union. There is no restriction in their access to high school students. (danger, danger. Let's not have a life changing incident before we learn that lesson.)
10. We need some good candidates to run for school board. There will probably be at least 3 spots open in this next election.
11. Students should not be allowed to transport other children back to HHS for choir practice and any other classes that are being held back at HHS. The school can pay for the LETS bus if there is no other bus available for that service. They can use the money they are contemplating using for pay raises. I even believe it is against the law for minors to transport minors???

If there is anything else you think we should press for, please let me know. You have every right to a high comfort level that your children are safe when they are in the care, custody, and control of the schools. I will help you get there any possible way I can.

Have a Blessed Day,



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