Oh Friday's Blog, How Lovely You Are!

BACK IN THE DAY, WE ALL WATCHED THE SAME THINGS Because there were only three networks so we didn't have many choices.  With all the ways to consume content these days, it's easy to miss a really good show or documentary because you just don't know about it.  I was talking about Colony a few days ago, but I want to know what other shows I'm missing so help a sister out!


PROJECT VERITAS DOES IT AGAIN, AND EXPOSED THE TEACHERS UNIONS IN A BIG WAY I watched these videos this morning and if I didn't despise what the teachers unions had become already, this pretty much would cement it.  What I'd like to ask teachers how they feel about funding an organization which brags about protecting a teacher who had sex with a teacher.  For people who claim to care more about your children than anything else, they are giving money to people who protect people who do them great harm.  Watch BOTH of the videos linked in this story


WILL THE UNION STEP IN TO PROTECT TWO AWFUL TEACHERS IN DENVER?  Two teachers at the Denver School of the Arts are BACK on administrative leave after returning to work after being put on leave for what appears to be a shoddy investigation into allegations of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.  DSA vocal department instructors Scott Shively and Robert Styron are on paid leave while the school begins yet ANOTHER investigation based on new allegations.  If the allegations in this CPR story are remotely true, these men do not need to be in a high school classroom any more.   There is no need to treat high school students like they are "professionals" because THEY AREN'T.  They are teenagers and students and deserve to be treated with respect.  Two dance teachers have already resigned after facing similar investigations.  I'll be following this story to see what happens next.  Kudos to CPR for covering this story so relentlessly.  I got the following letter from a parent of a DSA student who wished to remain anonymous, but there are a LOT of questions in this letter that deserve answers, especially the last one.

On April 25, 2018 and May 1, 2018 there were news stories released by CPR on the dance and vocal departments at Denver School of the Arts (DSA). See links below:

http://www.cpr.org/news/story/teachers-return-to-denver-school-of-the-arts-vocal-program-after-investigation

http://www.cpr.org/news/story/teacher-investigation-fractures-denver-school-of-the-arts-renowned-dance-program

Jenny Brudin completed the investigation for these two stories concerning these two reports, but we believe there are larger issues at play that need to be further investigated.

The allegations against teachers in DSA's vocal department are arguably more serious -- dating back years with Principal William Kohut’s knowledge (numerous former students suffering PTSD and during one year, at least seven reported suicide hospitalizations in the high school vocal department alone) -- than cases at other schools where an independent investigation has been lodged, i.e. East High School. This is a prestigious school attended not only by rank and file families but children of Colorado’s political elite.

There are several questions that have not yet been answered with the most important including questions about the integrity of the investigation, why CORA requests were denied, yet East High School investigation made public. There are questions about how money is accounted for at the school, why a third party investigation has not been called, questions on why Principal William Kohut and other administrators appear to be protecting these teachers, when allegations of sexual harassment were brought forth to Principal William Kohut in May 2017, why those were not passed on to district administrators, when district administrators were alerted about that meeting in January of 2018, the teachers still returned to school despite more than 10 complaints filed alleging discrimination, harassment, and retaliation particularly against students with mental and emotional disabilities, as well as allegations involving improper student-teacher relationships filed by other students.

Below is a list of questions and concerns that still do not have answers or resolutions:

Financial Concerns:


    • Families were intimidated and threatened with public shaming if they did not contribute to the “Fill the Gap” campaign for the DSA Friends Foundation which raised over $750,000 last year alone.
    • Why are amounts paid for school endorsed trips not broken down so families know how the money is being used?
    • How did Mr. Kohut attend the Grammys in 2017? Who paid for this expense?

Concerns about the DSA Investigation:


    • Why were Denver Police at DSA on May 1, 2018 concerning vocal teachers?
    • Who is going to be held accountable for this at the school and district level?
    • What policies were not followed to allow this to happen?
    • What new policies need to be established to prevent these incidents from happening in the future?

Concerns about the DSA administration:


    • How did the personal relationship between Mr. Kohut and the vocal teachers affect the investigation in January/February 2018.
    • Why was the investigation so short and not thorough? Why were vocal teachers allowed back to DSA after such a short investigation (1 week and 6 weeks)?
    • Why did Mr. Styron tell parents and students “don’t bother complaining to administration as they are on my side and I will never be fired. I know people in high places.”
    • Why does Mr. Kohut have file folders full of complaints from parents that he has shown to families when they have come to him with complaints to which he states, “look at all these complaints there is nothing I can do”?
    • Why did Mr. Kohut not immediately call the police in May 2017 when allegations of sexual harassment and other allegations were brought to him by a parent? Why did he wait until January 2018 to notify the police?
    • Why did Mr. Kohut tell parents that previous complaints were not acted upon because parents did not write “formal complaint” at the top of their emails? Per DPS policy this is not necessary and all concerns whether verbal or in writing should be followed up upon once they are aware of the complaints.
    • Why were “counselors” brought into the vocal department after the story was released and students forced to share in a “safe place”. Then students were allowed to verbally attack those students that shared concerns? Why were parents not notified before this meeting happened?
    • Why were properly trained substitute teachers not brought in to cover the classes while teachers were put out on leave in January and February so student learning could continue?
    • Why were Mr. Durfee and Student TA’s expected to keep the classes running when teachers were out on leave and be heavily burdened with tasks outside of their job descriptions.
    • Why did DSA administration hold a meeting with vocal students on May 2, 2018 and not notify parents that the meeting would be occuring?
  • Concerns about how DPS has handled this:
    • Why was an outside investigation not completed when administrators and DPS officials became aware of allegations against these teachers? Outside investigations were done at other DPS schools (for example: East and Manuel) when allegations were brought forth.
    • Why have these allegations been swept under the rug for years by the district and DSA administration?
    • Why has DSA seemingly been left alone by the district with very little oversight?
    • What is the attrition rate in the vocal and dance departments? Why has this high number not caused concern for further investigation by district officials?
    • Why was a letter submitted to Scott Mendelsberg at DPS in February 2018 regarding the concerning cover-up of this abuse by Mr. Kohut and other DSA administration not taken more seriously and followed up with an investigation?
    • Why were the vocal and dance investigations not released to the public as has been done by other investigations in the district? Why were the public documents not released when CORA’d?
    • Why were all vocal and dance parents not given the opportunity to bring forth concerns at the start of each investigation? Why 4 months later have families just been given this opportunity from the district?
    • Why were families that have previously left DSA not interviewed and allegations not followed up on during the dance and vocal investigations?
    • Some parents told Aspen Miles (Vice principal at DSA) during the vocal investigation that they would not talk to anyone conducting the investigation from DSA as they did not trust them and feared retaliation if they spoke with them. Why were these concerns not followed up on by the district?
    • What is the relationship between Tom Boasberg, Michael Bennett, and William Kohut? Who appointed William Kohut to the principal role at DSA? It is a well-known fact that all three of Mr. Bennett’s children have or are currently attended DSA. Mr. Bennett’s wife is currently on the board of the DSA Friends Foundation. Are favors being made in regards to accepting students in return for covering up information?

Why is this allowed to continue?  


I SURE HOPE MY DOG DOESN'T SUE ME FOR HOLDING BACK THE TREATS This story is one that we can all laugh at, except it could be a lot more influential than we might think.  In the state of Oregon, a horse is suing it's former owner for neglect, pain and suffering.  I'm not kidding.  An animal rights group is putting forth Justice the horse as a plaintiff.  This isn't just about getting Justice for Justice, this is about establishing that animals have the same rights as humans so groups like PETA can sue on their behalf to shut down farms and slaughterhouse operations.  Don't doubt me on this. 


CHUCK PLUNKETT RESIGNS FROM THE DENVER POST And I have to say I admire his principles in this one.  I am often accused to being told what to say by my bosses.  That simply does not happen here.  If it did, I hope I would have the strength to stand by my convictions as Plunkett did when faced with extraordinary meddling in the news and editorial product at the Denver Post.  What happens next to this once powerful paper?  I wish some really rich person or persons would take the bull by the horns and start an online local daily.  Print is dead.  Let's cut costs on print and use that money to hire people who will still do great investigative journalism.  


AFTER 40 YEARS, RAPE NOW MATTERS IN HOLLYWOOD And the Academy has now kicked Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby out of the club.  I guess it does take 40 years and several awards before you can decide that a man who raped a 13 year old girl should be kicked out.  


THERE'S A VOLCANO ERUPTING IN HAWAII And 1700 homes are in the vicinity.  Those people have been evacuated.  Not to criticize, but I'm not sure building a house next to an active volcano is the best idea I've ever heard.  


I DARE YOU TO TRY THIS SPIDER DANCE AT HOME And no, I won't pay your medical bills.  

 

AND THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO RUN THE WORLD SOMEDAY British schoolrooms are removing analog clocks from their classrooms.  Is this so students can't stare longingly at the ticking clock?  Nope. It's because the students can't read them.  And rather than TEACH THEM how to read them, they are just giving up.  Sad!


BEST. DAY. EVER. A Canadian man retired from his job and won the lottery on his birthday.  


SCORE ONE FOR THE OLD WHITE GUYS! The restaurant chain Seasons 52 (which is very good, btw) has to pay millions after losing a suit over not hiring white guys over 40.  


WHAT?  NBC NEWS GOT SOMETHING WRONG ABOUT TRUMP?  NOOOOOOOO.  NBC News has issued a very significant retraction to it's earlier reports that Trump's attorney Michael Cohen's phones had been wiretapped.  It seems that they were not tapped, they were merely gathering who called.  Whoopsie doodle. 


AND NOW A FEMALE STUNT DRIVER TAKES SOME DUDES OUT FOR A RIDE And this makes me really happy.

 

FOR WHOM THE TOLL RISES.  IT RISES FOR THEE. This is going to make some people's heads explode, but I like it.  Should tolls on express lanes be capped or should they be market priced?  In some markets the tolls can rise to almost 50 bucks at certain high traffic times.  I'm all for this, but it should also work the other way where I get to use them for free when no one else is.  


COLORADO SPRINGS ISN'T THE ONLY PLACE WITH A MAD POOPER This story is just really crappy

Mandy Connell

title

Content Goes Here