Workplace Bullying Report

This column appears in the January 30 – February 6 edition of the Hartford News… This week we’ll provide a recap of State Representative Matt Ritter’s workplace bullying town hall, which took place on Monday at the Albany Avenue Branch Library in Hartford. We also have reports on workplace bullying at Capital Preparatory Magnet School and the Department of Children and Families / Connecticut Juvenile Training School by blogger Jonathan Pelto and activist Cornell Lewis, respectively. Stay tuned for updates on workplace bullying at Connecticut Valley Hospital. The Community Party will introduce our Safe Work Environment Act during the 2014 legislative session, which starts next Wednesday.
 
The town hall included painful stories from community residents who have been victims of abusive workplace conduct. These individuals have survived attempts by state agencies and bullying co-workers to ruin their lives. Their strength and resilience should be admired. We discussed strategy for the upcoming legislative session. Stay tuned for updates. Special thanks to Assemblyman Ritter for hosting this event.
 
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                                                      Capital Prep Still Not Complying with Connecticut’s Bullying Laws

                                                                                          by Jonathan Pelto

As parents and teachers are reporting, Capital Prep’s school climate is one in which child on child and workplace bullying is rampant.
Incredibly, Capital Prep remains out of compliance with the most basic requirements of Connecticut’s bullying laws, despite an official Department of Education site visit in September 2012 that led to the demand that Principal Steve Perry and Capital Prep develop and implement a Corrective Action Plan on their school climate problems.
The state Department of Education’s intervention was the result of a parent complaint that had gone unaddressed by Capital Prep administrators and Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s office for months.
 
Despite the Department of Education laying out the specific steps that Capital Prep would need to take to come into compliance with state laws and regulations, Capital Prep failed to provide any Corrective Action Plan on its bullying policies until October 2013, thirteen months after the site visit.
And even then Capital Prep’s plan fell short of the minimum steps needed to comply with the provisions of the law.
Now, more than a year and a half after the site visit, Capital Prep remains out of compliance when it comes to the school’s nondiscrimination statement and the information provided in its employee and student handbooks.
 
A recent Freedom of Information request filed with the Hartford Board of Education revealed that although the State Department of Education has cc’d Superintendent Kishimoto on multiple documents related to this problem over the past year and a half, Kishimoto’s office claims that they have none of that correspondence.
While creating a safer school climate has become one of the most important issues of our time, it is truly beyond belief that Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and Kishimoto have failed to force Capital Prep to meet the minimum standards required of every other public school in Connecticut.
That failure becomes especially relevant when it comes to the significant number of new reports of child on child and workplace bullying that has been taking place at Capital Prep. For the sake of the children, let alone the liability questions for those involved, you’d think that these officials would be doing a better job to ensure that students (and staff) are not the victims of bullying and abuse.
 
One of the most disturbing things about Perry and the way he runs Capital Prep is the reports of the extensive workplace bullying.  At last count, Capital Prep had lost at least seven teachers this year. Capital Prep’s abusive working conditions have left teachers stunned and hurt.  The school’s actions have even led to complaints to appropriate state and federal agencies, as well as at least one lawsuit. But the fact is that awareness about workplace bullying is growing.
 
To address those concerns, State Representative Matt Ritter hosted a workplace bullying town hall meeting on Monday at the Albany Branch library in Hartford.
 

                                        A CONTINUAL NARRATIVE AND  BLACK MALE DISCIPLINE AT STATE AGENCIES

                                                                                                    by Cornell Lewis
 
 
A sentient human being has to wonder about the  disproportion of disciplinary actions against black male employees within  Connecticut Juvenile Training School / Department of Children and Families in  Connecticut. There have been numerous lawsuits, demonstrations, media reports, employee complaints, hunger strikes etc. to highlight the racial animus at these  two agencies. I would like to offer a theory about why the racism might be  happening. In America it is documented that a continual narrative in the thinking  of whites allowed in the past slavery, lynching, and inhuman working conditions  against Africans sold as slaves. The white narrative justified this barbaric  treatment based on stereotypes of blacks being lazy, less than human, child like  in their thinking or sinister in nature. That narrative allowed slavery to take  root in the South for several hundred years and of course helped serve white  people’s material interests.
In contemporary society it is not  politically correct to mention racism. Indeed, the Eden like atmosphere at DCF / CJTS lulls a person into thinking there are no real concerns, until you look at  data which reveal 66% of all disciplinary actions target black males. http://www.dcfplantation.blogspot.com/2012/11/dcf-disciplinary-2011-harsher-penalties.html  Employees  of color only make up between 44-45 % of the employment force. How can the  termination, reprimands and other measures be justified? It all goes back to a  continual narrative in the thinking of whites in charge of both  agencies.
America did not acknowledge for years racial problems existed  until the hideous secret could no longer be swept under the social rug. Blacks  marched, sang, protested and died for a right to be viewed as human. Claims of  no racial problems come out from mouths of DCF / CJTS officials with relative  ease. Yet for years a continual narrative of heavy handed tactics against black  males persists. Let me look at it another way. Trayvon Martin was killed by a man  in Florida who had a continual narrative in his head which said “he [Trayvon]  looked like a thug. ” Republicans introduced legislation to have voters [ in  black voting districts ] to show special identification in order to vote. These  narratives from mostly white Republican males claimed such ID would help with  voting integrity. Yeah right. If we juxtapose these stories next to what is  happening on the DCF Plantation then it is evident that a continual narrative about  blacks is the norm in America.
In the final analysis something is wrong  at these state run facilities when allegations of racism keep coming to the  forefront.
 
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Check out CP’s Stop Racial Profiling – Obey the Law! page for updates on our Trayvon Martin Act, which we will introduce during the 2014 legislative session (starts February 5th).  http://www.facebook.com/PennAct  Follow CP on Twitter for state national and global headlines and updates on the status of our legislation, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1    Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for public service announcements on CP’s racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.
 
Resources
 
Assemblyman Matt Ritter’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages: 
 
 
 
 
Jonathan Pelto’s Wait What? blog:
 
 
Cornell Lewis’ DCF Plantation blog, featuring data analysis by Adam Osmond:
 
 
Cornell Lewis Legal Defense Fund:
 
 
Adam Osmond’s CT Lottery Watchdog website and Twitter page:
 
 
 
David Samuels
Founder
Community Party
 
 
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