In yet another Naples Daily News hero-worship editorial fawning over Superintendent Kamela Patton, today’s back-to-school piece is titled “A Year Tough to Top as Collier Schools Open Wednesday.”
The editorial references the return of Collier County’s students and teachers “for a year of challenges perhaps no greater than ‘Can you top this?'” In typical fashion, the NDN editors regurgitate Patton’s talking points about the pyrrhic “A” grade the school district received this year (despite a myriad of “D” schools and 29% third grade reading proficiency at one school).
The editors then cite areas where the School District still needs improvement citing “teacher retention and housing,” convincing the Legislature to become “more supportive of traditional public education,” and — given that Patton’s annual budget has now crashed through the $1 billion glass ceiling — suggesting the “hire of an independent financial analyst for a risk assessment.”**
**NOTE: the editors are covering for Patton here. The “risk assessment” is Patton’s proposed watered-down review, so she can avoid the more intense “internal audit” which School Board members Donalds and Lichter propose.
Notably missing from the NDN’s list of proposed public school improvements is to cut down on the number of school teachers allegedly having sexual relationships with the students.
Hey, NDN editorial board — where’s that proposed improvement? How about some giving “kicks” to the School District?
- For the second time in the past 6 months, one of Patton’s high school teachers is alleged to have had sexual intercourse with a student. The first time, it apparently got swept under the rug by the School District’s own investigation and the Collier County Sheriff Department. As reported by the NDN in an article titled “Collier Teacher Reinstated After Investigation Into Sexual Allegations“, despite a written statement by the former student confirming the sexual relationship and allegations that one of Patton’s administrators interfered in the investigation, Kevin Rambosk’s Sheriff’s department refused to press charges.
When brought up as a topic at a school board meeting in July, Kam Patton scolded board member Kelly Lichter for her inquiry in a “how dare you not trust me” manner, then reassured board members that Patton already had a half-hour late night call with her good pal Sheriff Kevin Rambosk to address the “article.” As to the content of that discussion with Rambosk, Patton did not say.
Hey Kam – why in the world is the top school administrator speaking to the top sheriff?? Isn’t this like Bill Clinton talking to Loretta Lynch on the tarmac? Why are the two “top dogs” talking, rather than letting the detectives and other trained professionals do their job? Were you trying to get to the bottom of it with Rambosk — or were you instead chastising Rambosk for not having more control over his underlings, especially that pesky detective who gave your administration a black eye by calling out how one of your principals “interfered” in the investigation?
The Sheriff’s department refused to press charges in the first reported case despite a sworn statement from the alleged victim. To little surprise, the School District’s own investigation “found no evidence to prove [the] student’s statements that she had engaged in sexual activity with the teacher,” and guess what — THE TEACHER IS BACK AT WORK AT THE HIGH SCHOOL!
Now, this week, it is reported that a male Naples High School teacher had sexual intercourse with a 16 year-old female student, and had been “sexting” at least two female students. (click for link). He faces “two felony charges of sexual assault of a victim 16 or 17 years old.” According to the news report, the teacher has admitted to having sexual intercourse with the student. BUT INSTEAD OF FIRING THE TEACHER, THE PATTON ADMINISTRATION JUST REASSIGNED HIM TO WORK AT THE MLK ADMINISTRATION BUILDING!
Keep in mind, this isn’t a case where someone is “innocent until proven guilty.” The news report is that this teacher admitted to the sex acts. AND PATTON HASN’T FIRED HIM? What enabling message does that send to the next teacher? “The District’s got your back?”
Given the School District’s obsession with social media, where is the District’s accountability for the fact that this teacher reportedly used Instagram and Snapchat to lure his alleged victims? Where is the editorial board’s critique of the District’s excessive focus on social media, Bring Your Own Device, etc.? Just look at the District’s web page — it’s not a government information page, it’s marketing and self-promotion – encouraging educators to waste time “tweeting” rather than teaching.
If Patton’s administration cannot police its own teachers operating within the public school buildings, how does the District plan to ensure the safety of its students involved in all of the community outreach, such as through “Future Ready Collier” which is a so-called “collaborative” effort whereby the District is strategically pushing our students out into the workplace where they will be mentored by the unvetted public? (Future Ready Collier will “Provide community-based internships for 100% of career academy and other interested students.“) At the August school board meeting when board member Kelly Lichter asked Patton about any school board policy on Future Ready Collier designed to ensure the safety of students being mentored at internships, administrator Peggy Aune struggled to provide any meaningful response identifying any such policies or procedures.
Where is the NDN editorial board on this topic? Instead of asking such questions, the editors encourage this type “collective collaboration” hook, line and sinker — because guys like their own NDN President/Publisher William “Bill” Barker are a part of this educational mission drift.***
***Barker is chair-elect of the Naples Chamber, and board member of Champions for Learning — both part of Future Ready Collier.
It’s time for change at top – time to bring in someone who will focus on the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, and time to focus on the four corners of school district’s operations, and student safety, without all of the distracting outreach. And frankly, it’s time for a real news source other than the highly conflicted, collectivist agenda-driven Naples Daily News. (Enter Bolduc and Bracci – so Get the Word Out.)
So where is the NDN editorial board talking about school district “improvements” in the area of protecting students from teacher-predators? Kam Patton loves to compare today’s district scores and rankings to those of 6 years ago when she first arrived. Click here for example.
If Patton likes to compare the District’s performance today to six years ago when she first arrived, then how about comparing the number of sexual assaults by teachers on students today, as opposed to 2011? Is Patton’s Communications Department tracking that statistic?
Superintendent Kamela Patton
Why is this relevant? Because Patton came from the Miami-Dade School District where she was a former assistant Superintendent. Patton worked there for 24 years. This is where Patton learned on the job. It is coming to light that Miami-Dade may be a breeding ground for teacher sexual assaults on students due to an enabling administration that had turned a blind eye during the period of Patton’s tenure. In a recently filed lawsuit, it is alleged that a Miami-Dade teacher repeatedly sexually assaulted a student. This teacher had been accused of other incidents dating back to 2004, and yet the Miami-Dade administration simply reassigned the teacher from one school to another, without being called to real account.
Here is a link to that lawsuit (Warning to readers, there is a lot in it):
Here is a link to two other news reports about that lawsuit and other recent teacher-student sex incidents in Miami-Dade:
Are the recent reports of Collier County teacher sex acts with students a harbinger of things to come here in our school district, similar what is coming to light in Miami-Dade?
Are recent events here in Collier County the result of lax enforcement by Patton and her administration?
Do they result from local leadership that protects the image of Patton and her administration at all costs, because Patton loves to “partner” with them and provide them with access to our school district?
Do they result from a local newspaper and sheriff’s department which Patton has strategically cozied up to over the past years, currying favor with them so that they will not do their jobs and hold Patton’s school district to account, either by news reporting or proper law enforcement?
Perhaps the NDN editors and others in our community also have some responsibility for enabling these incidents. Perhaps their worship of Superintendent Kamela Patton is coming home to roost.