Bill Brown, the Asst. Principal at Challenges, Choices and Images Charter School in Denver Public Schools has been placed on administrative leave after a local TV station revealed he'd been arrested ten times since 2001.
I don't believe the assertion that these arrests are new information for school leaders. I've known Bill since about 2000 and the fact that he wrestles with personal struggles is known by many. He has repeatedly been gone from the school for weeks at a time. He's been in and out of homeless shelters in Denver and has been seen panhandling by several people. In fact, on two occasions he came to my office and asked for gas money. To be fair, when Bill Brown is "on his game" he has been a great advocate for CCI by raising money, teaching various classes and being willing to help out wherever he's needed.
Carolyn Jones, principal of CCI makes it sound like a procedural error allowed this to slip through the cracks. This is hard to believe since Carolyn and Bill have been friends for so many years.
It seems like the root of the problem is the school's culture -- a culture that makes excuses for people's behavior because they're a part of a close-knit system. Back in February the charter school received a one-year probationary contract from DPS after board members expressed concerns about the lack of academic achievement at the school and unclear financial practices. Other individuals, including one who was a registered sex offender, were permitted to work at the school and authorized by Jones.
The most puzzling piece of the entire Rocky Mountain News article is the quote: "But Jones said having those kinds of backgrounds allows staff members to relate to students better."
WHAT??? Is that justification for a bad decision? Does that imply these ethnic minority students need a lower standard of behavior from their teachers (role models)? Who is the responsible adult in this school?