About three weeks ago, the Board of Education began termination hearings regarding elementary school principal, Carmen Perez-Dickson. During the first special board meeting on July 15th, Perez-Dickson’s attorney tried to get the case thrown out – ceasing all further discussion of termination – by arguing that since Paul Vallas was superintendent at the time and later found illegitimate by Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis, all decisions made during his tenure were invalid, including all charges against Perez-Dickson. Parents attending the meeting were outraged when board members John Bagley, Sauda Baraka, and Bobby Simmons voted in favor of dismissing the hearings and reinstating Perez-Dickson as principal.
It seems nothing is off limits in Bridgeport.
Apparently some board members are more concerned about politics than they are child safety.
To give you a little background, Perez-Dickson has been on administrative leave from her role as Principal of Jettie S. Tisdal Elementary since the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. She is accused of negligence based on events caught on tape between February 9th and March 23rd of 2012. According to the lawyer representing the administration, the tapes show Perez-Dickson “manhandling,” dragging, and “physically threatening” kindergarten students. The hearing will determine whether or not Perez-Dickson will be returned to her post as principal of Tisdal or terminated.
Perez-Dickson has a long history of legal battles with the district. In 1999 she sued the Bridgeport Board of Education for discrimination. She initially won this case, but the lower court’s ruling was overturned on appeal, with the state Supreme Court ruling there was no evidence to substantiate her claim. Then in November of 2005, Perez-Dickson was put on administrative leave after allegations she “improperly hugged” students, which were found “unsubstantiated” by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.
In the end, the school board voted to continue the public hearings which are set to take place August 19-20th. Until the board makes their decision, Perez-Dickson will remain on paid administrative leave.